GOOD DAY

IT'S SATURDAY, DEC. 5TH 2020 

DAYS IN QUARANTINE - 264








DEAR READERS

Our  Mouse Issues have been resolved which means we can get back to doing the blog we like to do.
And we'll be doing that the first thing Monday morning  December 7th 



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. . .

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

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.
____________________________________________________________________________________________


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.



_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-






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.










See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php







<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, NOV. 30TH 2020


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






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.










See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php








<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, NOV. 27TH 2020


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





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.










See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery







<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, NOV. 26TH 2020


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






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.











See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php







<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25TH 2020


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






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."




______________________________________________________________________


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.”


_______________________________________________________________________

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."


____________________________________________________________________

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.










See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php







<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, NOV. 24TH 2020


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




Nov. 20th 2020

US House passes bipartisan legislation
to crack down on fraud against seniors


Like many companies, we use online advertising services that use cookies and similar technologies to collect information about your device and online activity on our sites, apps and other online services. These services use this information to try to tailor the ads you see online to your interests. These are called interest-based ads. For more information about our collection, use and disclosure of your personal information when you visit our sites and apps, see our Privacy Policy.

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), allowing this collection and use of our users’ information for interest-based advertising purposes may constitute a “sale” of personal information to other parties. If you are a California resident, you can exercise this opt-out right by using the toggle switch.  

Opting out will not disable cookies or other technologies that facilitate the proper functioning of our website or collect data for purposes that do not involve “sales” of personal information under the CCPA. Opting out will not mean that you will stop seeing interest-based ads or other ads online. Specifically, opting out will not prevent you from seeing interest-based ads based on information that, for CCPA purposes, was not sold, was sold before you opted out or was sold by third parties outside of our control. You can learn more about interest-based ads and additional opt-out choices here. More information


_____________________________________________________________

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. 


_____________________________________________________________________


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.

For me, it fulfills my need to create. Every meal begins with a blank canvas that I can fill with the elements that embody any artistic endeavor. It also appeals to the senses, even more so than a painting or sculpture. You not only see it, but smell, feel and taste it too. No Picasso can do that. Sadly, there is no scenario I can see that would allow me to do that again.

I won’t be doing any traveling.

I hadn’t made many retirement plans. I knew I would have to watch my pennies so vacations to exotic places were out. But I wanted to do one thing before I hung up the spikes for good. I wanted to visit all of my friends and relatives scattered all over the country. I would have taken as much time as needed and then return home to live out my days quietly and simply. I had the wherewithal and the desire to do it. Unfortunately, my body had other plans which put in hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities. The best laid plans of mice and men often go to hell.

I’m not bitter. I don’t have that right. Nobody did anything to me to change my lifestyle. Not even me. S**t happens, and besides, I have too much to be thankful for. But I’ll leave that as we get closer to Thanksgiving.……………….. .
 




What Every President Did
After Leaving the White House
By Hristina Byrnes

In June, long before the presidential election, President Donald Trump said he would “do other things” if he lost. The real estate mogul and former reality TV star has plenty of options. But what does a person do after holding the most powerful government office in the world? 

To find an answer to that question, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on all U.S. presidents from the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, the White House, and the History Channel.

Typical post-presidency occupations have changed significantly over the years. The first heads of state largely resumed their lives from before they moved to the White House. At least 12 presidents owned slaves and four returned to their plantations after leaving office. Others went back to practicing law. Several could not stay out of politics with two former presidents successfully running for Congress.







Which Level of Senior Living Is Best for You?

With so many senior living options to choose from, selecting the right one can feel impossible. How can you make sure you or your loved one gets the right balance of care while still maintaining independence?

The first step toward making this important life decision is learning about your options. Below, we’ve broken down the different types of senior living offered and the type of care each one provides in the Detroit area.

Independent Living

Best for: Independent seniors looking to free up time...











See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php









<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, NOV. 23RD 2020


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







Nov. 19 2020



The public has not listened':
Nursing home cases surge to
all-time high as COVID-19 sweeps US


New coronavirus cases have surged to an all-time high at nursing homes across the country despite federal efforts to shield residents through aggressive testing and visitor restrictions, a new report shows.

Federal data shows 10,279 COVID-19 cases during the week of Nov. 1, the most recent data available. The figures surpassed the previous high of 9,903 cases in late July, according to a report by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

The surge in cases among the nation's most vulnerable residents comes as cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge nationwide. Industry representatives say that when cases spread in a community, it's difficult to shield nursing home residents despite rules that restrict visitors.

Continue reading  >>  

__________________________________________________________________

The Coming Wave of Nursing Home Closures


What COVID-19's effects mean for current and prospective residents and their families

More than 61,000 nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, 40% of all COVID-19 deaths. What's likely to come next: a wave of nursing home closings.

Nursing home resident, Next Avenue, nursing home Next Avenue
Credit: Adobe

In an August 2020 survey of nursing home operators by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), 72% of respondents reported an inability to maintain operations through 2021; 40% said they won't last another six months.

"For many Medicaid patients, nursing homes are the only place they have to go."



____________________________________________________________________

Share A Holiday Meal Even If You Aren't Together
Suggestions and strategies for how to send
friends and loved ones their favorite foods

There may not be as many faces at your holiday table this year, or if there are, they'll be on Zoom. But even with the pandemic, it's possible to share a holiday meal with those you love, with creativity and help from a shipping service.

Make and Send Their Favorites

If you want your loved ones to have "your" holiday foods, you can make and send them. Homemade items that can be easily shipped include cookies, breads, some pies, cakes, rolls and coffee cakes.

To make your baked goods look professional, order bakery boxes online. Tightly wrap the food in airtight plastic inside the box. UPS recommends cooling the food before packing it up. If you're shipping cookies, wrap them individually, then as pairs.

UPS also suggests using airtight containers with bubble wrap on the bottom and wrapped around the outside. Some people like to use marshmallows inside the food container as padding. 


_____________________________________________________________________

Seniors need routines to stay healthy,
and COVID-19 is making that hard

A routine is defined as a sequence of events or actions that are regularly followed.

Many families have a routine when it comes to getting their children to school then to after-school extracurricular activities, and finally arrive home to eat dinner and get ready for next day to do the whole routine again. The family gets accustomed to their scheduled days and ultimately enjoy their weekend where they can wind down, rest and prepare for another week.

This was similar to what the senior participants at the San Angelo senior centers experienced every day before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.



I Don’t Remember Signing Up For This
5 minutes


This is not the life I signed up for. I remember nothing in the agreement I signed when I first set foot here that said “There will be a time in your stay here when you will be locked-up, away from family and friends, destined to eat bad food, watch boring daytime TV and live with the fear that you may catch a disease that could kill you?” Even one of Donald Trump’s lawyers wouldn’t let me sign
 that. But, according to those bureaucrats who have omnipotent control over long-term care facilities, all of that is legal because it’s all done in the name of safety.
 
Here at the Asylum we just had our first staff member test positive for COVID-19 in months. That means all in-person visitation must end for two weeks (providing there are no other cases). However, because of the onset of cold weather (too cold for our residents to meet their guests in an outdoor tent), this two-week hold on visits means an end to all visits until the warm weather returns. The same as it was in March when this all began.  
 
There was one bright spot. Our administrator visited Wednesday and informed me that plans to re-open the dining room are proceeding on schedule. He confirmed there will be only one person at each table and they will stagger the dining hours so as not to have too many residents gathering in the same place all at once. While this is not exactly what I was hoping for, it’s better than nothing. However, it’s still not what I signed up for.

The other thing I know I didn’t put my signature on was anything that said they will call upon me to take a hastily concocted vaccine while everybody else can watch from afar to see if we do or don’t keel over and die. Again, all in the name of “keeping us safe.”
 
If I were a person of means, or if a lawyer would take on a pro-bono case, and if I could gather support from most of the residents here, I suppose we could sue the facility sighting physical and emotional harm and breach-of-contract as reasons for the suit. Even having our room and board put in escrow would force the facility to take note and put pressure on the state to revue all quarantine/lockdown procedures in order to correct the hardships placed upon residents and staff of assisted living facilities.

In reality, the law has never favored old folks.

Yes, there are statutes made to protect us from abuse, physical and financial. And there are laws that guarantee us a minimum of insurance against the absurdities of life. But there is very little that protects us from the one thing we have no control over. Being old. 

Let’s face it. Ageism is alive and well in the U.S. 

It’s in the workplace. It’s in our healthcare system. It’s in our financial and banking systems and it’s in the social fabric of the nation which looks upon a wrinkle as a disability and gray hair as tantamount to dementia. It’s the same discrimination people of color and women have faced for centuries. But those people make noise and many even control the purse strings which makes them a force to reckon with. We old folks have nothing. No clout. No money and no respect.

So we sit here. Following the rules of law while gaining little protection under it. And, when this is all over, despite what legislators and lawmakers who vowed to make the lives of America’s seniors better have said, we’ll go back to being the quiet little old folks who are content to sip our cocoa, play our Bingo and treated like second-class citizens. I know I didn’t sign up for that………………………………….. 
 
 

 

Could robots for sex, friendship 
improve our aging society?


The current U.S. marketplace for sex robots is geared to fulfilling the needs of young, white, able-bodied, heterosexual males – a population perhaps least in need of such assistance – and simultaneously overlooks a vast demographic of potential customers: senior citizens.

A newly published paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics calls out the opportunity among socially isolated, lonely people age 65 and over in aging societies, especially America.  Many of them would value a robot’s companionship and, yes, even its ability to provide sexual gratification, wrote the author, Nancy Jecker. She is a professor of bioethics and humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

“We apply ageist attitudes and negative stereotypes to older adults.  We assume they’re too old to indulge in sex and think that older adults having interest in sex is weird or dirty,” Jecker said.  “We have similar attitudes toward people with disabilities, where most research has focused on protecting them from able-bodied sexual predators instead of considering their sexual needs and desires as human beings.”






Overview of President-Elect Biden's Policies

Below is a broad overview of policies for which President-Elect Biden has indicated support (PDF). It is important to note that, while some of these policies fall under the President's executive power, many will require support from Congress in the form of legislative action. Regardless of which party controls the Senate, centrists in both parties will likely play a significantly larger role in which of these policies becomes law. While this list is not comprehensive, it can assist in understanding action this new administration may take in policy areas.

Additionally, as part of the transition, agency review teams have been established. These teams are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One.












See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php








<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, NOV. 20TH 2020


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






Nov. 18 2020


It's time for a grand agreement on Social Security
By Douglas Carr

What could a President Biden and a Republican Senate led by Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agree on?

Not much. Republicans are coming off what they believe is an election victory after having taken a risky, exposed position delaying COVID-19 spending stimulus until it was more fiscally responsible. After that success, and given the less densely populated states they represent, with President Trump out of the picture, Republicans must reclaim their fiscal prudence posture (at least until the next Republican president).

Republican congressional pressure on spending under Democratic presidents resulted in the Clinton balanced budget and the Obama sequester that produced the best economic growth of those administrations. Republican voters won’t countenance their elected representatives once again abandoning fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Biden proposed but didn’t emphasize an expansive program of new spending ($5.4 trillion), tax increases ($3.4 trillion) and larger deficits ($2.0 trillion). An irresistible force of pent-up Democratic demand for spending meets an immovable object of Republican senators apprehensive about renewed tea party pressure.


____________________________________________________________________

421,000 COVID tests headed to
 assisted living communities
from the federal government

The federal government will send more than 421,000 rapid-results antigen COVID-19 tests to assisted living communities this week, Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced Monday at a press conference.

Those tests are part of a larger effort that will see the distribution or sending to the stockpile of more than 8 million of the Abbott BinaxNOW tests. Of the total, more than 1.99 million of the point-of-care tests will be sent to nursing homes, 336,000 will go to home health and hospices, more than 3.99 million will be sent to governors and states, and more than 394,000 will go to historically Black colleges and universities, Giroir said.

“As of last week, we have distributed over 50 million of these tests to protect the vulnerable in nursing homes, assisted living, home health, tribes, historically Black colleges and universities, and to provide an unparalleled resource to our nation’s governors to keep schools and universities open and provide immediate testing for first responders in critical infrastructure,” he said.


_________________________________________________________________________________________

Sabra: Consumer ‘pandemic fatigue’
hurting senior living occupancy

The availability of adequate, effective rapid testing for COVID-19 “will begin the path to complete normalization in the facilities,” Sabra President and CEO Rick Matros says.

Operating during the coronavirus pandemic has become the “new normal” for senior housing providers, with infection control protocols and restrictions that can be adapted based on local and state regulations and virus levels. Prospective residents and their families, however, have “transitioned from pandemic fear to pandemic fatigue,” with “quite significant” effects on occupancy, Sabra Health Care REIT Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer Talya Nevo-Hacohen said Friday.

“The results have been that, while our senior housing operators have data and evidence that living in their communities is safer than staying at home, prospective residents worry that they will never embrace their families again if they move in,” she said on the real estate investment trust’s third-quarter earnings call.








Holding On To A Dream Is Great But…
Enough Is Enough


I can picture Number 45, late at night in his pj’s, walking through the darkened halls of the West Wing humming this tune.... 


It’s Good To Be King
By Tom Petty

It's good to be king, if just for a while
To be there in velvet, yeah, to give 'em a smile
It's good to get high and never come down
It's good to be king of your own little town

Yeah, the world would swing, oh, if I were king
Can I help it if I still dream time to time

It's good to be king and have your own way
Get a feeling of peace at the end of the day
And when your bulldog barks and your canary sings
You're out there with winners, it's good to be king

Yeah I'll be king when dogs get wings
Can I help it if I still dream time to time

It's good to be king and have your own world
It helps to make friends, it's good to meet girls
A sweet little queen who can't run away
It's good to be king, whatever it pays

Excuse me if I have some place in my mind
Where I go time to time


A fitting theme song for the saddest, and perhaps the most delusional person on earth.
 
One could almost feel sorry for this man who had it all, but because of his own incompetence lost it. After all, he’s only human and we all have our faults. And how many of us have taken jobs we were totally inept at.? But it’s hard to have any compassion for a man that has no sole, no heart, no humanity for anyone or anything but himself. Not even in his last days as President, he shows no compassion for the country he claims to love. He is a perfect example of someone who may have taken his oath of office too literally…
 
“Hey!, It says right here in the oath, TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. It ain’t my fault if that ability isn’t worth s**t.”
 
It’s quite apparent Trump has lost it. His denial of reality has diluted his capacity to govern. He has hidden himself away in some dark recess of his mind coming out only to fire another “disloyal” appointee, much like the Queen at the Mad Hatter’s tea party yelling “Off with their heads.” I’m actually a little surprised no one has suggested having him removed and for Mr. Pence to take over until January 20th. [1]
 
If this were any other year, we could laugh this all off as the ludicrous rantings of a sore loser. Unfortunately, because we are a nation under attack by a mindless, almost invisible, enemy, this is no laughing matter. And, perhaps even sadder and a lot more dangerous, are members of the Republican party who have become nothing more than henchmen (and executioners) in Trump’s mad attempt to hold on to power he had no right to.…………………… 
 

[1] The Constitution provides for such action should the President become “incapacitated.” Unfortunately, the process is lengthy and complicated…”If within 21 days the Senate and the House determine, each by a two-thirds vote, that the president is incapacitated, then the vice president continues as acting president; otherwise the president resumes his powers and duties.” 





Florida woman escapes guardianship using
secret phone and Facebook to contact media
By: Adam Walser

A Florida senior citizen speaks out after she was released from court-ordered guardianship and had her rights restored.

“It’s very scary to think that we’re in the United States, and this is happening to us,” said Jan Garwood, who was placed in professional guardianship in 2017 after she was involved in a car crash while grieving the death of her son.

Garwood, 70, was found to be incapacitated and stripped of her rights. That included her right to vote, choose her home and social environment, and control her money and property.






Signs of unsafe driving in older drivers

A license to drive has long been symbolic of independence. Teenage drivers long for the day they earn their licenses and can take to the road without mom or dad riding shotgun, while aging drivers want to keep driving as long as possible so they can come and go as they please in their golden years.
ThereÕs no formula drivers and their families can employ to determine when itÕs time to take the car keys away from senior citizens. Thankfully, fatal collisions involving older drivers have declined considerably in recent decades. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collision-related fatalities among drivers ages 70 and older declined by 15 percent between 1997 and 2018. A host of factors have no doubt contributed to that decline, including lane-assist technology and forward collision warning systems that have become standard offerings on many modern vehicles.
As much as technology has helped make driving safer for everyone, aging drivers should still keep an eye out for certain signs that may indicate their skills behind the wheel are diminishing and potentially compromising their ability to drive safely. According to AARP, the following are warning signs of unsafe driving.






See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php









<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, NOV. 19TH 2020


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



Nov. 17 2020


Social distancing exposes senior citizens
to other dangers
By Freixys Casado

Adults over the age of 65 continue to be the most susceptible to contracting coronavirus and although social distancing is the best way to keep them and everyone else safe, it exposes them to ongoing isolation and loneliness.

Katie Anderson has always relied on her mother for companionship, they would visit each other constantly but recently her 67-year-old mother, tested positive to COVID-19, which has taken a toll on both of them.

“She’s lonely,” said Anderson. “She needed something from Walmart and I dropped it off at her door and knock at her door and stepped away, and we were both crying because she said she just wanted to come hug me and I said, me too and we know we cant.”


__________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus-related face masks protect the wearer, too:
CDC says in updated guidance
By Kayla Rivas


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday updated its guidance on coronavirus-related face masks to include protection for the wearer, too.


The update takes the federal health agency’s previous stance further, which held that wearing a face mask can lower virus spread to others.

The CDC said early research supports community masking to lower virus spread, particularly when it’s estimated that more than half of transmissions stem from asymptomatic people. The agency also explained the filtration power of masks, writing: “Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns.”


________________________________________________________________

Amazon Alexa’s Care Hub To Cater
To The Senior Citizens
By Julia Delong


This newly introduced feature by Amazon Alexa is exclusively designed to help the aging population.

Care Hub is designed in such a way that it will make it easier for the people to look after the senior members of their family.

According to the officials, this new introduction is done, keeping in mind the demands of the customers. They said that for two years, they had to receive demands from customers regarding the use of voice assistants to guide the aging family members. This demand was specifically for the ones who preferred to stay in their homes as opposed to the nursing home.

In accordance with the Consumer Technology Association, this initiative of Amazon Alexa has opened doors for a market of an assistive technology of more than $30 billion.


_____________________________________________________________________

‘Work’ isn’t a four-letter word
for older Americans
By Kerry Hannon

Work is the aging issue.

And work isn’t a profane four-letter word.

It’s a four-letter word that should have a good connotation. And work is a reality. Even for those who have saved adequately for retirement, and most Americans haven’t, work is a financial safety net.  

Vast unemployment has crushed American workers, and those who are over 55, face additional obstacles to landing a new job. That, too, is real.

The average duration of unemployment for older workers is longer than those faced by younger cohorts. The number of long-term unemployed job seekers out of work for more than 27 weeks and still job-hunting, soared to 26.4% in September from 14% in August for those 55 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s higher than for the total workforce, where long-term unemployed job seekers rose to 18.2% from 11.3%.






At The A.L.F.:
Sadness and Disappointment
4 minutes

Early last week, when they informed us that our hair and beauty salon would reopen, it appeared things were looking up around here at the A.L.F.. And, when, a day later, a member of our staff told us they were preparing to return to communal dining I was elated. This was something I had hoped and prayed for the past 200 plus days since the quarantine/lockdown procedures (some of the strictest anywhere) went into effect over 200 days ago. But, when just this past weekend they told us an aid had tested positive for the virus and they were postponing the visitation privileges we have enjoyed for over a month, a feeling of despair and dejection swept over the facility.
 
I can’t express how bummed-out I am. I honestly believed there was a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Now, it appears, not only is there no light, there’s no tunnel either. The path to normalcy has taken a turn in the wrong direction. After suffering for nearly nine months of what amounts to forced incarceration, we face, not parole, but time added to our ‘’sentence.”
 
The only heartening thing to come out of this is proof our testing methods work. They quickly identified and removed the infected staff member before they had any contact with our residents. They test the staff twice-a-week, so it keeps the chances of contact at a minimum. Of course, that does not guarantee the virus did not spread to other staff members. Fortunately, both our staff and residents have adhered to a strict mask-wearing regimen which has kept the incidence of infection to a minimum. But that does not negate the negative effect this reversal will have on our residents. Especially now as we get into those long-dark cold winter days when we can’t go outside and contact with each other becomes impossible. And, though the ramifications of this new event remain to be seen, they cannot overlook the possibility of lasting depression and despair.
 
Until now, we have been lucky. Unfortunately, it takes only one case to turn everything around and send us back to where we started. And, much like Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again, we will continue to endure more of this absurdity. The only question is, for how much longer?………………………….. 


  
Editor’s note: The one thing I find odd is that we have not been offered the services of a mental health professional. While attention to our physical health has been more than adequate, nothing has bee done to teat our emotional well being. Perhaps, because we are a group of people who generally don’t complain about such things, they think there isn’t a problem. 
 
 
 

Want to ditch the city for country life?
Consider these things first
By Lindsay Frankel

Although many businesses have reopened since the coronavirus pandemic first hit, many employees are still working remotely, earning money from home, and spending the majority of their time indoors. That leaves many of us wondering whether we should continue to pay the high cost of rent in a city when we’re not taking advantage of the many bars and restaurants as we used to.

As a result, many people are talking about leaving the city and moving somewhere actually remote. While many people are looking at the best cities for remote workers, others just want to get entirely away from it all.

There are certainly advantages to running away to a cabin in the woods: You may be able to land a house with stunning views for the same price as a studio apartment in an urban area. And if you enjoy outdoor activities, you may get better access to hiking trails and forest preserves in a more rural area. You could get more exercise, enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle, and be able to see the stars away from light pollution.






Sound the Alarm: Pants Do Catch Fire;
CPSC Urges Seniors to Stay Vigilant
About Clothing Fire Safety


Did you know that older Americans (over 65) are one of the groups at greatest risk of dying in a fire?  Seniors are 16% of the population, but they account for 77% of the deaths from clothing fires.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to sound the alarm on this sobering statistic, by reminding our senior community to stay vigilant about fire safety.

"All clothing can burn," says CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler.  "And the loose clothing often favored by seniors can catch fire especially easily," he added.

Whether it's a dangling sleeve over the stove top, or food left unattended – cooking accidents are the leading cause of fires in the home.  But you may be surprised to know that burning trash, grass and debris outdoors is also a leading cause of clothing fire injuries to seniors.  Using space heaters improperly also tops the list.  So, what is catching fire?  The leading clothing item ignited and causing these injuries is pants, followed by shirts, night gowns and robes.  Here's how the numbers break down.

CPSC estimates there were about 1,100 emergency room visits per year associated with senior clothing fire injuries from 2015 to 2019.  This includes both fires in the home and outdoor fires. 










See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery







<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, NOV. 18TH 2020


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






Nov. 16 2020



Biden's platform calls for big changes to Social Security.
Here's what could be on the table
By Lorie Konish


“We’re long overdue for this conversation, and it’s causing great uncertainty for people who are either on the program now or going to be on the program soon,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“That’s not how we should be running one of the most important safety net programs in the country,” he said.

For Biden, now comes the hard part of pushing for bipartisan reform.

Big reform efforts


The Covid-19 pandemic is not helping Social Security’s trust funds, which were already hurting before the recession.

Continue reading  >>  


__________________________________________________________________


Biden Plan to Lower Medicare Eligibility Age
to 60 Faces Hostility From Hospitals
By Phil Galewitz


Of his many plans to expand insurance coverage, President-elect Joe Biden’s simplest strategy is lowering the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60.

But the plan is sure to face long odds, even if the Democrats can snag control of the Senate in January by winning two runoff elections in Georgia.

Republicans, who fought the creation of Medicare in the 1960s and typically oppose expanding government entitlement programs, are not the biggest obstacle. Instead, the nation’s hospitals, a powerful political force, are poised to derail any effort. Hospitals fear adding millions of people to Medicare will cost them billions of dollars in revenue.

Continue reading  >>  

______________________________________________________________________

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.

Continue reading  >>  

______________________________________________________________________

For elderly couples, negative thoughts about aging
can be detrimental to their spouses


Elderly husbands and wives can expect their health to decline—as well as that of their spouse—when their self-perceptions about aging become negative, a new study suggests.

Led by researchers at the University of Michigan and Zhejiang University, the study found that health effects differ by gender among elderly couples. The husband's self-perceptions about aging are associated with his wife's depressive symptoms, whereas the wife's views correlate with her husband's physical disability, functional limitations and chronic diseases, the findings indicated.

Previous research has focused on how individuals' aging self-perceptions affected them, but not the detrimental spillover effects on their spouses. In general, negative aging beliefs among the elderly can become a self-fulfilling prophecy affecting psychological, cognitive, and behavioral processes, the researchers said.

Continue reading   >>  







Heading In The Wrong Direction

Just when I thought things were looking up around here ( we were getting our hair salon back and a possible return to communal dining) we received this memo Sunday…



This is very sad and disturbing.






Victims Of Our Own Success:
 How Chasing The “Dream”
May Be America’s Downfall
7-8 minutes

I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with America. We are victims of our own success.

We are so resolute with the idea that the way we do things is always the best way and the only way, when they suggest we need to adapt to ever-shifting social and geopolitical developments, we look upon it as an attack on America’s way-of-life and her status as leader of the free world.
 
For years we have considered the “American Dream” to be the standard to which all people aspire.
 

Simply, “The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.” [1] Basically, the American Dream means things like home ownership, a car, and enough money to buy all of what we need and much of what we want. And, for many of us, that worked out fairly well. But unfortunately, there is a glitch in that plan. 

The truth is, not everyone who works hard, keeps his nose clean and believes in the system makes it. Not because they are unlucky, but because we have put so many obstacles in their way that no matter how hard they try, they can’t get over the hurdles. And sadly, because we are told such things don’t happen in America, we are unprepared to deal with it.
 
Unfortunately, many of them believe the reason they can’t get ahead is that others were given preference over real Americans and that there is a group of people who have conspired to keep White-Anglo-Saxon Christians from regaining their rightful place as the keepers of freedom and democracy. And, if we could only put those obviously undeserving people back into that pre-1960s cubbyhole, real Americans will attain that American Dream they so rightly deserve.

Then, there is the other side. Those who have seen the dream skip right by them. Not because they weren’t willing to do whatever it took, but because they were the wrong color or worshiped in a different church or worse, foreigners unwilling to give up much of their culture and assimilate. Those people are as enticed by the American Dream as their Right-Wing counterparts, causing an impossible division in American society.
 
However, while people on both sides of the political spectrum want the American Dream, truthfully neither group who consider themselves to be middle class can afford it.
 
“A new study shows only one family in eight can afford home ownership, children, retirement savings, and all the other things typically promised in the American Dream. They reached an average total of $130,357 per year in household income.
 
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE AMERICAN DREAM? [2]
 
Here’s how USA Today broke down the average expenses to live comfortably and raise children:
 
Home ownership - $17,062 per year
Groceries - $12,659 for a family of four
Transportation - $11,039 a year for a four-wheel-drive SUV
Health Care - An average of $9,144 for out-of-pocket costs and premiums
Total taxes - Roughly 30 percent of all income
Education - $4,000 per year for two children plus approximately $2,500 per child for college savings
Retirement - The maximum pretax contribution to a retirement plan for people under 50 in this income level is approximately $17,500
 
In a country where the median household income is roughly $51,000, that’s a dream well out of reach for most people.
In fact, only 16 million households in America earned that much last year.” 
 
 The first thing we have to do is to focus the energy we exert fighting each other and aim it at the real villains. The giant multinational corporations and their billionaire CEOs who laugh when they mention “trickle-down economics” or “employee owned” companies. And once we realize it’s not that guy with the turban on his head or the Latino who lives next door but those who have made their fortunes off of the hard work of our once great middle class that’s keeping them from attaining the “Dream" we'll all be better off.

We need a revolution. Not one with guns or violence, but a “revolution of thought.” We need to change the way we do things. We need to make this country as inclusive as possible. We need to change from “they” to “we.” it’s not Socialism or Communism. It’s Patriotism. We have the resources
to make anything possible. We can outproduce any other country in the world (look at what we were capable of during WW2). 
We can free ourselves of foreign oil and use the power of our great lakes, rivers and oceans to produce the energy we need thus making the things we produce more competitive on the world market without having to reduce the standard of living Americans enjoy. All we need to do is to show those who would keep us from our dream that we won’t stand for it anymore, and that we demand a share of the wealth that comes so naturally to others. And finally, we need to take care of our elderly. We need to view them, not as a burden but as a resource. The combined knowledge of America’s seniors has been virtually untapped. We need to make sure we don’t lose that knowledge……………………….. .

 








Experts Say It’s Okay to Scale Back
on the Holidays This Year


Our routines, our sense of control, our jobs, our budgets — our very lives — have been disrupted this year. And that includes our birthday celebrations, weddings, anniversaries and a host of other special occasions. Now, here come the holidays.


Maybe you've never felt comfortable simplifying your holiday preparations, cutting back on gift-buying or dialing down activities from frenetic to just fine. But 2020 provides the perfect excuse to do all three.

"We aren't always super good at setting our own boundaries in December, but this year, COVID-19 gives us an out," said Dr. Jessica Gold. "We need to give ourselves a break about everything — including the holidays."




Understanding Medicare

What does Medicare cover? What are the costs of Medicare? What happens if you forget to enroll for Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people in the United States who are over the age of 65 or certain younger people with disabilities. Medicare is funded in part by payroll taxes, in part through premiums paid by participants, and in part by the federal budget. There are three primary parts of Medicare. Part A is the hospital insurance. Part B is the medical insurance. Part D is the prescription drug coverage.

Medicare is different from Medicaid, which is another government program that provides health insurance. Medicaid is funded and run by the federal government in partnership with states to cover people with limited incomes. Depending on the state, Medicaid can be available to people below a certain income level who meet other criteria (e.g., age, disability status, pregnancy) or be available to all people below a certain income level. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare eligibility does not depend on income.

Medicare Part A...









See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery











<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, NOV. 17TH 2020


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






Nov. 13 2020



Sorry, Seniors: Medicare Part B Premiums
Are Rising in 2021
By Maurie Backman


At a time when so many older Americans are struggling, they'll now have one more expense to deal with.

Rising healthcare costs are a major problem for seniors on a fixed income, and so any time Medicare premiums go up, it's stressful for retirees. Unfortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just announced that Medicare Part B premiums will be rising in 2021. The standard monthly Part B premium is currently $144.60, but come 2021, it will increase to $148.50. That $3.90 bump represents a 2.7% increase, which is more than double the most recent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA ).

Of course, it's not just Part B premiums that are rising. The annual deductible for Part B is also going up from $198 in 2020 to $203 in 2021. And the Part A deductible per hospital benefit period is increasing, too, from $1,408 to $1,484 -- a $76 jump.

Now on the one hand, a $3.90 increase in monthly Part B premiums may not seem so bad. In fact, last year, Part B premiums rose by $9.10 a month, so this bump is clearly not as substantial. But let's not forget that seniors were just hit with news of a stingy Social Security COLA going into 2021, and that many have already struggled financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. At this point, any Part B increase at all could result in a world of financial pain.

Continue reading  >>  

___________________________________________________________________

How the coronavirus pandemic
has upended retirement plans
By Kiersten Willis

Retirement is typically a time when people can focus on just about everything aside from work. Yet according to recently released survey results, that won’t be the case for the majority of Americans thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Voya Financial poll outcomes, which were announced in September, show 54% of working Americans currently have plans to be employed in retirement. As for the reason, 40% have said they want to have a safety net for unexpected costs and plan for market volatility.
ExploreHow to save big in retirement

“We’re in a time period where the definition of retirement is evolving and will continue to evolve as a result of COVID-19,” Charlie Nelson, chief executive officer of retirement and employee benefits at Voya Financial told AARP. “However, retirement for many individuals means more than just financial needs and could include concerns of health, but sometimes it means a desire for a mental well-being.”

Continue reading  >>  

____________________________________________________________________

Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier

When you are kind to another person, even in a small way, it has a positive effect by helping that person feel valued and supported. If you make such acts of kindness a regular habit, it’s actually good for your health and even slows your body’s aging process, according to research.


“Two culprits that speed the process of aging are free radicals and inflammation. But remarkable research shows that the oxytocin [hormone] that we produce because of emotional warmth reduces the levels of both culprits in the cardiovascular system and so slows aging at the source,” says David Hamilton, author of The Five Side Effects of Kindness: This Book Will Make You Feel Better, Be Happier & Live Longer.

"When kindness becomes a habit we start to produce 'happy chemicals' like dopamine and oxytocin more consistently and that makes us feel good."

Continue reading  >>  




 Living Through Interesting Times

8 minutes

To paraphrase a Chinese saying, if you are a 65 to 75-year-old Baby Boomer like myself, you have lived in interesting times.

The actual phrase “May you live in interesting times”, is actually a curse generally thought to mean may your days be filled with tumult, upheaval, treachery, wars, chaos, trepidation, hunger, and pain. And, while we may not have lived through all of that, we certainly have had more than our fair share of history-making and life-changing events.


Baby Boomers are comprised of people who were born after the end of the Second World War. Roughly, 1945 to 1964 [1] . If you’re counting, that’s about 70 million of us, and we have seen a lot. Here’s a partial list of my favorites… [2]




August 6, 1945—U.S. drops atomic bomb on Japan; World War II ends 8 days later
1946—Winston Churchill gives “Iron Curtain” speech in Missouri, tensions rise between United States and Soviet Union
1946-63—Baby Boom—record amount of births in a period of economic growth and increased consumerism leads to the most dominant and self-conscious generation in American history.
1948—Berlin Airlift shows American resolve against the spread of communism and Soviet aggression
1949—Creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
1949—China becomes communist
1950—Senator Joseph McCarthy asserts he has list of communists in the State Department. 
1950-53—Korean War
1951—U.S. tests hydrogen bomb
1952—First rock and roll concert in Cleveland
1953—Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for treason
1954—Supreme Court declares segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education
1954—Television becomes increasingly common
1956—Elvis Presley becomes international star, rock and roll becomes music of America’s youth
1957—USSR launches Sputnik, beginning of Space Race
1959—Cuban Revolution brings Fidel Castro to power
1961—East Germans raise Berlin Wall
1962—Cuban Missile Crisis—U.S. and Soviet Union come dangerously close to nuclear war
1963—Assassination of John F. Kennedy
1964—Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving tremendous power to make war to the presidency, significantly ramps up American involvement in Vietnam
1964—Civil Rights Act of 1964
1965—Voting Rights Act of 1965
1965—César Chávez and United Farm Workers begin Delano grape strike, call for national grape boycott
1967—Summer of Love in San Francisco, hippie movement becomes increasingly prominent
1968—Tet Offensive puts lie to President Johnson’s proclamations that the Vietnam War is almost won. Lyndon Johnson chooses not to run for reelection.
1968—Assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee
1968—Assassination of Robert Kennedy by Palestinian nationalist Sirhan Sirhan.
1968—Richard Nixon wins presidency behind power of white backlash
1969—Americans land on moon
1969—Woodstock music festival in New York
1971—Bruce Cooper becomes first in his family to graduate college.
1972—Equal Rights Amendment passes Congress, but rise of conservatism dooms it in state legislatures.
1973—U.S. pulls out of South Vietnam, Vietnam united under North Vietnamese leadership in 1975
1973—First large-scale economic crisis since Great Depression, leads to high unemployment and long-term economic uncertainty that lasts through remainder of 1970s.
1973—Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion
1974—Watergate scandal comes to light, resignation of President Richard Nixon
1977—Apple introduces Apple II, the first prominent personal computer
1979—Iranian radicals take over American embassy, hold dozens of Americans hostage until 1981.
1979—Three Mile Island incident—near nuclear meltdown ends period of nuclear power growth in U.S.
1980—election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency
1981—AIDS first recognized, Reagan administration ignores it as gay disease until 1985, setting back research and dooming thousands to early deaths.
1986—Challenger Space Shuttle explodes, event watched by nearly all schoolchildren because first teacher to enter space was onboard; national interest in space program declines
1989—Fall of Berlin Wall heralds end of Cold War, breakup of USSR in 1991 ensures its end.
1991—First Gulf War begins period of long-term American military involvement in the Middle East.
1993—Internet becomes prominent
2000—Disputed presidential election, Supreme Court gives election to George W. Bush, voting on a strictly partisan basis
September 11, 2001—terrorists attack the United States, over 2000 dead, begins “War on Terror,” invasion of Afghanistan, etc.
2003—President George W. Bush orders invasion of Iraq
2008—election of Barack Obama to the presidency
2016 ---Donald Trump becomes 45th U.S. President defeating Hillary Clinton.
2020 --- COVID-19 pandemic kills more than 250,000 Americans
2020 --- Trump loses election to Joe Biden but refuses to concede.

I’ve left out a lot, not because I don’t consider them to be significant, but because my interest in them at the time was not among my priorities. The 1960s and 70s found me trying to get through high school, graduating college and staying out of the army. Amazingly, I accomplished all three. But the most prominent event, and the only one I witnessed in person and the one that to this day brings back bad memories was the events of September 11th, 2001. I watched the towers come down, not on TV but before my eyes. It is permanently burned into my mind. And, up until this virus, I considered the calamity of that day to be the most life-changing event of our times. 


As of this writing, the current POTUS continues to dispute the results of the election. But what is worse, he refuses to do his job as president by completely ignoring the most significant threat to the wellbeing of the American people in history. That, to me, is nothing short of treason. And those who support him in this delusional quest to remain in power are complicit in his treason and should be dealt with accordingly.

Try to have a great weekend folks……………………………..



[1]I consider those born in the 1960s as ‘whippersnappers’ and not real Boomers
[2] A more complete list of events during this time period see:  https://alterdestiny.blogspot.com/2010/08/top-100-events-in-american-history.html

 


Atypical Work in Retirement Could Help Seniors Prolong Careers,
Increase Retirement Security
By Chris Clow


For seniors who are not quite ready to stop working once they reach a traditional retirement age, nontraditional work could help them to prolong their careers with more flexible hours and less stress, even though such work typically comes without benefits like healthcare coverage and retirement benefits. This is according to a research brief published by the Boston College Center for Retirement Research (CRR).

“Researchers define nontraditional jobs in various ways, including gig-economy jobs, on-call work, temporary positions, part-time slots, and/or self-employment,” the brief reads.
“Most of these definitions focus on the worker’s relationship to the employer. This brief, like previous CRR briefs in this series, instead looks at the characteristics of the jobs, defining nontraditional jobs simply as those with neither employer-provided health insurance nor a retirement savings plan.”

For seniors who retire with savings insufficient to meet their expenses in retirement — which the brief refers to as “underprepared workers” — the research finds that their general situation sees a notable improvement in their situations.

Read more  >>  






Retirement Living Myths and Must-Know Facts


Here's what to know if you’re considering downsizing and want to make a wise choice


There are so many misconceptions and half-truths that crop up around the idea of retirement living. Retirees who are happy in their new homes have likely heard these myths and subsequently debunked them.

Here are seven myths and must-know facts about retirement living. If you're considering downsizing or moving and want to make an informed choice, these are the facts you should know.

Read more  >>  







See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php









<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, NOV. 16TH 2020


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





Nov. 12 2020



Age Discrimination Will Be More Widespread:
Here's What to Do


Age discrimination by employers due to the pandemic is moving from a hypothetical to a real issue. But there are tactics older workers and job applicants can adopt accordingly to help protect themselves and their careers.


Unfortunately, the protection of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (A.D.E.A.) is ebbing. Increasingly, courts in age discrimination cases have been siding with businesses and against workers.

A new study of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) age discrimination filings during the Great Recession of 2008-2009 suggests trouble ahead.

Continue reading  >>  

__________________________________________________________

Crowded nursing homes may fuel larger,
deadlier COVID outbreaks
By Mary Van Beusekom

The COVID-19 death rate in less-crowded nursing homes in Ontario, Canada, was less than half that of homes with shared bedrooms and bathrooms during the first months of the pandemic, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The findings come as US nursing homes are seeing a spike in new COVID-19 cases amid increasing community spread, including a 120% rise in Midwestern states since mid-September, according to an updated report today from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).

New weekly nursing home cases grew 43% from mid-September to the week of Oct 18, with 1,192 nursing home deaths reported that week, according to AHCA/NCAL. 


_____________________________________________________________________


How much you need to save every month to earn
$50,000 a year in interest for retirement
By Robert Exley Jr.

Retirement usually involves giving up your annual salary, but you will still need an income to survive.

While Social Security will cover a part of your budget, the rest of your money will most likely need to come from your savings and investments.

And for older Americans, that may be a problem.

The median baby boomer’s 401(k) plan has a total balance of $69,900, according to Fidelity. Assuming they withdraw 3% of their savings per year, they would be left with a total of less than $2,100 to spend.

Continue reading  >>  








6 minutes

First, let me apologize for the lateness of posting Wednesday’s blog. The WiFi system that serves the entire facility went down late Tuesday night (as I was in the middle of watching a movie on Netflix, naturally) and never came back on. This has happened on numerous occasions before and they usually have the problem fixed by the time the first shift of staff arrives for work at 7am. But, as I write this blog at 8AM, the network is still down. This, to an internet addict like myself, is tantamount to a heavy smoker who has just run out of cigarettes. Except, there are no half-smoked butts in the ashtray to tide me over.  
 
Every now and again, I like to do a brief summary of what’s happening here at the A.L.F. and today seemed as good a time as any.
 
On the virus/infection front, our premises remain a bastion of safety as a second wave of COVID-19 cases swirls around us. For this we can thank the management and staff of this facility and the cooperation of our residents for keeping the number of cases to just a handful. We all know things could be worse, much worse.

Evidently, we have done so well keeping our staff and residents virtually virus-free that they have given permission to ease some restrictions that have devastated this place since March.
 
Besides the program in place that permits our residents to receive visitors in an outdoor tent, they have notified us that our hairdresser/barber shop will be open for business starting today. Although strict mask and distancing procedures will be in effect, having access to this service is a big step in bringing some normalcy to this less than normal situation. There are a lot of very shaggy residents who will be thrilled to have this service once again.
 
Also on the horizon, but with less certainty, is a return to communal dining.
 
For over 240 days, they have served us three meals a day in our rooms. And they have been awful. Some barely edible and all made with as little attention to variety, seasoning, portion size and presentation as possible. Any way we can get back to our dining room and food served hot on real plates and utensils would make a huge difference in bolstering the moral of this community.
 
Last week they gave us a glimmer of hope when an aide came around and told us they were working on opening the dining room. Although they have said nothing since then, a look through the partially covered dining-room window shows some changes they have made.

 They have removed all the carpeting, revealing a very shiny vinyl floor.
 
They have arranged the tables in an almost classroom-like configuration with only one chair at each table, all facing in the same direction. Whether this is the way they plan to feed us remains to be seen. I suppose it will be better than the alternative of having to face one more meal served in a Styrofoam container.

For me, personally, these past months have been so-so.
 
On one hand, I’m happy not to have been just another statistic like others in my situation. While on the other, I know my physical condition has suffered. I get tired more easily and I’m “napping” more. My weight is going in the wrong direction, as are some of my blood test numbers. I feel
 like I was “rode hard and put back wet.” I suppose much of it results from “COVID fatigue”, brought about by being cooped up, tired of being careful and tired of being scared.
 
I keep busy by compiling this blog. It takes up most of my day and I’m thankful for that. I miss the interaction with my friends here at the A.L.F. We are a family, and not being able to hang out with them has added to my malaise.
 
I suppose the worst thing about this is not knowing what the future has in store for us. Will a vaccine work? Will this pandemic ever end, and will we live long enough to see it?
 
I’m 75-years-old and if I’m lucky and my genes remain true-to-form, I’ve got about 10 years left on this side of the grass. I don’t want to spend most of that time wearing a mask……………………………. .
 



Best Ways for Grandparents to
Teach Grandkids About Money


Parents may have the "birds and the bees" talk with their kids, but grandparents can be useful by having money talks with their grandkids. Teaching the basics of saving, investing and debt and instilling good financial habits can be a lifelong gift.


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

"You don't need to be an expert and you don't need to be a model citizen or saver," said Krueger. "You just need to be able to open up the discussions." She noted that schools rarely teach kids how to be financially literate and develop smart financial behaviors.

Read more  >>  






The Best Cars for Senior Drivers
By Jen Burklow


Safety is always top of mind for the Editorial team here at Cars.com. We stay on top of the latest in-vehicle safety technologies. We conduct Car Seat Checks. We cover crash-testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We report recalls. So when we decided to poll our editors on their favorite vehicles for senior drivers, we started with safety. 


Here’s why: Longer life spans often mean people are driving well into old age, and statistics from IIHS back that up. According to IIHS, older drivers now keep their licenses longer and make up a bigger proportion of the population than in the past. That trend is expected to continue as baby boomers age, culminating in some 53 million U.S. citizens reaching age 70 or older by 2030, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This, of course, leads to concerns about traffic safety. While older drivers have lower fatal crash rates than in the past, they still face a greater risk of injury or death due the inevitable increase in fragility that comes with aging.

Read more  >>  







See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery







<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, NOV. 13TH 2020


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




NOV. 11, 2020




Joe Biden's win shows the clout of
senior citizens in America
By Thomas Klassen


A refrain of American politics is the lack of representation of women, Blacks and Hispanics in the political arena. But almost as striking in 2020 is the exclusion of young people.

Those at the highest levels of the American government have never been older: Joe Biden, the next president, is currently 77 and will celebrate a birthday later this month. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, is 80. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is 78. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is young by comparison at 65, but four of his eight colleagues are older than him.


________________________________________________________________

I'm 90 years old, and thanks to the Trump administration,
I'll be spending Christmas alone
By Cynthia Lay

Grandparents are spending their last moments in life without loved ones, because leaders failed to get COVID-19 under control.

  
I turn 90 years old in December, and I'll likely spend my birthday alone. I thought if I ever made it to this age, I'd surround myself with those I love. Every year, I celebrate my birthday and Christmas with my sons, my grandchildren, and extended family. They come from all different states. But COVID-19 will likely peak again then. Because our leaders have failed us, we still don't have a national plan. All of our states have different protocols, and it's not safe for my family to travel to see me. I'm sad, but mostly I'm angry that it's gotten this bad. 


The existence of the virus isn't President Trump's fault, but he failed to get it under control. Just last week, his chief of staff said, "we're not going to control the pandemic." They've given up. We're now seeing the highest cases in America since the start of the pandemic. 


______________________________________________________________

Think Social Security Benefits
 Are Tax-Free? Think Again.
By Christy Bieber

Don't be surprised if you owe the IRS or your state.


When you're planning how much income Social Security will provide, it's important you understand how much of your benefits you'll get to keep.

Unfortunately, many Americans make a big mistake in this regard because they assume their benefits won't be taxed due to the fact these are earned benefits received through the Social Security taxes on their wages throughout their careers.

Sadly, this mistake could be very costly. Here's why.  


Around 50% of retirees lose some of their benefits to taxes







Empty Arms and
Empty Pockets
6 minutes

Things are looking good on the vaccine front. Someday soon we will really have turned the corner on taking control of this virus, which has infiltrated every fabric of our lives. The pandemic has caused so many lifestyle changes, it’s staggering when you think about it.
 
There’s the mask wearing, of course, which has made us all look like a bunch of would-be bodega robbers or worse, proctologist’s. And let us not forget the social distancing which has decimated restaurants and retail establishments to a point where many of them will not survive. Then there is the loss of so many of America’s seniors, and the immeasurable effect that loss will have on this and generations to come.

 
The grandkids that will never know their grandparents, and vice versa. The wisdom not passed on, the recipes lost and the family histories forgotten. Gone forever, the irreplaceable pieces of who and what we are.  


Gone, too, are the hugs and kisses so important to many older folks who have not had physical contact with a loved one for eight or nine months. The emotional toll that has taken is immense. And the prospects for an end to that segment of infection control are nowhere in sight. The one thing we know for sure about how this virus is transmitted is that it’s all about human contact. Then there is one other consequence, as crass and pedestrian as it may be. And that’s the damage the virus has done to our finances. Everything costs more.

I’ve never been a very frugal person, nor have I been a spendthrift. I was fortunate to have the where-with-all to buy what I needed when I needed it, while being aware that money does not grow on trees. And, except for a few rocky months when medical expenses nearly wiped me out, money has never been a problem. But now that I am on a fixed income, I have become extremely aware of what everything costs, especially as compared to what they used to cost.
 
One ramification of the quarantine/lockdown imposed on those of us “incarcerated” in a long-term care facility is that we cannot leave the premises. This means we cannot go to a supermarket, drugstore or big-box retailer like Target or Walmart for our food and other basic items. And for those of us who do not have a friend or relative to make those purchases for us, we have to resort to the internet or shopping services to get what we need. And that becomes expensive.
 
Perhaps this will change, but the reason we like to go in person to a store is so we can compare prices, sizes and quality of the things we buy. Using the internet or even a shopping service like Instacart, takes that choice away from us. We are at the mercy of those whose income depends on how much we spend for stuff. The more an item costs, the greater is the cut the shopper gets. And, though they are slow to admit it, people are taking advantage of that situation. Manufacturers and retailers are using the virus as an excuse to raise prices. And, while some of those extra costs may be due in part to the price of infection control, the percent of the increase in prices is difficult to justify.

The more I was sure this quarantine would be more or less permanent and, given the quality of the food we were being served and that they canceled the weekly trips to the market until further notice, I now do my shopping online using a shopping service.  
 
Because I eat some meals made here, and given we may not cook in our rooms, I limit my purchases to items that I can warm in a microwave (the only one we residents may use) or things like juices and cheese that require no re-heating. Items like pork and beans, ramen, canned soups, cold cuts, chili and V8 juice are some of my regular monthly purchases.
 
In April, when I began to buy things using a service, my shopping cart checkout cost ran about $50 to $60. Compare that to yesterday when, for almost the exact same items, purchased from the exact same store, my checkout cost was over $76. Where am I supposed to get that money from? Not from my paltry Social Security benefit, to which I will only get a 1.3% cost-of-living increase.  

The poor and the old and those with limited incomes are in trouble. The seriousness of which is being ignored by those who need to do something about it. Our local, State and Federal Governments. And as long as there is still discourse in the halls of Congress and the within the confines of the White House, this very dire situation will continue.……………….. 
 
 




Study finds hard physical labor
raises risk for dementia
By Scotty Hendricks

A new study out of Denmark finds that physical laborers are at an elevated risk of dementia. 

These findings hold even when other health factors are accounted for. 

The study also suggests that exercise can help reduce the risk of memory loss. 

A new study out of Denmark confirms that the risk of dementia is higher for people employed as manual laborers than it is for those with less physically demanding jobs. It also somewhat confirms previous studies suggesting that light exercise reduces the likelihood of dementia. These seemingly contradictory findings, combined with other studies, continue to advance our understanding of how dementia works and, more importantly, how to prevent it. 

All physical work and no play might really be bad for you.

The study, "The effect of occupational physical activity on dementia: Results from the Copenhagen Male Study," was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. It reflects 50 years of following nearly 5,000 Danish men, understanding their health and habits, and recording their medical histories.









How to Use Social Media in Your Career
By Sree Sreenivasan

Do you think you should be on social media but don’t know where to start? What should you post, and how often should you post it? What's more powerful, a like or a retweet? Here's what you need to know about the most popular social media platforms for professional settings, whether you are looking to expand your network, build a business or find a new gig. 

Why Use Social Media?

Social media was once mostly just for fun, but not any more.

Social media is now a critical part of the way people in most walks of life communicate and a key part of how work gets done — from corporations to government. Reflecting how important social media can be, the Department of Homeland Security is collecting social media profiles of potential immigrants as part of its evaluation process. 

Social media allows you to do at least four important things: 









See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery








<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, NOV. 12TH 2020


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





NOV. 10 2020




Social Security Benefits Are Already Down by 30%,
and It'll Only Get Worse in 2021
By Christy Bieber


The majority of Americans are worried about future Social Security benefits cuts, with close to six in 10 Americans afraid benefits won't be there for them.

But while future cuts are a real possibility, many have missed the fact that de facto cuts have actually already occurred. In fact, benefits are effectively around 30% smaller today than they were in the year 2000 -- and things are only going to get worse.
Social Security benefit cuts have already happened

Most Americans don't know that Social Security benefits have effectively been cut not because of any legislation or changes in the rules. Instead, benefits have seen a reduction in their value because of the way that cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated.


__________________________________________________________________

Baby boomers are delaying retirement,
and it’s not just because of finances
By Talmage Boston

At the Saturday night dinner party for the 40-year reunion of my University of Texas Law School class two years ago, all of us were in our mid-60s and spent much of the evening asking each other: “When are you going to retire?” Out of more than 100 lawyers there, only three had set a date for turning in their bar cards. The rest answered, “I don’t know.”

In our parents' generation, the decision on when to end a career was easy. All large corporations and established professional firms had mandatory retirement policies. When the calendar page turned to someone’s 65th birthday, out the door walked a member of the Greatest Generation, proudly wearing a new wristwatch given as a small token of appreciation for decades of faithful service. That was then.

This is now, when 60 is the new 40. Since no one smokes cigarettes anymore, there’s effective medication for controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, and more people get annual physicals and maintain exercise regimens, life expectancy has increased to the point that anyone who now retires at 65 needs a sizable nest egg to cover another quarter-century of living. Those who aspire to live in the style to which they have become accustomed had better think long and hard before walking away from a steady paycheck, unless there are abundant funds in the 401(k) to supplement Social Security. This is especially true given the likelihood of not receiving 100% of anticipated Social Security benefits through date of death due to the federal government’s escalating deficit.


__________________________________________________________________________

Medicare Part B Premiums To Rise 2.7% In 2021,
With Premiums For Highest-Income Couples
Topping $12,000 A Year
By Ashlea Ebeling


When you're saving for retirement, keep in mind that Medicare premiums include surcharges for ... [+] high-income earners.
getty

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced Medicare Part B premiums for 2021, and the base premium increases just 2.7% from $144.60 a month to $148.50 a month. That $3.90 monthly increase compares to a big $9.10 monthly increase last year, after a $1.50 monthly increase the year before. Meanwhile high earners are still getting used to income-related surcharges that kicked into higher gear in 2018, and those have been bumped up again too. The wealthiest senior couples will be paying more than $12,000 a year in Medicare Part B premiums. Part B (the base and the surcharge) covers doctors’ and outpatient services.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $203 in 2021, an increase of just $5 from the annual deductible of $198 in 2020. What kept the increases n the Part B premiums and the deductible in check this year? As part of the short-term budget bill in October, Congress capped the increases. Yet Medicare spending is expected to grow this year as people seek care they may have delayed due to Covid-19, CMS says.





Don’t Forget The Old Folks

5 to 6 minutes

Although the fat man hasn’t sung yet, and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is running around the parking lot of some landscaper yelling “Fraud” this thing that has captured every waking (and sleeping) moment of our lives for the past year, is over. What does this mean for our nation and this blog?

For the nation, it means this government might get back to governing. There are over 400 bills being held by the Senate Majority Leader that need attention. Some of them directly affect the well-being of Seniors. Like these…


 A bill to provide for a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for social security and supplemental security income beneficiaries in calendar year 2021, and for other purposes. 

 A bill to amend the Social Security Act to establish a new employment, training, and supportive services program for unemployed and underemployed individuals and individuals with barriers to employment, to provide employment services to individuals who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of COVID-19, and for other purposes.

A bill to amend the Social Security Act to provide for a Family Crisis Cash Assistance Program, and for other purposes.

A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for a State option under the Medicaid program to provide for and extend continuous coverage for certain individuals, and for other purposes.

They have held up these and many more because of the inability of the leader of the Senate to work with the Democratic minority, apparently for no other reason other than they were nasty to Trump. Add that to the fact Trump hasn’t spoken to the Speaker of the House for over a year, and you have some idea how screwed-up things are. All of which does not bode well for us seniors.

Never has there been a group of people that has lost more than America’s elderly. Besides losing our lives, literally, we have lost most of our freedoms.  

They have shoved people living in long-term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities) like myself, under the rug hoping that treating us like hardened criminals will somehow keep us safe from the ravages of the COVID-19 virus that has run wild through senior communities like kittens in a wool factory. Unfortunately, by keeping us out of harm’s way, they have created an environment of isolation and separation from society and given it a stamp of legitimacy because it’s okay to treat old people like s**t as long as you do it in the name of safety.

Now, before you think all appears to be nothing but gloom and doom for me and my fellow residents here at the asylum, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. 

Just this afternoon, with no warning, and attempting to return this mad-house to some form of normalcy, a member of our staff came to my room (and, I imagine other’s as well) and said that they were preparing to re-open our dining room and if that was okay with me. And this evening I found a memo in my mailbox stating they are reopening our hairdresser/barber shop.
 
This is what I have been hoping and praying for the last 200 days. Maybe somebody got the message or, there have been so many complaints about the food and food service that in order to prevent all-out rebellion and anarchy, the NY Sate DOH has adjusted its communal dining policy. While this is good news, I’m not getting my hopes up too high. Knowing how half-assed they do things here, this new information may just be a lot of lip service.

Personally, I can’t wait to write about something other than Donald Trump. Politics was never the mission of this blog. But seniors are citizens too. And as much as the youth-oriented media and the government would like not to admit it, we may have had an enormous factor on how this election turned out. The American Flag is not only red, white and blue, but silver as well……………………………… .





Vision Impairment Tied to Lower Use
of Preventive Services


Older Americans with vision impairment may be less likely to use cancer-related preventive services versus individuals without vision impairment, according to a study published online Oct. 29 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Lama Assi, M.D., from the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the association between self-reported vision impairment and uptake of preventive care services (e.g., breast and colon cancer screenings and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations) in adults ages 50 years and older. The authors extracted data from the 2015 and 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and 2016 and 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

The researchers found that among NHIS participants, compared with older participants without vision impairment, older individuals with vision impairment (between 14.3 and 16.3 percent) were less likely to report breast cancer screening ...









Nursing Homes vs. Assisted Living
By David Levine

The time may come when your elderly mother, father or other loved one cannot fully care for himself or herself. The adult children may not have the time or resources to ensure their relative’s health and safety. At that point, it may be time for him or her to move into a residential facility that can provide the care and services needed.


But what type of facility is the best fit? According to the National Institute on Aging, long-term care residences include:

    Assisted living facilities.
    Nursing homes.
    Board and care homes.
    Continuing care retirement communities.

What are the main differences among these options? That’s worth knowing well before the time comes to make a decision.











See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, NOV. 11TH 2020


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





Nov. 9 2020

Ding-dong, the jerk is gone.
 But read this before you sing the Hallelujah Chorus 
By Thomas Frank

Ding-dong, the jerk is gone. Finally, we have come to the end of Donald Trump’s season of extreme misrule. Voters have rejected what can only be described as the crassest, vainest, stupidest, most dysfunctional leadership this country has ever suffered.

Congratulations to Joe Biden for doing what Hillary Clinton couldn’t, and for somehow managing to do it without forcefulness, without bounce, without zest, without direction and without a real cause, even.

It is a time for celebrating. Let us praise God for victory, however meagre and under-whelming. But let us also show some humility in our triumph. Before we swing into a national sing-along of the Hallelujah Chorus, I urge you to think for a moment about how we got here and where we must go next.



__________________________________________________________________

What Are Joe Biden's Economic Policies?


Former Vice President Joe Biden could soon try on a new moniker—President-elect Joe Biden. If he keeps his current lead in Pennsylvania, which election experts anticipate, Biden would secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to clinch the White House. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, would become the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American person to be elected VP. 

While Biden’s Democratic Party is also on track to maintain its majority in the House of Representatives, it looks like the Senate could remain in Republican control—we’ll know more in January after two runoff Senate races in Georgia.

Biden’s would be a very different administration
The nuts and bolts of Biden’s legislating will depend on how negotiations with Congress play out, but the outline of Biden’s economic platform has three key pillars: 

* The wealthy will pay more. Biden promised to hike tax rates on income above $400,000 to 39.6% from 37% currently. He also said he’d slap payroll taxes on that high-rolling bracket, and scrap tax breaks for capital gains and dividends. The top 0.1% of earners would pay 43% in income taxes under Biden’s plan, per the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

* Companies will pay more. Biden ran on a pledge to increase the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%. He also proposed leveling higher taxes on companies that move overseas.

* The government will spend more. Biden’s platform included $2 trillion earmarked to jumpstart clean energy projects and $1.5 trillion for healthcare. Biden’s proposed plan for a coronavirus stimulus package includes another round of direct payments to Americans, though we don’t know how much.

Zoom out: If the GOP does maintain control of the Senate, Biden’s legislative agenda could face a McConnell-sized roadblock. That’s the exact gridlock investors cheered earlier this week, because it’d likely keep Trump’s pro-biz legislation intact. 

Looking ahead...if Biden does secure the 270, we’d have a “lame duck” presidency. That’s the common term for the next three-ish months when President Trump would retain power in the White House before making way for Biden. 

            



________________________________________________________________


The rich will pay more Social Security taxes in 2021,
no matter who's president


Social Security helps tens of millions of Americans by providing retirement income, and the program isn't limited just to those who have the greatest financial need. Some of the highest monthly benefit checks go to high-income Americans who paid the annual maximum amount of Social Security payroll taxes during their careers.

Most workers won't pay any more in Social Security payroll tax in 2021 than they did in 2020, because the actual tax rate hasn't changed for 30 years. But the wage base on which that tax rate gets applied is rising in 2021, and that means that regardless of what happens in the presidential election, high-income earners will pay more to Uncle Sam.
Why most people's Social Security tax stays the same year after year

Continue reading  >>  https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2020/11/04/the-rich-will-pay-more-social-security-taxes-in-2021-no-matter-whos-president/114682650/

___________________________________________________________________

Nursing homes, after seeing improvements,
now face a fresh COVID-19 threat


"Our system is collapsing," says a Wisconsin advocate for the elderly.

Nursing homes across the country are bracing for a dark winter as rising coronavirus infections appear to be reversing trends that had showed an improved outlook for the nation's most vulnerable, an ABC News review of state-by-state numbers reveals.

"As case counts rise in communities around the country, nursing homes and providers in other congregate care settings are under siege," said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services. "Despite the improvements in testing, older adults in nursing homes -- and in all care settings -- continue to be under threat from this pandemic."

Overall, the toll on seniors has been grim. Through late October, coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have now topped 82,000 in the 41 states for which figures were available, according to ABC News' analysis of state-released data.









Editor’s note:

Before I get on with the business at hand, I would be amiss if I did not acknowledge and say thank you to the many number of readers of this blog who come from places other than the U.S. Especially those of you from Australia and the UK. Your indulgence over the past few months has been nothing short of remarkable. You are either true seekers of the truth or gluttons for punishment. The American process of electing a president is perhaps the most cumbersome of any Democracy on earth. And to watch it from afar must be as confusing for you as is it for me. In any event, it appears to be over and hopefully we’ll be able to explore a wider variety of subjects important to seniors.



A Complicated Victory
5 minutes

It would be easy to say that those who are unhappy about Biden’s victory must be a racist, a neo-Nazi, a multimillionaire, a corporation who hasn’t paid their fair share of taxes for decades, an air polluter or Vladimir Putin.


If only four or five million people voted for Trump, I would agree with that. But let’s be realistic. 70 million people (the latest figures on how many people voted for the President) cannot all be any or all of those things. Nor can all of Biden’s minions be bleeding heart liberals hell bent on turning this country into a socialist workers’ paradise where homosexuals will turn your kids gay and a Black man or Mexican will take your job and have sex with your wife. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So who are the people our new president will have to win over to bring this very divided country closer together?

Trump appealed to mostly hard-working white middle or lower-middle class Americans who saw the world they knew slip away as those who used to be on the bottom rung of the ladder go ahead of them economically and socially. Suddenly it’s not the 1950s, the U.S. isn’t the world’s industrial leader and the jobs they used to have, that allowed them to achieve that American Dream, have gone over the border or over the ocean through no fault of their own. And it pissed them off.

These are the people Biden will have to win back. It will not an easy task. Trump has seen to that.

Donald Trump had so poisoned the hearts and minds of so many against more than half the population of the country that they blindly supported him while overlooking the lies, the misogyny, the ego, the poor management skills, his denial of global warming and his murderous handling of the worst crisis to befall the nation since WW2. Biden’s job is to find an antidote to that toxin by doing what he does best. Listen. 

The only question that remains is: will the opposition speak with him? If the closed-mindedness of Trump’s supporters carries over to the Congress (which looks like it will, with a Republican majority in the Senate) then we will see four more years of nothing getting done. For me, and for over 40 million other seniors, doing nothing is not an option. Frankly, we don’t have the time. And we need to do so many things.
 
Older American’s need a more realistic method of calculating a cost-of-living raise to Social Security, The pitiful 1.3% given to us starting in January will barely buy a pepperoni pizza, le

t alone a bag of groceries. And, as more and more Baby Boomers reach 65 and the need for long-term care facilities increases, the government must make preparations to make sure those facilities will be there for those that will need them. Because of the turmoil created by Trump just being Trump, they have hardly given a thought to any of those problems. Or much of anything else America needs.


To put it bluntly (and crudely) Mr. Biden will inherit a f***ked-up country. Not f***ked-up beyond repair, mind you, but so dented and scuffed that it won’t just “buff-right out.” Most likely he will have to get down to bare metal, scrape off the rust, fill in the holes and prime it with a couple of coats before we can even think about a new paint job. And he’ll need the help and cooperation of the American people to do it. I hope we are up to the task…………………………. .
 




A New Item on Your Medical Bill: 
The ‘Covid’ Fee
By Sarah Kliff and Jessica Silver-Greenberg

A surprise charge that can take advantage of vulnerable people and possibly violate consumer protection laws.

The New York Times is investigating the costs associated with testing and treatment for the coronavirus and how the pandemic is changing health care in America. You can read more about the project and submit your medical bills here.

When Michael Hambley got the call from his 87-year-old mother in July, he was sure there was a mistake. She told him that her assisted living facility, the one she paid for with her pension, was charging a one-time, $900 fee for masks, cleaning supplies and meal delivery.







Opinion : Republicans Claim Voter Fraud.
How Would That Work?
By John Mark Hansen

Stealing a presidential election requires an unrealistic level of planning, coordination and good luck.

Even before Election Day, Donald Trump cast doubts on Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballots. The Supreme Court’s decision permitting the state to accept absentee ballots for several days after the election, he tweeted, “is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating.” As soon as the election is over, he told reporters on Sunday, “we’re going in with our lawyers.” Republicans are already in court, challenging the count of some mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

But there is no rampant fraud going on in Pennsylvania, and any judge with integrity and intellectual honesty should recognize the claim for what it is: specious. Fraud on a scale to affect a presidential election, or even to tip one state, would require planning, coordination, good luck and a high tolerance for risk. The chances of pulling it off are extremely slim.

Read more  >>  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/opinion/trump-voter-fraud-pennsylvania.html






Get help selecting a plan for 2021
Health Insurance Marketplace sent this bulletin

We can connect you to a Marketplace-registered agent or broker who will contact you to help you enroll in a health care plan for 2021. 

Agents or brokers are trained and registered by the Marketplace and licensed in their respective state. They’re usually paid by the insurance companies whose plans they sell; however, they’re required in many states to act in the consumer’s best interest.

If you would like an agent or broker to contact you for help enrolling, select the button below. You’ll be redirected to “Help On Demand,” where you can provide your contact information and an agent or broker will reach out to you.











See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, NOV. 10TH 2020


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



NOV. 5TH  2020




Report finds coronavirus pandemic leading to
'unacceptable' shortage of US drug supplies


A report released this week from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota said that COVID-19-related drug shortages in the United States have reached “unacceptable” levels.

“Ensuring a Resilient US Prescription Drug Supply” is the sixth report in the center’s series titled, "COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint.” 

The newest report, released Wednesday, found that 29 out of 40, or approximately 73 percent, of drug treatments for COVID-19 are experiencing shortages, including propofol, albuterol, midazolam, hydroxychloroquine, fentanyl, azithromycin and morphine, citing data from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.



______________________________________________________________________


Home Health Providers Find Telehealth
Reimbursement in Palliative Care
By Andrew Donlan


Telehealth adoption has dramatically increased across health care during the COVID-19 crisis, including in the home-based care space.

On their end, home health providers have built out their telehealth programs to make more comprehensive and safer care plans for their patients. Unlike other health care practitioners, however, it is much more difficult for a home health provider to get paid for virtual visits.

That has forced them to get creative.



______________________________________________________________________

Nontraditional nursing homes have 
almost no coronavirus cases.
Why aren’t they more widespread?


Not a single resident has contracted coronavirus at Goodwin House’s small residential facility in Northern Virginia, where about 80 seniors live in homey apartments and keep their own sleeping and meal schedules. There’s been just one case at the Woodlands at John Knox Village in Broward County, Fla., where all 140 residents live in private rooms, cared for by nurses who earn enough not to take a second job.

These facilities, part of a national movement to create less-institutionalized long-term care, stand out in a pandemic that has killed more than 61,000 nursing home residents since March. At Green House homes, the best-known nontraditional model, residents are five times as likely to be coronavirus-free as those who live in typical nursing homes — and 20 times as likely to have survived the pandemic.

For Harvard-trained doctor Bill Thomas, who specializes in geriatrics, the contrast is bittersweet.



* * * *



6 minutes


Donald Trump is a textbook president. If that textbook is Psychology 101.
 
No man, let alone a President of the United States, has exhibited so many indications of psychotic behaviour than the man we have seen ranting, raving and spouting accusations of fraud even before they count all the votes. If he were a normal person, we could excuse his being overly concerned with the results not going his way. People worry about losing their jobs. But it’s much more than apprehension, fear, or anxiety that’s causing Trump’s distress. It’s his pathological need for approval that drives what he does.
 
Symptoms of Paranoia: 

“Everyone experiences paranoid thoughts at some point in their life, but paranoia is the constant experience of symptoms and unfounded feelings of paranoia. The symptoms of paranoia vary in severity and can interfere with all areas of life. The symptoms include:
· a constant stress or anxiety related to beliefs they have about others
· a mistrust of others
· feeling disbelieved or misunderstood
· feeling victimized or persecuted when there isn’t a threat
· isolation
Mistrust of others and constant anxiety can make relationships and interactions with others difficult, causing problems with employment and personal relationships. People with paranoia may feel that others are plotting against them or trying to cause them physical or emotional harm, and maybe even stealing from them. They may be unable to work with others and can be hostile or detached, leading to isolation.
Paranoid schizophrenia is a form of mental illness, and people with it can be distrustful of others and may be suspicious and guarded. They may also have delusions or believe that others are trying to hurt them.”  [1]
 
Paranoia is just the latest in a long list of anti-social behavior exhibited by our President. From that “Access Hollywood” tape made before the 2016 election to his delusional rants about how the COVID-19 virus will “Just go away” and his insistence that the investigation into his dealings in the Ukraine was a “Witch hunt”, we have never seen a president take animosity towards him so personally rather than just dealing with it as any politician would. Deny the charges, go on with the business of running the country and, most important, keep quiet and let your “people’’ handle the details.
 
But Trump’s need to control takes precedence over everything. You can tell by how he delegates authority. He has consistently chosen people who lack the skills needed for the job. He fills his entire cabinet with inexperienced lackeys who come and go like subway riders through a turnstile. Why does he do this? It’s not because he just wants people to bend to his will, he wants people he can blame for his own shortcomings. And he has surrounded himself with a never-ending stream of disposable toadies for just that purpose.

If it weren’t so important to the nation, it would almost be comical. Watching a man unravel like a cheap sweater right before your eyes is not what we need right now with a virus running rampant through the country. And the thing is, at the writing of this blog on Thursday evening, Trump is actually not doing that poorly. He is ahead in all the states he needs to win (PA, NC, GA). But, like any true psychopath, he sees boogeymen, in the form of mail-in and absentee ballots, behind every tree, ready to pounce and snatch away his victory. And as further proof of his schizoid personality, as he berates the counting of mail-in ballots in one state, he is obsessed with making sure they count those votes in another.

As this is the last post for me this week, I’ll be waiting as I’m sure you will, for what expires over the weekend. Who knows, by Monday we could either see a man graciously accept defeat to an incumbent or a man whose head will explode on live TV if he loses………………..
 
 
[1]Source:  https://www.healthline.com/health/paranoia#symptoms


* * * *





Staying Active as You Age
Not a Guarantee Against Dementia
By Dennis Thompson

Experts in healthy aging often cite the importance of leisure activities -- hanging out with friends, playing games, taking classes -- in maintaining your brain health as you grow older.

But a new study calls into question whether those enjoyable pursuits actually protect you against dementia.

Researchers found no link between middle-aged folks taking part in leisure activities and their risk of dementia over the next two decades, according to findings published online Oct. 28 in the journal Neurology.




<><><><><>




 
What Happens to Medicare If the
Affordable Care Act Is Overturned?
By Catherine Siskos

Experts say if the ACA is repealed or rescinded "it would be devastating for Medicare." Here's what might happen -- and how it could be costly for you.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death heightened the stakes in a case scheduled to appear before the court Nov. 10 that could reverse improvements to Medicare and raise out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. The case, California v. Texas, which was filed by 20 Republican-leaning states, challenges whether the Affordable Care Act can exist without the individual mandate to buy health insurance. A Republican-controlled Congress removed the financial penalty for those without insurance in 2017.  

“If the ACA was repealed or rescinded in full, it would be devastating for Medicare,” says David Lipschutz, associate director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, which along with AARP and Justice in Aging filed an amicus brief supporting California and 16 other Democratic-leaning states defending the health care law. Many of the law’s provisions that strengthen the program’s fiscal solvency also strengthen consumer protections for beneficiaries, he says.




* * * *




Nursing Home Resource Center


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched the Nursing Home Resource Center, a new online platform that serves as a centralized hub of the latest information, guidance and data on nursing homes that is important to facilities, providers, residents, and their families.  Previously, individuals seeking information specific to nursing homes had to navigate several disparate webpages.  The Resource Center consolidates all nursing home information, guidance and resources into a user-friendly, one-stop-shop that is easily navigable so providers and caregivers can spend less time searching for critical answers and more time caring for residents. Moreover, the new platform contains features specific to residents and their families, ensuring they have the information needed to make empowered decisions about their healthcare.




* * * *







* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, NOV. 9TH 2020


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








November 5, 2020


EDITOR’S NOTE: I was interviewed by journalist Danielle Ivory for background material for the following story...


‘A Slow Killer’: Nursing Home Residents
Wither in Isolation Forced by the Virus
By Jack Healy, Danielle Ivory and Serge F. Kovaleski


KIRKLAND, Wash. — After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan’s toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.

They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America’s nursing homes — an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus.

“A slow killer,” said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. “She didn’t know who I was.”



_________________________________________________________________

Protecting Your Brain Health
 During the Pandemic


All those precautions you're taking to stay safe during the pandemic? Ironically, they might be putting your brain's health at risk.


"Our heavy reliance on technology, not seeing family and grandkids, putting off doctor's appointments, not going to the gym and a lack of physical touch, of socializing, and of purpose – all lead to 'negative neuroplasticity,' the potential to accelerate the risk for cognitive decline," says former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, now distinguished professor of public health at Arizona State and the author of "30 Days to a Better Brain."

"Brain health is even more important now because so much is under threat," he says. The answer? Flip COVID-19's challenges to opportunities, says neuroscientist Sandra Bond Chapman, founder of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. "For everything you do, ask, 'What is this adding to my life?' Are you doing crosswords just to pass the time and not be alone? Or are you doing different kinds of activities to stretch your mind and add meaning and purpose?"



_________________________________________________________________



New Employer Programs Offer 
Relief During COVID-19


U.S. government help is waning, making these workplace programs vital

What happens when the CARES Act pandemic money for cash-strapped Americans runs dry and the government stops caring?


With Washington policymakers unable to come up with a second stimulus bill, the question is a reality for millions of people right now, including many in their 50s and 60s nearing retirement, low-income Americans and people of color.

Fortunately, a small but growing number of employers — large, small and medium-size — are stepping in to assist workers, with new, novel COVID-19 hardship grant programs and emergency-savings payroll plans resembling 401(k)s but for immediate needs.


____________________________________________________________

Alzheimer's disease study by IBM cites
language as an early sign of disease


An artificial intelligence program analyzing language predicted whether people with no memory or thinking problems would develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, researchers said. 

The study by IBM, funded by drug giant Pfizer, found a computerized model analyzing language patterns accurately predicted up to 74% of participants diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease later in life. The study appeared Thursday in the journal EClinicalMedicine.

The study is the latest in an emerging research field focusing on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, the memory-robbing disease that afflicts about 5.8 million Americans.




* * * *




“Being There”: For Real

4-5 minutes


Easily one of my all-time favorite movies is “Being There”, a 1979 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby. Based on the 1970 novel of the same name by Jerzy Kosiński and starring Peter Sellers (his last movie) and Shirley McClain. 



Briefly, the plot is this. [1] Simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers), a gardener who has resided in the Washington, D.C., townhouse of his wealthy employer for his entire life and been educated only by television, is forced to vacate his home when his boss dies. While wandering the streets, he encounters business mogul Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas), who assumes Chance to be a fellow upper-class gentleman. Soon Chance is ushered into high society, and his unaffected gardening wisdom makes him the talk of the town. His direct and seemingly deep-thinking answers to politically-based questions posed to him appeals to those with the power and money to run him as a presidential candidate despite the fact he hasn’t a clue about anything except gardening proving any a-hole can be president. Something we have become aware of for the last 4 years.

But unlike the caring, gentle, almost child-like character in the movie, our real-life Mr. Chance is a boisterous, sole-less bully who cares for nothing or no one but himself.
 
Certainly he doesn’t care much for the democratic process with elections, unless it suits his purposes. His much-too-early declaration of victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning and his premature threat of legal action is unheard of in a national election. He is a frightened little man who, after making a mockery of the law, now wants to use its protective powers to anoint him as supreme leader of the free world. Here’s how absurd his rantings are.
 
In Nevada, a state where Biden has taken an early and surprising lead even before they have counted all the mail-in ballots, Trump wants to make sure they process all of them, no matter what time they arrived. Conversely, In states like Pennsylvania, where he has taken the lead in in-person voting, he claims mail-in and absentee ballots should not be counted after the polls have closed. Saying he’s hypocritical does disservice to real hypocrites.
 
Last night, or should I say early this morning, I had a queasy feeling in my stomach as I watched the numbers in states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas trend for Trump. And w
hen I saw the same happening in Michigan (a state whose governor’s life was threatened by some of Trump’s supporters) my despair deepened. But later in the day on Wednesday, as the afternoon sun filled my room and the data coming from the Networks showed Biden gaining ground as some of those “iffy” states counted the mail-in ballots, it was like a shot of Pepto-Bismol for my uneasy stomach. But here is what really gives me hope.
 
While Trump makes a speech deriding the election process, claiming fraud and threatening legal action, Joe Biden comes on TV and calmly tells his supporters he’s optimistic that the vote will go his way. Do you see the difference between the rantings of a delusional psychopath and the sensibility of a leader?……………………………. 
 

[1] You can read the entire plot here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Being_There) or you can rent it.






Finding My Identity
After Losing My Job at 60


I turned 60 last year, and within months learned that the job I'd hoped would be my last before retirement was being cut. I was angry, afraid, sad, anxious and felt betrayed. My confidence was punctured. But I felt relief too, and an elated sense of freedom and lightness.



Maybe it would be okay. Was this the creative freedom I'd been longing for? I'd been struggling for years unable to get my next book worked out.

Then along came COVID-19, throwing many of us into confusion, chaos and uncertainty, me included.





* * * *





This DIY Pill Board Makes It
Easier to Take Your Meds


If you're taking medication, you probably use a pill box. It's a helpful tool, but if you make a mistake or miss a dose, especially if you're taking a lot of medication, that could land you in the hospital.

Fortunately, tech lawyer Paul Rothstein came up with a solution while taking care of his mother: a do-it-yourself Pill Board. His idea was first published on the DailyCaring website for caregivers. This guide will help you create one for yourself or someone you're caring for.  

What's so helpful about this system? The pill board includes space for important information about your medication routine, lessening the chance of making a mistake. It includes context, clear directions and specific timing for medications. It also allows you to note instructions for medication that's not in pill form, like ointments, liquids and powders. 





* * * *






* * * *




See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php





* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, NOV. 6TH 2020


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





Nov. 4 2020



There Has To Be A Morning After…

I remember when, back in the old days, one could watch the election results on TV and usually by midnight or one o’clock everybody had a good idea who won. And then, perhaps an hour later, the scene would switch to the election headquarters of the winner who would come to the podium and tell the audience that his opponent has called him and graciously conceded the election. At the same time the loser would address the crowd gathered in his headquarters and, with head held high, would tell them of his defeat and subsequent concession. A pledge to work closely with the winner to “Unite the country.” would follow. That was then. Today, even before they have counted the first vote, I can say without a shadow of doubt, we will see none of that cordiality, courtesy or goodwill exhibited in this contest. Nor will the results satisfy the voters on either side.

Today, we are as we were a day, a week, a month or a year ago. Dazed, confused, uncertain, bitter and as divided as ever. 

I leave you with the words of that great philosopher, Pogo …



ELECTION UPDATE


It's shortly before 6 am here on the east coast of the U.S. and, as predicted, there is no clear winner in the race for president. Unfortunately, what is clear, is the landslide victory we should have seen did not happen. Despite the stench coming from the oval office it was not enough to deter those who chose their bank accounts over their health, their racism over equality and the destruction of democracy over an America that used to be a shining example of decency, compassion and freedom admired the world over.  And, although many ballots have yet to be counted, that feeling I had in my gut Trump would be re-elected has become even stronger. And if that happens, America's seniors should be worried. Very worried...................................BWC.








U.S. cities seen ill-prepared for
boom in elderly population
By Carey L. Biron


As the United States braces for a surge in the number of elderly people in the years ahead, most cities are ill-equipped to meet the needs of older residents, researchers said on Friday.


People of color, those with disabilities and low-income groups are at higher risk of being unable to access the services they need in old age, found a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Public Policy Institute.

“The last thing we want is for people to age in place but never leave their homes,” said Jennifer Molinsky, a report co-author with the Harvard center.

“So it’s important we create the kind of environment where people are supported and able to be in public spaces.”



_______________________________________________________________________

5 Things You Need to Know About The Pharmacy
Partnership for Long-Term Care Program


On October 16, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), the Department of Defense (“DoD”), and pharmacy retailers, CVS and Walgreens, through which COVID-19 vaccines, once available, will be administered to long-term care facility residents and staff nationwide. The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program (the “Program”) is based on a CDC distribution pilot program that began in August in select states and is intended to provide end-to-end coverage of the COVID-19 vaccination process.

Here’s what you need to know about the Program:

Eligibility: Participation is optional but open to all providers serving residents over sixty-five (65) in long-term care (“LTC”) settings including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care homes, and adult family homes.


______________________________________________________________

Are We Heading Toward Shangri-La
Or Geriassic Park?
By Ken Dychtwald and Bob Morison


Health is retirement’s biggest wild card, the difference between activity, independence, and financial security – or worry, constraint, and financial insecurity. Today’s newly minted Boomer retirees can look forward to longer and healthier retirements, perhaps extended by medical breakthroughs. But at the same time, more of them may spend more years later in retirement fighting the chronic and often debilitating diseases of aging.

So where are we headed? Will it be like Shangri-la, the fictional valley where people don’t age, with longer and healthier lives and accessible and affordable care? Or are we headed to Geriassic Park, with tens of millions constantly beset by chronic and degenerative diseases, taking a toll on themselves, their families, and their finances? Can we afford not to close the gap between healthspan and lifespan?

This is the ninth in a 10-part series on “The Future of Retirement” that we are posting over the course of several months. If you are interested in better understanding what’s ahead, we invite you to check out our new book What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age.












How Reverse Mortgages Backfire
in Low-Income Neighborhoods


Carl Abrams has owned his Minneapolis home since 1989. Now 78, about four years ago, he took out a reverse mortgage — that’s a loan for people 62 and older that turn a home into cash before they move or die. “I’m getting old, didn’t have a job, so didn’t have any savings, so I had to do something,” he says.


With a reverse mortgage, the homeowner remains responsible for paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance costs. If those payments aren’t made in a timely fashion, the home can go into foreclosure.

Problem was, Abrams wasn’t aware he needed homeowner’s insurance. His reverse mortgage servicer had force-placed insurance on his home when he wasn't paying for it. But after a fire in his basement, the servicer started foreclosure because of Abrams’ lack of insurance and nonpayment of property taxes.










How To Cope If Your Candidate Lost
By Jordan G. Teicher

You swore your allegiance. You voted. Perhaps you even volunteered your time. But your candidate just lost. What do you do now?

Some psychologists say you can look to the coping tactics of die-hard sports fans, who generally have to deal with defeat more than once every four years.

Play the blame game: You can blame the defeat on someone or something other than your candidate, says Tufts University associate professor of psychology Sam Sommers. In sports, you can blame factors like weather, an injury, or — most often — the referees.








5 and a 1/2 Steps for Fact Checking
Your Social Media Feed


Let’s start this fact-checking guide with a fact: Despite rising concerns about the spread of fake news, almost one in five U.S. adults mostly use social media to stay current.

That means many of us don't rely on the friendly neighborhood paperboy to deliver our news anymore...we rely on each other. Every individual, whether a reliable source of information or not, has a megaphone in their pockets. And social media platforms have yet to figure out how to control the volume on those megaphones when they spew false and potentially harmful information. 

Facebook has been taken to court for the misinformation spread like peanut butter across its platforms, while Twitter’s war on fake news has led to many dustups with POTUS—most recently over a blocked New York Post article about Joe Biden. 















See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php















<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, NOV. 5TH 2020


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









TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD 2020





The Net Worth of the American Presidents:
Washington to Trump

By Michael B. Sauter, Grant Suneson, Samuel Stebbins


Since 2001, the annual presidential salary has been set at $400,000. Even before that, every president has been paid well. George Washington’s salary of $25,000 was equivalent to over $700,000 in modern dollars when adjusting for inflation. Yet almost none of the presidents have needed the money, as most commanders in chief had already earned or inherited fortunes — from their parents or through marriage — before being elected.

24/7 Wall St. examined the finances of every American president, from George Washington to Donald Trump. For the purposes of comparison, we provided net worth figures for each president in current dollars. Because a number of presidents, particularly in the early 19th century, made and lost huge fortunes in a matter of a few years, we only provided each president’s net worth at their peak.

In America’s early days, only property-owning white men were allowed to vote. Consequently, only the wealthy first participated in American politics, meaning the first presidents were all well-off. While there have been some middle-class presidents in the intervening years, many contemporary commanders in chief also earned extravagant wealth — sometimes in excess of $100 million, when adjusted for inflation. These are America’s 12 wealthiest presidents.



* * * *


Social Security Beneficiaries Have Been
Cheated Out of Nearly $3,000 a Year, Analysis Finds
By Sean Williams

For better or worse, Social Security is our nation's most important social program. Of the nearly 65 million people receiving benefits each month, more than 70% are senior citizens. Most of these retirees rely on Social Security to account for at least half of their monthly income.

But according to a recent analysis, Social Security's retired workers may not be getting their fair share from the program.

Three weeks ago, nonpartisan senior advocacy group The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) examined a growing disparity that's emerged with Social Security's annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Think of COLA as the "raise" that beneficiaries receive to 


______________________________________________________________


Nearly 35 percent of adults are prescribed
inappropriate drugs, study finds
By Kristen Dalli Reporter


Although studies have explored the benefits of medical professionals treating patients with alternatives to prescription drugs, this continues to be a difficult option for health care providers. 

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Buffalo has found that nearly 35 percent of older adults are receiving potentially unnecessary prescription drugs. According to their findings, this can lead to higher health care costs and more doctors’ visits. 

“The average age of the U.S. population is rising, and older adults account for a disproportionate amount of prescription medications,” said researcher Collin Clark. “Harm to older adults caused by potentially inappropriate medications is a major public health challenge.” 


_____________________________________________________________________

New Study Found 80% of COVID-19
Patients Were Vitamin D Deficient


A new study that looked at 216 people with COVID-19 found that 80 percent didn’t have adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood.

The study also found that people who had both COVID-19 and lower vitamin D levels also had a higher number of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer, which have been linked to poor COVID-19 outcomes.


 A different study found that COVID-19 patients who had adequate vitamin D levels had a 51.5 percent lower risk of dying from the disease and a significant reduced risk for complications.



* * * *



And It all Comes Down To This…

7 minutes

I would not be wrong if I suggested that many Americans have been waiting for this day since they awoke on the morning after the 2016 presidential election and realized the impossible had happened. We elected the most unqualified person to be our president ever. And worse, we would have to live with it for at least four years. And it’s not like we haven’t tried to right that wrong sooner. In fact, trying to relieve the president of his office before we voted him out has grown into a national pastime. But try as we might, using every play in the book even going as far as impeaching him in the House of Representatives, the Teflon President remained unscathed and perhaps even more embedded in his position than ever.


One may wonder, after all the negative publicity, all the lies and all the unfulfilled promises and the most concerted effort by the media to dethrone him, how could he have survived? One only has to look at his support base to understand why.
 
“A Washington Post analysis found that Trump’s support skewed male, white, and poor. The male-female gap was 19 percentage points (47 percent support among men vs. 28 percent among women). He won a whopping 50 percent of voters making less than $50,000, 18 percentage points ahead of his support with those who earned more than that amount.

The single best predictor of Trump support in the GOP primary (was) the absence of a college degree.

For every 1 percentage point more college graduates over the age of 25, Donald Trump’s share of votes falls by 0.65 percentage points.

Although white men without a college education haven’t suffered the same historical discrimination as blacks or women, their suffering is not imagined. The Hamilton Project has found that the full-time, full-year employment rate of men without a bachelor’s degree fell from 76 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in 2013. While real wages have grown for men and women with a four-year degree or better in the last 25 years, they’ve fallen meaningfully for non-college men.” [1]

 
Those are, more or less, the official numbers. And if we were to end it at that, it would leave us wondering why people with that voter profile would ever want to back a rich man with a degree who was never out of work and did not understand what it’s like to be poor. And why should any woman find his misogyny and obvious disdain for women, not to mention he’s had multiple marriages and out-of-wedlock affairs find him the least bit attractive as a presidential candidate? There has to be something else. Something the demographics don’t account for. And it doesn’t take a world-class detective to uncover what that is. 

Trump’s disciples find his words, his deeds, and his refusal to separate himself from the extreme bigots that attempt to poison our society with their racism and antisemitism attractive. The skinheads, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. He has found the one thing that unites them. The one thing that overshadows Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as the American ideal. Something that is so ingrained in them they will identify with anybody who gives them permission to be what they have always been. Trump knew this from the start because he has lived among them since he was young. The privileged who look on people of color or non-Christian’s as inferior. The oppressed and needy as pariahs and followers of Islam as terrorists. That’s what and who we are dealing with as the votes are counted tomorrow. 


Final Thoughts

This blog is for and about Older Americans. And I try to skew everything I post here with that in mind. And this election is no exception. Perhaps no other group has more to lose than Senior Citizens. Not only is the future of our retirement benefits and healthcare at stake, but our very lives too. We cannot continue to allow a president and his party to continue to ignore the severity of the COVID-19 virus. We are not “rounding the corner”, the virus will not go away by itself, 90,000 new cases IS a big deal, and it’s not alright to pretend that if we just isolate all the old people for the next 6 months nobody else will die.
 
There is much more at stake than just what’s good for America’s seniors. Our very Democracy is in danger of collapsing under the weight of right-wing Conservatives who think the U.S. Constitution was written just for them to play with like the pages of a child’s coloring book. My hope, as I awake on Wednesday morning, I will find we have voted with such significant numbers as to eliminate any doubt that Trump’s America is not the America we want. For now and forever………….…. .
 
 
[1]source: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/who-are-donald-trumps-supporters-really/471714/


EDITOR’S NOTE: I, like you will probably be up late tonight trying to get a handle on which way the vote is going. This means I will most likely not have the opportunity to post my thoughts and opinions for Wednesday. I will continue with the regular news features and I’m sure both you and I will have much to say as the days go by.  


* * * *




Considering Assisted Living Facilities?
Look Into Small Ones.


As so many epic journeys do, mine began with a 2:17 a.m. phone call. Gary — my stepfather and my mother's primary caretaker —had a heart attack. He was almost certainly going to survive, but that left no one to take care of mom. A year prior, my mom had a massive stroke that did severe damage to her cognitive processing.


After a few weeks with us, she ended up in the hospital. It was clear she'd need to go to assisted living after a short stay in a nursing home for rehab. The rehab didn't help, and what we thought was a great place turned out to be a horrible experience. After three days, we knew we needed to get her out of there.

I am an expert in senior living, founding and publishing a leadership blog for senior living owners and operators. Yet even I naively believed that finding the right assisted living community in my own backyard would be a snap. It was not. After visiting several large traditional senior living communities, none seemed quite right.

What Small Assisted Living Communities Are...




* * * *





* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php



* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, NOV. 4TH 2020


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









MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND 2020




Here’s how a Biden or Trump presidency
would affect your personal finances
By Greg Iacurci

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, have different agendas when it comes to personal finances.

Here’s what to know about the candidates’ positions as Election Day approaches.

It’s no guarantee the candidates’ ideas and proposals will eventually become law. Much hinges on the outcome of congressional races, for example.

But here are things to consider as voters head to the polls on Tuesday, on issues like taxes, Social Security, student loans and Medicare.


-----------※ ※ ※ ※----------

Rural Support for Trump 
Declines Vs. 2016, Pollsters Say


2016 ELECTION: Four states where Donald Trump's advantage with rural voters gave him victory. Small changes in rural voter opinion mean Trump probably won't get rural margins as large as he did in 2016. (Daily Yonder graphic/Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections)

In 2016 President Donald Trump enjoyed a 2 to 1 margin of victory among rural voters, but he’s unlikely to repeat that performance this year, according to Republican and Democratic pollsters who spoke Monday as part of Rural Assembly Everywhere.

A majority of rural voters still plan to vote for the president, but probably not by margins big enough to overcome Democratic advantages with their urban base, they said.


___________________________________________________________________


Why Science Labs Love Older Scientists


It’s been quite a year for Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His leadership through the pandemic has made Fauci perhaps the nation’s most trusted voice on COVID-19. Time magazine included him on its list of 100 Most Influential People in 2020 and the National Academy of Sciences recently awarded Fauci its highest honor, the Gustav Lienhard Award.


Quite impressive for a man who’s just two months shy of his 80th birthday.

The physician and immunologist may seem like an anomaly, but in the world of science he isn’t. Many of the nation’s leading research laboratories and universities are teeming with scientists well past the age of 65 who continue to make enormous contributions to their fields of expertise.


________________________________________________________________________

Fading Sense of Smell Could Signal
Higher Death Risk in Older Adults
By Cara Roberts Murez

If you're a senior who can't smell onions, smoke, chocolate or natural gas, it's time to see your doctor.

Seniors who lose their sense of smell -- which doctors call olfactory dysfunction -- have higher odds of dying from all causes within five years, new research shows. Scientists had previously found a link between olfactory dysfunction and impaired thinking and memory.

"We suspected there would be an association with olfactory dysfunction and mortality as well, considering that this is an early marker for a lot of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and dementia," said study author Dr. Janet Choi, a resident in otolaryngology at the University of Southern California.


____________________________________________________________________

Listen Up New York...

Assisted living operators must implement plans to
prevent social isolation under new law



A bill requiring long-term care facilities, including assisted living communities, to prevent social isolation in residents was signed into law Friday in New Jersey.

Senate Bill 2785 requires the state Department of Health to implement and oversee an “Isolation Prevention Project” in long-term care facilities. It is one of two bills signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last week following recommendations from the Manatt Health report on long-term care in the state released in June.

A second bill signed by Murphy establishes minimum ratios for the number of certified nurse aides in nursing homes.




* * * *





Election Eve:
Is There Anything Left To Say?

YES!

5 minutes


The end is nigh. Not the end of the world (I hope), but the unofficial end to the 2020 political season.
 
By tonight we will have seen the last political rally, watched the last political TV add, and listened to the final political speech. At least for a while. Everything that had to be said, they said. We have heard it all. Or have we? It all depends on who wins and by how much. In any event, I’ve had it.
 
My ears are literally ringing from the sound of you-know-who’s voice booming out from a flag-draped platform spouting lie after lies, deception after deception, and distorting the truth so that even indisputable facts become suspect. 

I am weary at the sight of MAGA- hat-wearing space cadets cheering at every absurd word he says. Cheering at his denial of the tragedy of the loss of almost a quarter million Americans when he says, “We are turning the corner.”


At the same time I’m frightened that even if he loses and loses big, his supporters will still be around because they are just as delusional as he and just as dangerous.
 
The one thing we know for sure is that the virus will not disappear just because we have a new president. If the trend continues, we might see the worst surge in the number of cases since April. What will all of those disgruntled Trump losers do? Will they get on board with a Biden/Science based plan to end the plague or will they continue to believe the baseless claim that it will go away on its own?

Over two-thirds of all 2016 voters have already cast their ballots. And if we are to believe the polls, Biden has a double digit lead over Trump in most of them. But we have seen such results before, with surprising consequences.
 
In these last few hours, Biden is counting on convincing undecided voters that the only way to restore the life we knew is to vote for him, his belief in science and his hope that American’s see through the smoke and mirrors of his opponents term in office and will do the right thing.
 
Trump is counting on a last minute Election Day voting surge to turn the poll numbers around to reflect the true nature of the American people. The one that believes that his view of America’s future lies in the racism and divisiveness of a bygone era just as they did in 2016.

But this is not 2016. There are not two “unproven” candidates running.
 
One has had four years to show us what he’s got. And what we have seen is a shameful display of racism, misogyny, denial, unfulfilled campaign promises, an array of crooked staffers and unqualified cabinet members passing through the White House gates.
 
The other has been here before. He spent eight years at the side of perhaps the most respected president we have ever had. We well know his empathy and compassion. But his actual strength comes from knowing how to get things done, even when there is a Senate composed mainly of members of the opposing party.

Tomorrow is Election Day. And it will surprise me if, by evening’s end, we will have a clear winner. I don’t think we will have the landslide we should have or the victory we need. There are too many who think we need to go back to a time when women were only qualified for secretarial jobs, when the chances of having a neighbor whose skin was a different color was next to zero and America supplied the world with everything made by factories that belched out toxic smoke without concern for the air we breathe or the water we drink.
 
In 2016, I forecast Trump would win. I waited until 2 or 3 days before Election Day to make that prediction after witnessing the fervor by which Trump’s people supported his racism, his hatred of immigrants, his disrespect for women and his all-consuming dislike of Barack Obama. I felt then, as I still do now, that a good number of Americans are and have always been intolerant and prejudicial against people who aren’t White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The outcome of this election will depend on how many of those people will amend their thinking for the sake of their own future and the future of America………………………………. 




* * * *





Teenagers hate it, senior citizens love it
By Al McCombs


Not many school kids like history. Too much memorization. Not enough connection with them yet. And often it is taught wrong in school. Backwards, as I’ve said here before. History should start with the present, which is most familiar to the learner. I got to like history through a current events class in high school.

Why start ninth grade world history with memorizing the dates of the Iron Age or the Peloponnesian War? Want history that’s meaningful? Start with 9-11, Korea today or the last earthquake. Or better still, the Coronavirus, and how it compares with other epidemics. This will get a class eventually to the Black Plague and how it and the Renaissance changed humanity, and led to Columbus’s “discovery” of America. Eventually the class may get to why China, with its great early inventions including gunpowder, has been so slow to catch up. And why World War II started, and why World War III hasn’t because of lessons learned.




<><><><><>



Social Security Begins New Electronic
Social Security Number Verification Service


The Social Security Administration has begun the initial rollout of its new electronic Consent Based Social Security Number (SSN) Verification (eCBSV) service. The agency is rolling out the service to selected participants through 2020, and plans on expanding the number of users in 2021.

“Our new electronic SSN verification service helps reduce synthetic identity fraud by comparing agency records with data provided electronically by approved participants,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “This is an important online service that helps us provide participants and their customers fast, secure, and more efficient SSN verifications.”

Social Security created eCBSV, a fee-based electronic SSN verification service, to allow select financial institutions and service providers, called “permitted entities” and including subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, subcontractors, or assignees of a financial institution, to verify if a person’s SSN, name, and date of birth combination matches Social Security records. Social Security needs the person’s written consent and will accept an electronic signature in order to disclose the SSN verification to the permitted entity. eCBSV returns a match verification of “Yes” or “No.” eCBSV does not verify a person’s identity.




* * * *






* * * *



See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, NOV. 3RD 2020


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







FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30TH 2020



COVID's cognitive costs?
Some patients' brains may age 10 years
By Kate Kelland


People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years, researchers warned on Tuesday.

A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lis treated at the CHU de Liege hospital, in Liege, Belgium October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, led by Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, found that in some severe cases, coronavirus infection is linked to substantial cognitive deficits for months.


_________________________________________________________________

$300 Million Telemarketing Scheme
 Preyed on Older People
By Concepción de León


Officials announced that 60 people had been charged in the scheme, in which federal prosecutors said deceptive tactics were used to sell magazine subscriptions to more than 150,000 older and vulnerable people.


Sixty people have been indicted in a nationwide telemarketing scheme in which federal prosecutors say people were tricked into signing up for expensive magazine subscriptions they could not afford, did not want and often did not receive, and in which over 150,000 people were defrauded of more than $300 million.

According to three separate indictments handed up last week, prosecutors alleged that for 20 years, dozens of fraudulent telemarketing companies operating across 14 states and two Canadian provinces used deceptive sales tactics in the scheme. Erica H. MacDonald, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the scheme was part of a growing trend in crimes against older people in recent years.


____________________________________________________________________

Older workers face higher unemployment
amid virus pandemic
By SARAH SKIDMORE SELL

For the first time in nearly 50 years, older workers face higher unemployment than their midcareer counterparts, according to a study released Tuesday by the New School university in New York City.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on employment for people of all ages. But researchers found that during its course, workers 55 and older lost jobs sooner, were rehired slower and continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts ages 35 to 54.

It is the first time since 1973 that such a severe unemployment gap has persisted for six months or longer. 



* * * *




9 minutes



What makes this Halloween story so scary is that it’s based on actual events.
 
Once upon this time there lived a giant ogre. And, like all ogres, he had green, scaly skin. But what made this ogre different from the others was, instead of his face matching the color of the rest of his body, this ogre’s face was orange. And, complimenting that very un-ogre-like skin tone was a shock of strangely coiffed blonde hair. He was a sight to see.

 
And seeing him was exactly what he wanted. In fact, he enjoyed being in the spotlight so much; he talked a TV network into giving him his own reality show. The show consisted mainly of scenes showing him pointing a finger and yelling “You’re fired.” Amazingly, a vast number of the population of the country where he lived found his bullying manner and crude demeanor to their liking. Little did they know that’s the way ogres always act towards others. Because, deep down inside that gruff exterior lies a meek little toad with an inferiority complex.  

Now one would think having a very popular TV show, owning chunks of expensive real estate around the world and screwing everything in a dress would make the ogre happy. But it didn’t. Because the one thing that had always eluded him was power. Not just the power that comes from having lots of money, money that he inherited from his uber-ogre father, but the power that comes from being the ruler over the richest land of all lands. Years went by, but no matter how hard he tried, it was impossible to overthrow the present rulers of the land. Especially the one known to all as “The Black Prince.”
 
The Black Prince had it all. Education, a command of the language, compassion, a superb legal mind, a solid marriage and the respect of the people. Everything the ogre did not.
 
According to the law of the land, even the best of rulers cannot reign for more that 8 years. And when the Black Prince had come to the end of his reign, the ogre saw his chance. Unfortunately for him, there was just one obstacle to his quest. The rightful heir to the throne, Queen Hilary.
 
But Queen Hillary had her flaws. The largest of which, according to her detractors, was that she wore a lot of pant suits and may or may not have sent some classified emails on her personal computer. And, even though they completely exonerated her of any wrongdoing, many of the citizens still wanted her “locked up.” The ogre, having the ability to seize upon every flaw, used the shouts of “Lock Her Up” as his battle cry.
 
However, as the time to choose a new leader came down to the wire, the ogre became more and more concerned that he may not win, So he turned to the most powerful weapon in his armory. Not a sword or spear. Not spikes or truncheons. Not even a good Mace. He used the one weapon he knew how to use best. The one that had always guaranteed a victory. He lied. He made promises to the masses he knew he could never keep. The masses fell for his deceit and, even though the tally was close, he grabbed victory out of the jaws of defeat and became the 45th ruler of the land.

Until his coronation (a sparsely attended ceremony), the ogre’s only power lay in his ability to boss his subordinates around to do his bidding. Now, as the leader of the known world, he could exercise his newfound authority to pump up his ego even further. And pump he did.
 
He went frequently among the masses to extol his ‘virtues’, glorify himself and laud those who blindly followed him. All while continuing to cheat and steal and divide. Finding the evil and playing to it. And never, ever telling the truth. Amazingly, this strategy served him well for the first 3 years and 11 months of his rule. But, unbeknownst to his minions, loyal and otherwise, a foe was lurking nearby. Quiet, unassuming, and invisible. It’s name, Lord Covid The 19th. And it came from the ogre’s most feared enemy. A land far across the sea, China.

Although the ogre knew of Lord Covid and how powerful he was, he refused to acknowledge the Lord was more powerful than he. How could an enemy, so far away, be a danger to the most powerful, most technically advanced land on the planet? So the ogre-leader ignored it. He ignored it for so long that when Lord Covid made his way to our shores; it was too late. The ogre was caught off guard.
 
Weeks went by as Lord Covid and his army of replicates ravaged the ogre’s land, killing thousands and sickening many more. And still his orangeness refused to recognize the danger. “I did not want to panic the people” he cried. As if he cared one iota about the people.
 
After 250,000 people died and more fell ill under the sword of this ruthless foe, the ogre continued to downplay the severity of the situation. And, even when the ogre too fell ill by the enemy’s lance, he sloughed it off as no big deal claiming his “magic armor of immunity” would protect him and all around him.

And now, as the first term of the ogre’s reign is ending, he continues to stay on this delusional path to what he perceives as the road to another triumphant victory. Which brings us to the really scary part of our tale.
 
If the ogre should, through subterfuge or trickery, prove victorious over his opponent, what “Victory” has he won? What victory have we, the people the ogre rules over won? Four more years of divisiveness, civil strife, no affordable healthcare, continued job-loss, a depleted standing among the nations of the world and the remaining threat of a disease we cannot defeat?
 
Saturday is Halloween. A day usually defined by little ghouls and goblins roaming the streets in masks and costumes. But on this Halloween the emphasis is not on candy and costumes and parties but on staying alive. A lot different from when the Black Prince ruled the land, isn’t it?
 
But it isn’t too late to banish the ogre forever. It’s not too late to rid our land of the hate, the ineptitude, the bullying and the partisan bickering and, most of all, to get us toward actually “rounding the corner” and ending this plague for ever. And maybe, just maybe, by this time next year the witches and ghosts can prowl the autumn night and the only masks we will see is the one with the image of our new president on them…………………………  
 


* * * *




A Hobby for All Ages:
The Rise of the Senior Citizen Gamer

Gaming, for the majority of its existence, has been largely seen as just an indulgent hobby younger generations enjoy. However, video games have evolved over time and are now considered a major part of pop culture. For example, the love of gaming (or, maybe, the love of winning) has led to the creation of esports, which as we know, involves competing in game tournaments for a living. Modern gaming technology is also helping medical students practice performing surgery. What more, and perhaps one of the most interesting developments within the gaming world, is the rise of the senior citizen gamer. 

Older generations enjoying gaming have not only created an interesting new dynamic within the gaming world and its culture, but there are actually potential health benefits for those older adults who like to play video games. Some seniors who have discovered their love of gaming are also finding popularity on streaming services such as Twitch. 

The Value of Time and Technology For Senior Gamers



<><><><><>




‘Perfect metaphor for his presidency’:
Trump shamed for leaving elderly
 MAGA fans to freeze in Omaha
By Travis Gettys

Thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters were stranded after his Omaha rally, where temperatures dropped to near freezing.

The president rallied Tuesday night in hopes of grabbing an extra vote in the Electoral College, thanks to Nebraska’s split allocation, but many supporters waited outside in the cold for buses that were blocked from an access road by outgoing traffic.

At least seven supporters were hospitalized and 30 were treated at the event for exposure to cold, seizures and other ailments.

Social media users were struck by the metaphor of Trump leaving his supporters to possibly suffer hypothermia for a chance to hear him complain amidst a surging coronavirus pandemic.



* * * *


10 Tried-and-True Methods That Can
Take a Bite Out of Food Costs

Voices of experience from the senior living culinary world share their tips for efficiency, engagement, and avoiding waste.

1. Go seasonal and local when you can. This makes for better quality and lower costs, but it also pays off in other ways, points out Morrison Living: with increased engagement and curiosity among residents about what’s new, by forging community connections among local farms and vendors, and in lower energy use for transport.

Motion Picture & Television Fund CEO Bob Beitcher and Morrison Living general manager Javier Ruelas visit Sally the Salad Robot, a vending machine that provides 300 customizable menu items and touchless QR code ordering.

2. Make a meal an occasion. Particularly during times when in-room dining was required, senior living staff came up with some brilliant ideas to promote and special occasions and themes—personalized cookie kits, flowers, celebrations of regional and heritage cuisines. Taking time out for fun can have add up to better health in a community: staff get creative, positivity replaces loneliness, and food tastes better (so less is wasted).




* * * *






* * * *



See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php






* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, NOV. 2ND 2020


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





10. 29. 20



The hidden Covid-19 health crisis:
Elderly people are dying from isolation
By Suzy Khimm


The moment that Tammy Roberg stepped off the elevator, she could hear her father’s booming voice.

Chester Peske, 98, loved to sit in the lunchroom at Copperfield Hill and talk to the other memory care residents about everything from the weather to the history of the highway that connected his hometown to downtown Minneapolis, 6 miles away. While he had Alzheimer’s disease, Peske still recognized his children when they came to the Robbinsdale, Minnesota, facility for weekly visits.

“He would talk and talk and talk,” Roberg said with a laugh.

Then, in March, there was almost no one that Peske could talk to.





THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30TH 2020


Retirement: Average Boomer's savings
would only last seven years, study finds
By Dhara Singh

The average baby boomer’s savings will last only seven years in retirement, a new study found, unless they curb their spending during their golden years.

Boomers on average have $920,400 saved for retirement, the Charles Schwab survey of 2,000 Americans aged 55 to 75 with at least $100,000 in investable assets found. But they expect to spend $135,100 per year to sustain their ideal lifestyle in retirement, meaning their savings would run out after seven years.

“Boomers in this study have been saving for retirement and are confident, but for many there’s a potential gap between what they have saved and the retirement they’re envisioning,” said Rob Williams, vice president of financial planning of Charles Schwab. “The reality is that they may come up short.”

So how do they expect to stick with this vision? By working more and putting their needs first.


___________________________________________________________________

AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine
triggers immune response among adults
By Sam Meredith


LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said its potential Covid-19 vaccine has produced a similar immune response in older and younger adults.

AstraZeneca, which is developing its potential Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford, said adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly were also found to be lower.

The World Health Organization has said that older people, in addition to people of all ages with preexisting medical conditions, appear to develop serious illness on contracting the coronavirus more often than others.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Opioids increase risk of death in
older adults after outpatient surgery

Older adults who used opioid pain medications before minor surgery were up to 68% more likely to die within 90 days of the procedure compared with those who never used the drugs, an analysis published Wednesday by JAMA Surgery found.

Even among people older than 65 who had low levels of opioid use as long as eight months before surgery, about 55 people per 10,000 in the general population died within 90 days of having a procedure, the data showed.

Older adults who had not used opioid pain drugs prior to surgery died at a rate of just over 40 per 10,000 in the general population within 90 days of having a minor procedure, the researchers said.




* * * *


My Thinning Patience

4 minutes

I’ve always considered myself to be a patient person. After all, anybody who commuted to work in some of the worst traffic in the nation (see: L.I.E. The worlds longest parking lothas to be. But lately my ability to deal with things beyond my control has worsened. My patience is stretched thinner than a book of Donald Trump’s integrity. While it would be easy to blame my lack of tolerance for everything on COVID-19, I think there’s more to it than that. And what I think THAT is, is me just getting old.


I see my life rushing past at break-neck speed with no way to slow it down. Projects I used to have time to work on, put aside for a while, and come back to have now taken on more importance than they should. Procrastination is no longer an option. I feel I have to do it now or it will never get done. But that puts me in conflict with my lack of patience.
 
For example. Before I made this blog more or less a full-time occupation, I started writing a novel. Actually, it began as a short story which quickly became a novella which morphed into a 50,000 word tome. And I’m only half-way through. I still have not figured out how to end it. I want very much to get back to writing it, but I can’t.
 
Crafting a book, unless you’re Steven King or James Patterson, is grueling. Especially if you have no experience. I began with a general idea of what I wanted to write about, created a great opening and a fairly good middle. But the ending eludes me. I have an idea, but I don’t know how to get there. I want to finish it, but I have no desire, nor the time, to write another 50,000 words. I’m conflicted.

I had thought of quitting the blog and devoting full time to the book. But then I think about the hours I spent staring at the screen, unable to think of another word to write, and that urge quickly goes away. I suppose I will get back to it one day and you’ll be the first to read it. But when, I cannot say. There’s always mañana.
 
Writing is not the only thing taxing my patience. My list of annoyances is growing exponentially. Recently added is…
 
1. Politicians, Republican or Democrat, they are all butt-kissing sniveling toadies.
 
2. Non-maskers. They are all just a bunch of stupid a-holes.
 
3. Public health officials who have flip-flopped back and forth according to how the political winds are blowing.
 
4. Police officers who, despite all the publicity, all the riots, all that has been written, reported and talked about, continue to use deadly force on those whose threat to the safety of those officers is suspect at best. Who’s training those cops, Dirty Harry? 
 
5. Most Yankee fans.

 I know much of this angst will go away when we return to some normalcy whenever that may be. But until that time, the only thing keeping from going completely crazy right now is knowing that my delivery of Chinese food is on its way…………………… .
 




* * * *





Baby boomers believe they will have a better
retirement than their parents, kids.

Planning for retirement is stressful enough. Try bringing a pandemic into the mix.

Despite the uncertaintyspawned by the health crisis, baby boomers are confident they will have a successful retirement and their lifestyle will be everything they planned. 

That's according to a Charles Schwab survey, which found that 82% of boomers believe their savings will get them “all the way” or “most of the way” to living out their dreams in retirement.



<><><><><>






What Biden's Plans Would Mean
for Social Security Solvency

Next Avenue's 2020 Election Guide graphicUnquestionably, there are plenty of urgent issues in the 2020 presidential election. But there’s one less urgent, yet equally critical one, that hasn’t received much attention: Social Security trust fund to pay retirement benefits is due to be depleted by 2035, perhaps even sooner due to the pandemic. The Congressional Budget Office sets the date as 2031.

What would President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden do about it? (To be clear, trust fund insolvency wouldn’t mean Social Security wouldn’t pay any benefits starting in 2035; just that it would only have money to pay 79% of scheduled benefits at that time.)

We don’t know much about the answer to the Social Security solvency question for the president, because he hasn’t released specific Social Security reform plans.  Biden has laid out a series of Social Security proposals, ranging from payroll tax increases on Americans earning over $400,000 to increased benefits for low-income retirees, widows and widowers, and the oldest Americans.




* * * *



Helping seniors avoid financial exploitation
starts with prevention
By Julian Gray and Frank Petrich

Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging released a 34-page report on the financial exploitation of older adults. The study provides data comparisons of national trends, as well as for Pennsylvania versus a few other selected states. A complete copy of the study can be found at https://bit.ly/2H8jjH5.

The financial exploitation of seniors is a big problem, and many such instances go unreported. As elder law attorneys, we see these tragedies firsthand, and they are increasing in frequency; and as the study indicates, the numbers are staggering.

So, how do we reduce or prevent financial exploitation of seniors? First, let’s understand the problems this study exposes.




* * * *






* * * *



See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, OCT. 30th 2020


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







WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28TH 2020


Record U.S. Covid-19 Surge Reaches
America’s Oldest Populations
By Jonathan Levin

The record Covid-19 spike that started with young Americans is increasingly finding older communities at elevated risk of severe illness.

Counties with the largest 65-and-over populations are now recording on average 18.9 daily cases per 100,000 residents, 67% higher than a month ago, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Relative havens at the start of September, those counties are now worse than those with the smallest percentages of older Americans, and just slightly better than those with moderately sized cohorts of the elderly.


___________________________________________________________________


Will Medicare’s Premium Increase Take
Your Social Security COLA? Chances Are It Will


The Medicare Part B premium increase for 2021 may consume a significant portion of the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) boost for most retirees, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “This may even be the case despite recent legislation to limit the Part B increase,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

The group bases their warning in part on a survey conducted earlier this year when the 1.6 percent Social Security COLA had just gone into effect. The standard Medicare Part B premium increased $9.10 per month from $135.50 in 2019 to $144.60 — a 6.7 percent increase in 2020. 



________________________________________________________________


How Medicare Premium Hikes, Small
Social Security COLAs Squeeze Retirees
By Ginger Szala

The 2021 cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits of 1.3% announced recently has been criticized by many advocacy groups as not keeping up with health care expenses.

In the table below, the Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group for retirees, illustrates how the increased costs in Medicare Part B eats away at the COLA, further slamming senior benefits. For higher income beneficiaries — those with modified adjusted gross incomes of more than $87,000, or $174,000 for a couple — this can take even more of a bite.

“Medicare premiums are increasing three to four times faster than the annual cost of living adjustments,” Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League, told ThinkAdvisor. “This is going to become an ongoing recurrent issue when the premium is going to increase more than COLAs.


____________________________________________________________________

Are employers using the pandemic as
cover to shed older workers?
By Paul Brandus

The labor market has never been easy for older Americans, and now there is fresh evidence that the COVID-19 crisis is making it even worse.

A new report by the Retirement Equity Lab, part of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at New York City-based The New School, says that unemployment rates for workers 55 and older has topped those of mid-career workers for the entire length of the pandemic. It’s the first time since 1973 that such a gap has existed for six months or longer.


“This recession is a lot deeper than 2008,” notes labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center, and “employers are not preserving the skills and experience that older workers have like they have in past downturns. It looks like they’re being let go first, and employers are shying away from re-hiring them.” 


_____________________________________________________________________

'Social engagement' bolsters
brain in older adults, study finds

Older adults who are more socially engaged show evidence of healthier gray matter in regions of the brain relevant to dementia, according to a study published Monday by the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

Study participants who reported being socially active had increased amounts of gray matter in areas of the brain that govern language, attention, concentration, decision-making and information processing, the data showed.

Higher levels of gray matter -- or the cells that make up the brain's outer layer -- is an indicator of improved cognitive function, the researchers said.




* * * *




Killing Us Softly

5-minutes


Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and therefore more apprehensive about everything, or I’m concerned about all the news stories that say the elderly are the most likely group to contract and succumb to the effects of COVID-19. But lately I’ve had a distinct feeling that most Americans would have no problem if every old person in the country would just die. Let’s face it. It would make things less complicated and less costly in so many ways. Just think of all the cash our demise would free up.


Social Security will pay $69.4 Billion to retirees this year. Imagine what the country could do with money like that.
 
Repair our infrastructure. Fund free healthcare for all. Buy a new weapons system that will become obsolete the day it’s delivered. Or (and I’m sure Congress is licking their chops over this possibility) give themselves a nice big salary increase. You just can’t have enough houses, cars or yachts, now can you?
 
Even if money were not the issue, the mind boggles if they could remove the “inconvenience” of having old people around. 
 
Millions of American families could reclaim that extra bedroom granny slept in and use it for a walk-in closet or gym they always wanted.
 
They could repurpose nursing homes and other long-term care facilities as upscale co-op apartments for all the newly rich Americans who will have extra cash because that nasty FICA won't be deducted from their paychecks each week, . Or maybe they could just bulldoze them and make way for golf courses because, by not having to care for all of us old folks, there would be so much more free time available. 

Other, relatively minor conditions would immediately improve if old people were out of the picture.

South Floridians could get a seat in a restaurant at 4:30 again with the elimination of the “Early Bird Special.” 

Highway speeds would increase from 45 mph (in the left lane) to 65 once again.

No more having to stand in long lines at the supermarket waiting for that one old lady who still pays for her groceries by check.

It wouldn’t be difficult to get rid of us. In fact, it’s already started.
 
Every time a group of people gather, (like at a political rally, beach or house party) without masks and no social distancing, they risk bringing the virus home to their extended family, which may include an older relative.
 
More subtle, but none the less lethal, is the extermination going on in many of the nation’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. A few forgotten masks or an infected unauthorized outside visitor can cause the virus to run rampant, knocking off people whose immune systems are already compromised. Or maybe they’ll just keep us waiting long enough for a plan which will never come, and let us die naturally of boredom, loneliness and neglect.

How can the elderly defend against this genocidal onslaught? Social media, that’s how. We have already started.
 
Seniors, having no idea how to “hack” someone’s Facebook, TikTok or Instagram account, have flooded these sites with pictures of cats, cute puppies, corny jokes and You-tube clips of old Monty Python, Benny Hill and SNL shows. Hopefully, this will be enough to keep any would-be plot by young people from hatching long enough until they too get old. So far, I think it’s working. 

There is a drawback to not having old folks around. (A) No more free babysitter, and (B) you won’t get that $5 aunt Meg sends to you every Christmas…………………………… .

 






* * * *




Dancing May Help To Prevent Falls
In Older Persons, Study Finds
By Robert Glatter, MD


Dance in Sun City. Construction of Sun City started in the 1960s by the retirement community ... [+] developer Del Webb group. The median age of residents is 75 years old. (Photo by Evan Hurd/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Sygma via Getty Images

With the success of Dancing With The Stars over the past 15 years, it’s clear that the contestants not only enjoy themselves, but get into shape and potentially lose fat (and gain muscle) at the same time.  

But there may be an even greater benefit derived from dancing as we age: it may help to prevent falls, according to the results of a meta-analysis published last month in JAMA Open.




<><><><><>






How Red State/Blue State Differences
in Housing Might Tip the Election
By Clare Trapasso

We've listened to the pundits, suffered through the debates, scrutinized the polls, and squinted at that ever-changing electoral map. Everyone, it seems, is desperately trying to get a true read on what's going to happen, in one of the most bitterly contentious presidential elections our nation has ever seen.

There is no shortage of critical issues hanging in the balance: the pandemic, the economy, national health insurance, climate change, race relations, oh my! It seems at times that the United States has never been more sharply divided.

But where do the deeply etched red-state/blue-state splits really come from? And how much can the huge housing differences across the nation tell us about how we got here—and where we're going? We turned to the data to find out.



* * * *




7 Ways to Save on Medications
in the Pandemic


Millions of Americans are struggling to afford their medications during COVID-19, including some with health insurance, the nearly 27 million who lost coverage due to a job loss and those who never had it. But there are quite a few ways to lower your prescription drug costs in the pandemic.

The sticker shock is real. In July, according to the GoodRx site, 67 prescription drug prices rose an average of 3.1%; prices for 857 brand-name and generic drugs increased by an average of 6.8% from January 1 to June 30, 2020. Refills for common medications such as insulin for diabetes and Nexium for heartburn can cost around $300.

The coronavirus has only worsened the medication cost crisis for those with chronic diseases who are unemployed or facing financial hardships.



* * * *






* * * *




See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, OCT. 29th 2020


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






10. 27. 20

4 Dangerous Assumptions You're Making
 About Your Future Social Security 
By Robin Hartill, CFP

Are you over-estimating how far you'll be able to stretch your Social Security benefits when you retire?

No matter how diligently you save and invest, Social Security will probably play a vital role in helping you reach your retirement goals. Most people don't have access to a defined-benefit pension at work that guarantees income for life. That means Social Security benefits may be your only source of retirement income that doesn't depend on the stock market or interest rates. 

If you're expecting too much from your benefits, you're setting yourself up to struggle in what are supposed to be your golden years. Here are four dangerous assumptions about Social Security that could threaten your retirement.


1. You'll be able to work until you're 70

If you want to maximize your monthly retirement checks, the best ...


_______________________________________________________________

Social Security's 2021 COLA Could More Than Double --
Here's How
By Sean Williams

Forget a 1.3% COLA! Two lawmakers want to more than double next year's pay raise for Social Security beneficiaries.


You may not realize it, but it's the most important time of the year for nearly 65 million Americans. That's because October is when the Social Security Administration announces all of its updates for the upcoming year.

Once the curtain closes on 2020, we'll witness more than a half-dozen changes to Social Security, including an increase to the full retirement age for persons born in 1959. But the biggest change of all, and the one the more than 46 million retired workers value most, is the cost-of-living adjustment.



_______________________________________________________________________

All seniors could get COVID-19 vaccine
by end of January, HHS head says


All seniors, health care workers, first responders and vulnerable individuals could be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Wednesday (Oct. 21) during a news briefing. 

But this ambitious timeline rests on a critical factor: enough data to know that the vaccine is safe and effective. Not even the drug companies conducting late-stage phase 3 clinical trials know yet if their candidate vaccines meet those standards.

The question of "when" we will know whether those vaccines are safe and effective "will really be dependent on events in the trial. That's outside of anyone's control," Azar said. In order to understand whether or not a potential vaccine is protective against COVID-19, enough people enrolled in the trial need to be exposed naturally to the virus. 



* * * *



Figures Don't Lie, But...

We are down to the last week before what is officially election day here in the U.S. of A. Although over 60 million people have already voted early and perhaps even more have or will be voting by mail, there are still many who prefer to exercise their franchise on the day our forefathers intended, the first Tuesday in November. That means there are still enough people out there who may still have not decided which person to vote for. With that in mind and with the realization that many voters are having a difficult time discerning truth from fiction, I will try to help by deriding what I like to call “Trumptistics.”


If you have ever listened to any of Trump’s impromptu “on the run to his helicopter” press conferences, predictably they will ask about his response to the COVID-19 crisis. And just as predictable will be his answer. The exchange goes something like this…
 
Reporter, shouting to be heard over the sound of helicopter blades:  “Mr. President, how do you explain the dramatic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases?”
 
Trump: “There is no rise. The numbers are the lowest they’ve ever been. We have it under control and the numbers are going up because we are testing more. We have the best testing in the world, so it sounds like we have more cases. We are rounding the curve.”

Actually, when he puts it that way, there is almost a ring of truth present. Numbers, by themselves, can mislead. But when numbers are used to compare one thing to another, their meaning becomes more defined.
 
As an example, lets look at the graph below. The red arrows are mine.
 

 
The first graph on the left shows that the number of tests have, as expected, increased. This is a good thing when compared to the number of tests back in April. So Trump is correct in this. We are testing more. But that’s where the figures stop being positive, as the next three charts show.
 
I inserted the arrows to emphasize the most important piece of information one can gather from a graph like this. It’s called the “Trend.” 

More important than an actual number, the direction in which something is trending is used to decide where we are likely to be if we don’t do something about it NOW. It's a look into the future. And, in each of the graphs, the trend is heading in the wrong direction, up.

In all three of the graphs, the ones concerning people’s health; the numbers look like they could surpass the high points of the last 7 months. In fact, the second chart, the one that shows the number of new daily case, has already gone above previous days with over 83,000 people affected. It does not take a genius to see the problem.
 

These are not nefarious poll numbers gleaned from a limited segment of the population. These figures come from every doctor, hospital, clinic and health care facility in the country. There is no reason for any of them to misrepresent the cases they report.
 
It’s easy to toss out so many figures and sums to make them meaningless, almost dehumanizing. But when we look at the whole picture, and see that somewhere along the line we made a big mistake in thinking for one second we had a handle on this virus, we can only wonder why and for what purpose would anyone want to diminish the true toll COVID-19 has taken on our population. But the one thing we do know, this will not go away by burying our heads in the sand. We need leadership that cares more about people’s lives than their wallets. And the faster we understand that, the quicker we will really get a handle on this virus instead of just lip service directed at a weary population…………………. 
 
 
 

As elderly hope for second stimulus check,
Germany pledges financial support
to up to 60,000 U.S. seniors
By Jacob Jarvis

Germany has committed to providing extra financial support to Holocaust survivors across the world—including up to 60,000 U.S. seniors—amid the COVID-19 crisis, as elderly people in America hope for further assistance throughout the pandemic.

The agreement, between the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German government, is worth 564 million euros ($663 million) in total.

It will mean 240,000 survivors globally will be eligible to claim 2,400 euros ($2,800) over the next two years. The money will be received in the form of a payment each year worth around $1,400.

It is estimated around 58,000 to 60,000 survivors could benefit in the United States.




<><><><><>





Biden's Social Security and SSI plan would lift
1.4 million out of poverty, study finds
By Dhara Singh

Joe Biden’s plans for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income would lift 1.4 million Americans out of poverty in its first year, a new analysis found, along with guaranteeing the payout of full benefits for another five years.

The former vice president’s plan hinges on imposing the 6.2% Social Security tax on earnings above $400,000. Employees and their employers are taxed on earnings up to $137,000 under current guidelines.

If enacted next year, Social Security would collect 7% more in revenue in 2021, 12% more in 2040, and 16% more in 2065 than under current law, according to the analysis. That would allow Biden to move forward on a seven-pronged plan to increase benefits for Social Security and SSI recipients.



* * * *




This Flu Season, Boost Your Immune System


Flu season is always a challenging time. But now, during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself — especially if you’re an older American.

People who are 65+ are among the highest risk groups for developing severe complications from the flu. “Roughly seventy percent to eighty five percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people 65 and older,” says Sean Marchese, a registered nurse and oncology writer at The Mesothelioma Center.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested taking vitamin D and C supplements for immune system health, and said he takes them himself.

What’s the best weapon to keep viruses at bay? Keeping your immune system healthy and strong.




* * * *





* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, OCT. 28th 2020


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






Editor's note: Format Change
The "411" as well as all the other features will now appear directly below  "Need To Read."

10. 26. 20




Baby boomers believe they will have
a better retirement than their parents

Planning for retirement is stressful enough. Try bringing a pandemic into the mix.

Despite the uncertaintyspawned by the health crisis, baby boomers are confident they will have a successful retirement and their lifestyle will be everything they planned. 

That's according to a Charles Schwab survey, which found that 82% of boomers believe their savings will get them “all the way” or “most of the way” to living out their dreams in retirement.

The age group, aged 55 to 75, also believe their lifestyle will compare better than the generations before and after them. 


___________________________________________________________________

Assisted living: Not so hidden anymore

Scott Tittle used to say that assisted living was hiding in plain sight.

“The reality is, more people have begun to actually see us amidst COVID,” however, the National Center for Assisted Living executive director told those attending the Thursday general session of the American Health Care Association / NCAL Annual Convention & Expo, held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

Sometimes being visible can lead to good things. In the case of the pandemic, for instance, it has led to federal financial relief, testing and vaccine priority in the battle against COVID-19.

But such things often come with strings attached, including increased scrutiny. And in a state-regulated industry such as assisted living, the possibility of increased federal oversight comes with that scrutiny.


_________________________________________________________________

Binge drinking may cause Alzheimer's disease—
and it might strike younger and in a severe form


Binge drinking may be linked to both the onset and severity of Alzheimer's disease, but scientists have only now embarked on a path to decipher each molecular step involved in how excessive alcohol consumption leads to the most common form of dementia.

The research, underway at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in New York, builds on a deceptively simple premise: Excessive alcohol consumption is toxic to the brain. Binge drinking likely plays an insidious role in the alteration of a normal brain protein into a biological rogue that is highly prevalent in Alzheimer's disease. The protein is identified by a simplistic monosyllabic name—tau.

In its normal conformation, tau is found in neurons modulating the stability of axonal microtubules. But in its abnormal conformation, tau has long been considered one of the leading hallmarks of Alzheimer's, and makes up the tangles in the notorious "plaques and tangles" pathology. The plaques are deposits of the protein beta amyloid. The Feinstein Institutes research involving binge drinking and Alzheimer's dementia is riveted, however, on tau. 




* * * *




I've Forgotten
What Real Food Tastes Like
8 minutes

This weekend I decided to put the election and the virus on the back burner and blog about something else. If over 83,000 new cases in one day (Friday) or over 223,000 dead Americans has not convinced you that we need a change in the White  then there is no hope for any of us. That leaves the only other thing I care most about to write about. 
 
Usually, weekends here at the Asylum are much like any other day, unremarkable. If it weren’t for the daytime TV schedule, I couldn’t tell if it was Wednesday or Sunday. But now, ever since COVID-19 has made virtual prisoners of us and turned us into second-class citizens, there is one other thing that makes weekends different. The Food.


Readers of this blog know how bad the food is here. Words like “Institutional”, “Cardboard-like”, “Subsistence-level”, “Unimaginative”, “Repetitive” and downright disgusting don’t do it justice. And that’s on a normal day. However, when the weekend rolls around, things, if you can believe it, get worse.


I imagine the reason for the drop in quality to a level similar to what they serve in a Turkish prison [1] is because they are short-staffed and because our Head Chef is off on weekends. In addition, the staff have absolutely no skills other than to slop it into a Styrofoam container and send it on its way. This leaves us with things like one hard-boiled egg and a hash-brown potato patty for breakfast, a frozen fish filet and soggy French fries for lunch, and a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?

Normally, we dine together, four people at a table. Because our kitchen is right there, the food is usually hot and fresh. We also have a choice of a main course and a variety of side dishes and deserts. And, while the food is far from gourmet or restaurant quality, the ambience and conversation more than make up for it. Now, because communal dining was the first thing to go when the virus hit, we don’t even have that. Meals become a chore, like taking medication. We eat only to keep from starving to death. Gone is any pleasure we used to associate with taking a meal. 

I will not lie. I like to eat. And my ever-increasing waistline is proof thereof. I am not a gourmet. The food I eat does not have to be fancy. Just properly seasoned, cooked and plated. But dining alone can tarnish even the best meal. Sharing a meal is one of the most humane and human things we do. And if you can cook a meal for someone, so much the better. In the last 11 years, not only have I not cooked a meal for someone, I have not cooked a meal, from scratch, for myself. In addition, I can count the fingers on one hand the number of professionally cooked and served meals I have eaten in all those years.

I know some of you are saying, “What’s his problem? Let him go to a restaurant.” Easier said than done. Transporting myself to a restaurant, even a diner, becomes both a financial and logistical burden. Even If I could leave the confines of the facility, there is no public transportation and, since I don’t have a car, taking a cab or car service becomes costly. Most likely, the cab fare would cost more than the meal. And as far as cooking anything for myself. Regulations prohibit me from doing that. I am in culinary limbo. Floating between subsistence-level, carb-loaded, protein-poor meals and the only thing that even comes close to “real” food, delivery.

But delivery in times of COVID becomes tricky. While they will allow food delivery, they won’t permit the delivery people any contact with us residents. They must leave all deliveries in an ‘airlock’ where it is received and delivered to our rooms. That takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the availability of an aid. I have no chance to inspect the food to make sure it’s what I ordered. And, as far as it arriving hot, well, it’s a crapshoot. And besides, food delivery is also expensive.
 
B4C-19 (Before COVID-19) they used to organize group trips to various local eateries. Those excursions, limited to about 12 to 15 people, were very popular. We went to places like The Longhorn Steak House, The Cheesecake Factory. a local full-service Jewish deli and an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. But those outings are few and far between. And now, we have no idea when we will again have that option. 

One of my great pleasures was to go to a favorite neighborhood restaurant with my wife or with friends and simply enjoy each other’s company and eating a thoughtfully constructed meal in a relaxed atmosphere. Or being treated to festive family get-togethers like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Something the virus will most likely rob us of this year.
 
Sunday morning they served me a breakfast comprising of a half cup of watery oatmeal, a scoop of room-temperature scrambled eggs and a plain toasted bagel with a side of cream cheese handed to me by overworked, underpaid staff. Right now I would kill for a plate of bacon, sunny-side up eggs, hot buttered toast and a cup of coffee from the Seven Brothers Diner a few miles from here. Often, when things become difficult and one’s stress level is at max, it’s the simple things we find comfort in the most. For me, it’s food. One of the first things I’m planning on if and when this pandemic ends, is to pile into a cab with a few of my friends here at the A.L.F. and head for the nearest Italian restaurant. I can taste the veal Parmesan already…………………………………..


[1] With apologies to Turkish prison chef’s. 








As They Aged, They Started 
Businesses for People Like Them
By Susan B. Garland


After working for others, some Americans find opportunities in working for themselves — while catering to people growing older.

When Mary Anne Hardy, 65, needed to pivot in her health care career, she realized she could combine her nursing skills and personal experiences as a caregiver: “It was a light bulb.”
Credit...Ting Shen for The New York Times

Mary Anne Hardy was at a crossroads in her nursing career. A health program she had been working for ended, and, not ready to retire, she was trying to figure out her next move.




<><><><><>




Investments and Politics:
A Dangerous Combination


Investors are frustrated. They love certainty, but we are living in one of the most uncertain times in history.

If COVID-19 wasn’t creating enough uncertainty, the upcoming elections sure are. Many investors are asking if they should alter their portfolios based on the election’s results. The common assumption is that presidents – and their policies regarding taxes and regulations – will directly affect stock market returns.

They’re wrong, and as a result, too many investors make the huge mistake every election season of letting the vote influence their investment strategy.

It’s a classic case of behavioral finance. When your candidate wins, you are happy and thus optimistic about the nation’s future (if only for the next four years) – and your emotional high may cause you to increase the amount of money you have in stocks and stock funds. The result: you could end up with too heavy an allocation to stocks, and therefore too much risk relative to your long-term personal financial goals.




* * * *




5 Things You Should Do Before Moving
an Aging Parent Into Your Home
By Linda Williams

For the first 18 to 21 years of our lives, our parents have care for us. By the time we reach middle age, the tide tends to turn. There comes a time when many of us will assume responsibility for our parents’ safety and well-being until they pass.

Some people will need to, or choose to, transition their parents to retirement homes if their busy schedules don’t allow for a caretaker role. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this decision, and sometimes is truly the only option, sometimes doing so isn’t always the most budget-friendly or safety-oriented option. Unfortunately, there might be financial or logistical problems that make nursing homes undesirable. In such cases, adult children might make arrangements and move their parents into their current homes.

If you are contemplating moving an aging parent into your home, you’ll want to take the steps necessary to create a comfortable and safe living environment for them. With that in mind, here are five things you should do to prepare for the big move.



* * * *






* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, OCT. 27th 2020


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





10.25.20




How Compassion Will
 Help Us To Survive
6 minutes


Do people become more compassionate as they age? I like to think so. I know I have.
 
For some, compassion comes naturally. For others, compassion comes on like a freight train in a moment of emotion so strong that we cannot deny its implications. That’s what happened to me.
 
I was in a rehab facility trying to regain the use of my legs after having spent months on my back after surgery. My physical therapy had not been going well. I struggled just to stand up and hang on a bar against a wall. Despite my willingness and desire to walk again, my progress had reached a brick wall. I could feel my strength and my drive ebbing away. I was at a very low point, both in my recovery and my life. Then, one day, while waiting for my therapist to help me up from my 
wheelchair so I could hang my arms over the handles of a walker, I noticed a man, older than me, who had just walked using the rails of the parallel bars just across from where I was sitting. I never saw him before and did not know his name, but watching him struggling to get from one end of the bars to the other, noticing the pain in face and the determination in his eyes gave me a profound sense of sadness. Not just a feeling of kinship with that man, but an understanding of what he was going through and the pain he must be suffering. I felt that pain and began to cry. I hadn’t felt that much emotion since my brother passed away a few years earlier.
 
My therapist arrived, and it surprised her to see me weeping.
 

“What’s the matter?”, she asked.
 
“That man. I can feel his pain” I said pointing to the patient on the bars. “He’s so brave.”

I won’t go as far to say it was an epiphany, but from that time on, my therapy showed some results. I was getting up on my own and even took a few steps. I was far from where I wanted to be, but now, I believed I could do it. 
 
But something was different. I was not so much into myself as I had been. I looked at the other people on my floor and in the dining room with an understanding I never had before. I no longer saw just a group of disabled old people, but people who were courageous beyond anyone’s comprehension. Had I become more compassionate? I think so.
 
No longer can I look at another person and not understand they have the same, if not more, problems than me. I know their pain and I understand they do what they do not because they are mean or crotchety, but because they are suffering.
 
This empathy is why I do what I do here. It’s why I am often at odds with the administration of this facility, the governor of NY State and the DOH. Their lack of consideration for the current status of those of us who they have confined to a few square feet of space is something not seen since World War 2. And what is coming out of the White House is further proof we have lost our sense of compassion for our fellow Americans. This “All for me, and screw everyone else” attitude is why we are where we are. Squarely in the midst of the greatest threat to our Democracy we have ever encountered. And if we don’t get back to caring for one another, we may never wipe this stain from our Constitution and everything we thought we stand for.

I’m 75-years-old. I have more time on this planet behind me than I do ahead of me. I, like many of you, have seen what the power of unity and understanding can accomplish. We see it every time there is a disaster. People come together and help their neighbors. This virus has made all of us “neighbors.” And only the understanding that we are all in this together will put an end to this nightmare. There are those who want to unite us and those who will strive to divide us. Not only is the choice clear, it’s imperative……………………...

I'm off until Monday. I'd like to think I will spend the weekend meditating and reflecting. But I'll be watching TV like I have done for 220 days. 


 



* * * *





CMS Survey Data Illustrates Impact of COVID-19
on Medicare Beneficiaries’ Daily Life and Experiences


Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data showing that 21% of Medicare beneficiaries report forgoing non-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) care due to the pandemic, and nearly all - 98% - of beneficiaries have taken preventative measures to keep themselves safe from the virus.

According to the survey, the most common type of forgone care because of the pandemic was dental care (43%), followed by regular check-up (36%), treatment for ongoing condition (36%), and diagnostic or medical screening test (32%).  The most common reason cited for forgoing care was not wanting to risk being at a medical facility (45%).

Regarding COVID-19 preventative health behaviors, nearly all beneficiaries cited at least one or more actions they have taken to protect themselves, with regular handwashing/hand sanitizer use topping the list (98%), followed by social distancing and wearing facemasks (each at 93%).


____________________________________________________________________


Elderly, health care workers likely to receive vaccine first
By SUSAN HAIGH and MIKE MELIA


Residents who are elderly or medically at-risk, as well as health care workers and other essential workers, will likely receive the first doses of an anticipated COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut, according to a draft state distribution plan submitted Friday to the federal government.

The 77-page document, filed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines three possible phases for vaccine distribution in the state, predicting there could be limited supplies of a vaccine available sometime this fall. But state officials stressed that Connecticut’s draft plan is subject to change, based on input from a newly formed advisory committee to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and changing federal advice.

“While we’ve put together this framework ... we’ve done this really with limited information about the actual vaccine itself and the requirements and populations,” said Dr. Deidre Gifford, the state’s acting public health director, during a meeting held Thursday evening with the governor’s advisory committee. “So we are doing our best to prepare but also knowing that we need to remain flexible and adapt as we get further information.”



___________________________________________________________________

When senior citizens are the early adopters
By Nicole Wetsman


Steve Kasch’s mom, Julia, was always worried about losing her keys. “She wasn’t even driving, but she was checking her purse every ten minutes,” he says.

Kasch told me that his mom was fairly independent, but over the past few years, her memory started to go. She would forget if she ate a meal or, more troubling, forget if she took medication. “She might think she took her pill, and not take it for three days,” he says. “Or she might take six in one day.”

In December, Kasch and his wife realized she couldn’t keep living on her own, and they started shopping around for an assisted living facility. The Legacy at Town Square in Amarillo, Texas, stood out. It gave each resident a location-monitoring, emergency button-equipped wristband — which also swiped them into their rooms. “Now, there’s no keys,” Kasch says. 




* * * *


Sweden tells elderly to end isolation
even as new virus cases rise



STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves, the government said on Thursday, pointing to lower COVID infection rates than in spring and a growing toll on the mental health of its elderly as behind the new recommendation.


The move to ease the burden on the elderly comes as many countries across Europe are reimposing restrictions to get to grips with surging infections, but the Health Agency has said it does not see evidence of a second wave in Sweden.

Sweden has taken a different approach to most other European countries in fighting the pandemic, relying on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, though it did isolate nursing homes after high levels of deaths among residents.



<><><><><>




Election 2020:
3 Things Retirees Should Pay Attention To
By : Tony Drake, CFP®

When it comes to your money in retirement, here are three main issues that seniors should pay attention to before they cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump or Joe Biden: Which candidate’s policies fare better for retirees?

The coronavirus is making this election year different from any other in history, and while we can’t predict how Wall Street will react to the presidential race, we can look back at history to gauge stock market performance in an election year. The stock market ebbs and flows with a four-year election cycle. Historically, market performance is worse in the first half of a president’s term compared to the second half. Some believe party affiliation matters when it comes to stock market performance. While history shows stocks have performed slightly better under Democratic administrations, performance hasn’t varied much when either party is in the White House.

No matter which candidate you plan to support, it’s important to be aware of how future policies could impact your finances now and in retirement.




* * * *


7 changes to Social Security in 2021


There isn't a social program in this country that bears more importance to the financial well-being of seniors than Social Security. Each month, nearly 65 million people receive a Social Security benefit, and more than 46 million of them are retired workers. Of these retirees, more than 3 in 5 rely on their monthly payouts to account for at least half their income.

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT RETIREMENT QUESTIONS

It's also a dynamic program. Despite laying a financial foundation for those who can no longer provide for themselves, the Social Security program undergoes a number of changes every year. It just so happens that these updates were unveiled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) this past week.

Here's a closer look at the seven biggest changes to Social Security in 2021....



* * * *








* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php





* * * *






<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY, OCT. 26th 2020


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





10.22.20


Who Are Those Trump
Supporters Anyway? 
And Why Do They Love Him?
8 minutes

Election Day 2020 is less than 2 weeks away. And according to those in the know, most people have already made up their minds who they are going to vote for. Depending on who you ask, only 4 or 5% are still undecided. So, to me, it seems counterproductive for the candidates to spend so much time campaigning. But I suppose they believe they can flip some of those die-hards to their side. I doubt it. Especially if the people they are trying to flip is a Trump supporter. Their loyalty, as misguided as it may be, is something any candidate would be proud of. It’s something you can’t buy with cash or ideology. So what does Trump do to 40% of the population that makes them think he’s the best thing since sliced bread?

 
Tuesday evening, on CNN, they had a story where one of their correspondents attended a “Dune Buggy Rally For Trump.” It took place in Oregon and was attended by a group of hard-driving, flag waving Trump supporters. The question posed to the participants was simple. “Why are you voting for Trump?” The answer, though not surprising, was one I did not expect to be the number one reason. They believe Trump is more like them than Biden. And what does “More like them” mean? It appears they think of him as being an alpha male type. Just like many of them think they are. Go figure.

This entire business of “Machismo” seems to be one of the driving forces behind Trump’s appeal. But why should an overweight, heavily made-up blowhard possess (in their minds) the qualities of leadership they admire? Because, like many of them, he’s crude and rude and in-your-face. It doesn't matter that he has none of the skills needed to be a president like the ability to compromise or negotiate. Nor does he have the compassion or understanding to deal with the diversity America has always prided itself on. They love him. I’m sure experts could give you a million scholarly, carefully annotated and thoroughly researched reasons for this aberration, but I have my own ideas. He bases his entire campaign on being able to pick at a scab that has been covering a festering wound many people would deny having. Racism.
 
Maybe not the overt racism we saw in the 1960s from the likes of George Wallace, Strom Thurmond or Ross Barnett, but the racism that comes from watching people of a different color or religion or culture make good in a society that was supposed to be a paradise for white, male Christians. And adding fuel to that racism is the idea that many of those “minorities” have an education denied to many financially stressed lower-middle-class whites. This is why they don’t believe in science and deny the severity of the pandemic and changes to the environment like global warming. No educated person should support a man like Trump except (there’s always an exception) if you are among those who have amassed wealth, earned or stolen, and want to hold on to every dollar they are blessed with. Money, it turns out, is the great equalizer. 

Okay. Maybe you’re not buying the racism or retention of wealth issue. Then perhaps you could tell me why Trump supporters reject universal health care and free higher education. Why are programs like food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid and even Social Security on the chopping block in Trump’s world? One of those men at that dune buggy rally put it this way. “I work very hard for my money, and I don’t want to have to give up some of it to people who don’t work.” I must admit, it’s a good argument even though they too could become one of those non-contributors and have to rely on social welfare programs to survive. Which brings up another anomaly attributed to Trumper’s. Why, when so many of his people are out-of-work, do they still deny the need for relief that would  extend unemployment or increasing Social Security benefits or any of the other programs proposed that would get us “over the hump” until such a time when we can return to normalcy? It all has to do with M.A.G.A.
 
“Make America Great Again” is more than just stitching on a red baseball cap. It’s an idea planted in the minds of those who think they were better off in some ambiguous time (usually the 50s or 60s) when a new car was $3000 and you could buy a house for 25 grand. It was a time
 when all the people on TV were white. Women stayed at home and wore dresses and boys played football, not soccer, and girls cheered on the sidelines. And we believed, although it rarely came true, that if we worked hard enough and kept our noses clean (i.e., don’t make waves), we too could rise in status just like those folks in the sit-coms. Trump is conning them into thinking (A), there really were “good times” and (B) they can go back to them.

It’s hard to crush a dream. Even one based on a fantasy. Trump supporters don’t want to believe those times, if they ever existed, will never come back. The world has changed, and they are frustrated because they can’t do anything about it except to support a man who preys on an ideal that probably never was and will never be again. Should we give up on those people? Those with no compassion would say yes. But I have faith in America. I believe that there are more of us than there are of them. And that the next president will strive to heal rather than divide.……………………. 

 
 



* * * *



An Early Look at 2021
 Medicare Advantage Benefits: Part I

Medicare Advantage (MA) is the rapidly growing private plan option in the Medicare program. More than one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries choose MA — more than 24 million people. The program has grown nearly 10% year over year, and enrollment is expected to top 30 million in the next few years.

While all MA plans must provide services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, MA plans that can offer these services for less than original Medicare split the money with the government and then reinvest the remaining savings to purchase supplemental benefits for their members. A string of policy changes permitted MA plans, starting in Plan Year 2019, to offer a much more comprehensive range of supplemental benefits and tailor these benefits for specific health conditions. (You can learn more about the specifics of these policy changes here and here.)

Collectively, these policy changes and the resulting innovations in benefits and services are transitioning MA from a health insurance program into the nation’s first large-scale population health program. These new offerings also add significant marketing sizzle to MA’s annual campaign to win new members. Now that marketing for Plan Year 2021 is underway, this is an excellent time to check on 2021 MA supplemental benefits and compare them to supplemental benefits in 2018, 2019 and 2020.



____________________________________________________________________

Nursing home, assisted-living officials
fear new wave of COVID-19


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately 5 million people each year, has released a report showing nursing homes in the U.S. could see a third spike of increasing new COVID cases due to the community spread among the general population.

Recent data released by Johns Hopkins and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases rose in late September for the first time in seven weeks after new cases dropped significantly throughout August and early September. According to Johns Hopkins, COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 62,139 cases per week in late September, correlating with an uptick in nursing home cases during the week of Sept. 27.

As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently stated, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”


______________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 vaccine program sign-up
begins today for senior living operators

Assisted living and other long-term care communities beginning today can opt in to a federal program through which residents and staff members will be vaccinated against COVID-19 free of charge to them when a vaccine becomes available.

Assisted living operators will be able to sign up for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program via an online survey that will be sent to them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense. The two government entities on Friday announced agreements through which CVS Health and Walgreens will provide and administer the vaccines to “minimize the burden on [long-term care facility] sites and jurisdictional health departments of vaccine handling, administration and fulfilling reporting requirements.”

“This is very consistent with our overarching objective, which is to protect the most vulnerable Americans from COVID,” Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at HHS, said during a Friday teleconference. “This relationship is principally about getting vaccines quickly and effectively into all of our nursing homes and assisted living facilities and senior care locations.”



* * * *


Coping With the Dread
Unleashed by COVID-19


I don’t think of myself as a fearful person. Yet, I’m coming to realize that I’ve been living with a sense of dread for some time now.

I can’t pinpoint when this particular fear first took hold. An obvious starting point would be the summer day in 2017 that my husband fell while biking and suffered a concussion. Certainly, the sight of Bob, then 68, sprawled on the ground, out cold, stirred a palpable fear that I could lose him.

But was that fear already slumbering inside me, on the lookout for any excuse to be aroused? Was it there the evening in 2010 that I sat in a Chinese restaurant, across the table from a stranger named Bob whom I’d recently met online, and sensed the potential for a new life not centered on the grief I’d been carrying since the death of my first husband, Joe?




<><><><><>




Investments and Politics:
A Dangerous Combination


Investors are frustrated. They love certainty, but we are living in one of the most uncertain times in history.

If COVID-19 wasn’t creating enough uncertainty, the upcoming elections sure are. Many investors are asking if they should alter their portfolios based on the election’s results. The common assumption is that presidents – and their policies regarding taxes and regulations – will directly affect stock market returns.

They’re wrong, and as a result, too many investors make the huge mistake every election season of letting the vote influence their investment strategy.

It’s a classic case of behavioral finance. When your candidate wins, you are happy and thus optimistic about the nation’s future (if only for the next four years) – and your emotional high may cause you to increase the amount of money you have in stocks and stock funds. The result: you could end up with too heavy an allocation to stocks, and therefore too much risk relative to your long-term personal financial goals.




* * * *


Reducing Electric and Gas Costs
Without Feeling the Burn

At home, the price of electricity feels like a given: You check your bill, you sigh, and you pay. But as a senior living community or provider, that price can be as negotiable as a professional athlete’s contract—and as complicated to negotiate.

Power prices depend on a complex combination of factors in a quickly changing market. The role of the consultant is to help the community determine the best match through analyzing its energy needs, its locations, its resources, and other factors such as risk and requirements.

APPI Energy is one of those negotiators of electric and gas costs and supply, with experience in procuring power under the best terms for health care and senior living clients. In a recent interview, APPI consultant Jamie Polend, EMP (a certified energy management professional), addresses several assumptions and myths around power costs.




* * * *





* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php



* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, OCT. 23RD 2020


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




10.21.20




5 minutes

I spent most of Tuesday sleeping. Well, at least what passes for sleep these days. It’s more like a series of two to three-hour naps interrupted by housekeeping, laundry pickup, or meal deliveries. The TV is on as background noise, which usually becomes part of what I dream during those naps. My dreams are a mixture of my own memories, the plot of “Wentworth” and a Gieco Insurance commercial.
 
And speaking of meals, they still suck. The kitchen here has apparently given up trying to cook anything from scratch and is relying almost 100% on pre-fabricated portions of institutional quality food, which they need only to warm up and slop into a Styrofoam container and serve to us at room temperature. Breakfast is the only tolerable meal. Somehow the hot cereal arrives hot, and the coffee isn’t bad. As for the rest. Let’s just say I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches, which is the only thing they fabricate on premises. Fortunately, I have managed to supplement my diet with some things purchased via Instacart. Cheese, peanut butter, Cheerios, cream cheese, olives [1], and Clamato juice which I drink by the gallon. 

Meanwhile, on the quarantine/isolation situation, things have changed little. Except that they now permit limited visits, which has given some relief to both residents and family alike. Friends and family can meet residents for only an hour, and it must be out of doors. They have set up a tent on the lawn for that, which is okay. But what happens when the weather becomes too cold to sit in a tent? There are no plans for inside visits.
 
The same goes for lifting any of the current overly cautious measures mandated by our anal-retentive governor and the NY State Department of Health, which has kept assisted living residents virtually prisoners for over 219 days. There is still no plan or date scheduled when we can even think about a return to some normalcy. My guess is that they are waiting for a vaccine before anybody in authority will commit to any change. Sadly, we residents have become the pawns in a game where they are making the rules as it goes along. As long as we aren’t dropping like flies, it’s okay to treat us as inmates rather than American citizens.


The facility has been very good with maintaining our health despite what is happening in many other long-term care venues around the state. As of last week, we have had only one resident who reportedly contracted the virus. And that person was already in the hospital at the time. In addition, they have made flu shots available for those who want it. They are constantly monitoring us for any symptoms and they test our staff weekly. I have no problem with that part of the care. I just need to know what the future holds for us. My fear is we will be in this same situation a year from now. Sadly, many of us will not be around to see this end………………………………. .
 

[1] One of my favorite sandwiches is cream cheese and green olives. I save the toast from breakfast. For me, it’s a treat from my past.




* * * *






Improved mobility in frail and elderly adults
linked to common gene variant


Variations in a gene that regulates dopamine levels in the brain may influence the mobility of elderly and frail adults, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

These results, published today in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, add to a growing body of evidence hinting that lower dopamine levels could contribute to the slower, often disabling walking patterns seen in some elderly populations.

"Most people think about dopamine's role in mobility in the context of Parkinson's disease, but not in normal aging," said senior author Caterina Rosano, M.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. "We were curious to see if a genetic predisposition to produce more or less dopamine was related to mobility in individuals who had some level of frailty, yet did not have dementia, parkinsonism or any other neurological condition."



___________________________________________________________________

30 percent of COVID deaths in long-term care
have occurred in assisted living

Thirty percent of long-term care-related deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have occurred in assisted living communities and other care homes, whereas 70% have taken place in nursing homes, according to the findings of a newly released international study.

The International Long Term Care Policy Network’s “Mortality associated with COVID-19 in care homes: international evidence” contains data from 21 countries, showing that an average of 46% of all COVID-19 deaths were residents of non-acute residential and nursing facilities that house individuals with long-term needs. 

In the United States, 82,105 COVID-19 deaths were linked to long-term care facilities, accounting for 41% of all coronavirus deaths. The report uses data from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project for assisted living communities, adult care centers, nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities and other long-term care facilities.


________________________________________________________________


Senior living providers struggle to assist
residents with voting in 2020 elections

“It’s not as simple as it once was.”

That is how Pennsylvania Health Care Association President and CEO Zach Shamberg summed up voting in the 2020 November election during a virtual press conference on Thursday. Shamberg discussed how assisted living communities and nursing homes are preparing to support the state’s 50,000 registered older voters’ participation in the voting process and how state and federal governments will play a pivotal role.

With a series of changes to Pennsylvania’s voting processes this year, including some stemming from the pandemic, Shamberg said it is more important than ever that long-term care facilities are equipped to facilitate mail-in, absentee and in-person voting for their residents. 



* * * *



Cigarette smoking may increase risk
for Alzheimer’s disease


Cigarette smoking appeared linked to increased amounts of Alzheimer’s disease risk biomarkers, according to results of a case-control study published in JAMA Network Open.

“Evidence from epidemiological studies and meta-analyses have indicated that cigarette smoking is significantly associated with the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer disease and dementia,” Yanlong Liu, PhD, of the School of Mental Health at Wenzhou Medical University in China, and colleagues wrote. “It has been reported that heavy smoking is associated with a greater than 100% increase in risk [for] dementia and [Alzheimer’s disease] after 2 decades of exposure. With memory loss and cognitive deficit, [Alzheimer’s disease] is among the most devastating brain disorders for older individuals.”

Results of an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease suggested that cigarette smoking may exacerbate amyloid pathology. Other studies demonstrated that measuring amyloid-beta 42 levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may offer diagnostic specificity for Alzheimer’s disease, with results of human studies showing a strong association between high CSF amyloid-beta 42 levels and mild cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s disease. 



<><><><><>




Democrat or Republican:
Which Political Party
Has Grown the Economy More?

Democrats and Republicans have widely different views on the economy. But once in power, candidates' actions don't always coincide with their party's views. That makes it difficult to determine which party is better for the economy.

Key Takeaways

    Many factors influence how much impact Republican or Democratic presidents have on economic performance
    These factors include recessions, wars, and prior presidents' policies
    Some research shows that economic growth is better under Democrats

The Philosophy Behind Democratic Economic Policy

Democrats gear their economic policies to benefit low-income and middle-income families. They argue that reducing income inequality is the best way to foster economic growth. Low-income families are more likely to spend any extra money on necessities instead of ....



* * * *



10 countries where you can retire on just $100,000

Living out your golden years near beautiful beaches in warm sunshine doesn't have to devour all your savings. In fact, you can retire to some countries with well under $100,000 in the bank.

We've looked at a wide range of data to find the places with the most affordable food, health care, rents and more. You’ll pay far less for your living costs, while enjoying many of the same — or better — amenities that you'd get by retiring in the U.S.

Ranked in no particular order, here are our picks for places where you could retire on less than $100,000. You'll find reasonable costs, friendly people, comfortable lifestyles, and views that are often spectacular....




* * * *






* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php



* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, OCT. 22ND 2020


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





10.20. 20




An Indigestible Subject


Before we get into today’s topic, let’s get this out of our system (pun intended).

One-liners while having a colonoscopy [1]

1. "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!

2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"

3. "Can you hear me NOW?"

4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

5.. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"

6.. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."

7. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"

8.. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!

9. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."

10. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"

And the best one of all...

11. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?"


Yes, they’re funny. And I wish my sense of humor would have been up to it when I had my first and only colonoscopy. But under the circumstances by which I was the recipient of the most invasive of all tests, I left any wit or jocularity back home. As I  lay on a very hard table in a darkened room of Forest Hills Hospital on that morning, wisecracking was the last thing I had on my mind. My gut was in bad shape and I knew it.
 
Arriving at a hospital in an ambulance and being put in a situation when a routine test becomes an emergency procedure should not be the reason to have a colonoscopy. But I had no choice. Circumstances took away any preferences had this been a scheduled visit.
 
Most middle-aged men, and any man that does not have a female presence to nag them, put off visits to a doctor for “checkups”, especially those that have anything to do with what’s south of the bellybutton, for as long as possible, if ever at all. And for me, a person who had never had stomach or bowel problems, having the dreaded ‘noscopy' was definitely not on the agenda. 

Had this been a scheduled “routine” colonoscopy, they would have given me the opportunity to be anesthetized and perhaps even a nice mild sedative to take away any of the anxiety. But because of the urgency to find out what exactly was wrong with me, any of those amenities went out the window.
 
For me, it went like this.
 
Nurse: “Take off your pants and underwear and hop up on this table. Lay on your side, please.”
Doctor: “This is the instrument I will use” (putting something that looked like a garden hose with a headlight attached to it in front of my face). You might feel some discomfort.”
 
There was a large TV monitor mounted on the wall in front of me so I could watch the procedure in High-Def. What I saw was not good. Even to the untrained eye, there were things in there I knew should not be. The doctor thought so too as he snipped off sample after sample of pathology, making remarks as he cut.
 
“Got that, "that’s interesting" and, "I’ve never seen anything like that,” were just some comments.
 
After the exam, as I was pulling my pants back up, I could not help having a feeling of impending doom. Feeling as sick as I did, and listening to the remarks made by the doctor, I honestly believed I had a brief time to live. Surely, one of those polyps, bumps or lesions had to be signs of an advanced cancer. I was more sad than frightened. I would die alone, I thought.

As it turned out, there was no cancer. However, there was the next best thing. Ulcerative Colitis. And a severe case at that. So bad that it resulted in me losing 8 feet of infected bowels and a change in lifestyle I never could have imagined.
 
I’ll not tell you that if I had gone for a routine colonoscopy a year or five years earlier, I would have been spared the pain and suffering. Nobody can say that. Even my GI doc and surgeon could not determine when or how long I had the disease. Or what caused it. But I am telling you that going for a colonoscopy on your own terms will help to ease some fear and apprehension associated with invasive tests like this. And, should they find a problem, the options for dealing with it are greater than if you were in a do or die situation.
 
No. It’s not pleasant. But it’s not painful either. You don’t have to look at a monitor or listen to any comments. The people who preside over these tests are professional and will treat you with the utmost respect. [2]
 
I can’t think of a better time to schedule a test now that many of us have some time on our hands. It’ll be over in less than an hour and you can keep your mask on. I would suggest you don’t get the anesthesia. There are fewer chances of complications and you’ll feel much better at the conclusion of the test. And you won’t need anybody to drive you home. ............... 


[1]https://www.cnet.com/forums/discussions/one-liners-while-having-a-colonoscopy-259182/
[2]Except if you wind up with the doctor that initially treated me. What a jerk.



* * * *



More on why we need Universal Health Care….

The health insurance mess: 
Worker costs jump anew, as kids’ coverage falls

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many Americans to reconsider their transportation options, what with fears of infection and the slashing of public transit systems’ routes and schedules. That has made used cars, motorcycles, and bicycles hot commodities.

Those who are working and considering how their finances might stretch may take little comfort in another reality of the U.S. health care system — the relentlessly increasing cost of employer-provided coverage. Who can afford a second car while also footing the rising bill for health coverage?

As the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said in its annual report on this issue:

“Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,644 for single coverage. Fifty-five percent of small firms and 99% of large firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, with an overall offer rate of 56%.”



* * * *





Older men need to hydrate
even when they are not thirsty


A new study confirms that older men may lack the bodily cues that help younger men remain hydrated.

Smart thermostats have nothing on our hypothalamus. This is the gland that helps us maintain a healthy body temperature.

When we get too hot, the hypothalamus causes our skin to produce sweat that cools us down as it evaporates. We then become thirsty, and we should drink to replace the water that we lost through sweating.

However, if we sweat too much or do not drink water to replenish our fluids, we can become dehydrated. 


____________________________________________________________________

CMS Proposes Changes to Medicare’s Coverage Determination
Criteria and Expedites Approval of Breakthrough Devices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently issued a proposed rule that would grant Medicare coverage to breakthrough medical devices immediately upon FDA approval. The rule also proposes to codify a new definition of “reasonable and necessary” for Medicare national coverage determinations that takes into account commercial insurance coverage of items and services. It is unclear how broadly this new "reasonable and necessary" definition will apply if the proposed rule is finalized.

New Devices Face a Lag in Medicare Coverage

Newly approved medical devices currently undergo a lengthy process to obtain Medicare coverage after FDA approval. CMS describes the gap between FDA approval and Medicare coverage as a “valley of death” for innovative products designed for Medicare beneficiaries. Hyperbole aside, the lag between approval and coverage can delay seniors' access to innovative products. It also requires device manufacturers to expend additional time and resources after FDA approval to begin generating Medicare revenue, which may dissuade some investment in innovative products.



____________________________________________________________________

CVS, Walgreens To Help Distribute Coronavirus
Vaccines To Assisted Living Facilities


The federal government has made a deal with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to help distribute coronavirus vaccine — once one or more gets authorized — to long-term care facilities like nursing homes, federal officials said Friday.

Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing that the two drugstore chains are the best placed to send out mobile units to vaccinate seniors and other vulnerable people on site.

“This is a completely voluntary program on the part of every nursing home. This is an opt-in program,” Mango said.



* * * *





Pandemic Drives Working Americans
to Seek Further Education


The COVID-19 pandemic ignited a shift in how working Americans view continuing education, according to a new survey commissioned by Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions® (NYSE: BFAM). The survey revealed the 85% of full and part-time employed Americans feel employers need to rethink their benefits offerings in light of the pandemic.

What are employees looking for in this current climate? Education opportunities. 78% of working Americans believe the pandemic has increased the need for companies to support their employees with education benefits, including tuition reimbursement for degree and non-degree programs and student loan repayment programs.

What’s more, education benefits are not only driving employee motivation, but they may be a key factor in promoting workplace equality. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of American workers (65 percent) think that providing education benefits to all employees helps promote racial and gender equality in the workplace. 




<><><><><>





President Trump's Position on Social Security
Is at Odds With What the Majority of Americans Want

Social Security is one of the most popular government programs of all time, and it's one that enjoys broad support among large swathes of the American public.
Not only do people like Social Security, but most are willing to pay for it. President Trump, however, wants to make a big change to the funding mechanism of the program. His position puts him at odds with most Americans. In fact, one recent survey shows that while the president wants to cut the taxes that currently pay for Social Security, there's instead majority support for expanding them.
Trump wants to cut the payroll tax, which most Americans want to apply more broadly



* * * *




How to Make Smart Medicare
Open Enrollment Choices in 2020


The 2020 Medicare Open Enrollment season runs from October 15 through December 7 and it’ll be even trickier than normal for new and existing beneficiaries. That’s due to a combination of COVID-19, changes in Medicare rules and new types of coverage offered by private Medicare Advantage plans.

So, Next Avenue talked to Medicare experts for their best advice and cautions to help people 65 and older make smart Open Enrollment decisions this year.

The Medicare Open Enrollment period is when you can do any of these for the following year:




* * * *





* * * *


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST 2020


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





10.19.20



We Need Free Healthcare.
Why Don’t We Want To Pay For It?
8 minutes

It’s one thing to be poor. It’s another when you first realize it.
 
Like most Americans who considered themselves to be “Middle Class” I have never had so much money that I didn’t have to worry about it. Although I never lived paycheck to paycheck, I always knew that if they suddenly cut off my income, it would only take a few months to get to a point where I would be in serious financial trouble. Fortunately for me, it never came to that. Until 2007, that is. That was the year I gave up being a contributing member of society and entered the world of the permanent unemployable. I was 62 years old, and nobody would hire me. At least not for any job that would pay me enough to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge. And, most important of all, pay for my health insurance. Not being old enough for Medicare, it would be another three years before I would qualify, I was up against the wall.


My unemployment insurance and severance pay had long run out, and I dug into my savings to keep up with day-to-day expenses. Even after spending conservatively, cooking meals myself, using public transportation and buying only what I needed, I still had to cash in some of my CDs and 401k. I had never been in this position before, and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. The bottom line; I didn’t know how to be poor. I had become so complacent and dependent on a steady income I was unprepared to live otherwise. I thought about finding a minimum wage job, but after doing the math including all the deductions, the cost of commuting and other expenses associated with work (meals, work clothes etc.) And, since none of them included benefits like health coverage, the few dollars I would make wasn’t worth the effort. My only option was to turn to the one place I didn’t want to go. The Social Security Office.

The next month, my first check came in the mail. I have to tell you, it felt good going to the bank and make a deposit for a change. That money, about $900, paid my rent with few bucks left over for utilities. I was still spending more than I received, but at least I had some breathing room. I knew I could control my spending except for one item. The ever present cloud that hangs over much of under 65 America. Health insurance.

There I was. A 62-year-old man, whose only income was from Social Security, paying over $300 a month for a health insurance plan that would only pay for hospitalization. No doctor well-visits. No meds. No Dental. The only way I would collect would be if I got very sick. Which, in 2009 I did.
 
I was fortunate. I had the means to pay for health insurance. But what about those Americans who are living on the edge, with a family and little or no income, who can’t afford even a minimal form of health care? People who would be wiped out by even a minor illness. This is why we need universal health care. The Affordable Care Act (Obama-care) helps, but it’s not free. For many, even $100 is a hardship. In many cases, the money one has to pay for health care can be the difference between going hungry and homeless or dead. We need something better. So why don’t we?
 
People opposed to free health insurance say, “It costs too much,”, and “They’ll raise our taxes to pay for it.”
 
Yes, it will cost a lot. And yes, they probably will have to raise taxes. But using our taxes is the way we pay for everything we have. Police, Fire, Sanitation, EMT. And on the Federal level, our armed forces, FBI, NASA, to name just a few. Taxing people according to their income will mean that they will tax poorer people less, and richer people more. It’s only fair, right? Why Are people so afraid of a national healthcare system? Because people, many of them old people, cannot get the term “Socialized Medicine” out of their heads. Probably the same people who want to “Make America Great Again.”

They have a fear of government interference in their lives more than concern over their own health and the health of millions of their fellow citizens. They cringe at the possibility of having a few dollars raise in taxes, not realizing they are paying more out of their pocket because the cost of medicines and hospitalization has gone unchecked for a hundred years. And what’s even dumber is they want to protect a system that makes rich people even richer. People who couldn't care less whether you can afford to get sick because rich people CAN afford healthcare.
 
And it’s not like we don’t already have a taxpayer supported health care system. We call it Medicare. Something I thank my lucky stars for every month. Without Medicare and Medicaid, I don’t know where I would live or where my next meal would come from. That’s if I would still be alive at all. There is no way I could afford the medication, the peripherals, or the doctors that enable me to survive daily.
 
If we remain with the same administration with the same “Better Dead Than Red.” attitude we will never get out from under the yoke of big-pharma and over-paid supporters of a system inherently designed to oppress and segregate the masses.
 
Why do we as senior citizens, want for others what we already have? Because we have children and grandchildren. And we have friends and neighbors who are struggling and we, as the caring people we are supposed to be, want nothing but the best for them. Or don’t we? It’s 16 days until Election day. You know what you have to do…………….. .
 





* * * *





House lawmakers to propose emergency
3% Social Security cost-of-living adjustment
By Lorie Konish


The Social Security Administration announced this week that the cost-of-living adjustment for benefits in 2021 will be 1.3%.

For the average retirement benefit, that amounts to just a $20 increase per month.

Now, two Congressional Democrats — Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and John Larson, D-Conn. — plan to propose a bill to raise that to a 3% emergency increase next year.



___________________________________________________________________


Many Older Americans With
Heart Failure Take 10 or More Meds
By Cara Roberts Murez


When older people hospitalized for heart failure are sent home, they are often given a whopping 10 medications to take for a variety of conditions. But is this "polypharmacy" practice necessary, or does it just place a bigger burden on already frail patients?

It's not a question so much of the quantity of the medications, but whether the medications patients are taking are the right ones for them, said senior study author Dr. Parag Goyal, a geriatric cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City.

"It's not just that we're not starting the right medications, there may be situations where we're not stopping the wrong medications as well," Goyal said. "I think we need to look at the medication that older adults with heart failure take in a more holistic fashion."


___________________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
Vaccines and Treatments


Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: As we await vaccines and treatments, where are we in the process, and what critical steps are ahead?

Nanette Cocero: Over the last few months, biopharmaceutical companies, along with others in academia and the broader scientific community, have achieved what usually takes years — driven by a shared mission to find a solution to this pandemic. We are all acutely aware of the responsibility that rests on our shoulders and the lives that are at stake.

Around the globe, there are more than 1,500 clinical trials underway of treatments and vaccines to fight COVID-19. This is a stunning number, as is the number of vaccine candidates currently in clinical evaluation (more than 40).




* * * *


Medical cannabis doesn't cause
cognitive decline in seniors, study finds
By IDAN ZONSHINE

"Although the cannabis patients have been using it consistently for at least a year, we have not found that their cognitive function is lower than of people similar to them in age and background."


A new study conducted at Haifa University's School of Public Health has found no evidence of cognitive decline in senior citizens who regularly smoke medical cannabis to treat chronic pain. 

Chronic pain affects 19%-37% of the adult population worldwide and medical cannabis has, in recent years, been raised by patients and researchers alike as a "highly effective" possible treatment.




<><><><><>





It’s time to end presidential debates — forever
By Dylan Matthews

Last Friday, the Commission on Presidential Debates officially canceled the second presidential debate of the 2020 general election, originally scheduled for Thursday, October 15. The cancellation was caused by President Trump’s refusal to debate remotely (despite his positive test for Covid-19). According to Newton Minow, a member of the debate commission and one of the negotiators behind the first televised debates in 1960, the cancellation’s real victim was American democracy.

“In seven decades of televised presidential debates, this is the first debate to be canceled,” he told the New York Times. “The loser is the American voter.”

Minow is being a bit cute here. In 1964, 1968, and 1972, debates were not canceled — because they were not held at all. And while there is little doubt that the 1960 debates he helped negotiate for John F. Kennedy were a watershed moment for television as a medium and for popular democracy more generally, they happened 60 years ago. Telecommunications has changed dramatically, and so has politics.


--♦ ♦ ♦ ♦-- 

Trump Makes Last-Ditch Play to Reclaim Seniors
By Jose S Vanhorne 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP pleaded with senior citizens Friday to stick with him, promising free vaccines and therapeutics to help them fight the coronavirus and painting an apocalyptic picture of a Biden administration that would strip them of Medicare and Social Security benefits in a last-ditch pitch to reclaim an important voting bloc that’s increasingly supporting his challenger.

“I will protect you, I will defend you, I will fight for you with every ounce of energy and conviction that I have,” the president said Friday afternoon in Fort Myers. “You devoted your life to this country and I am devoting my life to you.”

The pledge comes as polls show Trump shedding support at an alarming rate from seniors – a demographic he handily won in 2016 by 7 points.

The most recent national polls, including one from CNN/SSRS and another from The Wall Street Journal/NBC News, found the former vice president with more than a 20-point lead over Trump among voters 65 and older.



* * * *




Benefits Planner: 
Retirement Benefits For Your Family


If you’re getting Social Security retirement benefits, some members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. If they qualify, your ex-spouse, spouse, or child may receive a monthly payment of up to one-half of your retirement benefit amount. These Social Security payments to family members will not decrease the amount of your retirement benefit.

Maximum Family Benefits

There is a limit to the amount we can pay your family. The total varies, depending on your benefit amount and the number of qualifying family members on your record. Generally, the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit.

If you have a divorced spouse who qualifies for benefits, it will not affect the amount of benefits you or your family may receive.





* * * *







* * * *




See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




* * * *








<30>



NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, OCT. 20TH 2020


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




10.16.20

This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s
Election Year
6-7 minutes

For the first time in my long history of voting for U.S. Presidents, I’m worried. Truthfully, I’m not just worried, I’m scared. I’m scared because I fear my instincts may be right.
 
In 2016, although I hoped and prayed Hillary Clinton would win, somewhere, deep inside my gut, gnawing at what remained of my bowels, was the feeling that the American people had been lulled into a false sense of security and that Trump would inconceivably be the next President of the United States. The feeling was so strong that I made a small wager with a few of the residents here at the A.L. F. to that affect. Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I was proved right. I may have won the bet (a large pepperoni pizza which we all shared) but lost my belief that Americans could always see through the phony and corrupt and do the right thing. Obviously, I was wrong. And now, I’m having a similar feeling. The feeling that we, once again, will have misread the true nature of mainstream America and reward that misogynist racist S.O.B. with another four years of his lies and corruption.


Perhaps I’ve just become too cynical and the events of 2020 have further scarred my already addled brain. Maybe I have been bombarded with so much negativity (COVID, riots, the economy and misinformation) that it’s impossible to properly process everything in its correct order and what I’m feeling is the exact opposite of reality. Maybe I’m just imagining all of those non-mask-wearing people I see at Trump rallies and on the streets of some neighborhoods in Brooklyn. But even if that is true, you would have to admit, this is like no presidential election you have ever seen. While we have had contentious elections before, never have we had one where a candidate’s sanity became a concern.

Personality has always been a consideration when selecting a leader. Ideally, we want someone who exhibits strength, decisiveness, fairness, empathy and compassion with a penchant for change and innovation. Essentially, a reflection of what we Americans believe we are. So how did we elect a man who displays none of those?
 
Trump thinks bullying is a sign of strength. Fairness is finding “good people” in Neo-Nazis and showing empathy and compassion is making fun of a physically challenged journalist. And, for innovation, Trump wants to take us back to a time when, in his mind, “America was great.” A time when segregation was the law and equality meant a married woman could not get credit on her own. And, sadly, enough Americans have found kinship with that line of thinking enough to make me think this election will not be a runaway for the Democrats.

It’s not like we haven’t had close elections in the past.
 
In 1960, Kennedy won the popular vote by less than 120,000 votes out of 68.8 million votes cast and received 303 electoral college votes to Nixon’s 219. And more recently, in 2000, just days before the election, pollsters said it was too close to call. Inconsistencies marred vote tallying, particularly in Florida, where Al Gore demanded a recount. Legal challenges eventually brought the race before the U.S. Supreme Court, where calls for a recount were rejected, handing the election to George W. Bush. Bush won the electoral college with 271 votes to Gore’s 266, but lost the popular vote by some 500,000.
 
Knowing that, and having that “feeling” again, has reinforced my fea