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I have always considered myself to be an honorable man. Not rich but, at least, honorable. I have stolen nothing or cheated anyone. Not even the IRS. I never reneged on a bet, or did not pay back a loan or made a promise I could not keep. I have also never betrayed a friend. And, as an American, I was proud to live in what I considered being an honorable country. That pride was tarnished last week (perhaps forever) by an order given by our so-called Commander-in-Chief. Last Sunday our president gave his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
The Turks have always considered the Kurds to be their enemies, accusing them of terrorism. We have always considered the Kurds to be our number one ally in the fight against our enemy, ISIS. We trusted them, not only to fight side-by-side with our troops, but to guard the prisons where they hold some of ISIS’s most dangerous fighters. By allowing Turkey to be the main fighting force in the area, we have betrayed any relationship we had with the Kurds and our ability to keep the ISIS prisoners where they belong. And, almost immediately, the Turks could not wait to put an end to any Kurdish presence in the area and began to bomb areas where they knew there would be Kurds, and, their families. Put simply, our president sold out our ally. A deed made especially dastardly knowing what the Turks would do to them. 

How all of this sits with our oldest ally’s (Great Britain, France etc.) who are already nervous considering how Trump has cozied-up to the likes of Un and Vlad even going as far as proposing allowing Russia into NATO, I can’t say. But what I know is how this sits with some of our residents. Many of whom have fought in wars defending our country.
I would like to say that I have spoken to some of our residents who served in WW2, but there aren’t any here, at least not anymore. But there are some that are Korean era vets and many who fought in Vietnam. And, to a man, they are not happy. Some, even angry. 
We have a men’s club that meets once-a-month here at the facility. Among those present are a few guys (my contemporaries) who they drafted or enlisted to fight in Vietnam. The men, who are in their 70s now, were only 18 or 19 when they joined the conflict. I asked them how they felt about being sent to a country they knew nothing about fighting in a war they didn’t care about. The answer was what you might expect. They did it because (a) they had no choice, or (b), they believed in their country and felt they were keeping the world free of Communism (a real dirty word back then). So, what do they think about Trump hanging the Kurds out to dry?
Their thoughts were with our troops. It worried them that our soldiers would get caught in the middle between ISIS, the Turks and the Kurds. When I told them our men were being withdrawn from the area and might even come home, they seemed okay with it. Then, I asked about betraying our ally’s. And, although many did not know who the Kurds were, they thought it was a lousy thing to do. 
One old duffer told me he worked closely with many South Vietnamese soldiers who he considered friends. Leaving them to fend for themselves was something they never even considered (at least not at the start of the war and not by a president).
One man, who served four years on an aircraft carrier, who said that he was proud to wear his uniform in any port they visited, mentioned that the one thing they told you was that you always had your buddy’s back. 
“Do you think we have lost our honor?”, I asked. They held nothing back. They hurled explicative left and right, mostly toward our president. None of them thought he really had the soldiers in mind and admonished him for not serving in the Armed Forces.

I know the four or five old men I spoke to may not be a fair sample of how all former soldiers feel about the current situation. Not being one of those guys, the only opinion I can give is from a formally proud U.S. citizen who now would most likely keep a low profile in any international situation. I still love America, but I just don’t like the direction we’re going..........

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You Need to Make a 'When I Die' File—
Before It's Too Late

Ruth Byock, 81, was driving to her daughter Molly’s house for Thanksgiving dinner when she had a heart attack and died. Struggling to imagine a world without their mother, Molly and her brother Ira went to clear out her condo in Leisure World, the retirement community in Laguna Woods, CA that Ruth had called home for 12 years. (She had renamed the place “Wrinkle Village”).

While sorting through her things, they discovered a small card file on a kitchen counter next to her recipe box. They opened it up, expecting guidance on how to make brisket and kugel. (On the afternoon she died, she had two versions of the baked noodle dish in the back seat of the car.)

What Molly and Ira found instead took them by surprise: Inside, their mother had carefully organized all of her papers, including the account numbers, pending transactions, and a bundle of other documents they’d need to settle her affairs and distribute her belongings. It was as though their mother had baked them one last batch of kugel from beyond and left it waiting there for them to arrive. “This was not a Buddhist master’s awareness of death,” Ira Byock says. “It was a Jewish mother’s love for her children.”

Continue reading>>

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Seniors Need Network Of People They Trust
As Checks On Each Other To Prevent Fraud Say Experts
By Ted Knutson

Seniors need a network of trusted family members, friends and financial professionals as checks on each other to prevent becoming the victims of elder financial fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission was told Thursday.

The problem for financial professionals and other who rely on a one trusted individual to watch out for a senior is that that one son or daughter or neighbor or broker could turn out to be a victimizer, cautioned experts from SIFMA Managing Director and Associate General Counsel Lisa Bleier to National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) Executive Director Lori Delagrammatikas.

The warnings came at an SEC forum on elder financial abuse where SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said it keeps him at night and Senate Aging Committee Chair Maine Republican Susan Collins called it “the Crime of the 21st Century.”


Map: The best (and worst) states for aging, according to US News

U.S. News & World Report last week released its Best States for Aging list, which ranks all 50 states on how they address the needs of older adults, and Maine ranked No. 1.

What your patients expect from their care—from millennials to the silent generation
How US News ranked states

Seniors today account for almost 25% of the United States' population, according to U.S. News, and that population is likely to grow as more baby boomers age into their elder years. With its Best States for Aging ranking, U.S. News "determines which states are most effectively serving their senior citizens by keeping them healthy, financially secure and involved in their communities."

For the ranking, U.S. News evaluated how all 50 states performed on 12 metrics related to quality of life for older Americans. Those metrics included:


Dementia and religion: "What if I forget about God?"
By Adelle M. Banks

Dementia is the overall term for memory loss and cognitive impairment that results from diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It progresses as damage to the brain disrupts normal communication between brain cells and, in turn, affects behavior and thinking. This story is part of a Religion News Service series on dementia and religion. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky.: When geropsychologist Benjamin Mast evaluates dementia clients at his University of Louisville research lab, there’s a question some people of faith ask him:

“What if I forget about God?”

It’s a query that reflects the struggles of people facing diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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The one thing you don’t get as a resident in an assisted living facility is pity. Nor do we want it. Fortunately, those of us (staff and residents) are surrounded by people whose lives were disrupted by illness or disability, have an inherent knowledge of this. Pity, is what people use to allay the guilt they have for not being the one in a hospital bed or a wheelchair or otherwise incapacitated.
Anyone who has ever been in a wheelchair and trying to maneuver through a mall or office building or (G-d forbid) mass transit, knows that reaction well. They can see it in people’s eyes and hear it in their voices.
Seven or eight years ago I found myself in a situation I thought would be a permanent one.
After months of physical therapy and living in a nursing home, I was still no further in my effort to walk than I had when I first arrived. I was preparing myself, and my body, to get by in that wheelchair as best I could. And, after a while, I was getting good at navigating around the obstacles faced by mobility challenged people all the time.
By lifting weights and working on my arm strength, I could push myself around the facility with speed and agility. I had no trouble working my way around the building. I may not have had use of my legs, but I was not an invalid. Unfortunately, people who don’t have a disability view us differently. Not only are we physically challenged, but many see us as mentally challenged as well.
My nursing home had eight floors which meant travel via elevator was mandatory. And I had no problem using them.
One day, upon returning from PT, I found myself in an elevator filled with visitors. They were mostly young people making a guilt trip visit to a loved one unfortunate enough to have been “incarcerated.
” Although I could glide smoothly over the gap between elevator and landing I could feel the cold stare of pity from the rest of the passengers.
As I reached for the button that would allow a stop on the 4th floor, a hand shot out and pushed it for me. “LET-ME-GET-THAT-FOR-YOU”, he shouted in a slow, clipped manner best suited for a three-year-old rather than a sixty-year-old man. To him, I was not only unable to push buttons, but deaf and slow too. I was about to make a snide remark but thought it better to smile and say thanks. It was really not his fault. It was the guilt genes we all carry overriding any common sense.

We don’t want sympathy (something you will get little of here). And we really, really don’t want empathy. Having you feel my pain.
What we want is a little understanding of what it means to have to deal with many of the difficulties older Americans face every day.
The first thing to remember when encountering an older person is that just because I’m old, I am not automatically cognitively impaired, have Alzheimer’s or think Calvin Coolidge is still president. And, while it may be true that my ideas and ideals may differ from yours, it does not mean that I don’t understand where you’re coming from.
No, I don’t like most of today’s music. But I can still remember when my dad said he didn’t like my music either. So. I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t knock your music if you don’t knock mine. The same stands true for clothes.
Older ladies seem to always know what’s age appropriate. Old men rarely have a clue. If you are lucky, most will dress conservatively or in the clothes they have worn for 40 years*. Other’s will throw on anything they find in the closet. This includes pajama bottoms, tank tops, or a jacket they’ve had since high school. If you bring an old man new clothes don’t be surprised if he never wears it. And keep in mind. We are very particular about underwear. Don’t give us boxer briefs because you think they’re cool. We prefer our tidy-whities or cotton boxers.**

If you do bring anything, make it food. Preferably something home-made and sweet. And bring enough for a group.

If you come for a visit, that’s great. We love seeing you. We also know that you may be uncomfortable around so many old people. Therefore, it’s okay to not to stay all day. But while you are here to listen closely to what we have to say and how we look. If we look ill, we probably are. Do not automatically cross our condition off to old age. Many of us old folks have learned to ignore changes in our health because we think if we complain too often they look at us as being difficult. Although we won’t admit it, we need you to be our advocates. Unfortunately, with old folks, the squeaky wheel does not always get the grease unless a relative makes that squeak.
According to government statistics, over 35% of people over 65 have a disability with mobility being the most common. Therefore, when you visit, asking an older person if they need you to drive them anywhere (the mall, the supermarket drugstore or to the library etc.) will be one of the best gifts you can give.
And finally, keep in touch. The worst thing about being old is to feel forgotten. A letter or email ( yes, we use email) is great if you can’t come in person.
I know there are many seniors out there who are not disabled or poor living in some health-related facility. We’ve all seen the ads for those retirement communities where a group of smiling seniors are swimming or playing golf on a palm-tree-lined golf course. For those I say “G-d bless you”. You have found Nirvana or, at least a gated compound in Florida. For the rest of us septa and octogenarians all we really want is a little respect and understanding. Oh, BTW, watch out for the sand trap on the fourth hole. It’s a bitch. ………………………………………………

* editor’s note: I mean the exact same clothes they’ve had for 40 years
** And no fancy designer ones either. Jockey, Fruit of The loom or Hanes please.

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Types of risk for residents at long term care facilities
Senior Care Investigation


Water temperature

Big problems can arise when employees who are not nurses administer medications


Improper food

Failure to seek medical attention

Inadequate staffing

Unsafe conditions


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Solving The Loneliness Epidemic Via Self-Driving Cars
By Lance Eliot

Loneliness might be overcome via the advent of self-driving cars.

We are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. And, unfortunately, it is predicted to worsen.

According to stats by the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), one in five Americans indicates that they are lonely and feel socially isolated. Approximately 25% of Americans live alone.

Loneliness is more than merely a debilitating state-of-mind, it also can be physically damaging and reportedly take months or years off your lifespan, increase chances of having a stroke, along with being considered equal in body harm to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

By the demographics, those that are young tend to be vulnerable to loneliness, though we normally think only about the elderly being lonely (they are too, perhaps more obviously so).


You will die. Don’t exit leaving a hot mess behind.
By Michelle Singletary

Whenever I give a talk about estate planning, I ask the audience to guess the percentage of Americans who do not have a will.

Most people guess in the 90 percent range.

It’s a trick question.

Various studies show that most adults have not prepared a legal will. But the point I’m really trying to make is that everyone has a will in a way — just not one that they have executed.

If you die “intestate,” meaning you don’t have a legal will, state laws determine how your assets will be distributed to your heirs.

I wasn’t surprised that Aretha Franklin didn’t have a will. You probably don’t either.


If You Think Politicians Cater to Seniors Now, Just Wait

Republicans are giving up on entitlement reform, and seniors’ share of the population will only grow.

The president on Thursday unveiled the “Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors,” a plan to, among other things, expand seniors’ options within Medicare Advantage, the popular program that allows the elderly to buy private health plans in lieu of receiving traditional Medicare.

There are several conversations we could have about this move. We could talk about the debate over Medicare Advantage itself, in which conservatives point out that it is far more cost-effective than traditional Medicare but skeptics say the savings aren’t passed through to taxpayers. Or we could talk about how this fits into the Trump administration’s broader efforts on health care, which have freed up many Americans to buy many plans that regulations previously took off the table. Or we could talk about the criticisms Trump made of the Democrats’ health-care plans, and whether those plans would really hurt seniors as he claimed, rather than holding seniors harmless and expanding benefits for everyone else.

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Sorry, my rebellious old friends, your leader will rebel no more. I have decided I will no longer fight the system. And, although it goes against every fibre in my body, I will no longer protest, ignore or disagree with anything anybody tells me. Why? Because I’m too damn tired of banging my head against the wall. Did you ever hear the saying, “The best thing about hitting your head on the wall is it feels so good when you stop?” That’s how I feel.

This does not mean I will no longer voice my opinion, but that I won’t even try to argue my point. You don’t like it, okay. Next.
This decision to cooperate fully was not done on a lark. Most likely I have contemplated this for years without knowing it. Sometimes it’s just the better thing to do, if not the easiest.
A s human beings, we learn to submit to authority early in life. We are, in actuality, born with this trait. Because if we weren’t, most likely we’d never make it past our teens.

“Don’t touch that, it’s hot.” “Wear a coat. You’ll catch pneumonia and die.” “You can play outside until the streetlights come on.” These are all decisions made by someone in authority (usually your parents) to which you disagreeably give-in to because you know it will do no good to argue. This acquiescence usually continues through your formative years because you are too little and too weak and too powerless to do anything about it. But that quickly changes when you reach your teens. You are no longer the wimpy little kid. You are now taller and bigger than most adults. And, along with increased muscle and sinew comes those raging hormones that take you in a direction your limited life experience can’t deal with. Fortunately, this period lasts only a few years. Usually, by the time you are 21, your mind and your personality are fully formed. What you were in your 20’s, is what you will be for most of your life.
 I was not rebellious as a kid. I found it better to maintain a low profile which allowed me to walk freely amongst both the elite (the popular kids) and the bullies. In all of my school years (k-12) they never bullied or picked on me. I received no notoriety either, so it balanced out. It was not until college that I found the need to protest.
1965 to 1971, the height of the Vietnam war. Then, as now, our country was divided. On one side, the Hawks, who saw a reason to continue a war we could not win. And on the other side, those of us who saw no reason we should fight, die and to kill people we had no quarrel with. And, although I was the least likely person to carry a sign or march in an anti-war parade, I found myself caught up in a cause in which I had a stake. Despite the protests, it took four more years to end the conflict.
Having nothing more to be angry about, I settled back into my life of anonymity. I argued with no one, protested nothing. Even when my wife asked for a divorce, I gave in. “Sure, why not? Here’s my lawyer’s number, let him argue”, I told her.
Jobs came and went. Some were good, and some were bad. I quit the bad ones and stayed with the good until I retired. I looked forward to a quiet withdrawal from the trials and tribulations of life. Fate had other plans. Illness took in a direction they did not prepare me for. Having never had to deal with the healthcare system, I was at the mercy of others who may or may not have had my best interests at heart. Again, a spark of rebellion flared up. Going against what other’s thought was good for me, I took responsibility for my recovery. I set a goal and focused on it. Eventually, I could regain some amount of normalcy. But more important, I felt empowered. 

I used this new feeling as a license to get my way. Something, after being a patient in a nursing home for nearly two years, I sorely needed. It was time for me to re-assert my independence. 

Therefore, when I entered this assisted living situation six years ago, I was determined not to let anybody decide for me. I would be “The master of my fate and the captain of my soul.” Not as easy a thing to do considering, I was in a place whose whole reason for being is to make sure you do nothing to harm yourself or reflect poorly on the facility. I had to fight for every minute of my privacy with little to show for it. 

I rebelled against almost everything including having the doctor’s appointments made without asking me first. A point that I won. 

I rebelled against having a “bed check” every evening where the night supervisor would enter my room without knocking. After a show of force, whereby I barricaded my door with an alarmed doorstop, we reached a compromise. They no longer enter my room before knocking and waiting for my answer. 

I was on a roll. I even used this blog to make my points known to the administration. And, although I ruffled some feathers, I felt I did some good, not only for myself, but for my fellow residents.

But now, I am seven years older. And, though that is not a great amount of time, to me it’s a lot of water under the bridge. I am older and wiser. I’m also tired, exasperated, and drained. I am becoming worn out by a routine that rarely changes, meals that have become merely a way to fill one’s belly and people whose lives are sadder than mine. If I wasn’t already taking meds for depression, I would say I was well on my way. Both my flesh and my spirit are weak and not willing. 

Now, Whatever they serve me, is okay. Whatever stupid rule they impose, go ahead, I don’t care. They tell me I should take a flu shot okay, here’s my arm. I will “go with the flow.” To borrow a phrase from General Douglas MacArthur, “Old residents never die, they simply give up“……………………………….


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Your assisted living or personal care home checklist
What To Ask and What To Look For

Chandeliers, bistros and theater seating are nice, but these amenities are window dressing. When you’re looking at assisted living or personal care homes, you need to ask the right questions and look for the telltale signs to be confident you or your loved one will receive proper care.


  1.     How many personal care workers are employed? Do they have other duties, such as housekeeping or cooking, in addition to helping residents? What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
  2.     What qualifications are required of staff for employment? How long have key staff been there?
  3.     Who is involved with administering medications? Are they nurses? If not, what kind of training do they receive?
  4.     Does the home use a person-centered approach that allows a resident to set the schedule for getting up, going to bed and eating? Or must residents conform to a home’s set schedule and plans?
  5.     Is there a rotation of menu items? Do residents have menu choices? What hours are meals served? How much time are residents allowed to get to the cafeteria and eat?
  6.     In caring for those with dementia, what is the home’s approach to challenging situations? In memory care, what security measures help prevent residents from eloping?
  7.     Does the facility have assistive devices to prevent falls? How is the staff trained on identifying and addressing fall risks?
  8.     Does the home employ security personnel? Is access to the complex limited? Who has access to residents’ private rooms?   
  9.    Can residents provide their own safes or other security devices to safeguard their belongings?
  10.     How often do housekeeping staff clean residents’ rooms? How often is laundry done?
  11.    Are there regular field trips? Who chooses the destinations? What outings are available for those with dementia?


    Watch how staff members interact with residents during meals or other times. Do they seem rushed? Friendly? Is there a sense of nurturing and community?......

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Security threats, internet temptations:
The delicate issue of taking away a senior's smartphone

By Judith Graham

We put an iPhone XS through a liquid torture test. the latest models are also able to withstand accident spills, from beer, wine, soda and more.

At first, Dr. Robert Zorowitz thought his 83-year-old mother was confused. She couldn’t remember passwords to accounts on her computer. She would call and say programs had stopped working.

But over time, Zorowitz realized his mother – a highly intelligent woman who was comfortable with technology ― was showing early signs of dementia.

Increasingly, families will encounter similar concerns as older adults become reliant on computers, cellphones and tablets: With cognitive impairment, these devices become difficult to use and, in some cases, problematic.


We Need Each Other’:
Seniors Are Drawn to New Housing Arrangements

By Paula Span

Older Americans are exploring housing alternatives, including villages and home-sharing.

After her husband died, Freda Schaeffer was left on her own in a three-bedroom house in Brooklyn. “I was lonely,” she confessed. And she worried about finances, because “there’s a lot of expenses in a house.”

Tom Logan, who had moved east from California, found that his disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t stretch very far in New York City. “I needed a place to stay, or I could be homeless,” he said.


Personal Finance:
Deduct expenses for long-term care

The staggering costs of long-term care can wreak havoc on your retirement savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 27% of Americans turning 65 this year will incur at least $100,000 in long-term-care costs, while 15% will require care costing more than $250,000.

But if you require long-term care or buy a long-term-care policy, you may qualify for a tax deduction that can help offset the cost.

You can deduct unreimbursed costs for long-term care as a medical expense if certain requirements are met. This includes eligible expenses for in-home, assisted living and nursing-home services.

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This past Monday (as is our custom on the last Monday of every month) we hold our Resident’s Meeting. At these
get-togethers we discuss just about anything and everything having to do with life here at the A.L.F. Topics range from problems with the plumbing, rooms not being cleaned, lack of transportation to shopping malls and supermarkets, and our interpersonal relationships with our fellow residents. While we have brought many of these concerns up in the past, the one subject that repeats most often is one where the resident believes that someone has stolen their belongings from their rooms. Among the pilfered items are pieces of small jewelry to articles of clothing such as coats and dresses. One lady at this month’s meeting complained of having a brand new pair of pants (with the tag still on) taken from her closet. The problem for the administration is how to separate actuality from imagination. Does the resident have a legitimate complaint, or is it just her imagination or confusion? There are good arguments for both.

I have been a resident here for over six years and I have never had so much as a piece of candy taken from my room. And, while it’s true I don’t leave (or have) anything of value lying about.
Let’s face it. There are several folks here whose faculties are not running on all cylinders. I’m not willing to say they have dementia or Alzheimer’s, but some suffer from memory or cognitive problems. While still others are just paranoid. 

Unfortunately, paranoia among the elderly is not uncommon.

The Symptoms of Paranoia:***

  • Being paranoid about their finances or thinking someone is stealing their money
  • Having hallucinations such as seeing people who are not there
  • Hearing strange noises
  • Feeling as though someone is “out to get them”
  • Thinking people are talking behind their back
  •                                      Feeling unexplained severe stress or agitation
    According to Dr. Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH, “it’s very common for older adults to develop persisting fears, worries, and complaints that often strike their family members as irrational, paranoid, absurd, or ridiculous.”
    If Dr. Kernisan is correct, there is a better than even chance we will all experience paranoia as we age. Here are some reasons…**
     Delirium (10 %).
            This is a very common condition of “worse-than-usual” mental function, often brought on by the stress of severe illness, surgery, or hospitalization. See 10 Things to Know About Delirium for more.
    Drugs, alcohol, and other toxins (11%)
            Medication side-effects can cause delusions, hallucinations, or other forms of psychosis. Pay special attention to medications known to affect memory and thinking. Abuse of — or withdrawal from — alcohol or other substances can also cause psychosis symptoms.
    Disease (10%)
            Many physical health problems can interfere with brain function. These include electrolyte problems such as abnormal levels of sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium in the blood, low levels of vitamin B12 or folate, thyroid problems, severe liver or kidney dysfunction, infections, and neurological diseases. Brain damage from minor strokes can also cause psychosis symptoms.
    Depression (33%) and other “mood disorders,” including bipolar disease (5%)
            About 15% of people with major depression may experience psychotic symptoms. Delusions of guilt or deserved punishment are especially common.
    Dementia (40%), including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy-Body dementia, and others
            Delusions are extremely common in dementia, especially delusions of theft, spousal infidelity, abandonment, and persecution. Hallucinations (especially visual hallucinations) are also common, especially in Lewy-Body dementia. For more on how dementia is diagnosed, see How We Diagnose Dementia: The Practical Basics to Know.
    Delusional disorder (2%) and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (1%)
            These two conditions have many symptoms that overlap with those of dementia, delirium, or other conditions affecting thinking. Doctors must exclude these more common conditions before diagnosing a person with schizophrenia or delusional disorder. Schizophrenia affects an estimated 0.1-0.5% of people over age 65. Many were diagnosed earlier in life but some people can develop the condition later in life. Delusional disorder affects an estimated 0.03% of older adults.
Wow! Aren’t those fun things to look forward to? But, as you can tell by the stats, not all of us are destined to succumb to this fate. And, for some of those above reasons, we have the power to control whether of not we become paranoid. 

Surely all of us can limit our use of drugs and alcohol. And, as I have said for years, seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist if you have problems coping with daily life or are experiencing symptoms of depression, is not admitting you are crazy. 

Of course, the best way to ease one’s fears is to have a support system (friends, relatives doctors) that can help you over the rough periods. For the rest, it’s up to you to take control of your life NOW. If you reading this and can comprehend the information given here, there’s still time. Learn the symptoms and get the help you need. …………………………..
*Editor’s note: My computer is equipped with a laptop lock which is secured to a large desk.
** Source:
*** Source:
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5 Signs It Might Be Time To See
a Doctor About Your Joint Pain

f your saw your parent suffering, would you avoid taking them to the doctor? If your partner complained of having trouble sleeping, would your response be to “get over it”? Most likely, the answer to both is a resounding no. 

While joint pain can occur at any age, it’s most common among adults between 45- and 64-years-old, and more prevalent among women than men. Despite the fact that many women experience joint pain, they have a much higher rate than men of waiting to do something about their joint pain—even past the point of joint damage or immobility?

A recent survey* of more than 500 women in the U.S. who had (or plan to have) hip or knee replacement surgery found that hip and knee pain can have big impacts on well-being beyond just the physical restrictions, affecting mood and relationships with family and friends. The results were unexpected, to say the least.

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Older People Are Ignored and
Distorted in Ageist Marketing, Report Finds

By Tiffany Hsu

lder consumers, who hold trillions of dollars in spending power and make up a growing portion of the global population, would seem to be a prime target for advertisers.
Instead, the demographic is shunned and caricatured in marketing images, perpetuating unrealistic stereotypes and contributing to age discrimination, according to a new report.
More than a third of the United States population is older than 50, but the group turns up in only 15 percent of media images, according to research from AARP, the powerful advocacy organization focused on older Americans. The report, which will be released on Monday at the Advertising Week conference in New York, was based on a random sample of 1,116 images published or posted by popular brands and groups.

What Could Help 'The Forgotten Middle' Afford Retirement Housing?

n the 1970s, many teenage boomers practically lived at the mall, trying on clothes at The Gap, eating pretzels at Hot Sam’s and buying albums at Tower Records. Little did they know that by 2029, they might literally be living at the mall.

Converting shuttered malls into what’s often called “senior housing” was one idea floated at the recent National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC) conference in Chicago. The notion may sound far-fetched, but the reasoning behind it is real.

According to The Forgotten Middle: Middle Market Seniors Housing Study that NIC commissioned, 54% of middle-income Americans age 75 or older won’t be able to afford such housing (independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and post-acute care facilities) in 2029.

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Security threats, internet temptations:
The delicate issue of taking away a senior's smartphone

By Judith Graham

We put an iPhone XS through a liquid torture test. the latest models are also able to withstand accident spills, from beer, wine, soda and more. USA TODAY

At first, Dr. Robert Zorowitz thought his 83-year-old mother was confused. She couldn’t remember passwords to accounts on her computer. She would call and say programs had stopped working.
But over time, Zorowitz realized his mother – a highly intelligent woman who was comfortable with technology ― was showing early signs of dementia.

Increasingly, families will encounter similar concerns as older adults become reliant on computers, cellphones and tablets: With cognitive impairment, these devices become difficult to use and, in some cases, problematic.

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     Editor’s note: For this post I relinquish my time to my distinguished colleague, The Faceless Foodie, who would like a few minutes to rant about what’s happening in our dining room in regards to service, food quality, nutrition requirements and a complete lack of imagination……

It’s been a while since I, the Faceless Foodie, have spoken out about the food served at our little home on the hill. There was a twofold reason for that.
First, I had run out of enough new content (and adjectives). How many times and in how many ways can I say the meals are boring, poorly seasoned and sloppily served?
The other reason for my absence is one that befalls all those who write about food. There was not that much to complain about. After a parade of inept food service managers we finally found one who, at best, is mediocre. A state in which the food is not bad enough to complain about and not good enough to praise. I knew I did not like the food, but couldn’t find anything specific. Even my most trusted sources, the actual residents who have to eat in our dining room every day, left their opinions at the table. They even suspended our monthly meetings with the chef. The residents, it appeared, were resigned to their fate. So, why now, after so much time, do I feel the need to stand up, throw my napkin to the floor, sharpen my knife and straighten the tines on my fork and complain? Because, once again, impudent and disregard exists in our dining room.. A downward spiral which began early this month.

After a day that began with a hastily made breakfast of oatmeal, juice, coffee and two hard-boiled eggs with cold toast, and a lunch that comprised a sandwich (the content of which I cannot remember) and potato chips, I was ready for at least one decent hot meal substantial enough to tide me over until breakfast. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

The meal was to be fish and chips. Having had this in the past, I knew what to expect. Or, so I thought.
Fish and chips is a no-brainer meal. There are only two ingredients. And, while I knew the fish was from frozen fillets and the chips (French fries) of similar origin, there is not much one can do to ruin it. Unless you are a cook in our kitchen. What They placed before me was not a strip of fish cooked to a golden brown (as in the past), but a black sliver of some unrecognizable protein that I could not even cut with a fork. They overcooked it. If I were to fling it across the room, it would have returned to me like a boomerang. I told the server to take it back and bring me a piece they had not burned. He returned a few minutes later with another plate of fish which had met with the same fate as the one I sent back.
“I’m sorry, they’re all like that," said the server.
A quick check of the tables next to mine confirmed what he just told me. Everyone who had ordered that meal was looking down at an equally blackened piece of fish. The “geniuses” in the kitchen had ruined nearly 50 fish and chip dinners. And, to make matters worse, they decided that it was okay to serve it to us. I had to settle for the alternate choice, a dry, herb encrusted chicken leg and some boiled potatoes.
If I sound as though I am more disturbed about the impudent manner with which they served the meal than the actual meal itself, you are correct. They can always correct bad food the next time they serve it. Bad attitude is another matter. And that is exactly what we have here. I firmly believe the kitchen staff hates us. They have no respect for us. A bias showed almost every day here. Though we complain regularly about it at our food committee meetings, nothing really ever improves. But let’s get back to the actual food.
Anyone who fancies themselves a cook, Should know how to improvise. If you run out of bacon, use ham; Right? Not in our kitchen.
They billed breakfast as “bacon, egg and cheese on a roll.” Instead, all we got was an egg and cheese. No meat, no protein. The reason, “We ran out of bacon.” So, what’s the matter with ham. Could they have not substituted the bacon with another protein? Nobody thought about doing just that.  Perhaps what they need is not a better cook, but someone who knows how to think outside of the box.

There are many other things I could gripe about such as thinner soups, more use of frozen factory made meals and repetitive menus. In addition, there are shortages of things like milk, bread, condiments and the continuing staffing problems that have plagued this facility for years. Maybe the next time I post here I’ll have something more positive to say. But I doubt it. It all boils down (pun intended) to money. The food budget allots only a certain amount per resident per day, and we have met the maximum for that allotment. But money is not the real problem. The problem is we don’t have anybody that knows how to make the most of what he has to work with. There is a skill to that and it’s just not present here. But now I’m getting hungry and they’re having more chicken or fish on a bun for dinner tonight and I have to find a Chinese take-out menu before it’s too late to order…………………………………….ff.

There’s something going on around here. It’s quieter than usual. There also seems to be fewer residents about. The absence of people is most noticeable at mealtimes. Usually, they occupy all  25 tables with at least two or three of the four people assigned to them. However, in the last two weeks, more and more of those tables have had only one person sitting at them and, as it was this morning, a few had no one at them at all. Where have they all gone to? The grapevine has it that there are several people in the hospital. The reason remains a mystery. The other story being told eludes to an increasing number of, either evictions, or residents transferring out.
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Meanwhile, flu season is upon us. And the flu, so they tell us, is bad for old folks, many of whom have compromised immune systems. That news, and that they expect this year’s flu to be worse than in previous years, has prompted me to get my shot. Mind you, I have not had a flu shot since I was a teenager. And, I have not contracted the flu for the past 40 years. I made an appointment to get vaccinated next week. I’ll let you know how it turned out. If all goes well, I might even get a pneumonia shot which, I understand, is good forever. I like forever…………

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Tips for Picking Healthy Food as You Get Older

Here are 6 tips to help you find the best foods for your body and your budget.

1. Know what a healthy plate looks like

You might remember the food pyramid, but the USDA recently unveiled a simpler way to help people see what they should eat each day. It’s called MyPlate. The simple graphic shows exactly how the five food groups should stack up on your plate. These are the building blocks for a healthy diet.

2. Look for important nutrients

Make sure you eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your plate should look like a rainbow—bright, colored foods are always the best choice! A healthy meal should include:

    Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
    Fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green, and purple)
    Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
    Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives)

Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Also, look for Vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.

3. Read the Nutrition Facts label

The healthiest foods are whole foods. These are often found on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat, and dairy sections. When you do eat packaged foods, be a smart shopper! Read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.

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Exercise + Good Nutrition + Social Interaction +
Knowing “Numbers” = Healthy Aging

By Amey Vance

New research says slowing the aging process could be as simple as cutting 15% of your daily caloric intake.

Celebrate Healthy Aging month and focus on the positive aspects of growing older. It’s never too late to learn something new, start a new friendship, or improve your health. Long life is a gift, make the most of it by staying as healthy as possible.

Most senior citizens may not be going back to school this month, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn or try something new. According to Dr. Rhett Frei, DO, medical director of the St. George LiVe Well Center, healthy aging can start today. Small changes in exercise, nutrition, community involvement, or just “knowing your numbers,” can make a notable difference in health and longevity.


A power nap could be a good way to keep your heart healthy
 - but don't overdo it.

By Erika Edwards

There's new evidence that daytime naps may be linked to a lower risk of heart attack or stroke, but only if they're limited to a few times a week.

The research, published Monday in the journal Heart, is based on data collected from nearly 3,500 people living in Switzerland.

"We looked at healthy adults and found that people who take occasional naps — once or twice a week — had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease compared to people who were not napping at all," said Nadine Häusler, an internist at University Hospital of Lausanne, and lead author of the new research.


Senior citizens are denied prescriptions millions of times each year
at the pharmacy counter because the drugs
are not covered by their Medicare plan

By Maia Anderson

Senior citizens are denied prescriptions millions of times each year at the pharmacy counter because the drugs are not covered by their Medicare plan, according to a report published Sept. 18 by the Office of the Inspector General.

Many of the rejections at the pharmacy counter could have been avoided if physicians were able to check their patient's plan and see the list of covered drugs as well as any prior authorization requirements before prescribing, according to the report. Many of those checks instead happen at the pharmacy counter, when it's often too late to change the prescription.

The report found that 84 million claims were rejected in 2017, which is roughly 3 percent of all pharmacy claims made under Medicare Part D, though the federal watchdog said that some of the claims may be double-counted.

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The mid-life crisis as defined by Wikipedia*…
“A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 45–64 years old.The They describe the phenomenon as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and shortcomings of accomplishments in life. This may produce feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety, or the desire to achieve youthfulness or change their current lifestyle.”
To be honest, I don’t remember having a mid-life crisis. Unless you consider dealing with a life-threatening illness at age 63 to be just that.
When people think of a man** having a mid-life crisis they picture some guy with thinning hair who suddenly buys a red sports car and frequents bars whose patrons are long-legged 18-year-old models from Iowa. If that is what having a mid-life crisis is all about, I KNOW I didn’t have one. But now that I am well into my seventies, I feel as though I have missed an important part of life, a milestone if you will, and I’m feeling sad about that. I think I would like to have one. Unfortunately, being 74, poor and with a broken body, I’m not sure how to go about doing that.

The sports car and the leggy young models are out. Those things usually come to those with money and the ability to drive. Both of which have long since slipped through my fingers. And besides, they would most likely kill me. I suppose I could get a toupee. One of those numbers that look like a small furry woodland creature crawled up there and fell asleep. Or, I could get a new wardrobe. Something like the young guys wear. They call them Metro-sexual’s; I think. It shouldn’t be too much of a transition. My underwear already sticks out of my pants. And turning my Met’s baseball cap around so it's backwards should not be a problem. Oh!, I know, I’ll stop shaving as close as I do. Leaving a three-days' growth of manly stubble sure attracts the ladies.

Okay, I’ve had my fun. I couldn’t care less about whether I missed out on what some consider being a rite of passage for the American male. However, there appears to be some actual scientific evidence that shows it’s normal for men to go through, not only this phase, but a set of phases that are pre-programmed to go off at a certain time.
Consider this from
“Just as a computer requires code to work, our bodies are regulated by molecular “programs” that are written early in life and then have to do their job properly for a lifetime. But do they? It’s a question that has intrigued researchers for years.
Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for therapeutic innovation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is senior author of a new study -- Longevity Related Molecular Pathways Are Subject to Midlife ‘Switch’ in Humans -- published today in Aging Cell.
Working with first author Jamie Timmons, Ph.D., of King’s College London and Stirling University Science Park, United Kingdom, and an international group of researchers on human aging, Dr. Wahlestedt made a striking observation: Key molecular programs known to promote longevity do not last beyond midlife.
The study provides a possible new reason why human disease burden increases so sharply from the sixth decade of life onward as health-protective mechanisms disappear. Which raises the question: If one wishes to boost these established “anti-aging” programs with drugs, nutrients, or lifestyle choices, is it too late to start by the time you reach your 60s? Possibly, said Dr. Wahlestedt -- at least if you hope to benefit fully from such interventions.”

As a high school student in the 1960s, we discussed “planned obsolescence.” It was an accusation by consumer groups that manufactures of durable goods (TV’s, refrigerators, washing machines and even automobiles) were designed to have a limited lifespan so we would have to replace these items every five, six or seven years. Could the same be said about the human body? Is our destiny set by some code we inherit that eventually define how long we will live and, no matter what we do, will have little or no effect on the eventual outcome?

If this holds true, It means (to me) I still have my mid-life crisis to look forward to. In fact, I’m entitled to one. And, until that manifests itself, I will not have to go through the ravages of old-age so common in my fellow septuagenarians. Does anybody know where I can get a Porsche cheap?…………………………………………………
** Editor’s note: I can only speak from a male prospective. I know you gals have an entirely different definition of those middle years. I’m talking about the sweating, short temper, dying your hair green.

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Types of Rooms in Assisted Living Communities
By Elaine K. Howley

Independent but supported living

As we age and health concerns increase, we often need some help with formerly easy tasks like shopping or bathing. Many families turn to assisted living facilities to receive support and care for older adults. "An assisted living community is housing for seniors that provides long-term senior care, including daily support around personal care services like meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation," says Sue Johansen, vice president of partner services with A Place for Mom, a senior referral service based in Seattle. These communities also offer a wide range of activities to help seniors live vibrant and enjoyable lives.

If you or a loved one is looking to move into an assisted living community, there are a lot of factors to consider in choosing the right one. Among these decisions is the type of room you'll move into. Here are six of the most common options available to seniors moving into an assisted living facility.

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How Senior Home Care Services Help Keep
You At Home Without Breaking the Bank

If you’re considering a senior living community for yourself, your parents, or your loved ones, it’s important to know how much it costs. The cost of senior living can vary greatly – but no matter which type of facility you choose, it’s incredibly expensive.

Fortunately, moving into a senior living community or facility isn’t your only option. You can enjoy the comforts of home and have all of your needs covered without spending every cent of your hard-earned retirement savings with senior home care services.

What Does Senior Housing Usually Cost?

As of 2016, The Cost of Care Survey¹ reported that the national median rate for a one bedroom living facility increased 2% to the price of $3,628 per month.

The same report revealed that a semi-private room costs, on average, $3,628 a month while a private room costs over $7,500 each month. This is a total increase of 5% in the past 5 years. At this rate, senior living may soon become a luxury that only a few can even afford.

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The Joys of the Minimalist Life in Retirement

“The freedom on the other side of our stuff makes us truly euphoric!” That’s the phrase minimalist Amy Rutherford, 51, of Parker, Colo., uses to describe the feeling of joy she and her husband Tim, 52, now enjoy after getting rid of most of their possessions.

Here’s how she and a few others have embraced minimalism, and their advice for people who’d like to do the same.

Amy Rutherford, who writes about early retirement on her website, is the first to admit that the journey with her husband to minimize, retire early and travel the world wasn’t always easy. But the couple, who’d both spent their careers in corporate sales, didn’t jump into the deep end all at once, either. Instead, theirs was a series of well-calculated baby steps.

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Social Security and You:
Some examples on how disability benefits work

Maybe it’s the sign of the times, but I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently from senior citizens asking if they can get Social Security disability benefits. The answer depends on a variety of factors. It can get a little complicated.

But I can begin with some relatively easy answers. If you are over your full retirement age (66 for most people reading this column), you can forget it. Once you reach that age, disability benefits are no longer payable. Or to put that another way, once you are full retirement age or older, a disability benefit pays the same rate as a retirement benefit.

And here is another easy one. If you are under age 62 (the minimum Social Security retirement age) and you become disabled, you should definitely apply for Social Security disability benefits. To be considered disabled, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes in five out of the last 10 years, and you must have a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months. If your claim is approved, you get a disability benefit that is essentially equal to your full retirement benefit rate.

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I looked at my watch. It was already ten past nine o’clock. The second seating diners, some who had been sitting in the lobby for more than an hour, were getting surly. Breakfast was twenty-five minutes late and the dining room staff still had not finished re-setting the tables. If this late-start had been an isolated event, the residents who were now threatening to storm the dining room “Bastille” style, would not have cared. Unfortunately, today was the fourth day in a row that a staffing problem had affected, not only breakfast, but all three meals.

Staffing has always been a problem in the health care field. Among the reasons for this is poor pay, lack of benefits, little hope of advancement, and lousy working conditions. Add to this the fact that working with sick and dying people is a thankless and dirty job, and you’ve got the makings for problems recruiting employees. And, in New York and some other states, there is another impediment to the hiring process. A costly and time-consuming background check* which often disqualifies many prospective workers.
While short staffing in the dining room may annoy, it is not life threatening.The lack of qualified help really becomes noticeable in other areas of the facility.
Patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are, by definition, needy. There are things they just can’t do without help. Among these are help with dressing, bathing and personal hygiene and housekeeping duties such as making a bed, dusting, vacuuming rugs and cleaning the bathroom. Not having the proper number of staff in these areas means, not only a decline in sanitation, but a lessening of the quality of life for patients and residents.
If you visit a nursing home or ALF where there is a noticeable odor or unkempt residents, unmade beds, full wastebaskets or dirty floors, they have a staff-to-patient ratio problem.

A National Standard for Staff-to-Resident Ratios?**

“Many states offer an official guide to finding the best assisted living communities, and most guides include the staff-to-resident ratio as an essential element to consider. Yet, most states offer no regulations over assisted living community staffing, much less regarding the proper staff-to-resident ratio for any given residence.

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, when finding an assisted living facility it is important to learn what types of training staff receive and how frequently they receive training. Yet no rules or regulations regarding general staffing requirements currently exist.

The lack of a suggested staff-to-resident ratio is not just a government shortcoming, organizations specializing in assisted living also fail to provide this type of guidance.   The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) official policy is that “ALFA supports staffing requirements that allow assisted living communities to hire staff in sufficient numbers to adequately meet the needs and preferences of the resident population.”  Essentially ALFA recommends that each facility determine their staffing needs on a case by case basis.”

 Some states, New York included, have no set staff-to-resident ratio***. The regulations simply say…

“No minimum ratios.  Resident aides must be present in sufficient numbers 24 hours a day to meet residents’ needs. Facilities must employ a case manager based on the number of residents as follows: facilities with 1-24 residents must employ a case manager for 20 hours per week; facilities with 25-44 residents require 20 hours per week plus 1 additional hour per week per bed over 24 up to 40 hours; and facilities with 45 or more residents require 40 hours of case manager staffing.”

This blasé attitude, while not welcome, may be sufficient for now. But what about the future when according to the website ""  …

“As the nation’s population continues to age, more people will be moving into assisted living facilities in the coming years. However, recent reports suggest that the nation’s facilities are critically understaffed, which increases the likelihood that elderly residents will not get the care they need. This widespread staff shortage is a crisis that will end up in more injured elderly unless swift action is taken.”

Fortunately, industry leaders are aware of the problem and have identified ways to combat this growing crisis.

An article in ****
makes this conclusion…

“Making senior living communities and organizations workforce centric as much or almost as much as they are resident centric today.

Creating meaningful realistic career paths for entry level workers (and really for workers at every level).

Figuring out how to attract the right people.

Developing methods and ways of holding on to team members once they have been hired.

Finding innovative ways to deliver services more efficiently.”

Let me end with a personal observation by someone who has been a resident of an assisted living facility for over six years, me. After they shovel all the BS under the rug and they have repeated all the rhetoric, the main reason for shortages of healthcare workers is money.
Most of these venues are for-profit institutions. Therefore, the bottom line is the bottom line. And, I have no problem with that. We would not have the places we have if there was no possibility to make a buck. Unfortunately, one factor which cut into profits is wages.
They pay mostly all of our non-supervisory staff just slightly above minimum wage with little or no benefits. Hardly enough to live on. This often results in many employees having to work two or even three jobs. After a while, they will eventually quit one of those jobs or find more suitable employment elsewhere causing a void in the number of staff available. This means the facility has to start the hiring process all over, causing a delay in putting another qualified person to work.
The only way to end this vicious cycle is to pay employees a meaningful wage (including benefits) so they can look at healthcare as a career rather than just a job. And the only way to make this a reality is through a government-funded program possibly as part of a universal healthcare scheme.
With 10,000 people turning 65 every month, and because we are living longer, the need to do something is now. Because if we don’t, the quality of life for our seniors and for all of us, will see a decline unheard of since the depression……………………………………………

*Many states require a background (vetting) check. According to the law, no person convicted of a felony, is permitted to work in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. These extensive checks are performed at the employers expense and can take up to three weeks to complete. Even after a candidate is found employable, they often have found other employment forcing the hiring process to start over.
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Avoiding the 10 Money Pits of Retirement
By Bruce Horovitz

There are so many scary things about retirement: All that free time to suddenly fill. The slew of health care decisions, from Medicare to supplemental health insurance to long-term care insurance. But the scariest thing of all is figuring out how to avoid falling into the dangerous money pits of retirement.

Some are obvious, and some are total shockers. But each one can put a serious ding in your retirement savings. Which is why Next Avenue reached out to three retirement gurus to offer tips on how to avoid them. Here are 10 big money pits of retirement (in no particular order), with solutions to avoid them:

1: ATM Stops
2: Dental Costs

3: Little-used Subscriptions

4: Costly Life Insurance Policies

5: Eating Out

6: Gifts to Your Grown Kids

7: A Credit Card Balance

9: Home Remodeling

10: Health Care Costs

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Tech Design Focuses on Booming Older Market

The technology market for older users is booming. With the world’s 65-plus population poised to hit one billion by the year 2030, manufacturers are scrambling to find new ways to put digital products into the hands of this lucrative market.

But while they may be purchasing laptops, smart phones and tablets, many older users say they still don’t feel confident about using them. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego Health Sciences department found that many times frustration with new technology made older adults unsure of their ability to use it, leaving them unmotivated to even try.

The result is a significant shift in design philosophy for many tech companies. The UCSD study stressed the need to “educate technology creators about older adults…through pragmatic exercises that involve partnering with older adults to design future technologies.” Many have responded, making the shift away from a traditional “top down” model, which prioritizes technical development, toward one that engages users in the design process upfront to help understand and break down barriers.


Elderly as addicted to social media as teens
By Reshma Ravishanker

He was angry, abusive and addicted to WhatsApp. The behavioural disorders soon became a concern for the family, as he began spending five hours every day on the messaging platform.

This wasn’t a teen issue. The patient was, after all, a 70-year-old social media addict who turned up at Narayana Health.

Doctors warn that senior citizens are as vulnerable as today’s youth. What starts as a slow exploration of new technologies may graduate into addiction, they say.

In the above mentioned case, Ranganna (name changed) from Bengaluru spent so much time sending and receiving messages that his family tried to educate him about the ill-effects. But it got worse with every passing day. The 70-year-old diabetic was so engrossed with his phone that he even forgot his insulin shots, landing in hospital.


Turning Assisted Living into a Home:
By Cacey Vigil

When people hear the term “assisted living,” they might think “nursing home” or “old folks’ home.” But what people don’t know is that interior designers are working hard to ensure that these facilities provide a sense of comfort and a sense of home to their residents.

“Designing for assisted living environments requires careful consideration of the needs of the residents living there. But really, in that way, it is no different from designing for any population,” said Elise King, assistant professor of interior design in Baylor University’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

Baby boomers would rather live at home or in a residential setting, according to This will require more locations to have independent and assisted living available. With the baby boomer generation transitioning into retirement, many will require additional care but don’t want to be in nursing homes like their parents.

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What are the dangers of shopping online?

How can we keep seniors safe on the Internet?

How can you prevent online shopping risks?

How do you stay safe online shopping?

What are the pros and cons of online shopping?

Is online shopping an addiction?

On any day a stream of vehicles from UPS, FedEx, DHL, The US Post office and other delivery services make stops here at the Asylum. They unload dozens of packages from places such as Walmart, Amazon, TJ Max and the many grocery stores that sell online. They then delivered to or get picked up by our residents. And, while this may be just a convenience for some, it’s a lifeline for seniors who have no other way of shopping for themselves.
For seniors, living at an assisted living facility can be a great comfort. Many of the chores of daily life which, for various reasons seniors cannot do for themselves, they do for us. However, the one thing they don’t provide regularly, is a way for our residents to shop for the things they need or want to improve their quality of life. The little things that “regular” people have no trouble obtaining for themselves.

At one time it meant nothing for us to hop in the car (or public transportation) and go to the supermarket or shopping center to “pick up a few things.” Now these simple trips to the store become a major undertaking.
Either we have to wait for a friend or relative to drive us, or depend on Para Transit (whose service is often spotty) or sign up and hope there’s room on one of the few facilities-provided trips to the mall. Therefore, we turn to the internet as our “shopping saviour.”
Until about seven years ago, I limited my online shopping experience to mostly camera and photographic equipment. After my “incarceration” here at the ALF, I now depend almost 100% on cyber-shopping for things like clothes, snack foods, men’s toiletries, computer-related products and some small electronics and other household products not provided by the facility. Because, despite what some may think, old folks still use toothpaste, shaving cream and underwear. However, this transition from going to a brick and mortar to one online was difficult.
Like most people, I like to see what I’m getting before I buy it. If it’s an item of clothing (especially shoes) trying the item on at the store is very important. It’s the way people have been shopping for as old as time itself. Therefore, you can imagine my reluctance to go against my basic instincts and buy something virtually sight unseen. But, I had no other choice.
I came to the ALF with practically nothing. I left most of my clothes and belongings in my old, uninhabitable, apartment. I needed almost everything from socks to a TV. Fortunately, the facility had computers available for the resident’s use. And I knew how to use it. With a credit card in hand and some trepidation in my heart, I ventured into the wonderful world of online shopping.To my surprise, I found the encounter very easy and, enjoyable.

Not only could I buy from the stores I had always purchased items from (Walmart, Sears, Walgreens) but, I could compare prices at other stores without getting up from my seat. I saved almost $200 on a flat screen TV by shopping around. And, as far as size and style, the photos they provided and the accompanying information provided gave me confidence my purchase would fit. I was hooked. Online shopping was definitely the way to go. But, let’s not fool ourselves, as with anything, there are some pitfalls to know of.

    Here are just some…*

Returning Something Can Be A Huge Hassle:
Returning items that were purchased online can be a hassle and time consuming. You might have to pay extra to have something shipped back. Online retailers are more likely to have different consumer policies than their walk-in retail counterparts. Common ones are no-return policies or, if returns are allowed, restocking fees that can be 10 or even 30 percent of the original purchase price. If you are fighting with an online company about their policies, check out this website for local consumer agencies that may be able to help you:
Shipping, Handling, and Restocking Fees, Oh My:
Then of course there are the shipping fees, handling fees, and restocking fees that one must deal with. If an online merchant doesn’t follow the Direct Marketing Association’s guidelines on shipping and handling fees, it could face a legal complaint or other action from law enforcement. If you think a site is charging excessive or misleading fees, report it to your local consumer protection office.
This is also where your savings might not be real savings after they tack on all of those fees. Look for Promo Codes or Discount codes to get a percentage off or to get free shipping, most websites have discounts if you look around the web for them.
Please Wait Your Turn:
It seems like people lack patience these days. But in all fairness, it could be because we get stuck on hold with customer service representatives for what seems like hours on end. Waiting for customer service over the phone can be a real pain in the neck, and sometimes that happens with online shopping. You’ll have to check the website again and see when their customer service representatives are available. If they are across the country or even halfway across the world, you may have to call at a very inconvenient time just to get a hold of someone.
Is This The Same Product That You Ordered:
Some items can look nicer or bigger on the Internet, and can be sort of confusing when the description of an item or size seems misleading. You may be in for a surprise when the item or product actually shows up at your door. Always look for measurements and use a ruler or tape measure to know how big something is before buying it. Clothing size is a perfect example because you might be a size 4 in one dress and a size 8 in a different dress. It’s a good idea to check any comments or feedback left by other consumers who have purchased same item. Customer reviews often contain information about whether a brand runs true to size.
Broken Into Little Itty Bitty Pieces:
Another pitfall to online shopping is the unexpected poor packaging and delivery of let’s say an expensive electronic purchase. Waiting for something that you are excited about purchasing, only to find out it was poorly packaged, and completely broken can be pretty devastating, not to mention embarrassing if it was delivered as a gift.
   Also, be aware of:**
The website is shady
Just because a website looks legitimate doesn’t mean it is. Some are scams set up to steal your identity, your credit-card information, or both.
What to do:
 Before shopping with an unfamiliar online retailer, look it up at the Better Business Bureau. Check its rating, look for complaints made against it, and confirm that it has an address. Also see what others are saying about the business by searching the Internet with the website name and such terms as “complaints” and “reviews.”
Use a credit card rather than a debit card so you can more easily dispute a charge if there are any shenanigans. And read the retailer’s conditions carefully.
The goods you get are defective
The fine print on retail websites typically says that all products are sold as is, something we rarely see in walk-in stores. That means the sites are disclaiming the so-called implied warranty of merchantability, an unwritten assurance that generally gives you the right to reject defective merchandise, even months after purchase.
Many sites we checked say that customers can return defective items during the stated return period, often 30 days. After that, many tell you to deal directly with the manufacturer which may make you ship the item back at your own expense and wait perhaps weeks for a refurbished replacement.
About a dozen states and the District of Columbia don’t allow retailers to disclaim basic warranty rights. But even if you do have the right to return a defective product to an online store, getting satisfaction when a retailer is far away can be tricky.
Another concern is that a website may not be an authorized dealer for the products it sells. Those “gray market” items probably aren’t covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.
What to do:
Verify that the site is an authorized dealer by reading the product description and terms and conditions, or by asking the manufacturer. The only way to ensure that you’ll receive your full warranty rights is to shop in a walk-in store, but if you buy online and discover a defect late, contact the retailer anyway. The store might not want to lose your future business, even if it means stretching the limits of its policy.
The site is loosey-goosey with your personal info
After buying a product online, the last thing you want is a lot of spam from the merchant or from companies to which it sold your info.
What to do:
Before giving personal data, read the site’s privacy policy. Many retailers let you elect to receive offers or have your info shared. But others make agreement automatic unless you take action, such as clearing checked boxes. So be observant. And limit the info you provide to what’s critical for completing the purchase.

Your payments are intercepted or your computer catches a virus

Providing credit-card information over an unsecured connection or surfing the Web with an unprotected computer or smart phone is asking for trouble.
What to do:
Verify that the retailer is using a secured connection by making sure that its Web address starts with the “https” prefix (note the “s”) and that there is a locked padlock icon on your browser’s status bar. That’s especially important if you’re using a Wi-Fi hot spot, though you are better off not sending financial or personal information via hot spots or on public computers.
And be sure that the operating system, browser, and security software are up to date on your computer and smart   

Phone. If your smart phone doesn’t have security software, consider getting it.
Let’s be frank. There are risks with everything we do in life. Especially if there is money involved. My advice to you is to start out with small purchases of item you are familiar with. If you have always bought Colgate toothpaste, continue to do so. Shop at stores you know about in your neighborhood. CVS, Duane-Reid. Pay with a credit care, not a debit card. Look for the designation - https// in the website’s address. The “s” means it’s a secure site.

Also, watch your spending. It’s very easy to push a key, or check a box and enter a credit card number and before you realize it, you’ve spent money you don’t have. 

Finally, be aware and have fun. You’ll soon wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along…………………..

*More pitfalls here>>

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Top 5 Job Sites For Seniors

If you’re currently searching for a job, you know the time and energy that this takes. You may think that you’re the perfect fit for a job only to receive a prompt rejection. Showing up for an interview and sitting in the waiting room next to several competitors takes courage. If you’re struggling just to find jobs that fit your skills, you’re the ideal candidate for online job sites.

A job site is a website that collects job listings in one convenient place. Some sites are dedicated to specific fields, but most are open to all fields. They help employers find quality job applicants in less time, and they’re a goldmine of information for job seekers.

1. Indeed
Searching for a job online doesn’t get much easier than searching through Indeed.

2. Glassdoor
This site is a wealth of information if you want to know what current and past employees have to say about an employer, but it’s also one of the most popular job listing sites available today.

3. CareerBuilder
If you’re ready to launch an international job search, this is possibly the site for you.

4. SnagAJob
Often referred to simply as Snag, this site is dedicated to positions that pay hourly.

5. ZipRecruiter
If you’re tired of sending out resumes or filling out applications and never hearing back, this is your ideal site.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Why America Is Failing To Feed Its Aging
By Laura Ungar & Trudy Lieberman

Army veteran Eugene Milligan is 75 years old and blind. He uses a wheelchair since losing half his right leg to diabetes and gets dialysis for kidney failure.

And he has struggled to get enough to eat.

Earlier this year, he ended up in the hospital after burning himself while boiling water for oatmeal. The long stay caused the Memphis vet to fall off a charity’s rolls for home-delivered Meals on Wheels, so he had to rely on others, such as his son, a generous off-duty nurse and a local church to bring him food.

“Many times, I’ve felt like I was starving,” he says. “There’s neighbors that need food too. There’s people at dialysis that need food. There’s hunger everywhere.”

Indeed, millions of seniors across the country quietly go hungry as the safety net designed to catch them frays. Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were “food insecure” in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That’s 5.5 million seniors who don’t have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow as America grays.


How Does Medical Cannabis Help Arthritic Patients?

About 350 million people suffer from arthritis. Mostly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used as a treatment option. However, using these over a long period of time comes with serious negative side effects. This is why it is recommended to go for home remedies and other natural alternatives. One herb that is gaining attention as an effective worthwhile treatment of arthritis is cannabis.

Though research on whether medical marijuana can be used for arthritis is limited, the little evidence that is available is promising. In 2006, cannabis was first used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. A 2018 report concluded that cannabinoids can alleviate the pain associated to osteoarthritis. Furthermore, a recent CreakyJoints survey found that many arthritis patients used cannabis for their symptoms. Of these, 90% called it effective.

Cannabinoids Interact With CB1 And CB2 Receptors

Cannabis contains over a hundred cannabinoids that interact with the natural endocannabinoid system of the body. The ECS system basically has cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids such as CBD and THC work with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This way, they influence the mood, pain, sleep, and other functions of the body. Here are some ways cannabis impacts the endocannabinoid system of the body and reduces symptoms linked to arthritis:


Tech Design Focuses on Booming Older Market

The technology market for older users is booming. With the world’s 65-plus population poised to hit one billion by the year 2030, manufacturers are scrambling to find new ways to put digital products into the hands of this lucrative market.

But while they may be purchasing laptops, smart phones and tablets, many older users say they still don’t feel confident about using them. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego Health Sciences department found that many times frustration with new technology made older adults unsure of their ability to use it, leaving them unmotivated to even try.

The result is a significant shift in design philosophy for many tech companies. The UCSD study stressed the need to “educate technology creators about older adults…through pragmatic exercises that involve partnering with older adults to design future technologies.” Many have responded, making the shift away from a traditional “top down” model, which prioritizes technical development, toward one that engages users in the design process upfront to help understand and break down barriers.

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

Editor's note: A big part of being independent is having the ability to adapt and change.
Keeping that in mind, I have decided to change our masthead and format.
The new size and position of the logo allows me to install a new feature.
A late-breaking news item with importance to the senior community.
We’ll see how it goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Having lived independently for practically all of my adult life (not including a failed attempt at cohabitation) you can imagine the shock to my psyche when, suddenly, they thrust me into the wonderful world of almost total dependence on others. It was staggering. But apparently I am in good company. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, slightly over 5 percent of the 65+ population occupy nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and board-and-care homes, (approx. 4 million seniors) and about 4.2 percent are in nursing homes at any given time. The rate of nursing home use increases with age from 1.4 percent of the young-old to 24.5 percent of the oldest-old. Almost 50 percent of those 95 and older live in nursing homes.
For those of you who live on your own it may be almost impossible to understand what it feels like to lose that one, almost primal need, of being human.
As free people, living in a free society* we can do what we want, go where we want as long as it’s legal and doesn’t infringe on the freedom of others.
If you enjoy getting in your car at 3am and driving down to Atlantic City, there’s no one to stop you.
Want to fly to Chicago for some ribs at Carson’s? Go ahead.
Maybe you would rather eat breakfast at 10am instead of 8:45, or have a beer with lunch or an apéritif before dinner. No problemo. Perhaps your idea of freedom is to have an assignation with a person of the opposite sex. Why not?** Only your ability to find a willing partner will limit you.
For those who live an independent life, it’s unimaginable that someone or something would restrict your ability to do as you please. In fact, there are only two places I can think of where your life is not your own. One is a prison and, to some extent, the other is in assisted living.
Please. I’m n
ot saying assisted living facilities (or nursing homes) are like a prison. But, while there are no actual bars or razor-wire fences or armed guard towers, many residents are prisoners of their own bodies. Their freedom and independence restricted by a lack of mobility.

Out of almost 200 residents at the facility at which I am a resident, there are only a handful who can drive a car and only two have one to drive. The rest (me included) must depend on alternate transportation options if we wish to do many of the activities people would regard as normal.
These options include ParaTransit*** (a service operated by our local mass transit bus system), a private car service, UBER (or one of the other ride app-driven services), or the occasional courtesy (free) trip offered by one of the ambulette companies that service our facility.****

Mobility, or the ability to get around by oneself, is only one aspect of how they restrict seniors’ lives. Other factors to the independence equation are just as important. Sometimes it’s as simple as the ability to cook a meal for oneself. They prohibit residents of assisted living facilities from using any heat-producing appliance in their rooms. This includes microwave ovens, crock pots, immersion heaters, coffeemakers, and electric kettles. There is only one microwave oven available for residents, supervised by a staff member. This is a big deal for those who don’t care for the food here.
Of the things seniors fear most,  (declining health, running out of money, not being able to drive) the loss of independence ranks number one.
“According to a recent survey conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care Network,( seniors worry about the future, beginning with the loss of their independence. Managing life on one’s own terms is at the very core of our human nature. When physical or cognitive health begins to fail and the need for help becomes more apparent, the threat to living independently causes many seniors to put up a wall as a way to stay in control. And while this resistance may seem to contribute to the very problems we are trying to solve, the senior sees this behavior as a key to maintaining that control.”

They have shown the fear of losing one’s independence can cause physical and emotional distress in older Americans. However, there are some things they can do to relieve some of those fears.
For people experiencing a loss of independence
If you are losing your independence, you’re not alone. It happens to most people as they age, and it’s perfectly natural to feel frustrated, angry or afraid. Here are ways to cope and help you adjust:
“Understand that your feelings are valid, but let go of guilt.

These feelings are understandable, but don’t let them lead you to feeling guilt or shame. You’re going to need some help, and that’s okay.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you’re having trouble getting around somewhere or remembering appointments, ask for help. It can be frustrating or annoying, but you may to have to depend on people for everyday things. It may be humbling and uncomfortable to ask for help at first, but it’ll become more natural as you do it. And the people you ask will probably be relieved that you’re asking for help instead of doing something that could cause an injury.
Try to listen to advice.

It's hard to take advice from others about your life, especially if you are a fiercely independent person. Sometimes, though, you need to take the advice of others. If someone thinks you may need a walk-in bathtub or a stair lift, give their suggestion some consideration. They have your best interest at heart.
Be honest with your loved ones.

Even though you need help, you still need control over your life. If you think your caregivers, friends or family are micromanaging more of your decisions than they should tell them. Be honest about how you’re feeling if you think they can be more supportive instead of controlling."


In the end, it will be up to you as an older adult, how much independence to can afford to lose without isolating yourself from the rest of society. And remember, others will try to restrict your independence, Some out of ignorance of what independence means to you, and others because they just want to make life easier on themselves by inhibiting your activities. DON’T LET THEM DO IT…………

*In a theoretical free society, all individuals act voluntarily, having the freedom to obtain the power and resources to fulfill their own potential. Adlai Stevenson defined free societies as a society in which individuals find it "safe to be unpopular".

** Remember, “No” means NO.

*** There is a charge for this service

**** Until recently, this service included 2 free trips a week for about 10 people to a local supermarket. Unfortunately, one ambulette company backed out reducing these trips to one per week.


* * * *

How to Find Low-Cost Health Care for
What Medicare Doesn't Cover

Medicare covers most health care services, including preventative care. But as new users of the federal health insurance program soon find out, it typically does not cover routine dental, vision and hearing care.

Medicare may cover some of these services when it relates to another serious medical issue or when a person is at risk for certain diseases. For example, Medicare would cover the care needed for an injured jaw from a car accident, and it covers an annual glaucoma test for people who are at high risk for the disease.

Some Medicare Advantage plans — offered by Medicare-approved private insurers — cover routine dental, vision and hearing care services (most also include prescription drug coverage). But most Medicare Advantage plans have a monthly premium, and that’s in addition to the Part B (general outpatient care, doctor visits, preventative) Medicare premium. The standard, monthly, Part B premium amount for 2019 is $135.50, or higher depending on your income.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Study investigates the impact of driving stoppage
on social isolation of older adults

Whether it's going to the local grocery store or to a friend's home, driving a car plays a major role among seniors seeking to maintain their independence.

When that's no longer a transportation option, they adversely feel the short- and long-term effects of isolation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Aging and Health.

Researchers at the University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University and Duke University investigated the impact of driving stoppage on social isolation of older adults. Unlike previous studies, which focus on social engagement and participation when people no longer drive, being isolated involves limited contact with family and friends.


Lack of sexual activity in older adults
linked to health problems
By Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

The lack of sexual activity and function among older adults is linked to poorer health outcomes, including cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), and fair or poor self-rated health, a new sexual science study found.

Over the last years, life expectancy in high-income countries has increased. For instance, a boy born in 1900 was expected to live in 46.3 years, and a girl to 48.3 years. However, by 2016, life expectancies increased to 76.3 and 81.2 years. But, with the increased life expectancy, is a parallel rise in years lived with adverse health outcomes and disability.

A team of researchers at the Anglia Ruskin University wanted to understand the factors that may contribute to poor health. They believe that one key behavior that may affect health in later life is sexual activity, which received little attention over the last years.


Big worries about the debt load of older Americans
By Chris Farrell

Swelling numbers of Americans these days are working in retirement, taking part-time jobs and launching businesses. And retirees are increasingly staying in their homes rather than moving to retirement communities. They’re also, however, breaking the mold in a potentially worrisome direction: embracing debt.

The median total consumer debt of households headed by someone 65 or older in 2016 ($31,300) was 2½ times what it was in 2001 and nearly 4½ times the level in 1989. Some 60% of 65+ households carried debt in 2016, up markedly from about 42% in 1992. Credit card debt and student loans have increased, too.

The rising debt levels among older Americans is not only problematic for their finances, it’s bad for their mental health.

“Debt-related stress is a growing concern, given the growing amount of debt held by older adults as they enter retirement,” wrote the authors of Debt Stress and Mortgage Borrowing in Older Age: Implications for Economic Security in Retirement, a paper just presented at the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium, in Washington, D.C.

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© Bruce Cooper, 2019


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Facebook is trying to make it easier to get in touch with people over Messenger, so it's rolling out a number of new ways to start chatting. As with all Facebook accounts, all Messenger accounts will now have dedicated links that people can visit to start a chat — they'll all be located at[username]. Facebook is also rolling out what it calls Messenger Codes, which are Messenger's equivalent to Snapchat's snapcodes. They look pretty neat: Messenger Codes are just a series of dots and dashes circling around your profile photo. When someone scans one with their camera, it'll presumably add that person as a contact.


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