“As scams against senior citizens increase in Pennsylvania, state forms task force to help” – Reading Eagle
by Mike Urban
“Brian Long is 77 and knows his age makes him a target for the increasing number of scammers who try to steal from senior citizens.
“They see the elderly as easy prey, he said, and are ruthless enough to come after them.
“Long has learned enough about financial abuse of the elderly that he not only recognizes emails, phone calls and text messages from people attempting to rip him off, but also leads seminars about these crimes on behalf of Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon LINK, an agency that helps the aging and disabled.
“Despite his attempts to help people avoid being victimized, Long has repeatedly heard from seniors who still fell prey to financial schemes, evidence of how devious those scammers can be, he said.
“Long and others who work with the elderly in Berks hope a new state task force can help protect seniors, improve reporting mechanisms and cut down on those crimes by coordinating efforts between agencies.”
Resources for seniors
If you’re a victim, call your local police department or your bank if you notice something wrong with your accounts.
Those with general questions about crimes against seniors can call the Berks County Area Office on Aging at 610-478-6500 or the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources at 800-753-8827.
Pennsylvania also has a statewide Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-490-8505.
“All people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and participate fully in their communities. Every person should have the right to make choices and to control the decisions in and about their lives. This right to self-determination includes decisions about their homes and work, as well as all the other daily choices most adults make without a second thought.
Why Community Living?
“In survey after survey, when older adults and people with disabilities are asked where they would prefer to live, they say they want to live in their communities, not in institutions. People also are happier and healthier when they live in community settings.
“Inclusion of older adults and people with disabilities also offers many benefits to communities themselves. Communities miss out on valuable voices and perspectives when people with disabilities and older adults are left out. They are deprived of co-workers, volunteers, mentors, and friends who offer new ways of thinking about, and navigating, the world. When older adults are excluded, communities lose wisdom collected over many decades, and their connection to history.
“Community living also happens to be less expensive than other options for most people. Skilled nursing facilities can cost an average of $75,000 a year and public residential facilities for people with disabilities average $225,000 a year. In most cases, these costs are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.
“Finally, a series of laws, court decisions, and administrative rules have established community living as a legal right. Most notably, in 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C. that people with disabilities must receive services in the most integrated settings possible. This landmark decision has been a critical tool in protecting the rights of people with disabilities and older adults alike.”
There’s more here at the Administration for Community Living Website: https://acl.gov/about-community-living
The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources is an initiative of the Administration for Community Living.
by Sara Zeff Geber
“If you have bought into the idea that aging in place in the home you’ve maintained for 30+ years is the best answer to the question of where to live as you age, I can only conclude that you have decided it’s payback time for your children. Did your own parents live into their late 80s and 90s? Did they age in place? If so, how did that work out for you? Maybe you were one of the lucky ones whose parents lived happily on their own into their old age and then just died in their sleep one night, and now you are absolutely sure that is exactly what will happen to you. But what if it doesn’t?
“Moira knows first-hand what it’s like to have a parent who refuses to move out of their home of 50 years. Her mother, Pat, has a home is debt-free and there is enough money coming in from social security and a small pension to meet expenses every month. In addition to that, Moira’s parents saved a substantial amount of money over the course of their lives and were planning to leave Moira and her brother, Will, a nice inheritance. However, both Moira and Will are in good shape financially and would rather their mother used the money to ensure herself a comfortable and safe life as she gets older. They have toured several assisted living communities and eventually even persuaded Pat to come along on one of their visits. But it didn’t change her mind.
“No matter what Moira or Will said to Pat, she clung to the idea of aging in her two-story home. She claimed the stairs were good exercise and refused to even relocate her bedroom to the lower level.” Continue reading this article at Forbes, click here.
“A global pandemic doesn’t give us cause to treat the aged callously.”
by Shai Held, President, dean, and chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar
“Crises can elicit compassion, but they can also evoke callousness. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve witnessed communities coming together (even as they have sometimes been physically forced apart), and we’ve seen individuals engaging in simple acts of kindness to remind the sick and quarantined that they are not forgotten. Yet from some quarters, we’ve also seen a degree of cruelty that is truly staggering.
“Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook about an experience he’d just had on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: ‘I heard a guy who looked to be in his 20s say that it’s not a big deal cause the elderly are gonna die anyway. Then he and his friend laughed … Maybe I’m lucky that I had awesome grandparents and maybe this guy didn’t but what is wrong with people???” Some have tried to dress up their heartlessness as generational retribution. As someone tweeted at me earlier today, “To be perfectly honest, and this is awful, but to the young, watching as the elderly over and over and over choose their own interests ahead of Climate policy kind of feels like they’re wishing us to a death they won’t have to experience. It’s a sad bit of fair play.’”
Click here to continue reading this opinion piece at The Atlantic.
“You missed your chance to be a prodigy, but there’s still growth left for grownups.” – The New Yorker
by Margaret Talbot
“Among the things I have not missed since entering middle age is the sensation of being an absolute beginner. It has been decades since I’ve sat in a classroom in a gathering cloud of incomprehension (Algebra 2, tenth grade) or sincerely tried, lesson after lesson, to acquire a skill that was clearly not destined to play a large role in my life (modern dance, twelfth grade). Learning to ride a bicycle in my early thirties was an exception—a little mortifying when my husband had to run alongside the bike, as you would with a child—but ultimately rewarding. Less so was the time when a group of Japanese schoolchildren tried to teach me origami at a public event where I was the guest of honor—I’ll never forget their sombre puzzlement as my clumsy fingers mutilated yet another paper crane.
“Like Tom Vanderbilt, a journalist and the author of “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning” (Knopf), I learn new facts all the time but new skills seldom. Journalists regularly drop into unfamiliar subcultures and domains of expertise, learning enough at least to ask the right questions. The distinction he draws between his energetic stockpiling of declarative knowledge, or knowing that, and his scant attention to procedural knowledge, or knowing how, is familiar to me. The prospect of reinventing myself as, say, a late-blooming skier or ceramicist or marathon runner sparks only an idle interest, something like wondering what it might be like to live in some small town you pass on the highway.
“There is certainly a way to put a positive spin on that reluctance.”
Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorker, click here.
“Five myths about loneliness | The elderly aren’t the people who feel the most isolated.” – The Washington Post
“Few windows with lights on in an office building at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Jan. 6. Germany has extended its coronavirus lockdown until the end of the month. (Filip Singer/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)“
by Noreena Herz
“Lots of people are lonely these days. Months of stay-at-home orders and other limits on face-to-face contact are taking their toll. But even before the pandemic introduced us to terms like “social distancing,” loneliness was a defining condition of the 21st century: More than a fifth of U.S. adults said in a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey that they ‘often’ or ‘always’ felt lonely, lacking in companionship, left out or isolated. Britain even appointed a minister for loneliness three years ago to confront the problem. Why did we become so lonely? Who is most afflicted? And what harms does it cause? Misconceptions persist around each of these questions; here are five of the most common.
Myth No. 1
The elderly are the loneliest generation
Click here to see all the myths about loneliness in this Washington Post article.
“Meals on Wheels delivery driver Pasquale Fabbricatore, 66, delivers meals to homebound senior Louise Delija, 93, during the coronavirus pandemic, in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Thursday, May 7, 2020.” (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
By Sally Herships/NPR
“Growing up in the 1930s in a small, marshy town in the Calabrian region of Italy, Rose Frusciante was constantly bombarded by mosquitoes. But one bite in particular proved dangerous.
“Frusciante, who is now 85, still remembers the sweating, fever and chills that followed as well as being heaped under blankets and all the clothing she had as her mother desperately tried to keep her warm. The tiny bite had given her malaria, which also claimed the lives of three of her siblings.
Still, Frusciante, who now lives in Mount Vernon, N.Y., says there is no comparison between the insect-born disease and the invisible threat that is the coronavirus.
“’I’m afraid to go out,’ she says. ‘Because if you walk outside, somebody may have it and they don’t even know.’
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight out of ten deaths during the pandemic have been among seniors like Frusciante. And while seniors are among the first in line for the vaccine, other safety nets in place to catch the elderly are unraveling quickly.
“Frusciante’s husband died last year and she lives alone in an apartment. She uses a walker to get around. She needs help, but can’t afford it on $2,000 a month.”
Keep reading this article at WITF; click here.
“What Seniors Can Expect When COVID Vaccines Begin to Roll Out” / “People Are Dying. Whom Do We Save First With the Vaccine?”
by Judith Graham
“Vaccines that protect against COVID-19 are on the way. What should older adults expect?
“The first candidates, from Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive before Christmas, according to Alex Azar, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by the companies, although much of the data from clinical trials is still to come. Both have been tested in adults age 65 and older, who mounted a strong immune response.
“Seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers will be among the first Americans vaccinated, following recommendations last week by a federal advisory panel. Older adults living at home will need to wait a while longer.”
Continue reading this article at Kaiser Health News, click here.
Photo illustration by Tyler Comrie
“In mid-December, before a key vote by an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a public debate flared up over what might well be the most momentous policy decision of 2021: how to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine. This particular fight centered on how to balance the vaccination of seniors (who die from the coronavirus at much higher rates than younger people) against that of essential workers (who, because they come into contact with many people over the course of any given day, risk getting sick themselves and becoming superspreaders).
“That debate was just the first of what will be many contentious ones in the months to come, when supplies of Covid vaccine will surely be among the world’s most precious, scarce resources. The calculation of how to prioritize various groups inevitably touches on all the fault lines that divide American society — race, class, age, geography, occupation and more — and ultimately bleeds into the question of our ethical obligations to the poorer nations of the world, which risk being forced to wait for lifesaving vaccine supplies while the wealthy save themselves first.”
Read this article in its entirety at The New York Times, click here.
U.S. life expectancy rose last year for the fifth year in a row — to an average of 78.8 years — according to new CDC data. Here’s more:
- The figures: The 2019 increase in mortality was only 0.1 year higher than the year prior, when the life expectancy was 78.7 years. Although men and women saw increases, women’s life expectancy was five years higher, at more than 81 years.
- Causes of death: The 10 leading causes of death last year were the same as in 2018, including heart disease and cancer. The rate of death decreased for seven of the 10 causes, including for Alzheimer’s disease and influenza.
- Infant mortality: Although infant mortality rates decreased last year — to 558.3 deaths per 100,00 live births — the difference was not statistically significant.
Mortality in the United States, 2019 – This report presents final 2019 U.S. mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns among U.S. residents by variables such as sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, and cause of death.
“As we go through life we build personal relationships with different people – family, friends, coworkers, partners. These relationships, which are deeply important to all of us, evolve with time. As we grow older we build new relationships while others transform or fade, and towards the end of life many of us spend a lot of time alone.
“Taking the big picture over the entire life course: Who do we actually spend our time with?
“From adolescence to old age: who do we spend our time with?
“To understand how social connections evolve throughout our lives we can look at survey data on how much time people spend with others, and who that time is spent with.
“The chart below shows the amount of time that people in the US report spending in the company of others, based on their age. The data comes from time-use surveys, where people are asked to list all the activities that they perform over a full day, and the people who were there during each activity. We currently only have data with this granularity for the US – time-use surveys are common across many countries, but what is special about the US is that respondents of the American Time Use Survey are asked to list everyone who was present for each activity.
Read this article in his entirety – click here.