Sunday, June 17, 2018

Elder Pride exhibit in Baltimore shows older gays understand history much better than millennials

Today, the ElderPride pavilion in Druid Hill Park at Baltimore LGBT Pride weekend showed that eldergays understand the long reach of history a lot better than most millennials.

Today’s young adults really often don’t get how things were, like in the days that we had the Vietnam era draft, student deferments, war protests.  They also don’t understand how earlier anti-gay policies were seen as intrusions on individual privacy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Alzheimer's risk may be increased by rapid brain development in youth; Y chromosomes may protect some men from dementia

Here’s a rather shocking article from “The Scientist” by Sukanya Charuchandra, “Aging[Related Diseases May Be a Natural Result of Human Evolution”, link
The theory is that fast-track developments in the brain to enable performance up through the reproductive years may make the brains more vulnerable to early deterioration after reproduction si impossible, especially with Alzheimer’s.  That sounds like plaque formation may result as an aftermath of earlier development.
There were some comparative studies with chimpanzees and gorillas.
Furthermore, however, Y chromosomes contain some genes that may help protect some men but not women from plaque formation. Previously, the higher incidence in Alzheimer’s in women has been attributed mainly to longer lifespans.
Back in 2010, I had been told by one assisted living center (when looking for mother) that 70% of the Alzheimer’s unit residents were women.
Jack Andraka retweeted this story Tuesday. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Conservative sites claim that China is plotting to undermine dollar and destroy US retirees

This site sounds a little bit like Porter Stansberry stuff, but Augusta Precious Metals is claiming (out of self-interest) that China is scheming to undermine the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, greatly undermining the portfolios of many retirees.
Here is the link

The advertorial was sent by email by “RedStates”.  Yet the threat to reserve currency seems to say mostly in the world of conservative websites.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Baby Boomers: don't give money to your kids

Susan Moeller of the Boston Globe has a stinging list of tips for “baby boomers” in retirement, here.

The attention-getting headline is to give less (maybe nothing) to your kids. (That probably means leaving everything to a surviving spouse for starters; when both are gone, the advice literally doesn't follow.) 

Boomers have more problems than they expected, both with divorce and employer stinginess with retirement benefits, a winner-take-all economy, and especially their being caught in the “sandwich generation”, having to care for elderly parents, who lived longer than expected.
Keep working and stay competitive as long as possible.  But does that mean, pimp?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Top 11 jobs for seniors is not all that remarkable

Senior Living has an 11-point list of top senior occupations in quasi-retirement, link , These statistic are based on the BLS of the Department of Labor. This link arrived by email Thursday. 

Number 2 was “sales and related occupations”.  Personal care was #9..

But very few seem to pursue their own agendas.

Monday, May 21, 2018

CNN explains: no, the federal government is not "stealing" from Social Security

Max Richtman on CNN has an important article, “No one is stealing from Social Security”.

This op-ed addresses conservative claims that the federal government raids Social Security for its profligate social benefits spending.
No, Social Security buys treasury bills like any other investor, and by law the treasury has to pay interest on these and redeem them when mature.

This analysis could be important should another debate on the debt ceiling erupt. 
The article does not address the problem of paying benefits to dead people (previous article).

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Social Security payment benefits to dead people, over 112 years old

6.5 million people over “112” have active Social Security accounts.  The government doesn’t seem to have a good system to be notified about deaths,

Relatives are still collecting their money, according to “7 on your side”. One woman was on a year;s probation with home detention and an ankle bracelet.  
People have been prosecuted for failing to notify SSA to stop the payments.

I notified them immediately at the end of 2010 and one payment was recovered.
(The video won’t embed because WJLA hasn’t gone to https!)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Senior Citizen Handbook for Virginia has a warning about guardianship

The Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia (MCCNova) hands out, on its hospitality table, a “Senior Citizen Handbook, Laws and Programs Affection Senior Citizens in Virginia”, a project of the Senor Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar.  It is good to see this offered at a “gay” church, since elder LGBT persons are often living alone and may have less ties to biological family than others.

Several important topics attracted my notice. On p. 62, revocable living trusts (which I had for mother, who passed in 2010) are discussed. The usual advice that family members appointed as trustees need to be careful and not comingle their own assets (before death and authorized distributions) is well noted.

The booklet mentions a “special needs trust” on p 64, set up with a beneficiary’s own money.  But it is also possible for a beneficiary to receive funds from an irrevocable trust after the original elder has passed.  A beneficiary typically has a fiduciary interest in the trust and may receive regular income from it, which is not the same thing as a distribution.  The executor may be legally required to continue the income.  Or a special needs beneficiary might get benefits from the eventual death of the executor (if elder) early in the way of some income, if the special needs are clearcut enough.  What gets interesting is that a beneficiary could be a non-profit organization that assists others.  Then there could be a question as to whether it is appropriate for that beneficiary to ask for payments early.

The booklet also distinguishes a “supplemental needs trust”.
On p. 67, the booklet takes up the subject of guardianship and conservatorship. There is an astonishing statement. “Under Virginia law, any adult person may petition the city or county circuit court to obtain guardianship or conservatorship of another person.”  It’s easy to imagine how a Medicare-reimbursed physician could feel tempted to abuse this. Later it reads “Guardianship deprives the incapacitated person of many civil rights.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Family denied visitation to father by guardian for asking questions of provider (northern Virginia)

Recently, I relayed a story from Nevada about apparent abuse of the legal process of guardianship.
Now WJLA reports a major case from Virginia in its “7 on your Side” series, here. The story was aired at 6 PM tonigjt, Thursday, May 10, 2018.
Apparently, a certain family in Fairfax County, VA had turned to the courts for a father (retired military veteran)’s care. 
The guardian wrote strict rules of visitation, and insisted that the family not ask any questions of the facility directly.  One of the family members emailed the facility and the visitation rights were suspended.

Monday, May 07, 2018

In some states, court-appointed guardians run a racket, gaslighting seniors

Rachel Aviv (“Reporter at Large”) has a particularly disturbing article (Oct. 9, 2017) in the New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose TheirRights” with the tagline “Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent – and reap a profit.”

The article relates the story of an elderly married couple in Las Vegas (the wife had recovered from lymphoma) who had bought a retirement home in a planned community, and was suddenly ordered out of it by a court-ordered guardian into assisted living, apparently without due process. The term “gaslighting” is used to characterize the racket.

Apparently this happens when a court receives notification from a physician, in some states.

Physicians have become more aggressive in demanding that seniors make visits more often, and possibly submit to disruptive medical tests, under theories concerning longevity. And providers may have a financial incentive to do so.  In my own case, a physician is demanding more frequent monitoring of my own blood pressure medication, which I find I can stretch out.

Some seniors may do better by keeping their momentum with little monitoring.  Remember some seniors had long lifespans in the past without the regular colonoscopies and prostate or breast exams. But the medical establishment thinks it can “do good” in some cases that it couldn’t do before, and rationalize heavy-handed behavior.
This is a very serious matter that doesn’t seem to be adequately reported by the media (like filial responsibility laws).

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Altanta group "Chess for a Cause" sees the game as a way to delay dementia in some seniors

The May 2018 issue of USCF’s magazine Chess Life has a major article on p. 9 “Chess for a Cause”, about the Atlanta group by that name that brings chess into senior centers as a form of recreation that can encourage mental sharpness and possibly delay dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms.

The site for the group appears to be here.
There have been numerous efforts to provide chess for lower income youth in different cities (see movies blog for “The Dark Horse” (New Zealand), April 26, 2015, and “Brooklyn Castle”, Nov. 5, 2012)). But I haven’t heard of a major effort for seniors before.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New low cost blood test may detect tendency for Alzheimer's decades in advance

David Nield reports on “ScienceAlert” on a new blood test that can detect a propensity for Alzheimer’s Disease three decades early, by finding plaque markers in the blood.  
It appears that this may be a relatively inexpensive test, along the lines of Jack Andraka’s pancreatic cancer test.

But it is not clear what someone with a positive test would do about it.
There are genetic diseases like Huntington’s with tests that can predict early dementia. 

Friday, April 06, 2018

Employers find they need older workers -- really

Employers are finding that an aging workforce can benefits them, according to a story by Kerry Hannon, March 2, 2018.
Some are willing to transfer older blue collar workers into office positions.
When I was in the main part of my career, there was a mentality that retirement could be encouraged as early as 55.  This is obviously an idea that nation could not afford, due to fewer children being born here and fewer workers and longer life spans.
Furthermore, companies lost the perspective of older workers who had grown up under different situations and challenges (including dealing with a military draft).  When it came time to designing the Affordable Care Act and testing its implementation, the idea of careful stages of systems developments had become less strong than it used to be. 
You can even wonder about workplace maturity and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.  Had she hired more mature persons running her IT, she might not have gotten into so much trouble. 
Older workers may have a better grasp of how to handle customer service and of the legitimate expectations of consumers for support (like how to manage stand-ins when a normal agent is out).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Baltimore holds forum on housing LGBT elders

Baltimore Outloud has a detailed story on housing problems for LGBT seniors, with a meeting on March 21, link here
The largest problems may occur in assisted living and nursing homes with foreign caregiving staff that is not concerned about LGBT issues.

The shear number of LGBT people without children in retirement is increasing.
I think there is a tendency, however, for many to be more vigorous and independent in elder years than average because they have had to be so all their lives.

Picture: from 2016

Monday, March 12, 2018

A plan to relieve student loan debt by foregoing future social security benefits

Elliott Harding of National Review proposes “a solution to the student-debt and social security crisis” The idea is to forgive some student load debt in return for considerable postponement in eligibility to receive social security benefits.

Rick Sincere, with the Libertarian Party of Virginia and in the past Gays and Lesbians of Individual Liberty, shared it today in his daily paper in Charlottesville.
The plan would set a limit of forgiveness of about $40000, but about 90% of students could discharge their debt. 

Monday, March 05, 2018

Workers with 401(k)'s have a lot less economic "free speech" than people still earning pensions

David Webber explains “The Real Reason the Investor Class Hates Pensions” today in the New York Times.

Reason:  when public pensions are reformed and sustained, then workers have more “economic vote” impinging on only non-worker owners.

401(k) owners are much quieter as investors than are future pensioners.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Enzyme might provide a breakthrough on Alzheimer's

At an Exxon station video on a gas pump, attached to a 7-11 store, a very mundane place for a Sunday morning, I spotted an ad claiming that a newly explored enzyme called Bace could really help Alzheimer’s patients with memory. Here is a typical story in Science Daily. 

I noted yesterday on the LGBT blog how LGBT seniors who do wind up in Assisted Living or nursing homes face rather unsympathetic staff, especially in rural areas.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

"The 4% Rule": How much money do you need for the rest of your life?

I “retired” in terms of my old IT career ending at the end of 2001, at age 58. I had about three times my annual salary saved in liquid assets (at the time I owned no real estate).
I got lucky, somewhat, with family circumstances nine years later with the passage of my mother and the creation of a trust.  The total amount under my control is about 14 times what that annual income had been.
Still Anne Tergesen’s piece on p. B5 of the weekend Wall Street Journal, p. B5, “It’s time to rethink some common beliefs”, with some particular attention to the 4% rule, which is supposed to make a million dollar nest egg last for 30 years.
In an increasingly unstable world, that may be risky.
Also, hear this (after the volatility in the past week on Wall Street), on how dangerous some investing is, even after the 2008 fiasco with credit default swaps and derivatives. 

Friday, February 02, 2018

AARP outlines job hunting mistakes by seniors, with some surprises

The AARP has a valuable slide show on Job Hunting Mistakes by seniors, that is well worth a look, here. 

A couple points stand out. 

One is outdated email addresses.  AOL (which I have) and Yahoo look bad, gmail and Outlook (I use gmail) look good. That’s a little odd, that AOL and Yahoo are not trendy companies.

Another is insufficient digital presence.  But many seniors don’t find a social media presence socially necessary.
It does recommend blogging about your field.  Because mine had been “mainframe programming”, which hollowed out, that would have been hard for me to do seriously. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Should retirees invest in Bitcoin? Only if they have lot's of cash

Should retirees consider investing in Bitcoin or digital currencies?

Michelle Singletary has a stinging column in her “The Color of Money” series, where she interviews several financial planners. 

Generally they agree that in a practical sense, bitcoin seems like gambling and that the underlying “value” is hard to grasp. But digital currency has a huge potential in literally eliminating the need for banks.

Retirees should never borrow to invest in bitcoin.

You can buy bitcoin in relatively few locations, given in the article for the DC area.
There is a coordinated post on the Issues Blog Jan 23. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A couple of retirement topics emerge from a weekend trip: like the stress test

A couple of observations from my weekend in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

As I left Washington PA along I-70 I saw a billboard “Here is what heart disease looks like.”

Webmd has a reference on this, with 27 slides, here. Note that on frame 13 a young man takes a stress test.  He lends his chest to science because it is hairless.
I also encountered a story about seniors buying national park passes at $10 before the price hits $80 here. 

I also passed a sign near Newark Oh along Route 13 that advertised being a foster parent. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Probate attorneys in DC mum on the great expense estates encounter

WJLA in Washington DC has a story "Losing Everything in Probate Court" (by Nathan Baca, “7 on Your Side” ) about the perils of winding up in probate court.  It is particularly dangerous when a disabled adult winds up under conservatorship or guardianship and then passes away.  It aired on Saturday night, Jan. 13, 2018, an unusual time.

Heirs find that court-appointed attorneys sell assets to pay back their own hefty fees.

The problem seems particularly severe in the District of Columbia.
The broadcast recommended considering revocable trusts as a way of preventing probate. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Can a robot give home health care? A startup in northern Virginia tries this

A startup, Infrobotics, in Fairfax VA has invented a robot, “Ruddy”, to assist with in home senior care.

WJLA-7 in Washington has a story about it.

It’s a little hard to imagine that a robot could do all the work of a 24-hour caregiving service that I had to hire in the last year of Mom’s life.

The abrogation of net neutrality may not bode well for startups like this company in the long run. 

You can try this interview with “Sophia” on NBC.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Again, calls for means testing social security come back as another debt ceiling debacle shapes up for early 2018

Nick Sorrentino opines in “Against Crony Capitalism” about social security today, how unsustainable it is, and how rich people shouldn’t collect benefits on workers’ backs.  He claims richer people are collecting more than they put in because of interest rate spreads.  But actually when the system was created, the first beneficiaries had put in nothing.

This Can’t Go On” he writes. Right now, the Republicans run scared in talking about it, until the next debt ceiling debate comes back.

And the Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” could run out by the end of January 2018, even though the media seems too sinful to notice.