In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
In addition today, at the bottom of the links list, Crabby Old Lady responds to readers’ answers to her neighbor nightmare posted last Thursday.
There is a terrific new blog called Advanced Style, created by three young people, Brianna, Ari and Erika. Brianna tells me the goal is to capture "awesome styles of New York's older men and women from the sophisticated and well-dressed to the accidentally stylish and colorful folks on the town." Here's a recent example.
The blog makes me smile and reminds me of one of the reasons I will always miss living in New York City - everyone seems to have a style that is all his or her own.
A more intimate kind of elder fashion was on display in Tokyo last Thursday: adult diapers in a range of types for people who are bedridden to those who are much more active.
"The fashion show itself was half camp, half instruction. Speakers blared oldie hits such as Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood as models jaunted on the stage with diapers pulled on over black tights."
Photos and more information can be found here.
According to one expert, “seniors are the only group in America that has been increasing its rate of voter turnout, especially in the 75-and-older range.” Elders of all ages vote at a rate 60 percent higher than young people. Find out more about how our age group is expected to influence the November election.
Although elders are among the hardest hit by the financial meltdown, there has been hardly any media attention. To their credit, a couple of reporters at The New York Times do recognize the problem. The conclusion of one of their experts?
“For older people, there is no upside to the distress. ‘They’ve got to adjust their expectations of retirement,’ said Martin Baily, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘The market will recover, but you won’t.’”
There will be a lot more about this at Time Goes By in the near future.
Elders in New York City and around the country are taking college classes by telephone in a program called DOROT University Without Walls. There are 250 courses ranging from feng shui to poetry to philosophy and more.
"It gets me out emotionally. It releases me from the four walls around me," said Leeds, who has participated in the program for 12 years. Her fall selections include a course on the life and work of author Doris Lessing and a class on recording personal histories.”
Read more about it here.
The University of Reading in England finds in a study that simply increasing the size of link buttons in computer programs, browsers, websites, etc. greatly increases elder’s ability to use computers. In fact, younger people benefit too: “…expanding targets produced the same improvements in error rates and target selection times as for older people.” (Hat tip to Suzz of Suzzwords)
Any Social Security beneficiary knows that the annual increase in the Medicare Part B premium often comes pretty close to wiping out the Social Security cost-of-living increase. Good news this year: the premium will remain the same for 2009: $96.40 for 95 percent of Medicare beneficiaries.
Crabby Old Lady’s Neighbor Nightmare Update
One of the many benefits of the overwhelming response to Crabby’s Thursday request for help in dealing with her nightmare neighbor is emotional exhaustion. Yes, you read that correctly: a benefit.
While reading the numerous expressions of sympathy, outrage and suggestions in comments and many private emails, it was as though a hundred-pound burden had been lifted from Crabby's back. Tears flowed down her cheeks, probably in relief that so many understand how awful this has been for Crabby. It felt like two years of knotted muscles in her upper back finally untangled themselves.
As Crabby noted in the comments Thursday, selling her home is not feasible. The few sales of comparable properties these days are going for 12-15 percent below what Crabby paid for her condo. And now, having lost 30 percent of her retirement funds in the market meltdown, she cannot afford to take the real estate loss too, not the costs of a move itself. But there is another, equally important, reason: Crabby’s contrariness will not allow her give in to these cretins until she can move on her terms.
A huge difficulty in small condominiums (which Crabby experienced in her four-owner condo in New York City to a far lesser degree) is that the owners ARE the board. There is not the pressure of numbers in dealing with problem owners as there is in large condominium and co-op projects. And when one of the three owners, as in her current condo, is the constant transgressor and the second is disinclined to any kind of confrontation, nothing changes.
Before posting her rant last week, Crabby had stopped at the nearby fire station to ask about her options in any future burning in the cellar. The fireman said that as long as nothing is then in flames and there is no smoke, it is a police matter. Crabby should call them to investigate and follow through.
As soon as Crabby has a moment, she will, at the suggestion of some readers, stop by the police station to inquire about making nuisance and other reports. This is a small town and, as someone said, they will remember Crabby in the future.
One reader took the time to consult an attorney for Crabby who advised finding legal counsel. Paying by the hundreds of dollars an hour is not in Crabby's budget, but another reader with the same thought emailed suggestions for free or inexpensive legal services for elders and Crabby has found two in her area.
Many people mentioned the importance of documentation. Crabby hadn’t done that except for the emails she sent to the condominium owners requesting/demanding action on the incidents. Unfortunately, she lost all previous emails in a computer crash several months ago, so there is no written record of older incidents. But she will now carefully document occurrences in a separate file and photograph each one. And, having now collected the telephone numbers of the appropriate authorities – health, animal, non-emergency police, etc. – she will report each incident as it happens.
To give you an idea of the passive/aggressive nature of her neighbors, a few days ago in response to Crabby’s complaint about having her car blocked in the driveway (again), Dick had the balls to send around an email with this photograph showing marks on his door from Crabby banging on it with her key. Crabby had resorted to using her key after 15 minutes of knocking had bruised her knuckles which had started to bleed:
(The door is white, not gray) Dick “suggested” in the email that Crabby should use her knuckles or her foot instead. Crabby has not and will not respond to such unmitigated effrontery.
Crabby laughed through her tears reading the “get even” advice from some readers and she wishes it were in her nature. Mostly, she just wants this all to go away. Even if she would rather be in New York City or Portland, Oregon, a move is not affordable for the time being and she does love her apartment - her built-in library, her deck garden, having a guest room for the first time in her life and, don’t laugh, even having her own washer and dryer after four decades of hauling her laundry down the block and paying to have it done, is a weekly pleasure even if she does hate folding.
Crabby Old Lady, who sometimes through this ordeal thought she is the one who is nuts, wishes to thank all of you from the bottom of her heart for your support. What a great place the blogosphere can be.