The people's voice of reason


The word is unique, in that it has two spellings—both of which are correct—and both express the same feeling. Whether the last syllable begins with an a or an e, is relatively immaterial, since the meaning is the same: a special atmosphere, mood, or feeling that is created by a particular entity.

After a dozen years of searching for a place in which to live out the remaining years of existence on this planet, the realization emerges that what was being sought was: “A special atmosphere or mood that was created by the place in which one sought to make his or her home.

Most – if not all—of the folks residing at any given senior housing facility, have come there hoping to find ambiance. Or, if one prefers: ambience. But, their quest is often in vain; primarily because those worthies who own and manage many facilities have an interpretation of the term considerably different than that of the residents they serve.

Most seniors, over their lifetime, have traveled and have enjoyed a wide variety of living experiences, the most pleasing of which were those at which a positive feeling of ambiance existed. At most popular hotels and restaurants where a traveler may venture, there exists a person called a maitre 'd, or a concierge, depending on the setting.

A concierge at a hotel is the “go to” guy for information on the best places at which to dine, or be entertained; plus a variety of other amenities which make one's stay at a facility memorable.

The maitre 'd at a restaurant makes sure that your dining experience is equally as positively unforgettable.

But where, one may wonder, are people so inspired at facilities at which senior citizens make their home?

Granted, most such entities are owned by investors whose sole purpose in life is to make money from the endeavor; but some appear to be more caring than others; which has brought your humble scribe back to Eastdale Estates—for the fourth time. There's something here that doesn't exist at other facilities of a similar nature.

This generation of old timers has endured through a vast varieties of conditions; from poverty during the Great Depression, to some degree of comfort after the unforgettable World War II experience. They've learned to live without, to scrimp and save, at the same time to put something aside for their “later years.”

Now they're in their “final voyage.” They've endured hardship and deprivation, but they've managed to insure—to varying degrees—that their final days would be somewhat care free and serene; or so they thought.

Residents at the various types of senior retirement facilities are guests—paying guests—who expect a degree of respect and comfort in their “Golden Years;” they're not charity cases who should humbly cringe in a corner and beg for permission to receive that for which they are paying from their hard-earned savings.

This is what your humble scribe has been searching for lo these many years.

It's highly unlikely that Nirvana will ever been attained; but this is the closest yet.

Welcome to Eastdale Estates. Let the ambiance begin.

A senior health conundrum -- Why are pets banned from senior facilities?

In Alabama senior citizens are faced with a conundrum: On the one hand, the State stands tall in the nation for its recent legislation which makes it a crime to abuse its senior citizens, and the next year enacting another piece of legislation which lays down some stiff penalties for those who do so.

At the same time, despite extensive studies and research concerning the beneficial impact on older people of having pets as friends and companions to comfort them in their declining years, many independent and assisted living facilities deny seniors this benefit.

Studies have shown that seniors with dogs make fewer trips to the doctor. Other studies show that pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and they have fewer health problems altogether.

Seniors living in group faculties show lower stress levels; and the presence of a doggie or a kitty in their lives has resulted in a reduction in depression and has reduced their feelings of loneliness. One researcher has concluded that having a pet helps seniors focus on something other than their physical problems and to have fewer negative preoccupations about aging.

Existing research suggests that senior pet owners living in group facilities have less stress due to their increased social activity and association with others.

Why, then--one must wonder--do so many independent and assisted living facilities turn away prospective senior residents who own pets?

If owning a pet has so many positive health attributes, why would one want to deny tenants in senior facilities access to these positive benefits?

Considering Alabama’s desire to enhance the well being of its senior citizens, why would it tolerate such a negative stand, relative to the wellbeing of this segment of the population?

Would not such an approach as it relates to the health and well being of seniors citizens not fall under the category of elder abuse?

If it's logical that owning a pet is beneficial to both the physical and mental health of a senor citizen; would not denying that senior this beneficial association be in conflict with the benefits they derive and be in conflict with existing elder abuse legislation? This would appear to be somewhat of a conundrum.

Ponder that!

Enough Already

There are three verbs in common use in our language that all mean basically the same thing: the removal from or altering of documents before they are released for public consumption, but are used in such a way as to make that removal sound like something else.

The three verbs are edit, censor, and redact.

Censor – We old-timers with military backgrounds remember, it is what the government did to our letters during the war. Censorship was employed heavily during wartime in order that our enemies did not learn what we were doing as it might relate to their defeat.

Editing – What reporters did to their news reports to filter out anything that might unintentionally offend the subject of the story, or that might be misconstrued. Often times schoolbooks are edited to remove or alter words, phrases, or other material that might be misconstrued or be offensive to the readers of books or other publications. Editing, basically, is done to improve or correct written materials; but it's often seen as censorship by the authors of the material that has been edited.

Redact – This verb has come into common usage over the past few years as sort of a synonym for censoring or editing, but is often employed as a means of pulling the wool over the public's eyes as it relates to the release of government documents for public scrutiny.

Or, to put it another way, government officials redact documents when they don't want the public to know that they've been edited, or worse yet,censored.

So, think seriously when a newscaster reports that much sought after documents were released to the public, after they had been heavily redacted.

The people we elect to serve us certainly have a strange way of keeping things from us; especially when it is something we have a right to know.

A First Time For Everything ...

For the first time during the present incumbent's presidency has this writer been in agreement with anything he said or did.

From his humiliating apology tour shortly after he was elected, through his lavish forays about the world at the tax payers' expense, and now his present efforts to humiliate this country in the Middle East, never once has the president done anything of benefit to this country.

But on the 26th of March, in Birmingham, he finally said something that made sense.

At Lawson State Community College he told those in attendance that he endorsed an improvement in the ways consumers are protected with regard to payday loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is presently looking for ways to protect consumers who take out payday loans by regulating the number of loans a person may take out; but this may be only a peck at the problem.

The real problem with payday lending rests with the amount of interest lenders may charge. This is where borrowers take a beating.

For the last few years your writer, and others in the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature, have introduced resolutions calling for tighter controls on interest rates charged. This is where the payday lender sticks it to the borrower.

It's commendable that something is being done in this regard, but it's only a drop in the usury bucket.

Mr. Obama's comments, one fears, were mostly cosmetic, however. His actions so far as our Chief Executive have done little in the way of suggesting that he is really concerned about America's well being.

But it made a good speech.


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