Archive for July, 2023

Do I have it?

Author: admin

As we seniors age into the 80’s, most of us have an almost unanswerable question.

“Is memory loss just normal at four-score plus?” “Is it dementia?” “Where is the line between the two?” “How can I know?”

Having reached that age, I’ve been dealing with the issue for sometime now. And, I don’t have an answer. Probably never will.

I endured a lengthy formal testing two years ago. The result was “early onset dementia.” At the time, I was told by medical professionals there was no reason for concern. Yeah. Sure.

Now, here it is, two years later and the question still haunts. As more things are forgotten, is it simply age? Or, something else?

The Alzheimer’s Association recently published updated research showing Seniors living in the East and Southeast regions of the country are most likely to have Alzheimer’s. Especially in rural areas.

But, another part of that same study showed metro areas Miami-Dade County, Baltimore and the Bronx borough of New York City in which the disease affected one-in-six Seniors. Maryland has the highest prevalence at the state level with New York and Mississippi
second and third.

Use of demographic risk factors to estimate the presence of Alzheimer’s can help show the full burden of the disease better than medical records. That data shows more than half of people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia are undiagnosed.

That’s often the case because loved ones don’t recognize the presence of Alzheimer’s, thinking forgetfulness is just part of the ageing process. Doctors don’t always ask about it, being reluctant to make and share the diagnosis without testing.

Of course, the risk of dementia increases with age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association study, “People ages 75 to 79 were about three times more likely to have the disease than those 65 to 69. And, rates were about 15 times higher among ages 85 and up.”

Also, rates for Senior women were 13-percent higher than among Senior men. Rates for Black Seniors were about 2.5 times higher than among White Seniors.

Alzheimer’s is tough to diagnose. Last week, talking to my doctor, I mentioned this subject to her. She gave me a quick verbal test and, when it was over, she just smiled and continued our session. Optimist that I am, I’m taking that as negative on her test.

Still, that question of “Is it dementia or something else” hangs in the air. I know I’m more forgetful. But, is it because of a disease or just the four-score and seven years and lots of gray hair? And, that’s why it’s hard to get a straight answer from health care professionals.

Oh well. As my wife says, “He’s not yet put his car keys in the refrigerator.” Guess that’s as good a test as any.

Children, so it seems

Author: admin

At my age, it’s too late for a mid-life crisis. So, it must be a “late-life crisis” coupled with occasional “senior interludes”.

This is normally recognized in two ways. First, I’m getting more daily offers of assistance. For awhile, I figured it was just living in Oregon where nice people look out for each other.

“Great,” I said. “Beats the ol’ big city life any time”.

But, then I noticed some of the people offering assistance appeared to be older than me! That brought on pangs of guilt and a rush to the nearest mirror for assurance. Well, so much for assurance.

The other form of this affliction comes when suddenly realizing you are dealing with so many younger people. Children it seems. Even worse, a lot of them are people in whom you must trust your life.

Take airline travel for instance. Time was you felt comfortable with a gray-haired crew up front. That meant thousands of hours in the air, experience with lots of emergencies, calm assurance of command. The Chesley Sullenberger types.

Well, look around now. The pilots are Skippy and Ginger and some guy in a uniform running up and down the aisle is named Randy. Wait a minute. I’m as much for equality and advancement as the next guy. But, some of these kids haven’t started shaving and such gray hair as may be on the flight is all in the seats in the back! On some flights I’d bet I’ve got more pilot-in-command time in a Cessna 172.

We recently needed some legal assistance. Since I’ve managed to stay out of trouble during our current residency, we hadn’t needed an attorney so I relied on a friend’s referral. At the office, I filled out the obligatory “how-are-you-going-to-pay” form and was ushered into the inner sanctum. I thought the young fella behind the desk was an intern who’d do pre-meeting legal screening.

No way! This prepubescent kid in a golf shirt was going to get me through the local county legal briar patch? He should’ve been home cramming for a chemistry exam.

Don’t even ask me about my barber. Every time he jumps up on his little chair-side stool I repeatedly tell him playtime is over and I’m here to see his father.

My medical, flight safety, hair care and legal concerns are being handled by kids who’ve never lived without computers, have no concept of 45RPM records or 8-tracks, never saw Ed Sullivan, Jack Parr, Huntley-Brinkley or even a black and white TV set. Ask them about fender skirts and you get a blank look. Same thing for 25-cent-a-gallon gas, party line telephones and transistors. They don’t know life before credit and debit cards, microwave ovens or radio before talk radio. Or FM! FM?

Oh, I’m sure they have all the proper credentials and accompanying education and training. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be where they are doing what they’re doing. But, two things they haven’t got are miles on the odometer of life and real-time experiences that make us who we are. They’re just beginning the professional evolution process that will make them into what the rest of us have already become. Older. Much older.

Oh well, I guess it’s up to me to relax and get used to it. But, I’d like to be there the day Skippy-the-pilot gets on a flight as a gray-haired passenger and is told on the intercom “Good morning. Your captain today is computer 2-4-3-7. We’re no longer using co-pilots – human or otherwise.”

Yep. Love to see that.

Nary a drop

Author: admin

For many a decade, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington have stood solidly united to protect Northwest water. “Nary a drop,” they’ve said repeatedly as the Southwest states pounded on the door.

Well, now the issue in some of those thirsty states has turned to a battle within. A battle of who gets what as demand for water exceeds supply. And, it’s getting a bit nasty.

Southern California is a vista of farmland. Farmland irrigated for decades, underwritten by very old water rights. But now, as cities in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada continue amazing growth, many of those water rights are being sold. Sold to investors who are building pipelines to where the people are congregating. Sold to support growth which will return rich rewards to those investors as they sell – or lease – water to municipalities. Or just hold onto ’em.

While this new supply of “liquid gold” serves that growing population demand presently, those farmlands of cotton, alfalfa, hay, potatoes and other needed crops are beginning to look like the desert from which they came. And, farmers are getting out of the business.

The water which formerly grew those crops is now going into municipal reservoirs, many of which have been losing capacity given the new and ever increasing demands.

One investment groups is Greenstone which recently bought out 485 acres of Arizona farmland just for the water rights. That water will be diverted and land which, historically, had been verdant, will now be useless.

Greenstone and similar ventures have bought out nearly nine-thousand acres in three Arizona counties. Yuma County residents on Arizona’s Southwest corner are getting worried about having enough of a water supply in what remains.

The state’s largest newspaper – the Arizona Republic – did some document-searching and found two major investment outfits have taken title to about six-thousand acres in Arizona. The accompanying water rights are being diverted to where the people are – feeding a thirsty population and not the thirsty – formally verdant – Arizona desert.

It’s doubtful this new source of diverted water will continue to indefinitely fill the growing need in Southwest states. That means pressure for an even greater supply will continue in the Northwest.

Water tables in the Southwest are dropping to new lows at record rates.
Most cities and counties are trying to make people aware of the situation in flashy media campaigns. They’re also cracking down on large, wasteful users when they can.

The community in which I lived a year ago boasts of it’s “award-wining” system of re-injecting excess water into the vast, declining underground source from whence most of it came. Fine. Even great! Except that underground supply is dropping month after month. Wells are being drilled deeper than ever before. The source – even re-supplied by good use practices – is dropping, caused by the pressures of new growth.

Which poses a problem for the vast network of retirement communities in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. The big, BIG selling point offered new retirees is golf. Literally thousands of lush 18-hole courses. All are kept a beautiful green by golf professionals and their crews. All watered from various sources. Sources which are slowly running out.

According to a golf pro I talked to, an 18-hole course in hot Arizona can use one-billion gallons a year! Yes, a billion! Even if it uses re-injection. Now, consider a retirement community with eight courses. Yes, eight! Then, add 45 courses in one county.

So, if you take a golfing community with nine 18-hole courses and start cutting back on either the number of courses or the number of holes – what’s left to draw newcomers? And, what happens to property values of those who bought into the golf lure? Where will the next generation of buyers come from?

So, farmlands are being lost. Lifestyles are being changed. New and often harsher penalties for wasting water are likely. Recreation availabilities are already being limited. Shortages of water – not by the glass, but by the drop – heading into our foreseeable future.

Never thought I’d says this. But, large portions of this country may not be habitable in the distant future. Direct sources of water may determine where we live and how many of us can be sustained. Sure looks that way.

Keep listening

Author: admin

It’s interesting to watch today’s Republican Party twist, turn, shake and try to free itself of Trump and Trumpers.

As usual, GOPers on the street are smarter than the Party intelligentsia. Slowly – ever so slowly – Trumpers are being pushed aside – shunned – as if they were contagious.

Last week, Trump advocate Lindsey Graham was solidly booed for six minutes at a South Carolina Republican gathering. Booed! For six straight minutes! At a Trump Rally! Because he used the name “Trump” in his opening remarks at a Trump rally of that states GOP faithful. Six minutes. In his own hometown!

Other political pros are getting much the same reception if they use the Trump name or make favorable remarks about the Party’s leading candidate for a jail cell.

Yes, there are by some counts, about 20-million folks who still worship at the Trump Shrine of Shame. Yes, that seems like a very large number. But, not when considering the estimated 30-40 million mainline Repubs who want nothing to do with the guy.

Yes, Party regulars are somewhat conservative – make that very conservative. And, that’s O.K.. We need a strong two-party system. One that can honestly compete in the political world of push and pull. If that party is a bit right of center, the process can still work.

Trump is feeling the walls closing in. For the first time in his pitiful life, he can’t run away, he can’t ignore, he can’t shift blame. He knows the charges against him are criminal rather than civil. That means his millions can’t buy him out. There’s no realistic way – or fiscal way – to avoid punishment.

Sometime – in the near future – he’s going to have to “stand in the dock.” And, conviction could see him trade his gold-trimmed, king-sized Mar-a-lago bed for a cot and one blanket in rather small, poorly lighted room. Living at taxpayer’s expense..

While DJT’s name and influence are now tied to the Republican Party, that will fade. It could be, if he’s ultimately convicted of criminal offenses, there’ll be a future severance of all things Trump. And, a Republican Party – eager to move on – will do so. Quickly.

But, given his propensity to find a media outlet eager for his presence,
he’ll remain in constant contact with his minions. And the rest of us. He ain’t going away.

The six-minute booing in South Carolina, at the mention of Trump’s name, is rather remarkable. Over the long years of my life, I’ve heard booing of athletes, political candidates like George Wallace and assorted bad public actors. But, never six straight minutes! Even Lindsey Graham – poor, lost soul that he is – even he had to be embarrassed. In his hometown. His friends and GOP supporters.

One would hope there will be similar verbal outbreaks at future GOP events. If it can – and did – happen there, well, we’ll keep listening. With a hopeful ear.