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Home for the Holidays

By Orion Bell | 12/19/2019

There’s a lot of things I like about the holiday season.  One of my favorites is the music. Some people may tire of the Christmas carols, but not me. I will admit, I’d like to hear them after Thanksgiving, instead of right after Labor Day, but hearing a favorite carol helps put me in the mood for the season. One of the songs that I look forward to hearing each year is Home...

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By Orion Bell | 02/07/2020

February by David Kowalczyk bleak, bitter, barren dull, dreary, dismal     gray, grim, grinding stark, shriveled, sullen February doesn’t get much respect. Valentine’s Day provides a flash of red roses and foil-wrapped chocolate, but mostly what is written and said about February is that we want it to be over. It’s been a mild winter so far, but also a gray one. Here in...

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Facing the Facts

By Orion Bell | 07/13/2020

Like much of the country, communities in Northeast Ohio responded to the death of George Floyd, captured on video by bystanders, with a mix of disbelief, sadness and outrage.  His death galvanized the country and caused many of us to reconsider the state of racial justice and equity in the United States.  The Cleveland City Council passed a resolution citing racism as a public health...

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Care Partners

By Orion Bell | 11/21/2019

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging held its annual Caregiving Conference earlier this month. This year’s theme was Supporting Families Impacted by Dementia. We had a full house in the conference center: caregivers, service providers, researchers and health care professionals coming together to discuss the importance of informal caregivers, the challenges many of them face in meeting the...

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Caring About the Caregiver

By Orion Bell | 01/10/2020

Over the holidays, I took advantage of a few days off and caught up on some books I had been intending to read. Over the past several months I had picked up quite a selection of books. This one looked interesting. That one was by an author I had read before. Another one suggested by a friend….  A short stack of good intentions, sitting on the end table…untouched. A guilty pile of pristine...

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By Orion Bell | 08/13/2019

In mid-July, FaceApp took the world by storm. Millions of people downloaded the app to their smartphones and posted “aged” pictures of themselves online. The FaceApp Challenge went viral.  Celebrities from Kim Kardashian to the staff of the Today Show posted “aged” photos of themselves 30 years older. The app has a variety of filters to make us look older or younger, whiten our smile,...

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Finding a Home

By Orion Bell | 07/10/2019

"Are you looking on the east side, or the west side?" This was the question I was asked most often when people found out I was moving to Cleveland. The question was often followed by a recommendation or a suggestion of why one area, one side of town or one neighborhood was best: the commute, the taxes, the shopping or other amenities. Cleveland residents take great pride in their city and its...

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It's Not a Tsunami!

By Orion Bell | 03/13/2020

I don’t remember exactly when I first heard the term “Silver Tsunami” to describe the aging of the Baby Boom generation. Those of us working in the field of aging have long talked about the changing demographics of the United States – how lower birthrates and increased life expectancies meant the population was aging. We would point to the year 2010 and note that the oldest members of the...

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Senior Center Month

By Orion Bell | 09/24/2019

September is National Senior Center Month. This year’s theme, “Senior Centers, the key to aging well” provides an opportunity to highlight the success of senior centers in promoting health, reducing social isolation and promoting community support of older adults. The National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) estimates that there are more than 11,000 centers nationwide. Here in Cleveland and...

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The Medicare "Advantage"

By Orion Bell | 10/31/2019

The open enrollment for Medicare plans began on October 15 and it got me thinking about a recent incident with my father. A few weeks ago, I was home visiting my parents. While we were sitting at the kitchen table, my dad got a phone call.  It was the nurse from his insurance company. At least that’s what the prerecorded voice said. What followed was a scripted “conversation” with the...

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The New Normal

By Orion Bell | 04/23/2020

The parking lot at Benjamin Rose is mostly empty these days. A handful of people are in the building, but there are no classes, no team meetings. The Rose Centers are closed. It’s…quiet.   In March, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, following the guidance from Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, temporarily closed our community-based programs...

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Boomers and Slackers and Snowflakes

By Orion Bell | 08/18/2020

A story that appeared recently on Next Avenue shared the author’s attempts to find clothing through Stitch Fix (Are Sites Like Stitch Fix Ageist?). The author shared her growing frustration with the curated clothing selections that online retailer sent her. Frumpy, unflattering boxes of “stretch pants and loose flowing tops.” Her solution? She changed her age in her profile to 15 years younger,...

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September Songs

By Orion Bell | 09/14/2020

Well, the sun's not so hot in the sky today And you know I can see summertime slipping on away - James Taylor I like September.  It’s still summer. But the days are getting shorter. It’s dark now when we go out for Ted’s early morning walk. It’s still warm, but the sweltering afternoons of July and August are past. You don’t need your jacket, but if you have it with you, you won’t be the...

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One Vote Counted

By Orion Bell | 10/06/2020

“One vote counted is one voice heard.”  It’s an election year. You probably noticed. The seemingly endless stream of political advertising. Yard signs. Mailers. Two of my neighbors were canvassing this weekend, going door-to-door for their candidate. Walking through the community, I see multiple places to pick up an absentee ballot request form. Civic engagement and participation are on...

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Family Caregiver Month

By Orion Bell | 11/17/2020

November is National Family Caregiver Month. In his annual presidential proclamation, President Trump noted, “With generous hearts and faithful devotion, they honor the sanctity of life and affirm the inherent value of all human beings. “   When we talk about family caregivers at Benjamin Rose, we mean the network of informal, and unpaid, supports that allow older adults and people with...

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“Stay Home!!” for the Holidays?

By Orion Bell | 12/18/2020

What are you doing for the holidays this year? One of the many ways that the pandemic has altered our lives in 2020 is the impact it has on family gatherings:  birthdays, weddings, funerals and family reunions.  In addition to the conversations about what to do in planning an event, we have all asked the question, “should we?”   Is it safe to attend?  Am I putting myself or...

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By Orion Bell | 01/22/2021

One of the most used words in the aging network is “community”.  We advocate for “home and community-based services” (HCBS) as alternatives to institutional care.  We take part in awareness efforts, Dementia Friendly Communities or Communities for a Lifetime, that promote inclusion or accommodation in civic planning and daily life.  Assisted living facilities and planned...

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Progress is not Linear

By Orion Bell | 02/25/2021

Throughout the month of February, many organizations observe Black History Month.  It is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions, sacrifices and successes of African Americans, and the roles they have played in the history of our country. Black History Month also serves as a reminder that the people and their accomplishments are often overlooked, or discounted, or forgotten. The...

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Social Workers are Essential

By Orion Bell | 03/08/2021

This year’s Social Work Month theme, “Social Workers Are Essential,” embodies the heroic contributions of the Social Work profession to our nation, including the work Social Workers have done to heal our nation during these times of pandemic, racial unrest, economic uncertainty and political divisiveness.  The concept of social work arose in the United States in the years following the...

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The Real Story About Guardianship

By Orion Bell | 04/07/2021

There is a fascinating movie on Netflix these days.  I Care A Lot tells the story of Marla Grayson, a professional guardian, played by Rosamund Pike, and the schemes she employs to deprive her clients of their money, property and access to family. The movie boasts a strong cast, including Peter Dinklage and Dianne Wiest. It is a film full of villains and their victims.So, what is...

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