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Falling (or Feeling) Down

By Orion Bell | 05/24/2024

Last week I had my annual visit with my primary care doctor. It was routine. I felt fine. Nothing hurt. I wasn’t sick. That’s probably the best time to visit the doctor. It was a sunny, spring morning and I walked the few blocks from home over to his office for my appointment. Annual visits typically include some health screenings: a blood test, a urine sample, a blood pressure check, stepping...

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Volunteer

By Orion Bell | 04/25/2024

Volunteering and volunteerism are integral to society and institutions in the United States. Alexis de Tocqueville noted in Democracy in America what he saw as a uniquely American bent toward establishing associations. “. . .as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or an idea. . . they seek each other out and. . . become a power whose activities serve as an example and whose words...

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Death and Taxes

By Orion Bell | 03/19/2024

“. . . in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin This year I helped my mom file her taxes. It was something that my father always used to do. Dad had a system. He kept receipts and pay stubs. One drawer in an old filing cabinet in his workshop had copies of his tax returns going back well over a decade: each form, each worksheet and the documentation to go...

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Health and Human Services Levy

By Orion Bell | 02/26/2024

This March, the health and wellness of Cuyahoga County is on the ballot. Issue 26, which will be brought to voters in the coming election, is a renewal levy that will maintain funding for critical Health and Human Services.  The levy provides about half of Cuyahoga County’s entire Health and Human Services budget. Those funds help keep kids safe, provide residents with medical care and...

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A Place to Call Home

By Orion Bell | 01/26/2024

“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than any magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.” — Charles Dickens, The Benjamin Rose Institute was one of the first charitable organizations in the United States established for the benefit of older adults. Its story begins with someone at risk of losing their home. “During the Panic of 1893. . .Mr....

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Looking Forward Looking Back

By Orion Bell | 12/21/2023

Predicting the future is hard. Predicting the recent past can be even harder. What seemed significant or important in the moment, upon reflection, may not have been. Something trivial or random turns out to be consequential or life altering. Picking out milestones is easier if you have traveled a great distance. Looking back over one year in an organization that has been around for over a...

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Open Enrollment or Open Season? 

By Orion Bell | 10/30/2023

The signs of fall: Football. Turning leaves. Pumpkin spice. And advertisements for Medicare plans. Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, the time when Medicare beneficiaries can compare coverage options and choose health and drug plans, began on October 15, 2023, and ends on December 7, 2023. If you watch television, or pass a billboard, you have seen them—ads promoting various Medicare...

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Pocketknives 

By Orion Bell | 09/27/2023

Do you carry a pocketknife? Growing up, having a pocketknife was a rite of passage. At some point, an adult in your life would decide you should have one. Every man I knew carried one. They varied in size, shape and color. There were handles made of wood, bone, metal or plastic. There were knives with one, two or three blades. Swiss Army or Boy Scout knives had accessories: a file, scissors,...

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Eudaimonia

By Orion Bell | 07/26/2023

On a recent morning on my way to work, I listened to an interview on NPR about a recent study on student performance, which expanded on the existing assumption that happy students are generally better students. This study showed correlation between those students with good grades and those with a sense of purpose in their lives. Michaeleen Doucleff interviewed Tania Clarke about her study of...

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Larchmere Porchfest

By Orion Bell | 06/28/2023

The Larchmere Porchfest returned this summer. On a recent Saturday, area residents and businesses hosted live music from their front porches and storefronts. Beginning at 1:00 p.m., when Austin Walkin’ Cane kicked off the afternoon at Fairhill Partners with a set of delta blues, more than thirty bands and solo performers entertained the crowds with a variety of musical genres. There was...

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Cemeteries 

By Orion Bell | 05/22/2023

“There won’t be any grass on that one.” I don’t remember the exact year she said it, but I remember where I was when I heard it. Shortly after my uncle died, I had gone along on a trip with my aunt and my parents to a rural cemetery in eastern Kentucky. The graveyard sits next to a small church near the house where my mother was born. A number of my kinfolk comprising four generations of...

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Hello In There

By Orion Bell | 04/27/2023

. . .Old trees just grow stronger . . .Old rivers grow wilder every day, Old people just grow lonesome. . ..  So goes the chorus of Hello In There, written by the late John Prine. Prine was a master storyteller. His songs contain characters and observations of the human condition, part ballad and part novel. More than any other contemporary songwriter, he often told stories from the...

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Margaret Wagner

By Orion Bell | 03/24/2023

One of the things I love about Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is the amazing history of the organization and the impact it has made in the field of aging. The Institute has served Cleveland area residents since 1908, fulfilling Benjamin Rose’s vision that people should be able to maintain their comfort and dignity as they age. The programs and services have always strived to be state of the...

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Take Action on Dementia Care

By Orion Bell | 02/27/2023

Approximately 6.5 million American live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. According to Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures, experts estimate that 1 in 9 people ages 65 or older live with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association projects that these figures will double by 2050, as the population of older adults continues to increase. The incidence of dementia increases with age, and it is estimated...

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Sister Andre

By Orion Bell | 01/26/2023

Earlier this month, Lucile Randon passed away in her sleep at her home in Toulon, France. Her passing made world news, because she was 118 years, 340 days old. Born in France in 1904, Randon entered the order of the Daughters of Charity in 1944. She chose the name Sister Andre, in honor of her older brother. She spent the next sixty-five years caring for orphans and older adults in hospitals...

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Looking Back

By Orion Bell | 12/20/2022

“The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come.” -- Berta Lippert Soon we will be closing the books on 2022. It has been a year of change and growth at Benjamin Rose, as we adapted to changing environments and sought out ways to meet the needs of older adults and family caregivers. When the year began, many COVID protocols were still in place. Like many agencies, our...

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Holiday Travel

By Orion Bell | 11/28/2022

The late John Hughes directed many successful comedies. In one of his most loved films, Steven Martin plays Neal Page, a man trying desperately to make it home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, released in 1987, also starred the late John Candy, and is a holiday staple on basic cable. Like a lot of folks, I hit the road for the Thanksgiving...

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A lot of what I know about caregiving, I learned from my brother.

By Orion Bell | 10/27/2022

I was two years old when Daniel was born. My brother was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy and he was also considered, in the terms of the day, as “profoundly mentally retarded.” His physical and cognitive development would be limited, if it happened at all. For my parents, the realization of his condition came as the milestones of growth and development—his ability to lift his head, sit up,...

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Hungry

By Orion Bell | 09/27/2022

This month, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition in Health will focus the nation’s attention on the importance of a high quality diet and the impact of diet on hunger and health. Millions of Americans are afflicted with food insecurity and diet-related diseases—including heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes—which are some of the leading causes of death and disability in the...

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Generations in Music

By Orion Bell | 08/29/2022

I came across a video from this year’s Newport Folk Festival of Joni Mitchell singing a duet with Brandi Carlile. It was the first time in more than a decade that Joni Mitchell had performed live. The video would have been remarkable just for that. Even more so, given that Mitchell experienced a devastating brain aneurysm in 2015, and had to relearn to walk and speak. At Newport, she sang...

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