Friday, November 27, 2015

Internet Addiction or not . . .

It doesn't matter whether we're talking Facebook, smart phone, games or just flat-out online addiction; we collectively have a problem. Blah, blah you've it all heard it before. 

However, let me ramble in the opposite direction today.

Here in The Villages, Florida* it's the counter example, with health care online for free medical advice, insurance, vision testing etc. It's all there but not accessed by those who need it most. The cyber revolution doesn't penetrate as deeply into the elder community as you might think. Or at least not as much as my hooked-up friends and cyber acquaintances would indicate.

I have heard statements like: "I can send my grandkid a eBirthday card, well actually my wife does that." and "I can make a tee time but I only learned that because they never answer the phone at the golf course."

Last week I focused on what the huge medical community has done with online access. You can see your test results in real time, just as your physician does. I was able to access my brother's knee X-rays from a few years back both before and after this replacement surgery. 

Questions get answered the same day when posted in a private forum with your doctor and/or nurse practitioner. Appointments are made, rescheduled and confirmed electronically. 

But when I asked at three local clinics about usage, I was told it's no better than 50% among the 'youngsters' (under 70) but rapidly decreases as the patient's age goes up.

Personally, I know more than your average patient, being that I do not subscribe to the god/physician myth; yet, I was able to locate detailed information on medications and treatments via the various cyber-access ports, information I had previously had to search as far as medical journals to find.

The internet is a incredible resource for medical information, an informed patient really is a boon to the medical establishment not a hinderance as you might think. Yet, the information waiting out there is not being accessed by those most in need.

End today's rambling ponder.


*The US Census ranked The Villages as the fastest-growing U.S. city for the third year in a row (during the 12 months ended July 2015); The Villages nearly tripled in size since 2010: about 120,000 people now live in the community. The development lies in central Florida, 45 miles northwest of Orlando.

**2017 update for The Villages, Florida: 1800 new homes being added this year and next and next. Population now 135,000.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Benefits of Writing

Write two paragraphs and call me in the morning.

"Science has good news for people who write: The consequences of putting pen to paper go beyond hand cramps and furrowed eyebrows. 
Study after study has linked the act of writing to myriad mental and physical health benefits, including elevated mood and emotional well-being, decreased stress, an improved ability to deal with trauma and even physical healing."

FULL ARTICLE from whence come these conclusions.

Friday, November 13, 2015

For Profit

Just so we begin here in the same place. The United States of America is not a country founded on the principles of capitalism. In theory, this is a representative democracy with a federalist system of governance.

We all know we are not operating as a representative democracy these days. We are, in fact, a wholly owned nation under the dehumanizing yoke of runaway capitalism.

'For-Profit' has become an obscene scepter of what the 'free market' might have been in the best of times.

I cite three prime examples: For-Profit Prisons, For-Profit Schools and most horribly For-Profit Hospitals, Nursing Homes and even Hospice.

Prisoners being housed like slaughterhouse animals. Rotted, unsafe food served to inmates. Cruelty and dehumanizing tactics by guards, these are all hallmarks of For-Profit Prisons. In addition, laws are passed that add to the growing U.S. prison population, only to keep the For-Profits in business.

Contributions to anti-marijuana laws come from the tobacco industry, the alcohol beverage industry and for profit prisons. Defending the right not to have equal justice and equal protection under the law but only to increase their corporate bottomline.

For-profit schools are even a bigger ripoff. Federally backed student loan programs are hugely in default because of the predatory enrollments in for-profit colleges and trade schools. I have first-hand experience with these degree mills. There is absolutely zero concern for what is being taught, if students are learning or even if they are participating in classes and doing the work. Students are never failed, degrees are alway awarded and student loan payments are always cashed.

But the most shocking examples come from the medical industries. For-profit nursing homes abuse and neglect elderly patients. Staff are overworked, underpaid and routinely fired for helping the patients. Food is barely about prison grade.

For-Profit Hospice abuse is almost too gross to imagine. In the end stages of life, we should at least expect comfort and care. Medications should be delivered, in particular, pain medication. But more and more investigations are turning up massive patient abuse and neglect.

For-Profit has become a dirty phrase. We have to recognize that corporate decisions that demand ever larger profits must be excluded from certain phases of our society. Leading that list of Non-Profit activities must be hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, schools and prisons.

Greed is not good. In the hands of heartless, soulless people we are trading profits for our humanity.

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Sunshine State

Part three of my 2015 wandering finds me in Florida. The Villages to be exact. Over the next several months, I'll be adding more reviews of this Boomer retirement mecca. Last year's commentaries can be found here, here (the book), here and a family update with pictures here.

This year I promise more pictures, more stories and more on my potential to become a complete nomad and go 100% undomiciled.

More soon.