Sen. Van Hollen and AG Frosh on Consumer Protection at MaCCRA’s Annual Meeting

Submitted by Lorrie Rogers and Lois Brown

Don’t get hooked by scams was the message U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh brought to Collington on June 17, 2019.

After the short business meeting, the US Senator and Md Attorney General spoke to a packed auditorium about the wide variety of scams arriving daily on our phones and in our in-boxes.   Most importantly they discussed measures we can take to avoid being hooked by them.  We’ve all heard the advice of “Just hang up”, and “Don’t click on links,” but the one that took most people by surprise was that we should not only freeze our own credit, but advise our children to freeze theirs and that of our grandchildren.  Scammers are ruining the credit of minor children, which often is not discovered until they become adults.
Delegate Erek Barron was also in the audience and got a shout-out from the Senator and AG.

Following the Q&A period, the staff from the Maryland Consumer Protection Division, Federal Trade Commission, Prince George’s County Area Agency on Aging, and Maryland Relay had tables of brochures and other information and were available to answer questions.

You can view most of the discussion below.

A Few of the December Collington Events…

Contributed by Marian Fuchs

December is one of our community’s busiest months.  In the past handful of days, for instance, we’ve had the following three memorable events:

A Taste of the Holidays – a special event put on by Kim Rivers, our Vitalize 360 coach, the Culinary Services team and Corinne Pearce, our dietician.

The purpose was to present residents with healthy options for party food for the holidays.  In addition to a range of foods and a punch drink, there were talks and printed information and some useful recipes.  Some 60 – 70 residents attended.

Here are Kim, Corinne, and three of the ‘healthy nibbles’: endives with walnuts and blue cheese, crispy spiced chickpeas and a Margherita Flatbread from the Landing.

A Talk about a Lovely Boat Collection

 Sue Regen talked to a group of about 30 residents about the charming collection of boats from around the world that she and her husband Rich and their families had collected over the years.  This collection has been delighting viewers for many weeks now.

Here are Sue, Rich, and a tiny part of their collection.

 

 

 

MaCCRA Meeting with Collington’s Local Government Representatives

 Lorrie Rogers, Collington’s MCCRA leader, organized this meeting, introducing our four representatives.  They are State Senator Joann Benson, and State Representatives Erek Barron, Jazz Lewis and Andrea Harrison, shown below.

Each representative spoke about their priorities for the coming session, and answered audience questions.  The newest representative, Andrea Harrison said the least, stressing that she was on a learning curve and would have to read bills and talk to others before making pronouncements.  All the others shared progressive agendas, with plans to try to craft bills and win support for all of the following:

  • tackling the unreasonably steep rise in the cost of some prescription drugs
  • Education funding, especially for school construction and maintenance
  • Cutting health care costs, by e.g. cutting out middlemen, and advocating for a State-wide individual mandate for the Affordable Care Act.
  • Making a dent in opioid addiction, by e.g. strengthening the legal uses of the existing database on overdoses
  • Treating substance abuse in jail, seeking to build on a successful project underway in Rhode Island
  • Making major changes to the juvenile justice system in Maryland
  • Reducing the use of solitary confinement in prison in place of mental health treatment
  • Making efforts to reduce drunk driving in Maryland by strengthening the existing NOAH program
  • Providing tax incentives to lure one or more grocery stores to the ‘food desert’ in the part of the country inside the Beltway.
  • Capping the premiums on long term care insurance policies.

This was a lively and informative meeting, with much goodwill between audience and speakers.  Thanks to Lorrie Rogers, this was the third visit to Collington of this group, which augers well for future good relations with our representatives.

Composting! A new green venture on campus!

Contributed by Marian Fuchs

A small group of entrepreneurial residents have got together to start a new eco-project at Collington.  All of us who drink tea or coffee have the chance to recycle our old grounds and tea bags in the Collington compost project, along with fruit rinds, vegetable waste, dead plant leaves and the like.

The implementing team consists of Don Peterson and an ad-hoc committee of four:  Nini Almy, Liz Barbehenn, Shirley Denham and Marilyn Meek.    Below are Don and Nini — two of the instigators!

Without much fanfare, the group have set up a series of seven compost bins – four by the greenhouse and raised beds (pictured above), the other three at the Hilltop Gardens.  Totally compostable bags are available in the greenhouse, up at the Gardens and in the Country Store.

If you haven’t already started recycling, here are the compost instructions – copied on every bin.

Near the compost bins is a big trash can, where you can contribute the things that should not be composted, as shown below.

It will take about a year for the items in the bins to turn into good, rich, compost that Collington gardeners can use in 2019 to improve the soil in which they will be growing their herbs, vegetables and flowers.  What a win-win project!

 

Our Intergenerational Music Program Featured as National Cutting Edge. Newspaper and TV

Collington is now the Poster Child for Intergenerational programs!

Samantha Flores and Collington are the featured story (with photo of our auditorium) in The New York Times reporing on a newly issued report on inter generation initiatives for seniors.  The story begins.

When Samantha Flores wasn’t taking classes at the University of Maryland for her master’s degree in cello performance this past academic year, she could often be found hanging out with a bunch of 80-somethings. Ms. Flores, 28, along with another music student, was participating in a new artists-in-residence program at Collington, a nonprofit retirement community in Mitchellville, Md.

As the article reported:

Marilyn Haskel, a 72-year-old resident of Collington involved in selecting the students, said the young people often invited fellow music students to practice on the grounds, resulting in pop-up concerts. With no family nearby, Ms. Haskel said, “it was delightful for me to sit down and have conversations about their careers and what they’re planning.”

When residents learned that Ms. Flores didn’t have a car, they often drove her to campus. Ms. Flores struck up close friendships with many of the residents, including one she met in September who had recently been given a brain cancer diagnosis.

“We bonded over Bach,” she said, engaging in lengthy conversations about him. When the man died in February, Ms. Flores played a piece he had requested at his funeral: Bach’s “Sarabande: Suite for Solo Cello No. 5 in C Minor.”

“I promised I wouldn’t cry, but you can’t help that,” she said. “It was a very emotional moment.”

The trigger for the article is a new report from Generations United and the Eisner Foundation survey of 180 intergenerational programs.

That report itself cites a Harris Poll that found:

[P]lenty of support for programs that bring diverse age groups together to fend off loneliness. Ninety-two percent of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce loneliness across all ages.

Moreover,

A strong majority of Americans (94 percent) agree that older people have skills or talents that can help address a child’s/youth’s needs and 89 percent believe the same about children and youth addressing the needs of elders. More than four in ve Americans also say if they (85 percent) or a loved one (86 percent) needed care services, they would prefer a care setting with opportunities for intergenerational contact rather than one with a single age group. Americans were also clear that age segregation is harmful, finding that almost three quarters (74 percent) agree that “programs and facilities that separately serve different age groups prevent children/youth and older adults from benefitting from each other’s skills and talents.

Given all that is now happening in this field, way beyond music, we will need to keep innovatintg to stay in the lead — another major task for our strategic planning process.  Indeed, onsite child care was an idea that came up frequently in the process.

P.S.  One little thing I would like the photo committee to do is take on making a set of before and after photos of our residents, showing the huge impact grandchildren visits have on us.

P.P.S.  The TV version is on WJLA, here.

 

 

The Potential for Clinical Trials at Collington

As we move forward with our repositioning of health care at Collington,  of necessity the potential of Collington as a research location has taken a big of a back burner – but only for now.

This New York Times article is a timely reminder of how us seniors are often forgotten when it comes to clinical trials:

Salt matters to geriatricians. It’s associated with conditions many older people contend with, particularly high blood pressure, but also swelling and heart failure.

Though doctors frequently urge older patients to reduce salt in their diets, it’s not clear how much reduction is necessary to improve health, or even how much salt most people actually consume.

“There’s a lot of controversy, but that’s why we need the data,” said Dr. Covinsky. So he read on, until he reached the paragraph explaining that the study used “randomly selected, nonpregnant participants aged 20 to 69 years.”

He did a double-take. Once again, the population probably most affected — older adults — had been left out of an important study.

“How is this possible? Unacceptable!” Dr. Covinsky protested on Twitter. “I can think of no good rationale for this exclusion. This has got to stop.”

Indeed, I have been told by researchers that it is hard to recruit seniors for trials.  This may be for a variety of reasons, lack of trust, fear of the unknown, inconvenience, failure to understand modern protocols and informed consent.  As the Times adds:

Starting next January, [NIH] grant applicants will have to explain how they intend to include people of all ages, providing acceptable justifications for any group they leave out. The agency will monitor investigators to make sure they comply.

Moreover, there are often problems with exclusions of research candidates who have multiple medical conditions (like almost all seniors.)

This has all led to the idea that Collington may indeed be a perfect research partner.  We have many scientists here, and many with experience with statistics, data, and research protocols.  We are an easy to reach population, and we are also racially diverse — another important consideration.  Moreover, we might be able to help enroll and provide services associated with the research to those in the community.  (In particular, fear of not being helped with other conditions is a major deterrent to certain categories of patients.

So, as we move forward, lets keep this is mind.

Salt, anyone?

p.s. Dorothy Yuan adds the following thoughtful comment.

You have absolutely right that we have an ideal population for clinical trials.  I can already think of many parameters.  First, the age bracket is quite limited.  Second, living conditions are similar.  Third,  access to minimal  medical care is generally available.  Forth, although the daily menu provides a lot of choices it is still rather limited in scope. Fifth, and most important, easy access for researchers to do follow-ups.
Whereas these conditions are not suitable for all areas of study.  For example, salt intake will be rather difficult since we don’t prepare our own meals.  However, we would be ideal for many other studies.  
All we need is a way to advertise our availability.