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As I am a jack of all liberal trades, my Masters degree finally landed me a job that I love, most of the time, in the non-profit sector as a Data Analyst, Training Developer, and I create surveys and send them to people :-p What I really love about my job is that everyday I come in to work and know that the data I'm crunching, the trainings I'm developing, and the surveys I'm designing will one day be used to help people experiencing homelessness access the healthcare they desperately need in a more humane and streamlined way.

I do not work directly with individuals experiencing homelessness, but I get to read the stories of lives that have been touched by the interventions that we have helped to create. It is also my hope that in the near future, Medicaid will be expanded nationwide encompassing these people, and allowing them even greater access to the treatment that they need most.

Follow me below the squiggly for more discussion of healthcare and homelessness


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A few weeks ago I wrote a diary about my roach and bed bug infested apartment, and the horrible living conditions my husband and I have lived in for the past 6 months since we moved to Nashville, and now, finally, I have an update.

We alerted the apartment complex to the bed bug infestation, and they gave us a checklist of cleaning etc... to do to get the apartment ready to be fumigated. So we did it. To the letter. When we picked up our box spring to put the bed bug cover on it, we saw that they had established a huge colony in it, and that it seemed they were running in and out from the wall connecting us to the next apartment. Our bed is against the wall, or at least it was. I decided to dispose of my mattresses, so now my husband and I are sleeping on an air mattress until we decide our next step.

They fumigated two weeks ago, and are supposed to do a touch up treatment soon, but lo and behold the bed bugs have migrated to the living room and have infested my couch, my grandmother's antique chairs that I inherited, and my recliners. The likelihood that I can save any of it is low because the furniture is all oddly shaped and would be hard to seal up for a year. My antique chairs are the one exception. I plan on having them heat treated myself.

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My husband and I moved to Nashville in July, and we rented an apartment that seemed okay, wasn't great, but was a good price, and in a decent area of town. When we first moved in I got a rash, but I figured it was because of stress or mosquitoes, so I didn't think anything of it.

Over the next couple of months I kept getting rashes, but as I am highly allergic to mosquito bites, I kept thinking it was mosquitoes. That's when the roaches came out. After about a month of living in this apartment, I started seeing this horrible cockroaches running across my wall, I would kill them, call the office and complain, they would come out a week later and spray, but to no avail. The cockroaches became a house guest that I absolutely did not want, but locked in a year's lease, had no choice about.

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As some of you may know, I have been blogging about my adventures in voting over the last week, while also pointing out some of the problems others are having casting their vote in the city of Nashville. I was denied the right to vote on Wednesday, and after gathering up all my information, I went back Saturday to vote again. I decided to go to the same early voting site to see if I would have problems again, and lo and behold, the site gave me major problems this time as well. On a positive note, I was allowed to vote. On a negative note, it took roughly 35 minutes after waiting in line to argue my way to the voting machine. Below the squiggly I will let you all know what happened this time!

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Many of you read my diary yesterday about being turned away from voting at the polls. I thought it may be an isolated incident. I was wrong. Today I opened up our local newspaper to be confronted with more incompetence by the volunteers at the polls. People being turned away from voting, ID's being refused, and a general lack of training by the Davidson County Election Commission. Remember, even though Tennessee is a red state Davidson County (Nashville) is blue. Very blue. And also the site of a few important local legislative elections, as well as the democrat held TN-05 house seat. Disenfranchisement in this county could lead to a super majority in both the state house and state senate of Republicans. If that happens nothing can stop the Republicans from passing archaic bills like "Don't Say Gay." Follow me below the squiggly for information about the voter disenfranchisement occurring here.

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I was very excited yesterday knowing that I would be voting in my third presidential election. I went to work, requested my two hours of voting time, and headed off to my early voting precinct. When I arrived I handed them my staff ID (from a local state university) and I was told that I could not vote with that, as it was not a valid form of ID in the state of Tennessee. I told them they were clearly wrong, but yet they insisted that the ID needed to be a driver's license or state ID.

According to the TN Department of Homeland Defense they are wrong:

"State employee ID with photo (including those issued by state universities)"

The university I work for is state and it clearly states on the ID "Staff."

I know some of you will ask why I didn't utilize my state driver's ID. I did not use this ID because I was married and the name on it doesn't match my registration. This is common among married and divorced people, and I fall into one of the groups that people were worried would not have the correct photo ID. I did...they just didn't accept it.

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A new AP/NCC poll released yesterday shows that Americans support marriage equality 53% for to 42% against.

They also found that 6 in 10 Americans support recognition of same-sex couples, either with marriage or in some other form.

The article cites that this number has not changed since last year, but it is encouraging that the number has stayed steady, and with opposition continuing to decline.

This survey comes on the heels of good marriage numbers out of Washington State, and a NYT/CBS poll yesterday that showed increasing support for marriage equality.

Viva la Marriage Equality!

AP Article on Marriage Equality Poll


Welcome one and all to the fifth edition of my blog series: Taking Care of the Elderly. Over the past two weeks we have discussed how the boomers are changing the face of elder care, the types of senior living, and the perils of falling. Tonight I will continue the series with a discussion of dementia, and what we can do to help people cope with this serious symptom. Enjoy.

Dementia is literally "the loss of mental functions, and must be severe enough to inhibit daily activities." As we all know, as we age our memories are not quite as good as they were when we were younger, but dementia is something far more severe. Dementia is not a disease in and of itself, but instead is a symptom of various diseases.

These diseases include:

•Degenerative neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's, frontotemporal lobar degenerations, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's, and Huntington's
•Vascular disorders, such as multi-infarct dementia, which is caused by multiple strokes in the brain
•Infections that affect the central nervous system, such as HIV dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
•Chronic drug use
•Certain types of hydrocephalus, an accumulation of fluid within the brain that can result from developmental abnormalities, infections, injury, or brain tumors
While all forms of dementia are horrific, being that this diary is focused on the elderly, I will discuss the most common disease associated with dementia:Alzheimer's. Follow me below the squiggly for a discussion of Alzheimer's, how to treat it, how to prevent it, and the impact it has on the care of the elderly.

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This is my fourth installment in my series: Taking Care of the Elderly. I will discuss the impact of the recession on the baby boomers and conclude with a discussion of what the boomers can still do to make sure they are comfortable as they retire. All statements within are simply ideas. Nothing should be construed as an endorsement of any given idea unless I clearly label it as such.

I was so excited to get added to the Community Spotlight for the first part of this diary that it gave me the motivation to finish the Baby Boomer article earlier than I had expected. I would like to remind everyone that my purpose is not to be controversial, in fact, I was writing diaries that were not meant to be very political. I am a political person, but I think that it is possible to transcend partisan politics and do what is best for the aging community. These people are very near and dear to my heart and I want to ensure that they have the best possible golden years. That is why I write. That is why I work in the industry. That is why I take less pay than I am worth. All because I care about these people. The people I work with have been reading the comments and my diaries and are considering making changes. That's what this is all about for me. Thank you Kos Community for all that you are, and all that you do.

With that being said, I decided to shift the tone of the second boomer diary and discuss what it's like to be elderly in this economy. In particular, what it means to be growing old at the beginning of the 21st century, and how that bodes for us, generation x,y, and z as we begin our inevitable march toward old age. Follow me below the squiggly for the second part of the boomers.


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This is the third part in my series "Taking Care of the Elderly. Because of the in-depth nature of discussing the boomers I will do this diary in two parts. Today I will give a brief overview of who the boomers are, why they matter, their impact on social security and medicare, and how they will impact the retirement industry. Tomorrow I will discuss the impact of the recession on the baby boomers and conclude with a discussion of what the boomers can still do to make sure they are comfortable as they retire. All statements within are simply ideas. Nothing should be construed as an endorsement of any given idea unless I clearly label it as such. I took the diary down briefly to evaluate the statements, as I wanted to ensure it did not appear biased. Due to strong criticism of my social security section, I have added another possible solution to the section. Enjoy :-)

The cheers of victory over Japan and Germany during World War II hung in the air of the late 40s. The GI's were home, and ready to start families. And boy did they ever.

For the years 1940-1994, inclusive, 202 million Americans were born; about 77% of all Americans now living were born after 1939. During the baby boomer years, 1946-1964 (inclusive), 75.8 million Americans were born.
The boomers are generally considered to be the generation born between 1946 and 1964. After the boomers, Generation X came into being, followed by my Generation, Generation Y, and now some consider Generation Z to have started. As you can imagine, with 3 generations having occured since the birth of the first boomer, and the first boomer turning 65 on January 1, 2011, the face of retirement is about to change, and must change, if we are to effectively care for this large and rapidly aging population.

Follow me below the squiggly for a discussion of the boomers and their impact on housing and various federal programs.


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This is the second diary in my series "Taking Care of the Elderly." I asked all of you to vote on what you would like me to discuss next, and overwelmingly you wanted to hear more about falling and the elderly. In this diary I will discuss why falls are so bad for the elderly, give some personal examples, and give basic hints and tricks for coping with falls. I hope you enjoy.

We all fall. It's a fact of life. What goes up must come down. When you are young, falling may result in nothing more than a little bit of shame and possibly a scraped elbow or a bruise. We get back up, brush ourselves off, and move on with our lives. This concept does not hold true as we age. According to a 2010 study published in The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care:

Elderly adults -- 70 years or older -- who experience ground-level falls are much more likely to be severely injured and less likely to survive their injuries compared to adults younger than 70 years. Elderly patients are three times as likely to die following a ground-level fall compared to their under-70 counterparts.
Ground level falls are much more likely as we age than when we are young. This type of fall involves falling from a standing position, and many elderly people are prone to it. Falls should be taken seriously, especially in the elderly. Follow me below the squiggly for more discussion on falls, fall prevention, and what to do if someone you know or love falls.

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Tonight begins my third week employed as the front desk concierge at an up-scale retirement community in Middle Tennessee. I work the graveyard shift (6p-6a) on weekends, and for the most part truly enjoy my job. I decided to start a series of diaries that chronicles my time at the retirement community, while at the same time exploring issues in gereontology and aging that plague our society.

Working with the elderly is one of the most rewarding careers that one can choose, and also one of the toughest. When you work with the elderly you are dealing with issues as diverse as incontinence (not here but it is common) to dementia, and anything that may fall between. I remember my first night working I responded to an emergency call where a resident had injured themselves, and that can be fairly common during the early morning/late night hours as they are the most active at that point. Working here I have to be constantly on my feet. I have to know that a resident can say anything or do anything and be able to respond quickly and with absolute care for the resident. With that introduction out of the way I would like to discuss a common qualm that I have with mainstream society: the word nursing home. Follow me below the squigly for a no-holds barred examination of the use (and misuse) of this term.  


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