*** May 2008 ***
* E-zine *

This Month's Highlights:
· New Mission For Hospice
· Relief For Homeowners?
· Ringtones to Enjoy

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A"Hospice," derived from the word "hospitality," began as an early Western tradition of providing a place of rest for tired or ill travelers (probably on their way to or from pilgrimages). As modern medicine became more refined, the hospital became the impersonal, efficient, and expensive place in which to be very ill, and to ultimately die. Doctors were treated as gods, and family were treated as guests. However, in 1974 the first hospices opened in the U.S. as "homes" where people could die with dignity, still receiving the medical care that kept them reasonably comfortable, and where family, friends, and even pets were welcomed as part of the continuum of life while awaiting the inevitable. Hospice services were also available to those who decided to remain in their own homes-nursing care and palliative medication were (and are) part of the mission of in-home hospice care.

Now hospice may be taking on a new mission: treating patients, either in-house or at home, as persons who deserve every chance to continue life-prolonging treatment. This new development, which many private insurance companies are endorsing and paying for, allows terminally ill patients the opportunity to receive sophisticated treatments that may slow or even halt the progression of disease. This program is termed "open access."

Cost benefit is only one of the positive aspects of this new system, though an important one. Medicare covers palliative care in hospice, but not treatment for the illness. Private insurance companies and individuals are finding that it is cost-effective to pay for treatment that keeps their clients going while Medicare picks up the tab for the usual hospice services and in-home care.

Of course, the most important benefit may not be the money, but the hope that it gives hospice clients that they may yet feel and be less ill, though their prognoses remain the same. It also entices people to join hospice earlier in their illnesses so that the services hospice can provide will have a more comforting, effective way to help all involved and keep patients out of the hospital at end-of-life. Patients may be able to regain more function; families may have strain relieved as caregivers; and everyone will know that everything possible is being done to prolong the patients' constructive lives while making the likely outcome more bearable to all.

Two of the companies offering life-extending treatment are Aetna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Two of the hospices involved in this new life-prolonging system are Capital Hospice (Falls Church, VA) and Continuum Hospice Care (part of the hospital system of the same name) in New York. Some companies, such as Dow Chemical, are willing to pay the higher premiums for this new service, deeming it "the right thing to do."

For general information about hospice in your area, check the Web for "hospice services."

For more information, contact your own health insurance company and visit the following Websites:

Additional health-related information for seniors can also be found at:

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To some, the current financial crisis arising from the housing market in America can be laid at the door of greed: Corporate greed from within the banking system. Greedy finance men on Wall Street. And the greed of foolish home buyers who knew they couldn't afford a home and bought it anyway.

To others it feels terrifying - like the fear of losing one's own home. Because they are.

Many are confused by all the reports, so we'll try to lay out the situation in clear terms:

Banks increased their lending activities and lowered requirements for some borrowers because the real estate market nationally was hot. Financial institutions like Bear Sterns bought those loans and bundled them into financial instruments they sold to investment funds, and other banks around the world making big profits in the process.

The problem was that mortgage brokers, banks, and real estate appraisers began to operate with a "wink and a nod" on standards. The appraisers in some cases were manipulating the values of properties so the borrower could qualify for loans. The mortgage brokers in some cases were looking the other way as the borrower exaggerated their income, or assets, or both. Other mortgage brokers sold loans that were unfavorable without informing the buyer of future rate increases to come. Increases that they might not be able to afford, and may have thought better of had they known before they signed the loan documents. While real estate prices were rising there was no problem, but once the bubble burst the realities of payments due was unavoidable. If someone owned a house that was suddenly worth less than they paid for it - and the interest rates were rising - they could just walk away from the loan and suffer the foreclosure on their credit.

Other homeowners have taken second and third jobs in an effort to pay the rising interest rate loans, and keep their family home.

Economists and politicians were for a moment arguing that bailing out the system would simply insulate irresponsible investors from suffering the result of their own risky investments. If it sounds a bit too pat of an answer - it usually is. And was. Those voices turned around and the Federal Reserve Bank made substantial changes in how it serves the finance markets. The Federal Reserve facilitated the sale of Bear Sterns because allowing that institution to fail could have thrown the nation into a deep recession overnight, or in the estimation of some, even a depression.

Today the notion among economists and politicians is one of "save the Nation". Because if every homeowner currently on the edge loses their home, the costs to the economy will be far worse than the result from risky investors receiving a beak. The recession that is upon us will be far worse, far deeper, and devastating if the hard working homeowner is left to twist in the wind.

Additional financial information for seniors can also be found at:

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Ringtones to Enjoy
Looking for some unique cellular telephone ringtones? Why not try the U.S. Marine Corps. The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps has created MP3 ringtones that are available to the public at no cost. They can be downloaded directly to your computer. The recordings are a wide variety of public domain music. They include Drum Solos, Bugle Calls, and Full Corps renditions. The Full Corps selections feature such tunes as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Rock This Town". Get your ring tone at:

809 Area Code Scam
The following was provided by ATT as an aid to its customers. The information also applies to other carriers

Be cautious when responding to e-mails or phone calls from the 809, 284 or 876 area codes.

Periodically, e-mails warning of a scam involving calls from the 809 area code circulate. The e-mails contend that there has been fraud associated with unscrupulous pay-per-call operators in that area code. However, the message contains some misinformation, especially the highly exaggerated cost of a phone call to the 809 area code, which is a legitimate area code for the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, this scam is less prevalent in recent years as a result of work done by AT&T to eliminate access to fraudulent pay-per-call operators.

This long distance phone scam causes consumers to inadvertently incur high charges on their phone bills. Consumers usually receive a message telling them to call a phone number with an 809, 284 or 876 area code in order to collect a prize, find out information about a sick relative, etc. The caller assumes the number is a typical three-digit U.S. area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the Caribbean, and charged international call rates. Unfortunately, consumers don't find out that they have been charged higher international call rates until they receive their bill.

AT&T offers these tips to avoid such scams:

1. Return calls to familiar numbers only.
2. Carefully read your telephone bill.

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

James Brown -- "I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know."

George F. Will -- "The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement."

Tammy Wynette --"Stand by your man. Give him two arms to cling to and something warm to come to."

Brian Williams -- "You are only as good as the coach thinks you are."

Pat Carroll -- "Everybody forgets the basic thing; people are not going to love you unless you love them."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Arthritis Month
Each year the month of May is observed as National Arthritis Month, following a 1972 Presidential Proclamation of the observance. This event provides an official nationwide observance to increase visibility of the seriousness of arthritis. In 2008 the Arthritis Foundation is celebrating 60 years of service toward its mission. The Arthritis Foundation is the nation's leading organization dedicated to ending the pain, disability and devastation of arthritis. While great strides have been made in the treatment and understanding of arthritis, the disease remains the most common form of disability in the U.S. To learn more and help support this worthy cause visit

2. Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month
May is APA) Heritage Month is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. First proclaimed by the President in 1990. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. APA Heritage Month is celebrated with community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities for students. This year's theme is "Lighting the Past, Present, and Future". To learn more about this important cultural group visit the Library of Congress site at

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Easing the Alzheimer's Burden

KnowItAlz is a single source for the caregivers and loved ones with an emphasis on the lighter side of living with Alzheimer's Disease. Though there are many excellent resources currently available on the topic of Alzheimer's Disease, KnowItAlz provides a user-friendly resource with the focus on the caregiver. Their philosophy is have to find the humor in life. Their mission is to build a community of caregivers who are looking for the bright side of a very dark disease. They provide information, resources, and connections to other caregivers, and most importantly a few laughs.
Visit them at

Comparison Shopping Sites

Are you looking to compare prices and products before you buy? Then you might want to check out these comparisons shopping web sites.


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For Those Who Love The Philosophy Of Ambiguity
- thanks to JB San Diego

    1. Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
    2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.....
    3. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman,"where's the self-help section?"
      She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
    4. Is there another word for synonym?
    5. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"

When Insults Had Class
- thanks to TJ Little Rock

    1. "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
      Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)
    2. "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." Moses Hadas
    3. "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." Abraham Lincoln
    4. "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." Groucho Marx

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2008, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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