elder-care

Work and Worth

What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society. 

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of $9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

What’s the social worth of hospital orderlies who feed, bathe, dress, and move patients, and empty their ben pans? Surely higher than their median wage of $11.63 an hour, or $24,190 a year.

Or of child care workers, who get $10.33 an hour, $21.490 a year? And preschool teachers, who earn $13.26 an hour, $27,570 a year?

Yet what would the rest of us do without these dedicated people?

Or consider kindergarten teachers, who make an average of $53,590 a year.

Before you conclude that’s generous, consider that a good kindergarten teacher is worth his or her weight in gold, almost.

One study found that children with outstanding kindergarten teachers are more likely to go to college and less likely to become single parents than a random set of children similar to them in every way other than being assigned a superb teacher.

And what of writers, actors, painters, and poets? Only a tiny fraction ever become rich and famous. Most barely make enough to live on (many don’t, and are forced to take paying jobs to pursue their art). But society is surely all the richer for their efforts.

At the other extreme are hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top Washington lobbyists.

They’re getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do.

I don’t mean to sound unduly harsh, but I’ve never heard of a hedge-fund manager whose jobs entails attending to basic human needs (unless you consider having more money as basic human need) or enriching our culture (except through the myriad novels, exposes, and movies made about greedy hedge-fund managers and investment bankers).

They don’t even build the economy. 

Most financiers, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants are competing with other financiers, lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants in zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another.

They’re paid gigantic amounts because winning these games can generate far bigger sums, while losing them can be extremely costly.

It’s said that by moving money to where it can make more money, these games make the economy more efficient.

In fact, the games amount to a mammoth waste of societal resources.

They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off.

Meanwhile, the games consume the energies of loads of talented people who might otherwise be making real contributions to society – if not by tending to human needs or enriching our culture then by curing diseases or devising new technological breakthroughs, or helping solve some of our most intractable social problems.  

Graduates of Ivy League universities are more likely to enter finance and consulting than any other career. 

For example, in 2010 (the most recent date for which we have data) close to 36 percent of Princeton graduates went into finance (down from the pre-financial crisis high of 46 percent in 2006). Add in management consulting, and it was close to 60 percent.

The hefty endowments of such elite institutions are swollen with tax-subsidized donations from wealthy alumni, many of whom are seeking to guarantee their own kids’ admissions so they too can become enormously rich financiers and management consultants.

But I can think of a better way for taxpayers to subsidize occupations with more social merit: Forgive the student debts of graduates who choose social work, child care, elder care, nursing, and teaching.  

An Amazing Village Designed Just For People With Dementia

Hogeweyk, from a certain perspective, seems like a fortress: A solid podium of apartments and buildings, closed to the outside world with gates and security fences. But, inside, it is its own self-contained world: Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more.

The idea, explains Hogeweyk’s creators, is to design a world that maintains as much a resemblance to normal life as possible—without endangering the patients.

Each apartment hosts six to eight people, including caretakers—who wear street clothes—and the relationship between the two is unique. Residents help with everything from cooking to cleaning. They can buy whatever they want from the grocery. They can get their hair done or go to a restaurant. It’s those basic routines and rituals that can help residents maintain a better quality of living.

The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching.
— 

A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade

regardless of whether they’ve made history, our LGBTQ elders need and deserve safe, culturally-appropriate elder care.

edited to add that Storme DeLarverie recently passed away, may she rest in peace.

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(I’ve updated this post to clean up quick spelling errors and add info, I’m very touched by how much tumblr and twitter have taken to getting the word out!  PLEASE do send in those emails in comments, we can not fail in showing our support for the last living silent film star and a stand up woman!)

URGENT Please help Baby Peggy!

MPTF Feels The Last Living Silent Film Star doesn’t deserve care from them!   Great Niece of Doug and Mary released this statement: “As a member of the Fairbanks & Pickford families, I urge you to support Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary). Being old should be an honored position, especially for one who spent their childhood entertaining millions. Join me in doing a Good Deed for Baby Peggy!”

From Ron Hutchinson: URGENT! PLEASE READ, THEN RESPOND WITH REQUESTED ACTION!

Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary), beloved star of silent films, received over a million fan letters for her 150 shorts and features. Her highly-praised autobiography, Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?, spawned a feature-length documentary. Now 97 and healthy but alarmingly frail, she has attempted for months to find financial support for modest in-home, non-medical care from the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF), founded by her screen contemporaries Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin with one stated mission: “Taking Care of Our Own."Instead of honoring this, MPTF management has refused Baby Peggy any support whatsoever, claiming her limited time in the motion picture industry and modest pension (which covers only bare living expenses) prevents this. In other words, her childhood should have been longer – and now she is effectively not poor enough.

Such shameful treatment of our oldest surviving silent star is particularly indefensible given the MPTF CEO, Bob Beitcher, reportedly earns over $700,000 per year, while his top ten employees take home a total of $4 million. This outrageous situation needs high visibility to hopefully change the MPTF’s mistreatment of a movie pioneer. I ask everyone to join forces and make the MPTF take immediate, compassionate action. Here’s how:

1) Email MPTF CEO and President Bob Beitcher at bbeitcher@mptf.com and tell him he needs to quickly reverse his organization’s appalling refusal to provide assistance to Ms. Cary, and fund her need for in-home, non-medical support. Copy your email to info@MPTF.com

2) Re-post this right now on your own page, and any others you feel are appropriate. We need to get the word out fast! Baby Peggy’s situation is urgent!

3) “Like” the MPTF’s Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/mptf/?fref=ts then post a comment about its disgraceful refusal of support to Baby Peggy despite its mission statement to do so (fyi you may not need to ‘like’ to comment, I was able to).

4) (Added by me) Post this tumblr link or our site link (http://bit.ly/1SokI6k) and include @mptf (twitter and tumblr) #babypeggy #wetakecareofourown Try and get anyone and everyone to listen (but without spamming of course.)

(You can learn about the MPTF mission at http://www.mptf.com/about and see how they are ignoring their own charter.)

Taking the above actions will cost you nothing, and will mean the world to a frantic senior citizen who spent her childhood making movies that have entertained the world ever since. Diana Serra Cary is aware of this post, and saddened it has come to this juncture. Ever since the MPTF’s founding, she had always assumed it would be there in time of need; after all, that was always its entire purpose.Please help spread the word and make the MPTF abide by its mission!

***Added by Me (I don’t want to take away from Ron’s great piece, he is a great guy!): I protested to Save Pickfair, and I wrote and fought against @mptf trying to kick out its last needy residents in 2010. They didn’t and well that was good.  But I’m disgusted we’re here again.  A woman who gave up her childhood (through no choice of her own) to film and now is the last living silent film star.  Did we learn nothing from Mickey Rooney?  A film worker from Marilyn Monroe’s days deserves as much respect and care as THE LAST LIVING SILENT FILM STAR EVER.  DO THEY NOT REALIZE WHEN SHE IS GONE WE’LL HAVE LOST OUR LAST LEAF TO THAT ERA?

I get very angry about healthcare in America in general, but to sit and tell a 97 year old woman who has been to hell and back that she isn’t poor or important enough to get care well…these guys better watch out.  Mary Pickford is probably so outraged she’ll go on a zombie rampage.  We have no respect or human decency anymore, its disgusting.

We’ve been trying to get Diana a star on the Walk of Fame (hence the name) since 2012.  I’d rather she never get a star and get decent healthcare and human dignity in whatever time she has left.  But most importantly I want her to know she is loved, appreciated, care for, admired and respected.  If you love film at all, you will raise almighty hell til we get our girl her rightful care!!!

@miss-flapper @maudelynn (thanks guys your reposts help a lot!)

UPDATE: @mptf​ Head Bob Beitcher responds…so we do too.  I think its disgusting he brings up Diana’s personal life, then claims he can’t defend himself anymore because he can’t ‘intrude in her privacy’.  He also lies saying she denied a home visit, but she didn’t. I hope everyone who reads this will understand the situation and let him know we know he is not telling the truth: http://astarforbabypeggy.com/mptf-snubbed-baby-peggy-help-our-girl/mptf-responds-so-we-do-too/
I urge everyone to respectfully reply to him and let him know we will not rest until Baby Peggy is given the basic human dignity she deserves.

Contact: (818) 876-4155 f: (818) 876-1371 Bob.Beitcher@mptf.com www.MPTF.com

IJMS, Vol. 17, Pages 1416: Detection of Natural Resistance-Associated Substitutions by Ion Semiconductor Technology in HCV1b Positive, Direct-Acting Antiviral Agents-Naïve Patients

Naturally occurring resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) can negatively impact the response to direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) agents-based therapies for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Herein, we set out to characterize the RASs in the HCV1b genome from serum samples of DAA-naïve patients in the context of the SINERGIE (South Italian Network for Rational Guidelines and International Epidemiology, 2014) project. We deep-sequenced the NS3/4A protease region of the viral population using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine, and patient-specific majority rule consensus sequence summaries were constructed with a combination of freely available next generation sequencing data analysis software. We detected NS3/4A protease major and minor variants associated with resistance to boceprevir (V36L), telaprevir (V36L, I132V), simeprevir (V36L), and grazoprevir (V36L, V170I). Furthermore, we sequenced part of HCV NS5B polymerase using Sanger-sequencing and detected a natural RAS for dasabuvir (C316N). This mutation could be important for treatment strategies in cases of previous therapy failure.

Read more from Geriatrics MDPI http://ift.tt/2bHaSlA

IJMS, Vol. 17, Pages 1414: Sanguinaria canadensis: Traditional Medicine, Phytochemical Composition, Biological Activities and Current Uses

Sanguinaria canadensis, also known as bloodroot, is a traditional medicine used by Native Americans to treat a diverse range of clinical conditions. The plants rhizome contains several alkaloids that individually target multiple molecular processes. These bioactive compounds, mechanistically correlate with the plant’s history of ethnobotanical use. Despite their identification over 50 years ago, the alkaloids of S. canadensis have not been developed into successful therapeutic agents. Instead, they have been associated with clinical toxicities ranging from mouthwash induced leukoplakia to cancer salve necrosis and treatment failure. This review explores the historical use of S. canadensis, the molecular actions of the benzophenanthridine and protopin alkaloids it contains, and explores natural alkaloid variation as a possible rationale for the inconsistent efficacy and toxicities encountered by S. canadensis therapies. Current veterinary and medicinal uses of the plant are studied with an assessment of obstacles to the pharmaceutical development of S. canadensis alkaloid based therapeutics.

Read more from Geriatrics MDPI http://ift.tt/2bnZKYK

Genes, Vol. 7, Pages 49: Transcriptional Reactivation of the FMR1 Gene. A Possible Approach to the Treatment of the Fragile X Syndrome†

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, caused by CGG expansion over 200 repeats (full mutation, FM) at the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene and subsequent DNA methylation of the promoter region, accompanied by additional epigenetic histone modifications that result in a block of transcription and absence of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). The lack of FMRP, involved in multiple aspects of mRNA metabolism in the brain, is thought to be the direct cause of the FXS phenotype. Restoration of FMR1 transcription and FMRP production can be obtained in vitro by treating FXS lymphoblastoid cell lines with the demethylating agent 5-azadeoxycytidine, demonstrating that DNA methylation is key to FMR1 inactivation. This concept is strengthened by the existence of rare male carriers of a FM, who are unable to methylate the FMR1 promoter. These individuals produce limited amounts of FMRP and are of normal intelligence. Their inability to methylate the FMR1 promoter, whose cause is not yet fully elucidated, rescues them from manifesting the FXS. These observations demonstrate that a therapeutic approach to FXS based on the pharmacological reactivation of the FMR1 gene is conceptually tenable and worthy of being further pursued.

Read more from Geriatrics MDPI http://ift.tt/2aYDXDw

Genes, Vol. 7, Pages 49: Transcriptional Reactivation of the FMR1 Gene. A Possible Approach to the Treatment of the Fragile X Syndrome†

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, caused by CGG expansion over 200 repeats (full mutation, FM) at the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene and subsequent DNA methylation of the promoter region, accompanied by additional epigenetic histone modifications that result in a block of transcription and absence of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). The lack of FMRP, involved in multiple aspects of mRNA metabolism in the brain, is thought to be the direct cause of the FXS phenotype. Restoration of FMR1 transcription and FMRP production can be obtained in vitro by treating FXS lymphoblastoid cell lines with the demethylating agent 5-azadeoxycytidine, demonstrating that DNA methylation is key to FMR1 inactivation. This concept is strengthened by the existence of rare male carriers of a FM, who are unable to methylate the FMR1 promoter. These individuals produce limited amounts of FMRP and are of normal intelligence. Their inability to methylate the FMR1 promoter, whose cause is not yet fully elucidated, rescues them from manifesting the FXS. These observations demonstrate that a therapeutic approach to FXS based on the pharmacological reactivation of the FMR1 gene is conceptually tenable and worthy of being further pursued.

Read more from Geriatrics MDPI http://ift.tt/2aYDXDw