Love and Companionship for Baby Boomers

June 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Personal Development

LOVE & COMPANIONSHIP FOR BABY BOOMERS
By Michael Thomas Masters

romantic-heart
Baby Boomers can experience romantic love and companionship. Persons over age forty-five express as much romantic passion as those in their twenties. We can surely fall in love at any age, in our 50s, 60s and even 80s and 90s. This is true for all mature adults, gay, straight, bi-sexual or transgender. In fact, we boomers (and older folks) are becoming the oomph generation!

More and more Baby Boomers are entering the dating world to find companionship and to have someone to communicate with, whether or not romance (and more) follows.

People are living longer and healthier lives as a direct result of looking for love and/or companionship later in life, as well as keeping positive and healthy attitudes. Countless Boomers (and older) are far more active than previous elder generations.

Even in our media and marketing worlds, mature romance comes in a rainbow of diversity, as is evident in countless films, plays, TV programs, TV commercials and printed materials.

For instance, consider the touching, amusing, insightful and offbeat comedy-romance film, HAROLD & MAUDE. At a funeral, a depressed, twenty-year old, Harold (Burt Cort) befriends Maude (the effervescent Ruth Gordon), a seventies plus woman who has a zest for life. Maude and Harold spend much time together, even falling in love, during which time she exposes Harold to the wonders and possibilities of life.
harold-maude
On the small screen, the classic television series THE GOLDEN GIRLS remains a tribute to mature, knowledgeable and lively people, with the series main characters mostly over fifty and full of oomph!

In the past, mature or prime time adults (or seniors, if you prefer) chose more traditional venues, such as cruise ships, bowling clubs, placing personal ads and church gatherings in seeking companionship and/or romantic partners.

With the tagline, “this is what love feels like,” in the film BEGINNERS, a seventy-five years young gay man (Christopher Plummer) meets his younger lover Andy (Goran Visnjc) through social circles, which worked for this happy and loving couple.

Even though these tried and true in-person dating settings are still suitable and work for many single Boomers, on-line Internet dating and surfing has become tremendously popular, saving time, cash and even recurrent travel miles. After all, prime-time age people are far more computer literate than we often give ourselves credit.

Considering the fact that in 2012 half of all people in America over fifty are single, it makes sense that dating sites for those in their golden years are popping up worldwide. Furthermore, in our neighboring country of Canada, where 42% of the entire population is dating online, over the age of forty-five dating has become very acceptable.

Additionally, like plenty of folks under age fifty, many prime-time adults do not feel comfortable hitting the singles bars and other social gathering scenes.

At the time of meeting someone through online dating, you can get to know them better by sharing more information during initial e-mails; than you would with someone, you just start dating in-person. This is because you often spend time sending e-mail (or snail mail) messages back and forth, talking on the telephone and possibly even sharing personal photos or videos.

When you do meet for the first time, taking security precautions are essential, such as meeting in a public place, letting people know where you are going and when you will be back, and taking your cell phone with you. Such precautions are wise to follow even for non-Internet generated first dates.

Remember that human companionship and love can occur when and where we least expect it. In addition to increasing changes of meeting someone, being involved in social activities, gatherings and clubs often places us in environments with other single and interesting Baby Boomers also in search of relationships and/or love.

While further examining media Baby Boomer theme examples, consider the film LAST CHANCE HARRY in which a lonely and single man (Dustin Hoffman) in his 60s, while attending his daughter’s wedding, finds his romantic spirits lifted (and his life changed) by a new female friend (Emma Thompson) in her 50s.
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Sound a little too romantic? Hey, sometimes life can be that way. Moreover, love happens to folks of all ages!

If you consider on-line dating as an option, checkout these Baby Boomer (and plus) companionship and dating websites, or surf the Internet on your own for other dating sites and social meeting alternatives.

BabyBoomerPeopleMeet.com

Babyboomer-dating.com

SeniorFriendFinder.com

gay.com

chemistry.com (gay and lesbian)

Singleparentsmingle.com

Christiancafe.com

ChristianMingle.com

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Michael Thomas Masters can be reached at filmguy552003@yahoo.com

The Matadors and El Capitan

February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under people oomph! videos

LGBT Baby Boomers

November 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

boomer-sign
By Michael Thomas Masters

At 80 million strong, and with plenty of oomph, the baby boomers generation is the largest in American history.

The forthcoming holidays and New Year are customary times for all people, especially the vast population of baby boomers, to contemplate on our futures. All baby boomers have experienced many winter holiday moons past.

Nevertheless, a particular segment of baby boomers with valid concerns and insights that are often over-looked (or completely ignored) in regards to aging, in both print and visual media, are the millions of American gay baby boomers who are 50 plus. In addition to our being largely over-looked in regards to our aging needs and concerns, we repeatedly also experience increased bias and discrimination, which is of great concern.

One of the few films that deal with the lives of elder gays, “An Empty Bed” (1989), reflects on the grace, struggle and honesty of aging.

In these obstinate and challenging economic times, no baby boomers needs, nor deserves, additional unfair worry and stress reaped upon us, due to our sexual orientation, especially at this festive time of the year. After all, trimming holiday trees, creating fabulous dinners, sharing gatherings with loved-ones, gift giving and spreading good cheer applies to everyone. Above all, I love selecting a gorgeous pine tree to decorate and addressing and mailing holiday cards.

Good, affordable and just healthcare and retirement should be available to all of us, particularly as we grow older. However, it is not.

In fact, California is the only state with a law saying the gay elderly have special needs, like other members of minority groups. A new law encourages training for employees and contractors who work with the elderly and permits state financing of projects like gay senior centers.
lgbt-boom
“Out and Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian and Gay Baby Boomers,” (which can be found at: www.maturemarketinstitute.com under “What’s New”) is the first national survey of its kind that found more than a quarter of gay American polled (twenty-seven per cent) feared discrimination as we age. Less than half-expressed confidence that health care professionals will treat them with “dignity and respect.”

Fears of insensitive and discriminatory treatment are particularly strong among lesbians.

It has been reported that lesbians are more troubled than gay men about their financial stability as they age and report being less financially set for retirement. On the other hand, gay men are more likely (than gay women) to be concerned with being alone (43% versus 36%).
health-apple
On a positive side for LGBT baby boomers (as well as for all adult gays) in April 2010, President Obama issued an historic memorandum to help ensure equal access to hospital visits and decision-making rights for same-sex couples. It is a significant step forward for the health-care rights of gay couples.

If you are a part of a same-sex couple or marriage, and want to make the most of these protections, you will need visitation forms to make certain your family and friends can visit you, as well as a health care proxy and living will. In doing so, this will ensure that those who know you the best can make medical decisions on your behalf in an emergency.

Furthermore, President Obama ordered hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid to ensure that all patients’ advance directives, which include appointing someone to make healthcare decisions if necessary, are respected.

Discover more about this important equal rights process, and to download sample forms, go to, http://www.hrc.org/issues/protect-your-visitation-and-decision-making- rights.htm

Another great resource for Gay Baby Boomers is the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network (LGAIN), which is a constituent group of the American Society on Aging. The organization raises awareness about the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders and about the unique barriers they encounter in gaining access to housing, healthcare, long-term care and other needed services.

Let us not give up, or let up, until excellent, fair and affordable healthcare is available for all baby boomers (and all Americans) alike.
lgbt-flag
Happy and healthy holidays with a fulfilling and successful New Year, filled with immense oomph and joy, for everyone!

Michael Thomas Masters can be reached at filmguy552003@yahoo.com

A Slight Shift Towards Prevention?

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under health

medical-me
Many agree that the recent historic overhaul of the nation’s health care system does a lot of things, but it may be more challenging to understand how the legislation will make an impact on us as individuals. While some will not see much change in their coverage, others will be greatly affected, depending on if insurance is provided through work, or if one has pre-existing conditions. As the mother of two girls in college, the benefit that allows them to stay on my insurance past the age of twenty three was one element that I could deftly recall.

Most agree that the bill can be divided into two major categories: It tightens regulation of the insurance industry, and it expands access to care for the poor and for low-income working people. But what does this reform actually do for you, as a consumer, taxpayer, and a patient?

Like many of you, I tend to make annual appointments towards the end of a calendar year, hoping my deductible has been met. Thus, with the last few months of 2010 upon us, I had scheduled a few preventative screenings, even though my insurer’s coverage would be minimal at best as preventative services are minimally covered. Regardless, some of these exams are important. As a newly minted fifty year old, the annual ob/gyn appointment is a must for me. I added a trip to my opthymologist (it’s been way too long), along with a mammogram. The colonoscopy exam is one more thing that I’ve thought about, but haven’t scheduled. Three appointments is plenty for December, right?
doc-me

But wait. Perhaps the newly passed insurance legislation affects me in some small way. And thus began a phone call to my health insurer to ask that very question. After enduring sixteen minutes on hold, I was politely greeted by a young sounding voice who was all too eager to answer my question of how the new law impacts my specific insurance plan.

Turns out that if I push off all of my appointments to January of 2011, my insurer will pick up a minimum of forty percent of preventative services, including a diabetes test, vision test, mammogram, pap smear, bone density test and colonoscopy. This came as a great surprise. The representative even offered me a prostate screening test. (Yes, I am female.) Sadly, I explained to her why I’d have to decline this one.

While forty percent of adult preventative services is no windfall, it is possibly enough motivation to get myself and others into a screening mode. This small flirtation with coverage inspired me to find out more about the bill. This is where it gets more complicated. If you’re curious about the particulars, I offer this useful breakdown of the major pieces of the legislation, provided by a website I highly recommend healthycal.org.

The following legislation is categorized by the dates on which they take effect:

Taking effect in 2010:
–Increase in Medicare prescription drug benefits. A one-time rebate of $250 for seniors who have exhausted the first part of their drug benefit and are paying 100 percent of the cost of their medication. The following year, low-income and middle-income seniors would begin getting a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs.
–A high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions who have been turned down for regular coverage. This pool would be available until 2014, when new regional insurance exchanges will be created and take over this function.
–Insurers prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on a person’s benefits.
–Insurers prohibited from rescinding coverage when a person becomes sick or disabled, except in cases of fraud.
–Insurers required to cover dependent children on a family policy until the age of 26.
–Subsidies for small business. Tax credits covering up to 35 percent of premiums for employers with 10 or fewer workers and average wages of $25,000 or less. This subsidy would climb to 50 percent of premium costs in 2014 but would phase out as a firm’s number of employees and average wages grows. The credit would end once a company had more than 25 workers or average wages of $50,000 or more.
–Tanning tax. A 10 percent tax on the purchase of indoor tanning services.

Taking effect in 2011:
–Insurers required to spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on medical claims.

Taking effect in 2013:
–Higher payments for doctors who treat the poor. The federal government would reimburse states that increase payments to primary care doctors in the Medicaid program to match what is paid under Medicare. These federal subsidies are intended to entice more doctors into the Medicaid program in advance of major expansions in enrollment in 2014. But the new subsidies to the states expire in 2015.
–A higher Medicare payroll tax rate, adjusted for the first time according to income. The rate would increase from the current flat 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. These groups would pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends, interest and other investment income.
–A new cap of $2,500 on the amount of money people can set aside tax-free to pay for medical expenses.

Taking effect in 2014:
–Individual mandate, requiring most people to buy insurance. People who did not comply would face penalties beginning at $95 a year or 1 percent of their income, whichever was higher. These penalties would rise over time.
–Insurance exchange. States or regions would organize new insurance marketplaces for people who could not find coverage in the private market. There would also be two national plans, including one non-profit. Insurers competing to win customers through the exchanges would have to justify rate increases and could be barred from the exchange if they raise rates excessively.
–Insurers prohibited from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people.
–Insurers required to offer minimum benefits, to be determined later by the federal government. The minimum plan would cover 60 percent of the costs and limit out-of-pocket costs to consumers to about $6,000 annually for individuals and $12,000 for families.
–Subsidies for individuals. Tax credits would be available for low and moderate income people who buy through the exchange. People with incomes below about $33,000 for a family of four would pay 2 percent to 4 percent of their income in premiums, and health plans would be required to pay 94 percent of the cost of their benefits. These subsidies would continue at a lower level for families with incomes up to four times the poverty level, or about $88,000 for a family of four.
–Employer penalties. Employers would not be required to offer coverage to their employees, but if they did not and their workers used the exchange, employers with more than 50 employees would have to pay a fee of $2,000 for every worker who used the exchange, after the first 30 employees. Employers that do offer coverage would also have to pay a fee if their workers opted for insurance sold through the exchange.
–Expansion of Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California). This government-subsidized insurance would expand to cover everyone with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or about $29,000 for a family of four. Currently, families with children, the aged and disabled qualify for this system, and at lower income levels. The federal government would pay the full cost of this expansion until 2016, then phase down its contribution to 90 percent by 2020. The state would be responsible for the remainder of the cost.
–Higher reimbursement rates for states that cover children through the program for the working poor, known as Healthy Families in California. The federal government currently pays an average of 70 percent of the cost. This would increase to 93 percent.

Taking effect in 2018:
–A new tax on so-called “Cadillac” or expensive health insurance plans. This 40 percent tax would take effect on individual plans costing more than $10,200 a year and on family plans costing more than $27,500.

You may want to pick up the phone and call your insurer, and ask what, if any, changes will be implemented to your plan.
After all, it’s not like they’re going to tell us. We have to do the asking.
health-system

The Empowered Patient

October 30, 2010 by  
Filed under health

doc-you
If you’re over forty, you’ve no doubt experienced a medical appointment which was rushed by your physician. Or perhaps you’ve had the misfortune of misdiagnosis or a medical error. Nothing new these days, right?

What may be a new chapter in healthcare is an era of patient advocacy, a term more and more of us will come to know in the coming years. With doctors pressured to see a higher volume of patients, the time you spend with your physician will no doubt be more limited. And with the 32 million people getting health insurance by 2014, there will be more patients for doctors to see. With an aging population and medical schools producing the same amount (or fewer!) physicians, a warning shot has been fired: all of us must be poised to be effective advocates for our own health.

What does that mean, exactly? We, as both patients and caregivers, need to understand our treatment options. We also need to learn how to proactively work with insurance companies, how to talk about and prepare for end of life decisions, how to advocate for our safety, and learn how to question and ultimately advocate for our own health.

Author Trisha Torrey of Every Patient’s Advocate is a woman who has spearheaded the patient advocacy movement. Sadly, she knows the American healthcare’s dysfunctional system all too well. When she was diagnosed with aggressive, terminal cancer and told she had only a few months to live, it didn’t sit right. She searched further and further. Ultimately, Trisha had indeed been misdiagnosed with cancer. Once a mild-mannered marketing consultant who knew almost nothing about healthcare, she delved into the American healthcare system that was tasked with treating her.

Initially Trisha made every mistake a patient could make. But she got smart, fast. She learned that the possibility of excellent care was too easily and frequently eclipsed by miscommunication and mistakes. She also learned that if she didn’t stick up for herself, and insist on the help she needed, she would not get it.

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As a staunch advocate of the Patient Advocacy movement, here are some of her suggestions:
• Get invested in the process. Think about how you would advocate for your child. Now do it for yourself.
• Know your family history. This can help with both diagnosis and treatment phase.
• If you ever get a devastating diagnosis, don’t make quick decisions. Explore resources to get the comfort and information you may need.
• Realize the pull and power of the pharmaceutical industry. It is a business. Don’t be naïve.
• Research all prescribed drugs, and recognize that drugs affect each individual differently. One must take into account their age, ethnicity, and sex. Recognize that no drug hold all the answers, so research complimentary alternatives.

All in all, have a voice. Support those who cannot support themselves, and recognize that we have to make ourselves accountable for our own health as we make healthcare providers more accountable.

If you are trying to navigate the healthcare maze, you may want to check out the following Patient Advocacy Resources:

• About.com Patient Empowerment: http://patients.about.com
• AdvoConnection: www.AdvoConnection.com Helps find an advocate when you or a loved one needs assistance for medical/ navigation issues, billing or insurance claims, getting permission for insurance payment rejections, birthing, geriatric home health and more. Itʼs a free service that lets you search by zip code and service needed.
• Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR): http://www.acor.org/ offers access to 159 mailing lists that provide support,
information, and community to everyone affected by cancer and related disorders.
• Center for Advancing Health (CFAH): http://www.cfah.org. CFAH conducts research, communicates findings and advocates for policies that support everyoneʼs ability to benefit from advances in health science.
• Center for Medical Consumers: http://medicalconsumers.org/. Is committed to broadening public awareness about the safety and quality problems that pervade Americaʼs medical care. The Center is active in both nationwide and statewide efforts to reduce medical errors, report disclosure of physician conflicts of interest, improve the quality of medical care, and encourage public access to information about the comparative performance of doctors and hospitals.
• CNNʼs Empowered Patient: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/empowered.patient/. Elizabeth Cohen presents her weekly stories about patients who stepped up in unusual ways to get the medical help they needed.
• Coalition for Patients Rights: http://www.patientsrightscoalition.org/. The Coalition for Patientsʼ Rights consists of more than 35 organizations representing a variety of licensed health care professionals who provide a diverse array of safe, effective, and
affordable health care services to millions of patients each year.
• Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS): http://www.patientsafety.org/. Is a consumer-led nonprofit organization formed to be a collective voice for individuals, families and healers who wish to prevent harm in healthcare encounters through partnership and collaboration.
• The Empowered Patient Coalition: http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org/. The Empowered Patient Coalition is dedicated to providing an unprecedented level of information, resources and educational support to the public. The Coalition is committed to promoting a culture of transparency, meaningful interaction and active participation that will allow patients and their advocates to assume a greater role in improving the safety and the quality of their health care.
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