Article 43

 

Personal

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Lost All Hope

image: lost all hope

Just because a person attempts suicide doesn’t mean they want to die. Rather, often they have lost what I call the “power of hope.” When faced with a BAD SITUATION that has NO END IN SIGHT, coupled with the helpless feeling that NOTHING YOU CAN DO will make a difference, it’s all too easy to LOSE HOPE. AT SOME POINT suicide for some becomes a viable option, rather than CONTINUNG TO FACE the constant pain and suffering that life has become. If you can give someone who is contemplating suicide merely the glimmer of hope, that is often enough to get them through the rough patch to consider other options.
- White, Middle-Age Suicide In America Skyrocket

[P]eople who went through “post-traumatic growth” after life-events such as serious illness, divorce or the loss of a job, as well as near-death experiences. Initially, most of them experienced a DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL, where their previous values were thrown into question, and life ceased to have any meaning. After this, they went through a phase of spiritual searching, trying to make sense of what had happened to them, and find new values. And finally, once they had found new spiritual principles to live by, they entered a phase of “spiritual integration,” when they applied these new principles.
- Psychological Healing

“I doubt whether such suffering improves a man; but I know that it makes him deeper.”
- Nietszche

Somewhere today, perhaps while you were reading this, someone has taken their life because they felt useless, with no hope of gainful employment, their self-esteem ground down, the sense of meaning and connection severed by redundancy and societal disconnection.
- Unemployment is Killing People

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While the U.S. Department Of Labor PROPAGANDIZES a healthy economy:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today issued the following statement regarding the September 2018 Employment Situation report: “In September, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, the lowest since 1969.

... another THANKSGIVING is around the corner, and another job is gone for me.  The company let go of a bunch of Americans while keeping everyone OVERSEAS.  There wasn’t a peep on the local news.

What else is NEW?

Like I explained HERE, the economic recovery they talk about today is as HOLLOW as the JOBLESS RECOVERY president Obama talked about five years ago:

Economic recovery is now treated as consistent with declining standards of living. Lowered expectations and acquiescence in long term working-class hardship are now built into what we are told to regard as recovery.

The only thing I can say good about loosing my crappy CALL CENTER job is - it’s a job, not a career - so it’s less of a big deal than loosing a well-paid position.

But the JOB HUNT is JUST AS BAD as it was when I started this site IN 2004.

CNBC REPORTS:

A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons sometimes called the “real unemployment rate” - edged higher to 7.5 percent.

Those counted as not in the labor force did increase by 74,000, bringing that number to nearly 96.4 million.

image: not in labor force 9/2018

I live paycheck to paycheck. The nest egg is gone, and fear of GROWING OLD alone, penniless and HOMELESS - haunts me every minute of every day.

FEELINGS OF STRESS, failure, isolation and paralyzing fear kept surfacing in our analyses with alarming regularity. With severe stress, comes further debilitating self-destructive ways of thinking including avoidance, denial and isolation. As the ability to manage stress spirals, it inevitably moves toward physical dysfunction and chronic disease.

I’ve THOUGHT about - and WRITTEN about - SUICIDE so many times, that it’s HARD TO DECIDE if I’m a whiner like teenagers that slit their wrists for attention, or deserve a medal for fighting the urge to kill myself year after year.

Neither.

I’m a coward.

When my mother fell to her knees crying SIX YEARS AGO after I told her I can’t afford a plane ticket to visit her anymore - I went in the garage, hooked up a hose to the car’s tailpipe, sat in the front seat with it, turned on the engine, shut it off a few seconds later, and chickened out.

I WISH I had the strength to PULL IT OFF and end the suffering right there and then. 

SUICIDES ASSOCIATED WITH UNEMPLOYMENT totalled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis.

I still can’t afford to visit mom, and live with the feelings of ultimate looser, coward, rotten son, and weak, INSECURE MAN:

Nowadays, being a white male is the single biggest risk factor [for suicide]. Why is that? According to Case and Deaton, drastic changes in the labor market is the most significant factor. Meyer claims another driver.  “Hegemonic masculinity,” or a perception that heightened masculinity must be portrayed at all times, a goal that no male can live up to. Sooner or later everyone needs to be vulnerable and let their emotions out. This inability to fit into such a rigid framework causes psychological pain in the form of guilt, shame, disgust, and self-hatred. This builds to the point where the person can no longer take it.

The years long suffering COMES from LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT and resulting financial ruin that led to all sorts of things from loss of self-esteem and friends, to selling my possessions, to frightening dreams of living in the street preyed on like a wounded, bleeding animal.

ASK SOMEONE - a relative, friend or neighbor - who is unemployed at this age, you hear the same things. Endless applications, unreturned calls, useless job searches, financial losses, anger, guilt and fear. Being jobless can be a soul-killing experience. For many, the work we do is an important part of our identity and a source of dignity.

Besides giving up on myself - everyone else gave up on me.

THE JOURNEY has been a solitary, lonely event.  A few have offered to walk down THIS PATH with me for a little while, but then DISAPPEAR.  That’s a real killer.  One friend who I met at Sprint while we were both WORKING AS CONTRACTORS still takes me out to dinner twice a month.

There’s no guardian angel, no best friend, no wife and kids, no JESUS, and no Buddhist mantra - to SHARE - or help lift - the pain.

Nobody’s around to hand me a tissue to wipe away the tears, or even notice I’m crying.

The thought of being homeless is as frightening as going to jail. I’m not strong enough for either, but spend weekends sleeping on the floor trying to prepare for a future without a bed:

ONE IN TEN CITIES nationwide has a law prohibiting residents from giving homeless people food, 53% of American cities prohibit sitting or lying down in certain public places and 43% of cities prohibit someone from sleeping in their car.

Unless the economy changes, or a pot of gold falls on my head, I’m pretty sure I’ll die by my own hand.  Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I’ll break.  There’s only so much agony any one person can take.  How long it will take for someone to even notice I’m gone?  Days? Weeks?  Knowing nobody cares eases my conscience, but also means nobody will try to stop me.

We all need one good friend. Someone you know will be there for you no matter what. Someone you know will never hurt you. Someone you feel the same for.  If you have one good friend - a friend that doesn’t draw lines - a friend that loves and supports you through terrible times - coping is MUCH MORE EASIER:

“I surrounded myself with people who helped me keep it together, so to speak, when I started to lose hope,” she said. I have one friend, in particular, who I leaned on quite heavily. Without her, and the counseling, I’m not sure how I would have survived. My family was a great help also. My dad, especially.

LAST MONTH when I poured my guts out to my only relative (other than my elderly mom) :

[he] brushed me off. The same cousin who I grew up with, is tired of listening to my venting, and tired of giving me pep talks when I talk about how depressing the experience of hunting for a job year after year is, and HOW FRIGHTENED OF THE FUTURE I am. Polls show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than dying.

IF YOU’RE FACED WITH A TRAGEDY and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life.

In our society today, there’s only two types of of people - strong and weak.

LOVE AND COMPASSION are for the weak.

BURNED OUT BOOMERS like me DON’T STAND A CHANCE surviving in A PLACE LIKE OURS.

image: help me

Posted by Elvis on 10/07/18 •
Section Personal
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bankruptcy Is The New Retirement

image: happy retirement

Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society

Deborah Thorne
University of Idaho

Pamela Foohey
Indiana University - Maurer School of Law

Robert M. Lawless
University of Illinois - College of Law

Katherine M. Porter
University of California - Irvine School of Law

August 5, 2018

The social safety net for older Americans has been SHRINKING for the past couple decades. The risks associated with aging, reduced income, and increased healthcare costs, have been off-loaded onto older individuals. At the same time, older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy, and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher. Using data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we find more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. In our data, older Americans report they are struggling with increased financial risks, namely inadequate income and unmanageable costs of healthcare, as they try to deal with reductions to their social safety net. As a RESULT of these increased financial burdens, the median senior bankruptcy filer enters bankruptcy with negative wealth of $17,390 as compared to more than $250,000 for their non-bankrupt peers. For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy.

SOURCE

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Bankruptcy is hitting more older Americans, pointing to a retirement crisis in the making

By Michael Hiltzik
LA Times
Aug 6, 2018

Whether America is facing a retirement CRISIS in which seniors are making do with shrinking financial resources has been widely debated. But here’s a telling metric: Seniors are making a larger share of bankruptcy filings.

That’s the finding of a new paper by academic researchers affiliated with the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which periodically samples personal bankruptcy filings from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “Older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy,” they write, “and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher.”

The figures should worry advocates for SENIORS, because in terms of the overall financial health of the 65+ cohort, its likely to be the tip of the iceberg. “Only a small fraction of those who are having financial troubles file for bankruptcy, one of the authors, Robert Lawless of the University of Illinois law school, told me. “So this is part of a much bigger story about financial distress among the elderly.”

It’s true that the elderly have been the beneficiaries since the 1930s of America’s strongest and most successful social safety net. The system was born with Social Security in 1935, which aimed to reduce the scandalous poverty rate among seniors. It was followed by Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, which offered relief for healthcare, and culminated in the Medicare prescription drug program enacted in 2003.

During that same period, a sizable percentage of American workers were covered by corporate defined-benefit pensions, producing what retirement experts have called “a brief golden age” when many American workers could retire with confidence.

Over the last few decades, however, confidence in that safety net has ebbed. Defined-benefit plans have given way to defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s, which saddle workers with all the risk of investment market downturns - and in which wealthier workers are overrepresented, both in enrollment rates and balances.

Some older Americans may have more access to retirement income than their forebears, but theyre also carrying more debt. The share of Americans still carrying mortgage debt when they reach age 65 rose to 38% in 2013 from 22% in 1995, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. Their mortgage balances also have risen over that period, to $73,000 from $27,300 in inflation-adjusted terms. Despite Medicare, medical expenses remain a large component of “seniors” financial burdens.

It’s also proper to keep in mind that the stagnation of wages for workers is certain to have an impact as today’s workers move into retirement. Jobs that once offered a stable middle-class income with benefits have morphed into low-wage jobs without job security, healthcare or pensions. Workers struggling to make ends meet in an economy in which corporate profits are approaching a post-recession record arent likely to become suddenly flush in their retirement years.

The bankruptcy paper has sustained some criticism from commentators who believe the retirement crisis has been exaggerated. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones observed, fairly enough, that the bankruptcy rate for the 65+ cohort hasn’t changed at all over the last 15 years, and the run-up in the rate during the decade 1991-2001 reflects a sharp increase in the rate among all Americans and that increase began in the mid-1980s.

But I would argue that more seems to be going on here. To begin with, the bankruptcy bulge seems to be moving up the age ladder. In 1991, 8.2% of all bankruptcy filings were made by households led by people 55 or older; by the 2013-2016 period, their share was 33.7%. According to the new paper, the bankruptcy rates among all age groups 54 and younger have fallen since 1991, but the rates for all groups 55 and older have risen.

This isn’t related to the general graying of the U.S. population. As Lawless observes, the over-65 population has risen by 16% since 1991. But bankruptcy filings in that cohort have increased by 2 times.

“This is not a trend, but something qualitatively different in what were seeing,” he says.

Lawless and his colleagues point out that while bankruptcy is a last resort for any debtor and nothing like the panacea its often depicted to be, itҒs an especially dire choice for seniors. Unlike younger debtors, seniors dont have years ahead of them to rebuild their household finances while their debts are held in abeyance. ғBy the time they file bankruptcy, the paper observes, ԓtheir wealth has vanished.

America has some serious policy choices to make, and pretending that seniors are living the high life on Social Security doesn’t clarify matters, especially as the claim is typically made by conservatives as a rationale to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The figures on bankruptcy suggest that the opposite is necessary expanding Social Security and increasing benefits to shore up retiree resources against the decline of personal savings and pension income. The guaranteed retirement accounts advocated by a number of retirement experts - personal accounts funded by workers and employers during their working years, supported by a tax credit and a government guarantee against loss of principal - are a promising option. America has more than enough resources to make sure, as it did in the 1930s, that its seniors won’t be facing their last years fearing penury.

SOURCE

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Entering retirement broke and bankrupt

By Aimee Picchi
MoneyWatch
August 6, 2018

The “golden years” of retirement are significantly tarnished for some older Americans, whose ranks among the bankrupt have surged fivefold since 1991.

Even though the U.S. population is aging, the spike in older Americans entering bankruptcy far exceeds the demographic shift, according to new research from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which analyzed data from bankruptcy court records and written questionnaires. About 100,000 of the 800,000 annual bankruptcy filings are from households headed by seniors, or about 12.2 percent of all filings.

The culprit appears to be cutbacks in the social safety net—such as raising the retirement age and requiring seniors to pay more out-of-pocket health care costs—as well as a shift in risk from government and corporations onto individuals. Americans are less likely today to retire with a private pension, given the growing popularity of 401(k)s, where workers are responsible for making their own investment and savings decisions, and more likely to be carrying mortgage and credit card debt into their 60s and 70s.

The full retirement age for Social Security, once 65, is inching up every year. And retirees are now paying 20 percent of their income on health care expenses even though they are covered by Medicare, compared with 12 percent for previous generations.

As a result, the rate of bankruptcy among Americans over age 65 has doubled over the period studied by the researchers. “For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy,” their report noted.

Because one-quarter of the country will be older than 65 by 2050 compared with 15 percent now, the authors predict America will see a “coming storm of broke elderly.”

Older and poorer

The problem with these societal risk shifts, as the authors view it, is that seniors are the group least able to cope with such changes. Because of their age, they have fewer years to build or rebuild wealth, and it’s common for older Americans to have trouble finding jobs that pay as much as they earned when they were younger, they noted.

“Retirement is a particularly precarious time of life,” they wrote.

Bankruptcy is designed to provide a “fresh start” by wiping away debts or restructuring them in a way that makes it easier to pay them down, but bankrupt seniors don’t have enough time to regrow their financial wealth, they added.

Bankrupt seniors are in rough financial shape, the researchers found. They are shouldering more than $100,000 in debt, compared with $1,000 in debt for their non-bankrupt peers. Financially solvent senior citizens have about $251,000 in wealth, but bankrupt older Americans have negative net wealth of more than $17,000.

Older Americans who file for bankruptcy are less likely than their younger peers to have a college degree, although there’s no racial difference between older and younger debtors, the researchers found. But across the general population, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to file for bankruptcy than white or black Americans.
“All things went up in price”

Older Americans who file for bankruptcy told the researchers in survey responses that they were often hit by a double-whammy: inadequate retirement income and rising costs—especially health care costs.

“All things went up in price,” one unidentified respondent told the researchers. “Retirement never went up. Had a part time job that was helping to meet monthly payments. House payment kept going up. Was fired from my part time job that I had for over 10 years without any warning. Being 67 and having back problems, not many people will hire you even as part time worker.”

Others noted their health problems resulted in a loss of their job or income, while their insurance didn’t fully cover their health expenses.

“I got to the point I owed more than I was making on Social Security. To get out from under these medical bills I had to file bankruptcy,” another respondent told the researchers.

About 7 out of 10 respondents indicated that the combination of medical expenses and missing work contributed to their bankruptcies.

Asked what they were unable to afford in the year before going bankrupt, half of seniors said the most important thing they had to cut back on was medical care, such as surgeries, prescriptions and dental care.

“These responses continue to suggest that their health care coverage is inadequate,” the researchers wrote.

Taken together, the portrait of retirement in the U.S. is one of instability and risk, at least for some Americans. And bankruptcy, while designed to provide some relief, may be “too little too late.”

They added, “By the time they file, their wealth has vanished, and they simply do not have the enough years to get back on their feet.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/21/18 •
Section Pension Ripoff • Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Personal
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lazy Bum

image: deeadbeat

The modern world has witnessed a dramatic breakthrough of the dark, negative forces of human nature. The “old ethic,” which pursued an illusory perfection by repressing the dark side, has lost its power to deal with contemporary problems. Erich Neumann was convinced that the deadliest peril now confronting humanity lay in the “scapegoat” psychology associated with the old ethic. We are in the grip of this psychology when we project our own dark shadow onto an individual or group identified as our “enemy,” failing to see it in ourselves. The only effective alternative to this dangerous shadow projection is shadow recognition, acknowledgement, and integration into the totality of the self. Wholeness, not perfection, is the goal of the new ethic.
- Erich Neumann, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic

A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.
- Thomas Carlyle

Just because a person attempts suicide doesn’t mean they want to die. Rather, often they have lost what I call the, “power of hope” When faced with a BAD SITUATION that has NO END IN SIGHT, coupled with the helpless feeling that NOTHING YOU CAN DO will make a difference, it’s all too easy to LOSE HOPE. AT SOME POINT suicide for some becomes a viable option, rather than CONTINUNG TO FACE the constant pain and suffering that life has become. If you can give someone who is contemplating suicide merely the glimmer of hope, that is often enough to get them through the rough patch to consider other options.
- White, Middle-Age Suicide In America Skyrocket

Somewhere today, perhaps while you were reading this, someone has taken their life because they felt useless, with no hope of gainful employment, their self-esteem ground down, the sense of meaning and connection severed by redundancy and societal disconnection.
- Unemployment is Killing People

The exterminator made his yearly visit a few months ago.

I spent about an hour the day before trying to clean the place up because I haven’t mopped the kitchen floor, vacuumed the rugs, or cleaned my toilet bowl - since he came over last year.

It sure looks like I’m LAZY, but all the moping around is from depression that weighs me down LIKE AN ANCHOR:

Brittany Ernsperger’s depression and anxiety were so overwhelming she couldn’t even wash the dishes. The messy kitchen made her feel like a failure, which made finishing the dishes even more challenging.

“I walked by them morning and night and all day long,” Ernsperger wrote in a Facebook post. “And just looked at them. Telling myself that I could do them. Telling myself that I would. And feeling defeated everyday that I didn’t.”

Last month my only relative brushed me off. The same cousin who I grew up with, and closest thing to a brother - who invited me to COME LIVE IN HIS BASEMENT IF THE HOUSE GETS FORECLOSED ON - is tired of listening to my venting, and tired of giving me PEP TALKS when I talk about how depressing the experience of hunting for a job year after year is, and HOW FRIGHTENED OF THE FUTURE I am:

Polls show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than dying.

It HURTS:

Emotional recovery also requires a huge mental effort. “It’s increasingly well-known that the brain [registers] not just absolute amounts but losses and gains

losses loom twice as large as gains, leading to an effect known as LOSS AVERSION.

I’m not a LAZY BUM, and opening up and talking to you about my deepest, darkest fears - means I trust you, and am asking for your help.

Yeah, THE NEWS SAYS unemployment IS LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT, but those numbers CAN’T BE RIGHT:

The 5% unemployment rate, other words, is hiding the devastating story of underemployment, wage loss, and precariousness that defines life for millions of Americans.

The jobless number is “low” only because more people are no longer considered to be participating in the workforce.

Many move in and out of “non-participation,” according to Federal Reserve analysts, alternating between searching for a job and giving up in desperation.

the government has FAILED TO COME UP WITH A PLAN that adequately supports these people.

Many of the long-term unemployed are older workers who once had stable middle-class jobs with benefits.

So many of us are STILL long-term unemployed or underemployed, and haven’t found a foothold to get back on the ladder of a prosperous, happy and financially stable life.

Yeah, some people kill themselves from loosing everything - in fact A LOT DO:

Suicides associated with unemployment totalled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis.

Give me a little credit for TRYING TO STAY STRONG and alive all these years.

Why are the long-term unemployed looked down on as lazy bums?

A new-ager may try to convince you that your job-loss and feeling like the ultimate looser is a lesson for your highest good, a Catholic may say God only gives you as much pain as you can handle, and this is some kind of test of faith, a Baptist may say you’re not praying to God right and offer some tips for a tithe, a JEHOVAH WITNESS will tell you to read their book for the answers to all life’s problems, and the Bible teaches us we reap what we sow.

The common PSYCHOLOGICAL THREAD goes back to the JUST WORLD BELIEF:

Some studies, such as those showing that long-term unemployment causes emotional anguish as well as economic stress, may elicit sympathy.

On the other hand, its not hard to find articles emphasizing that the long-term unemployed are lucky to have so much free time, or suggesting that they’re better off than they were in previous eras because they are more likely to have a working spouse.

In other words, maybe the unemployed and those who are most worried about them should just stop whining.

The moral and emotional tenor of the debate over extending unemployment benefits is consistent with psychological research showing that we all like to BELIEVE that people generally get what they deserve.

So, deep down inside we believe the world is fair, and all get what we deserve - and will do anything to justify those BELIEFS.

That’s why we get all those people calling us lazy bums.

Imagine an attractive young lady rape victim.

People will either 1.) say she deserved to get raped wearing that hot looking outfit - hate her, and spit in her face, or 2.) believe she’s an innocent victim and run to her rescue.

When your relatives and friends brush you off from being unemployed for so long - they’re saying, and believing - you’re bad. A double whammy for those already depressed and SUICIDAL.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT when even your family disowns you?

Being depressed while you are unemployed is the worst. If you are also socially isolated or being excluded from social contact then you have just about the worst situation

It is really hard to stop yourself from continuing with a negative frame of mind if you are also being unsuccessful in your job searching

Understanding the psychology makes it easier to forgive.

But the pain is like a knife plunged though my heart.

With nobody around to help stop the bleeding.

Posted by Elvis on 07/25/18 •
Section Personal
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Monday, April 16, 2018

What Not to Say To An Isolated Older Adult

unhappy old man

Well-intentioned comments can reinforce feelings of loneliness

By Michelle Seitzer
Next Avenue
April 16, 2018

When MaryKay Kubotas husband died unexpectedly at 49, she felt that the world kept going for everyone but her. Until that moment, the then 47-year-old mother of four, who had married at 19, managed their family’s fast-paced social life. “I didn’t have to think about what was next,” Kubota said. But after her husband’s death, even with two children still at home, “everything just stopped,” she recalled.

As her grief escalated, so did her feeling of abandonment.

“Nobody knew what to say in the situation, so they just left me alone,” said Kubota. Though they offered the standard “Let me know what you need,” Kubota, facing responsibilities she really couldn’t manage on her own, found it hard to ask for help.

Loss Upon Loss

Kubota’s siblings, afraid to upset her by talking about her husband, were not present or helpful when she needed them most. She felt disconnected at her job in commercial real estate. “I was in a fog for at least a year,” she said.

Realizing she lost more than just her husband (her normal, the support of her siblings, a direction in life) was an “aha moment” for Kubota, 68, who now resides in Seal Beach, Calif. But in those early days after his passing, when she was left alone to manage daily life and deal with her grief, Kubota was launched into a long-lasting cycle of isolation, depression and loneliness.

Isolation Doesn’t Stand Alone

Many older adults find themselves in this cycle of compounded loss, but it should never be considered the norm for this stage of life.

Loneliness and social isolation are now believed to be as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and surpass the mortality risks of obesity. A 2017 SCAN survey of 1,000 older adults uncovered this compelling statistic: 82 percent of those 65 and up know at least one person who is lonely, yet 58 percent would be reluctant to admit it if they themselves felt isolated.

Even those who live with others can feel lonely.

At 51, Sandra Hallows of Burnaby, British Columbia, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her husband, Jolyon, then 55, became her primary caregiver.

From losing her driver’s license to the friends who’d say “we’ll call later,” and never did, Sandra Hallows felt the sting of isolation immediately following her diagnosis. For Jolyon, the isolation happened over time: As his wife’s disease progressed, both were robbed of conversation and communication, and he was left to watch the woman he loved disappear over two decades. She died in early 2017.

Practical Tips for Breaking Through Isolation

The faces of grief and loneliness are individualized and complex. But for many, it’s a vicious cycle of feeling lonely and depressed which perpetuates isolation and grief that extends beyond the usual time, said Dr. Romilla Batra, chief medical officer for SCAN.

Recognizing that very real struggle - and the cyclical, non-linear aspect of it - is huge in terms of helping the individual, rather than pushing him or her further down isolation’s road.

Here are four things not to say to someone isolated, according to experts, and what to do instead:

1. What Not to Say: “Oh, that was so long ago”

A person needs to be able to grieve without feeling guilty, Kubota said. People can’t just “deal with it and move on.”

What to Do Instead: Give the person adequate time - perhaps even a lifetime - to grieve.

Two weeks after her husband died, Kubota remembers all contact from loved ones dropped off. “Keep the cards coming. Keep visiting. Keep asking how we’re doing, even when we’re not good company,” recommended Kubota.

When friends and family asked questions like “How are you doing?” with the intention of truly listening, the empathy and VALIDATION was invaluable to Jolyon - Hallows, he said.

2. What Not to Say: “Let me know how I can help”

Unless you plan to deliver on your promise, this usually well-intended phrase only serves to push an already isolated individual further into isolation. “I would make up stories in my mind as to why they couldn’t help,” Kubota said. And in doing so, she began taking the blame for her loneliness.

What to Do Instead: Hallows appreciated the FRIENDS who would bring dessert when he invited them over for dinner. “Fattening and thoughtful,” he said.

3. What Not to Say: “You must be doing better since”

Even after Kubota moved to a more active community and started a job that required intense social interaction, isolation was a daily struggle, one which she had to intentionally overcome. “You can do what you love, but you still come home alone,” she said.

What to Do Instead: Being socially involved or active doesn’t erase the risk or pain of isolation. Even the telephone and TV did not interest or comfort Kubota when she was at her loneliest. But, she said, that doesn’t mean you shouldnt call, adding: “We still need to talk to someone.”

4. What Not to Say: You should go out and enjoy yourself more often”

Large group activities or entertainment shouldn’t be the only solution for LONELINESS, said Paul Falkowski, founder and executive director of Omaha-based Community 360, a nonprofit that recruits and trains trusted volunteers to visit older adults in nursing homes.

“The deep-seated need to feel that someone cares about them cannot be met in those [large-group] activities,” he said. An older woman living in a nursing home once said to me, “I have a lot of people around me, but there is no one here just for me.”

What to Do Instead: Encourage creativity, self-discovery and new traditions. When Kubota rediscovered her identity, she found a better way out of isolation. “I had to remember who I was and what I loved before I was a wife and mother,” she said. Since then, she’s started painting again and participates in a fitness boot camp where she’s at least 20 years older than most in her class.

Ultimately, letting go of the “used to” or “can’t do” was huge for Kubota. Her life was not over. By sharing her story, she hopes others in isolation will know they’re not alone and will find the people, places and purposeful activities to help them engage again.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/16/18 •
Section Personal
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Failure

image: failure - when yourbest isnt good enough

I OPENED THIS SITE back in 2004 WRITING ABOUT the EROSION of MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA and MORE PERSONALLY - long term unemployment/underemployment - that DESTROYED my hope for any kind of happy RETIREMENT - and replaced it with PRAYERS for an early DEATH.

14 years later I’m still wondering HOW MUCH FURTHER down a hole A LOT of AMERICANS can SINK.

image: bls table A-12 march 2018

Long-term Unemployment, Its Causes and Effects
Why 1.4 Million Can’t Find Work Even After Looking for 6 Months

By Kimberly Amadeo
March 9, 2018

Long-term unemployment is when workers are jobless for 27 weeks or more. To be counted as such by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they must have actively sought employment during the previous four weeks. That means the number of long-term unemployed is probably under-counted. Most people become discouraged and DROP OUT OF THE LABOR FORCE AFTER SIX MONTHS. They are not included in the labor force participation

Long-term Unemployment Statistics

In February 2018, there were 1.397 million long-term unemployed individuals. There are 20.8 percent of the unemployed who have been looking for work for six months or more. That’s better than the record high of 46 percent in the second quarter of 2010. The number of unemployed first dropped below 2 million in May 2015.

The rate is also better than the darkest days of the 1981 recession. At that point, 26 percent of the unemployed were out of work for more than six months. Total unemployment then was also worse than it is today. The overall unemployment rate was 10.8 percent. Although the Great Recession initially created a higher percentage of long-term unemployment, it has subsided.

Causes

The two causes of long-term unemployment are CYCLICAL UNEMPLOYMENT and STRUCTURAL UNEMPLOYMENT. Cyclical unemployment itself is often caused by a recession. Structural unemployment occurs when workers’ skills no longer meet the needs of the job market.

Long-term cyclical and structural unemployment feed off of each other. A recession causes a massive rise in cyclical unemployment. Those who can’t find jobs become long-term unemployed. If out of work long enough, their skills become outdated. In time, this contributes to structural unemployment. They have less money to spend, resulting in reduced consumer demand.

It further slows economic growth, leading to more cyclical unemployment.

Many say that there are three other reasons for long-term unemployment: welfare, unemployment benefits, and unions. Government assistance programs require the recipients to look for work. It inflates unemployment statistics by 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent because not all would be actively looking. Those people really shouldn’t be considered part of the labor force. Benefits may also encourage people to hold out for better-paying jobs, further extending unemployment.

Unionization creates classical unemployment by forcing companies to offer higher wages than they otherwise would. These companies must lay off workers to maintain budget and profit goals. These workers may only have skills suited for a particular industry and may be unwilling to take lower wage jobs. That can result in structural, and ultimately long-term, unemployment.

Effects

Only 10 percent of the long-term unemployed find a job each month, according to a report by the San Francisco Federal Reserve. It is worse than the 30 percent per month of the short-term unemployed who are successful.

The situation is not hopeless though. The report also found that half of the long-term unemployed find a job in six months, and 75 percent do so within a year.

Even those who hadn’t found a job in 18 months find something in the end if they keep looking. The San Francisco Fed found that the chances of finding a job didn’t decline even though they had been unemployed for so long.

Being unemployed for six months to a year will almost always strain personal finances. A Pew Research study found that recession affected the long-term unemployed worse than others in the areas of personal relationships, career plans, and self-confidence. In particular, the long-term unemployed reported the following:

· More than half (56 percent) saw their income decline, compared to 42 percent of the short-term unemployed and 26 percent of those who kept their job.

· Almost half (46 percent) experienced STRAINED FAMILY RELATIONS compared to 39 percent of those who weren’t unemployed as long. 43 percent lost close friendships.

· Almost one in four (38 percent) lost self-respect, and 24 percent sought professional help for depression compared with 29 percent and 10 percent of the short-term unemployed.

· The recession has had a “big impact” on their ability to achieve career goals for 43 percent of them compared to 28 percent of their short-term peers.

· More than 70 percent say they changed careers. Almost a third (29 percent) became underemployed with lower pay and benefits than their previous job. It’s no surprise that they became very pessimistic about their chances of finding a good job. Only 16 percent of the short-term unemployed were worse off.

A a SWEDISH STUDY found that the long-term unemployed began losing their ability to read. On average, a person who had been unemployed for a year dropped 5 percent on reading comprehension test scores.

How Long-term Unemployment Benefits Extensions Help

Federal unemployment benefits extensions assisted the long-term unemployed in their job search efforts.  Congress approved the extensions in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They were re-authorized every year till 2013.

The benefits provided the long-term unemployed with up to 99 weeks of unemployment checks. It helped support them until they could find decent jobs. Without the extensions, they would have had to take any job they could, leading to underemployment. This might preclude them from ever catching up as their skills became more outdated.

Unemployment benefits only help those who were laid off, though. Some employers fire workers for cause or ask workers to resign in return for a severance package so that they don’t have to pay benefits. Workers who quit, part-time workers, the self-employed and students or mothers just entering the workforce aren’t eligible for benefits.

Also, not all of those eligible for benefits received the entire 99 weeks of unemployment checks. They had to live in a state that meets a minimum unemployment rate.

How to Calculate the Long-term Unemployment Rate

The long-term unemployment rate is easy to calculate because the BLS breaks down the statistics each month in the EMPLOYMENT SITUATION SUMMARY. The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more is in TABLE A-12. It also calculates the percentage they make up of the total unemployed. This table gives you the data for the previous three months, seasonally adjusted. It also allows you to compare the last two months and year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/15/18 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace • Section Personal
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