Nursing home abuse is on the rise, says AMAC

Federal, state and local authorities must act;family members, too, need to get involved

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr 12 — Elder abuse in nursing homes is on the rise again and senior advocate Dan Weber is calling for government intervention at the state, local and federal levels.
Between four and five million Americans are in nursing homes, the great majority of whom are seniors over the age of 65. “And too many of them have been and continue to be victims of nursing home abuse,” according to Weber.
Who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. “If it is determined that a family member needs care in a nursing home, the facility needs deep vetting, not just a cursory background check”
Weber says that it was recently revealed during hearings held by Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Committee on Finance that it may not be enough to rely on a nursing home’s good grades from the authorities when choosing a nursing home for a loved one. He cites the testimony of a woman whose mother died as a result of neglect in a home that had what Grassley described as “the highest possible ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for quality of resident care.”
That revelation hit home for Senator Grassley who described the testimony at his hearing as “troubling.” He promised additional investigations into nursing home abuse by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office. He said that as soon as those investigations are completed new hearings would take place.
Meanwhile, CMS announced that it was already in the process of updating the way it rates nursing homes. CMS also issued new guidelines for “identifying and ultimately preventing” abuse or neglect cases.
Nursing home attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley in Athens, GA say that in addition to physical abuse a majority of residents experience depression. And, they say that many patients too often are given the wrong medications.
AMAC’s Weber warns that the decision to admit a relative to a nursing home is made more difficult because the patient may object and because the need may a lot of time to act. And, notes the National Council for Aging Care, “If your loved one can still make choices or discuss their wishes clearly, it is very important that you acknowledge their opinion and act accordingly.”
Weber says that the decision to should not be determined by an individual family member. It’s a time when all family members close to the individual who is ill to be consulted, although it is always wise to consult his or her physician.
“But, in most cases it is family members who must make the ultimate decision to move the patient into a nursing home. And, beyond that, it is up to family members to ensure that the facility they choose is the right one. They need to do their homework to pick a facility that has a history of caring for its patients. And, once a loved one takes up residency in a home, family members should make regular, unscheduled visits to make sure their loved ones are not being mistreated.”
To facilitate the process of choosing and vetting a nursing home, there are a variety of sources on the Internet that can help you make the right decisions. Medicare, for example, has put together The Nursing Home Checklist that provides a list of the questions you need to ask.

Social Security Matters

Ask Rusty – Social Security’s “First Year” Rule

Social Security Matters
by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor
Good Ol’ Rusty…
Association of Mature American Citizens
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Ask Rusty – Social Security’s “First Year” Rule
Dear Rusty: I’ve been trying to determine the best way to proceed with retirement and could use some help. I’d like to retire on or about my 62nd birthday this September. Waiting for “full retirement” does not motivate as I have income replacement through my real estate investments. I’ll have way over any earnings limits for 2019, but I don’t want to have my benefits reduced. Can I apply as SSA suggests three months before my 62nd birthday without running afoul of SSA’s arcane benefit reduction rules? Or should I quit first then apply? Please don’t refer me to my Financial Advisor or local SSA office, they just confuse. Signed: Anxious to Retire
Dear Anxious: Well I’m afraid I can’t offer you any obscure methods to avoid Social Security’s rules & regulations, but perhaps I can clarify some things which will help you manage the timing of your application for Social Security benefits. From what you’ve said, I assume you mean you plan to retire from your working career in September, but by that time you will have greatly exceeded Social Security’s annual earnings limit (which is $17,640 for 2019). Again, from what you’ve said, you wish to claim SS as soon as possible but you don’t want to lose any benefits because of exceeding the earnings limit. So, if you wish to claim SS as soon as you turn 62, you’ll be happy to know that there is a special rule which applies for your first year of collecting benefits before your full retirement age (66 ½ in your case).
That “first year rule” essentially says that if you start benefits in mid-year, earnings prior to the month your benefits start don’t count; instead you’ll be subject to a monthly earnings test for the remainder of that year, once your benefits have started. So in your case, your first month of eligibility for SS would be the month of October (you must be 62 for the entire month to be eligible for benefits), and your benefit payment for October would be paid the following month (the payment date will be either the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday of the month, depending on the day of the month you were born). Then, starting with the month of October, if you do not have earnings from working which exceed $1,470 in any of the remaining months of 2019, your benefits will not be cut; but if you have earnings from working which exceed that monthly amount in any month for the rest of 2019, then you will not be entitled to SS benefits for that month. Exceeding the monthly limit by any amount (even by $1) will cause Social Security to take back the full benefit for that month. So, if your plan is to retire from your working career in September and depend upon your savings and investments for income, and if you claim Social Security as soon as you’re eligible in October and you have no further earnings from working, you’ll not suffer any loss of benefits in 2019.
But just as a caution, after 2019 you’ll still be subject to the annual “earnings test” because you’re claiming Social Security before you reach your full retirement age, and the annual earnings test will apply until the month that you reach your full retirement age (after that, there is no longer a limit to what you can earn). As for when you should apply for benefits, Social Security recommends that you apply 3 months before you wish your benefits to begin. When applying, you can specify the month you want your benefits to start, so if you wish that to be at age 62 simply specify October 2019 as your benefit start month. Applying prior to September and specifying October as your benefit start month will not expose you to any extra earnings limitations over those explained above.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website or email us.

Bridge Home Health & Hospice Presentation on Advance Directives

National Healthcare Decisions Day event on April 18…..

Social workers and care navigators from Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) will offer a brief presentation regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms at a National Healthcare Decisions Day event on April 18 from 9 to 11 a.m. This event will take place at 50 North, located at 339 East Melrose Avenue, Findlay. The presentation will also provide individuals with assistance in the completion of advance directives.

In an effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making, BVHS and 50 North, along with other organizations across the nation, will provide information and tools for the public to discuss their wishes with family, friends and health care providers. Additionally, individuals will learn to execute written advance directives (health care power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Ohio state laws.

“With this event, more people in our community will be equipped to have thoughtful conversations about their health care decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Niki Sidle, LISW-S at Bridge Home Health & Hospice, a division of BVHS. “Fewer families and providers will have to struggle with making difficult health care decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. Providers and facilities will be better prepared to address advance health care planning issues before a crisis and better honor patient wishes when the time comes.”

For more information, call Bridge Home Health & Hospice at 419.423.5351.

Ask Rusty – Increasing your Social Security Benefit Amount

Social Security Matters


by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor
Association of Mature American Citizens

Rusty…

Dear Rusty: I turned 67 in September 2018. My benefit estimate is $1478 a month if I claim benefits now. I work and will continue working as long as I can. My 35-year earnings period includes about ten years of zeros when I was married (twice for about 5 years each). If I claim benefits now will my monthly amount go up if I continue to work? I read that the SSA recalculates each year and uses your high years. I make about $57k a year now and hopefully will continue to do so. Does the SSA replace one of the zero years with the years I work after claiming benefits and raise my monthly benefit accordingly and how much? I truly appreciate your help with this as I would like to decide this month. I have read on SSA that if I don’t claim it will go up 8% but I also have read I could be drawing benefits and working too, and this would be a better financial situation. Signed: Working Senior
Dear Working Senior: Yes, if you have 10 years of zeros in your 35-year earnings history, your more recent earnings each year will replace one of those zero years, if the earnings are what Social Security considers “substantial” (which your $57,000 income would be). Social Security gets your earnings information from the IRS as soon as your W-2 is available each year and makes any benefit adjustment necessary at that time (if you’re self-employed the adjustment is made after you file your income taxes). When Social Security receives your income information each year, they will recompute your “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME) with your revised 35-year earnings history (including one less zero year), adjust your “primary insurance amount” (or “PIA”), and increase your benefit accordingly. I can’t tell you how much of an increase it would be because I don’t have access to your lifetime earnings records, but you shouldn’t expect it to be a major increase each year. After all, your new earnings will only represent 1/35th of your AIME, so the increase to your benefit won’t be big. But if you continue to work with significant earnings your benefit will continue to increase over time and each increase you get will last for the rest of your life.
You are correct that for each year you delay claiming benefits beyond your full retirement age of 66, you’ll earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs) of 8%, up until you are 70 when your benefit would be 32% higher than at your full retirement age. You’re earning those DRCs now at a rate of 2/3rds of 1% each month after your FRA and will continue to earn them until you claim (but not after age 70). However, if you are trying to compare the increase you will get by claiming benefits and continuing to work, versus the 8% per year increase you will get by delaying claim of your SS, please be aware that the 8% annual increase will be much more than any increase you’ll get from working and replacing a zero year. And the fact is, if you continue to delay and also continue to work, you’ll still be improving your eventual benefit from your earnings and you’ll still earn those delayed retirement credits until you are 70. In other words, you can do both.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website or email us.
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The 1.7 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today athttps://amac.us/join-amac.

WCCOA to hold “Matter of Balance” Classes

classes targeted toward preventing falls….

Bowling Green, OH (March 21, 2019) – The Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCCOA) will be holding a “Matter of Balance” course at the Wood County Senior Center (at 305 N. Main Street, Bowling Green) every Tuesday from March 26 to May 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. This course lasts for six (8) weeks, and costs $15 to participate.

Are you experiencing a fear of falling? Are you limiting your activities due to this fear? Are you becoming physically weak? If you answered “yes” to any of these three questions, A Matter of Balance is for you! During this class participants will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risk at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Participants will receive a manual for training purposes and a certificate upon completion of the course.

This course is sponsored by Aetna Better Health of Ohio.

Please contact the Programs Department of WCCOA to register by calling 419-353-5661 or 1-800-367-4935, or by e-mailing programs@wccoa.net

The mission of the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc., shall be to provide older adults with services and programs which empower them to remain independent and improve the quality of their lives.

For information on programs and services, please contact the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc., at (419) 353-5661, (800) 367-4935 or www.wccoa.net.

NB Cemetery Clean-Up

It’s that time of year…


Cemetery Clean-Up

A general clean-up shall be conducted twice a year, depending on weather, normally in April and October.  All unsightly pots, flowers, and/or wreaths will be removed. (This is a quote from the Village Cemetery booklet)

HELP!!! NBHS 50 YEAR CLUB BANQUET

NBHS 50 YEAR ALUMNI BANQUET in peril… HELP is NEEDED!!!

NBHS 50 YEAR CLUB BANQUET in peril

The first Saturday in June has been the traditional day for the North Baltimore High School 50 Year Club. Usually 150 to 200 alumni, out of school for 50 years+, return to NB for this annual event at the Legion.

Larry Slaughterbeck reports that “This year we have a serious problem – we have only 2 volunteers to help on this event! It appears that this may be the last (final) 50 – Year Club Dinner unless several alumni step forward to help. It actually doesn’t involve many hours.”

Larry adds, “Kathy Eninger has taken it on her shoulders to make sure that we will have a banquet this year. She is in need of several volunteers to help her.

If you are interested in this very nice event continuing PLEASE—call Kathy at (419)257-2159 or email her at: kathretird@outlook.com…We need your help/thanks!”

The North Baltimore High School Alumni Association is a separate entity from what became known as the “50-year Club”, that has been organized for the past many years by Jan Dukes and a small group of volunteers.

The Alumni Assn. organizes the Annual Alumni Dinner the Friday evening prior to GOST at the end of July, also held at the legion. The alumni assn. honors classes every 5 years (this year 2019, 2014, ’09, ’04, 1999…1969… etc.) and they raise funds for and award the annual NBHS Alumni Scholarship (currently two (2) @ $750 each year). This group holds the Annual GOST Golf Tourney, a 2-person OPEN – Shotgun Scramble. This fun event is currently played on GOST Day at 8 am.

The Alumni Assn. Committee Co-Chairs:
Jeff (’73) & Sue (Benedict ’75) Miklovic and Don (‘75) and Tami (Bibler ’79) Thomas. Jill (Shaffer ’72) Guy is the Treasurer.

E-mail: nbhsalumni@gmail.com for information or with questions!

Alzheimer’s Update – “Most Feared”

Senior advocacy association, AMAC, provides an Alzheimer’s update


Senior advocacy association, AMAC, provides an Alzheimer’s update
WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 1 — Alzheimer’s Disease [AD] has an insidiously disproportionate effect on senior citizens and their families. Surveys conducted over the past several years show that a diagnosis of AD sparks terror in the hearts of patients, families and friends, more so than just about any other fatal or chronic illness, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens.
In fact, a Marist Poll conducted in 2012 concluded that Alzheimer’s was America’s most feared illness. And, says AMAC, it still is.
The association’s president, Dan Weber, says that for patients, perhaps it is “the idea of losing their identity and the notion that they will almost certainly lose the ability to recall the most important moments of their lives. For family and friends, it can cause confusion and disbelief that loved ones are slowly, but surely, forgetting who they are. And, for all those whose lives are touched by this seemingly hopeless affliction, the slow progress in developing treatments, let alone a cure, exacerbates their frustration.”
So pervasive is Alzheimer’s Disease that it has created a new class of scammers who target the desperation, particularly among seniors, with “snake oil” concoctions that claim to “cure” the disease and even “reverse” it. It’s gotten so bad that the FDA recently took onthe fraudsters who peddle unapproved and misbranded drugs that claim to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s.
Weber notes that it is older Americans who express the most concern about AD since itafflicts mainly senior citizens, more than 5.7 million of them to date, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
But the news about AD is not all that discouraging says, Weber. “Credible reports of progress in the quest for treatments and, ultimately, cures are coming with greater frequency these days. And, they provide hope that in the not too distant future the medical community will have more ways to deal with the disease.”
For example, it’s long been known that patients with Alzheimer’s have significantly reduced blood flow to the brain. It causes them to feel dizzy and there’s clear evidence that it impacts cognitive function, according to Cornell University professor of biomedical engineering Chris Schaffer. He says that white blood cells get stuck inside capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the brain and cause the reduced blood flow.
“We’ve shown that when we block the cellular mechanism [that causes the stalls], we get an improved blood flow, and associated with that improved blood flow is immediate restoration of cognitive performance of spatial- and working-memory tasks,” Schaffer explains.
Meanwhile, at Brown University, professor of medical science, John Sedivy, has been experimenting with mice, using a generic HIV/AIDS medication, and he says it “holds promise for treating age-associated disorders including Alzheimer’s.”
And, Penn State researchers reported recently that they may have discovered a way to turn damaged neurons in the brain into new, functioning neurons using “a simple drug cocktail.” The research team leader, Professor Gong Chen, reports in Science Daily that the biggest problem for brain repair is that neurons don’t regenerate after brain damage, because they don’t divide. In contrast, glial cells, which gather around damaged brain tissue, can proliferate after brain injury.
Chen says he believes that turning glial cells that are the neighbors of dead neurons into new neurons “is the best way to restore lost neuronal functions.” He says after experimenting with numerous combinations of drugs, he and his researchers have found one that appears to work. “My ultimate dream is to develop a simple drug delivery system, like a pill, that can help stroke and Alzheimer’s patients around the world to regenerate new neurons and restore their lost learning and memory capabilities.”
AMAC’s Weber describes recent progress in researching treatments and cures for AD as slow, but promising. “But, as the Alzheimer’s Association suggests, we need to emphasize the urgency of the quest for new medical modalities and accelerate the research.”

Bucket List Travel Destinations for 2019

Once you’ve determined how you’d like to spend your time, you can begin to explore some hot travel destinations….


(Family Features) Taking time to go on vacation or to just unplug from everyday life can be beneficial, and there’s certainly no lack of options when it comes to choosing an ideal vacation spot.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The options for experiencing an amazing vacation are so plentiful, such as exploring a cruise port, eating and drinking your way around a city or simply visiting a new destination, you may find yourself struggling to narrow down the choices.

By focusing first on what type of vacation experience you would enjoy most, the details of the location may more easily fall into place.

“Often, would-be vacationers get so hung up on figuring out where they want to go, they forget to consider what they’ll do when they get there,” said Matthew Phillips, director of travel for AARP Services, Inc. “It makes sense to keep location in mind when it comes to considerations like climate, but knowing what types of activities, entertainment and sights you hope to experience can help ensure you plan a travel experience of a lifetime.”

Once you’ve determined how you’d like to spend your time, you can begin to explore some hot travel destinations, such as these:

California: Rent a car and take a road trip down the California coast and experience sunshine, culture and more as you drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It may be one single coastline, but California is filled with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood sign.

Caribbean: There are few better ways to escape the cold weather than with a Caribbean cruise, where breathtaking excursions, first-rate cuisine, exciting nightlife and spectacular entertainment fill every day and night. There are dozens of cruise options available, so it’s a good idea to do plenty of research and look into special incentives and offers to complement the experience. For example, the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia provides exclusive offers to members on select cruises, including up to $1,000 in onboard credit.

Florida Gulf Coast: The warmer seasons are perfect for unplugging and relaxing by the sand and water. Head to the beaches of Florida and get a room with a view so the water is never out of reach. For example, Sarasota, Florida offers miles of beaches, including Siesta Key, known for its majestic waters and luxurious amenities.

Southwest France: Explore the beautiful wine-growing region of Southwest France through a fascinatingly historical and invigorating river cruise. For example, the Uniworld Bordeaux river cruise allows guests to sail three rivers: the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Gironde. The experience blends land and water with archaeological and historical tours, artisanal wine tastings, sprawling gardens and charming villages to explore. Take your experience a step further and see the sights while feeling like a local by going on a spotlight tour, an intimate way to uncover hidden gems.

Singapore: If you want to immerse yourself into a completely new and unique culture, hop on a flight and explore Singapore, commonly referred to as a “shopper’s paradise” for its emerging brands and bargains stores. Enjoy both the urban and natural attractions while indulging in the eclectic dining scene. Singaporean cuisine is full of diverse plates, such as bak kut teh, laksa and friend carrot cake, derived from several ethnic groups.

If you’re ready to start planning a satisfying getaway, a resource like AARP Member Benefits can assist with planning and saving money along the way. Learn more at AARPBenefits.com/travel.

SOURCE:
AARP Services, Inc.

Aiding Aging Parents

4 tips to help overcome new challenges…..


(Family Features) It’s not easy getting old, as the saying goes, and it can be even harder to watch your parents age. Helping parents transition into the later years of their lives can be a delicate matter, but there are ways to help them ease into an elderly stage and cope better with challenges.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Carol Lavin Bernick, former executive chairman of Alberto Culver, navigated this type of life transition with her parents. In her book, “Gather As You Go: Lessons Learned Along the Way,”Bernick offers tips to give and get joy while preserving your parents’ dignity in addition to wisdoms on business and leadership, philanthropy, dealing with tough times and being a working mom.

For example, consider these tips and ways to aid aging parents:

Provide Entertainment
Music can be a helpful gift – try loading a music player with a playlist of your parents’ favorite songs. Old movies can also spark conversation. Host a luncheon for some of their best friends and make their favorite treats. They may be housebound, but there are still ways for them to interact.

Adjust to Physical Changes
Reading materials could require larger-than-normal print, and a magnifying clip-on screen for a computer can be helpful as well. Serving foods that are easier to cut can make eating a simpler process. Keep an eye on weight and nutrition and try to find someone who will make a house call for haircuts.

Relive Memories
Encourage older relatives to write (or dictate) their thoughts on financial tips, military service, business success, valued life lessons and, of course, the stories of how they met their spouses. Make a family tree together and try creating a photobook with old and new pictures. Share news about family members’ relationships and accomplishments, which might bring back personal memories.

Consider the Little Things
Surprise your parents with a few new pieces of clothing for a thoughtful gift. Laminate a list of their medications and their doctors to keep with you in case of emergency and provide a copy to your parents and any other caregivers. Create a contact list on your parents’ mobile phone to help them easily reach family and friends without needing to search. If there are young children in the family, try bringing them by for a visit – their energy and smiles may help brighten the room.

Find more tips to assist aging relatives at gatherasyougo.com .

SOURCE:
Gather As You Go

The Invisible Man [and Woman], a tale of ageism in America

Schools, movies and TV need to show kidsthat age-based prejudice is cruel, not cool


Schools, movies and TV need to show kids
that age-based prejudice is cruel, not cool
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 22 – You might recall the films, The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains, and The Invisible Woman, starring Virginia Bruce. These works of fiction entertained audiences in the 1940s. But, it’s the 21st Century and it turns out invisible people really exist.
“They live among us in the guise of senior citizens,” according to Dan Weber, president of AMAC, a powerful senior advocacy organization.
San Francisco-based psychologist and psychotherapist Tamara McClintock Greenberg put it this way in an article for Psychology Today: “Why people are increasingly treated as if they’re invisible as they age (more prevalent it seems, for women) is curious, though perhaps not surprising. We live in a youth-fixated culture where people are afraid to age and to be vulnerable to growing older; where ideals about attractiveness are oriented around those with young, healthy bodies.”
Groups such as AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens, exist and thrive, in part, because the fast growing population of senior citizens in the U.S. is determined to be seen and heard, says Weber. “We are alive and well and, particularly when it comes to ageism, we are not going to take it anymore.”
Weber is not alone in his quest to eradicate the scourge of ageism in America. Author Ashton Applewhite, for example, has devoted herself to what might be called a movement to exposing and eliminating discrimination based on age. Among other things, she created a Web site, Old School, to be an ageism research resource.
“The messages are everywhere that old is not as good as young.  We are ageist any time we make an assumption about a person or a group of people on the basis of how old they appear to be.  Ageism has not been challenged in the culture at large,” says Applewhite. And, according to her, that is as unacceptable as racism, sexism and any other form of discrimination.
You might say that Applewhite is on a crusade and her focus is on the youngest members of society because research shows that prejudices such as ageism are formed early in life. And, her Old School Web site is designed to provide teachers with anti-ageism tools and aids allow them to create a positive view of growing old.
Dr. John C. Cavanaugh, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, also believes that youngsters need to be provided with a more affirmative attitude toward the elderly early on in the classroom. “Young people have a skewed view or even a blank spot when it comes to this population. From pre-school to high school, a lot of students don’t get any exposure to issues of aging,”
AMAC’s Weber is in full agreement with Applewhite and Cavanaugh that we need to teach our kids to not only respect their elders but to also see them as productive members of society with something to contribute. But, he says that Hollywood has a lot to answer for when it comes to promoting a dismissive attitude toward older Americans.
And he cites a study conducted by Humana and the University of Southern California that concluded Hollywood ridicules seniors in the movies.
Films have an impact on how our children view life, in general, Weber points out. “Thus, the negative portrayal of ageing in the movies and on TV has the insidious effect of making discrimination based on age not so cruel, but rather ‘cool’ in the minds of youngsters.”