Category Archives: Senior Living

Complexities, combinations of age-related brain conditions are a challenge

“Painting as therapy keeps our brains sharp.”

by National Institute on Aging

The decline of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, learning and reasoning—involves a complicated mix of different disease processes in the brain. A study by NIA-funded researchers has shown that common brain diseases often overlap but impact cognitive impairment differently for different people. The findings, published online Dec. 15, 2017 in the journal Annals of Neurology, the authors say, point to the importance of developing therapies that seek to treat the broader complexity of cognitive decline.

A research team from the NIA-funded Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Chicago, looked at cases of more than 1,000 older people who took detailed cognitive tests annually for many years and whose brains were donated and examined after death. The researchers measured nine disease characteristics in the brain, called neuropathologies, known to relate to cognitive decline and dementia. The neuropathologies included plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease and indicators of Lewy body dementia, a disease associated with abnormal deposits in the brain of a protein called alpha-synuclein.

The researchers found that over 94 percent of the participants had at least one known neuropathology. Dr. Patricia Boyle, Professor at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, who led the study, explained that of those participants who had at least one neuropathology, 78 percent had two or more, 58 percent had three or more, and 35 percent had four or more. The researchers were surprised to find nearly 250 unique combinations of neuropathologies. “And there’s not a particularly common pattern,” Boyle noted.

The study also evaluated the nine neuropathologies for their relative impact on cognition. For example, the study found that neuropathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease were both the most frequent (65 percent) and the most often associated with cognitive decline (about 50 percent on average). But, the degree to which Alzheimer’s disease neuropathologies contributed to cognitive changes varied greatly from person to person—with anywhere from 20 to 100 percent of the cognitive change accounted for by Alzheimer’s disease neuropathologies, depending on the others that were present. In other words, the impact of any given neuropathology differed dramatically depending on the other neuropathologies present.

While the sample in this study differs slightly from the general population, Boyle explained that the results build on earlier studies. “Most people who live to be in their 80s will have some combination of neuropathologies in the brain,” she said. “We need to understand how these neuropathologies work together to impair cognition in order to develop effective interventions to prevent cognitive decline in old age. We looked at the nine neuropathologies that we currently quantify in the brain, but there are others that we are just beginning to study and some we probably haven’t identified yet,” she added.

In addition to helping advance understanding of the complex brain changes that can happen in aging, this study demonstrates the importance of volunteers both participating in research over many years and donating their brains. This research used the infrastructure available across the country at the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to generate knowledge that is a necessary step to eventually developing treatments.

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group hosts Michael J. Fox Foundation May 9 at 1pm

Michael J. Fox has done much to support Parkinson’s disease research.

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group invites their members and care-partners, visitors and new friends who find themselves navigating Parkinson’s disease to join them on Wednesday, May 9 from 1-3pm for a special presentation to be held at Lexington Assisted Living, 5440 Ralston St.

Advancement Officer Mary McQuillen of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) will present an overview of MJFF’s mission; an update on promising Parkinson’s disease research; the latest legislation that impacts the lives of people with Parkinson‘s; priority areas for Parkinson’s policy work; and information on how to get involved with clinical research through Fox Trial Finder and Fox Insight.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. Since inception in 2000, 89 cents of every dollar spent by MJFF has gone straight to grants and initiatives to speed a cure for Parkinson’s. To date, the Foundation has funded more than $800 million in research to bring an end to Parkinson’s disease. For more information, visit www.michaeljfox.org.

For those interested in attending the event, there is a drop-off/loading and unloading driveway in the front of the Lexington building. Extra parking is graciously available across the street in the Baptist Church parking lot. Reservations are not required. Attendees are invited to check in at the front desk for directions to the 3rd floor and sign-in at the meeting so we can keep in touch with you. For more information, call Patty at 766-6070.

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group is an independent and volunteer-organized group, not affiliated with or a part of any other organization or group. Thanks to the generosity of the Lexington Assisted Living, they host their meetings every second Wednesday of the month.

Community urged to be aware of stroke symptoms

“I think that I should take the CMHS online StrokeAware Risk Assessment just to be sure.”

In recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month in May, Community Memorial Health System encourages people to better understand the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States.

National Stroke Awareness Month each May seeks to educate people about stokes and how to prevent them. According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 Americans have a stroke each year. Leading a healthy lifestyle and lowering risk factors can help reduce the risk of a stroke. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable. Recognizing symptoms is critical to treating strokes and possibly preventing or reducing disability, said Stephanie Lara-Jenkins, RN, Stroke Coordinator at CMHS.

“Time is crucial in the treatment of a stroke because the earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater the chance of recovery,” she said. “We have the potential for reversing your stroke or mitigating your disability from a stroke if you get treatment right away.”

Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When this happens, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes.

Symptoms of stroke (sudden and sustained) are: numbness and/or weakness on one side of the body; numbness or weakness of an arm or leg; slurred speech, trouble speaking or the inability to speak; changes in vision including blurred vision, double vision or vision loss; dizziness and/or loss of coordination; and lightheadedness or feeling faint.

Stroke risk factors are: high blood pressure (see your doctor to control your blood pressure if it’s higher than 130 over 80); atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm); high cholesterol; heart disease; diabetes; smoking; heavy alcohol use; physical inactivity; obesity; a family history of stroke; and depression.

CMHS offers a free, confidential online StrokeAware Risk Assessment for those seeking to determine their risk. This free online tool takes about seven minutes to complete. The StrokeAware assessment will provide participants with a personalized risk assessment report written by a CMH nurse practitioner that will help them learn about their risk and identify any medical or lifestyle factors that may cause a stroke. The StrokeAware Risk Assessment can be taken by visiting https://ha.healthawareservices.com/ra/survey/766.

Annual Health & Wealth Expo

Local comedian Randy Lubas entertains the crowd at Cypress Place Senior Living on Wednesday April 11. He was the keynote speaker for the annual Health & Wealth Expo held at the senior community. The theme for the expo this year, it’s tenth, was “Laughter Is The Best Medicine.”

What Californians need to know about new Medicare Cards

by Rick Beavin, California Medicare President for Humana

What is happening

To combat identity theft, CMS will be changing the format of all Medicare numbers, which means that every existing Medicare beneficiary will get an updated Medicare Card that lists their new Medicare number.

What is changing

Instead of being based on a beneficiary’s Social Security number, each Medicare number will be an individually generated combination of letters and numbers.

The new card is paper, which is easier for providers to use and copy.

Why is this happening

Removing the SSN from Medicare cards will help fight identity theft for people with Medicare. In doing so, CMS aims to better protect:

Private health care and financial information

Federal health care benefit and service payments

When is this happening

All Medicare cards will be replaced between April 2018 and April 2019. California residents will be among the first to receive theirs between April and June this year.

This will be a long process because CMS will be issuing approximately 60 million new ID cards.

Until the new card is received, continue using your current ID card. Once the new card is received, begin using it immediately. Beginning January 1, 2020, only the new card will be usable.

Who will be impacted

New cards will be generated for all active existing and new Medicare beneficiaries. Each beneficiary will have a unique number (e.g., husband and wife will have their own).

What does this mean for people with Medicare

The new cards won’t change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare ID cards as soon as they get them. Until they receive the new Medicare ID card members are to continue using their current Medicare ID card.

For Medicare beneficiaries with a Medicare Advantage plan, the change applies only to their Medicare card and not to their health insurance carrier’s medical card, such as their Humana Medicare Advantage card.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan (with Humana or any company), your Medicare Advantage plan ID card should be kept and used when going to the doctor, hospital, lab, etc.

How do I protect myself from scams

Medicare will never call you uninvited to ask you to get your new Medicare number or get personal or private information.

Scam artists may try to get personal information and/or your current Medicare Number by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call the Medicare government office at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Additional Sources

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf

https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/your-medicare-card.html

https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/your-medicare-card.html

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group to host The Michael J. Fox Foundation

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group invites their members and care-partners, visitors and new friends who find themselves navigating Parkinson’s disease to join them on Wednesday, May 9 from 1 to 3PM for a special presentation. The presentation will be held at Lexington Assisted Living, 5440 Ralston St.

Advancement Officer Mary McQuillen of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) will present on the following topics: an overview of MJFF’s mission; an update on promising Parkinson’s disease research; the latest legislation that impacts the lives of people with Parkinson‘s; priority areas for Parkinson’s policy work; and information on how to get involved with clinical research through Fox Trial Finder and Fox Insight.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. Since inception in 2000, 89 cents of every dollar spent by MJFF has gone straight to grants and initiatives to speed a cure for Parkinson’s. To date, the Foundation has funded more than $800 million in research to bring an end to Parkinson’s disease. For more information, visit www.michaeljfox.org.

For those interested in attending the event, there is a drop-off/loading and unloading driveway in the front of the Lexington building. Extra parking is graciously available across the street in the Baptist Church parking lot. Reservations are not required. Attendees are invited to check in at the front desk for directions to the 3rd floor and sign-in at the meeting so we can keep in touch with you. For more information, call Patty at 766-6070.

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group is an independent and volunteer-organized group, not affiliated with or a part of any other organization or group. Thanks to the generosity of the Lexington Assisted Living, they host their meetings every second Wednesday of the month from 1 to 3PM.

Older Americans Month 2018

“You’re paying correct?”

Every May, the Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living, leads our nation’s observance of Older American’s Month. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

Participating in activities that promote mental and physical wellness, offering your wisdom and experience to the next generation, seeking the mentorship of someone with more life experience than you—those are just a few examples of what being engaged can mean. No matter where you are in your life, there is no better time than now to start. We hope you will join in and Engage at Every Age!

Help celebrate by taking an older American (like Breeze Publisher Brown) to lunch!

Forum highlights life-saving techniques to live “stronger together”

The Ventura County Elderly Fall Prevention Coalition will be hosting a bilingual Fall Prevention Forum that will focus on life-saving strategies and offer a variety of other services, including health assessments, pneumonia and flu vaccinations. The event will be held at Oxnard Family Circle on Saturday, April 28th, from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

With the tagline, “Stronger Together,” the bilingual forum will provide a variety of methods and informational sessions in both English and Spanish that are designed to arm adults and caregivers with the tools necessary to prevent falls and increase mobility. Nationally recognized research shows that one in four adults over the age of 65, and half of the population over the age of 75, fall each year. Of those individuals, half will die within a year from complications and injuries sustained from the fall.

The forum will feature health assessments, free pneumonia and flu vaccinations, as well as glucose, blood pressure, and vision screenings. Individuals will also have the opportunity to take part in exercise demonstrations for Zumba, Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance, Stepping On, and A Matter of Balance. Lunch and refreshments will be provided to those in attendance.

Speakers will include Vladimir Serrano, MD, Family Physician with Magnolia West Clinic, and Dr. Thomas Duncan DO, Trauma Medical Director, Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital.

Oxnard Family Circle is located at 2100 Outlet Center Drive in Oxnard. To register for the event, or for more information, please contact the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging’s Fall Prevention Program at 477-7343.

Community education classes and events

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association supports the total well-being of our community. As part of their services, they host free monthly education classes throughout the county, which include the following in Ventura:

Diabetes Class-Tuesday, May 1st from 1-2:30pm. These meetings are held on the 1st Tuesday of each month. General information is provided about Type 2 Diabetes including prediabetes, with emphasis on meal planning, medication, exercise, blood sugar monitoring, and new developments in diabetes.

642-0239 for more information.

Joint Replacement Classes-Monday, May 14th for both English and Spanish speaking. English 4:00-5:00 pm and Spanish 5:30-6:30 pm. You will learn what to expect before, during and after knee or hip replacement surgery and how to be an active participant in your care.

For information or to RSVP call Dinah Davis at 642-0239 ext. 739.

Ventura Adult Bereavement Support Group: Wednesdays, May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 6:30-8:00 pm. These groups are open to individuals who have experienced loss and are free of charge. Call 642-0239 for more information or email griefinfo@livingstonvna.org.

Newly Bereaved Support Group in Ventura: Thursday, May 10th from 6-7:30 pm. This monthly group is designed for adults who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one and is free. Call 642-0239 for more information or email griefinfo@livingstonvna.org. These groups meet every 2nd Thursday of each month.

All at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, 1996 Eastman Ave, Suite 109.

New Medicare cards arriving

Start using your new Medicare card once you receive it.

by The My Medicare Matters Team

Beginning in April the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be sending new Medicare cards to beneficiaries. The new cards are being sent to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the Social Security-based number from their Medicare identification cards and replacing it with a new unique Medicare Number.

Here’s what you need to know before they arrive.

Medicare cards will be sent between April 2018 and April 2019. Make sure your address is up to date because Medicare will be sending it to the location associated with your Social Security account. To update your address information contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or go online.

Start using your new Medicare card once you receive it. Destroy the old one immediately, since it contains your Social Security number. If you happen to lose or misplace your card you can get a replacement, but you can also can access your new Medicare number on a Medicare Summary Notice or through Medicare.

Keep your Medicare Advantage, Part D prescription, and/or Medigap. Continue using your health or drug plan’s card when you get health care or fill a prescription, but know you will also get the new Original Medicare card.

These are just a few quick tips to keep in mind as new Medicare cards are issued. You can find additional information on the release of Medicare’s new card on Medicare.gov.