Category Archives: Senior Living

Finding Fresh Food

by Matilda Charles

Many of us haven’t been eating right lately. Sometimes the stores are out of what we want; sometimes we can’t get an available pickup time. But there are a few other safe options for getting what we need.

Community Supported Agriculture: Farmers near you like to know in advance if their crops will have a market once it’s time to harvest, and they sell “subscriptions” that allow you, as a shareholder, to pick up fresh food once a week. Do an internet search for “community supported agriculture” in your area. Look for ones that sell more than just vegetables. Some also have eggs, butter, bread, jams, flowers and meat.

Farm Stands: You’ll see these along the road — a small farmer or gardener who sells his produce at the end of the driveway out of a small stand. Stop and take a look, and ask questions. Most of them will have a limited variety, but it will all be fresh, probably picked just that morning. You might have to point to the items you want so they don’t have people touching the food. That’s a safety point you’ll appreciate. Ask about other foods that will be available, and make it a point to stop by.

Farmers Markets: These could be a dozen or more farmers who congregate in specified town locations on certain days, each with a stall or table. They will likely have a specialty, with carrots and plants here, and honey and potatoes there. Many will have homemade goods such as breads and jams, and some will have meat in coolers. Chances are you’ll be asked to use a credit, EFT or EBT card to keep from handling cash. Some vendors will have their items prewrapped so they’re untouched.

Plants can make all the difference in how we feel in our environment. Check your local nursery’s website for small plants you can either have delivered or pick up at the curb. Some of the easiest to grow are pothos, spider plant and philodendron. Beware, however, if you have pets. Be sure you can either hang up your plant or put it up on a bookcase where the pet can’t reach it.

Books we enjoyed a long time ago can take us back to a time and place that was calm and safe. Look on your own bookshelves or consider getting an e-reader (look for my recent column on using a Kindle) if you don’t want to take a chance going into your own library, assuming it’s open.

Baking can fill the house with lovely smells. Since finding flour is impossible in many parts of the country, look online for hundreds of recipes that don’t require flour. No-flour banana bread, flourless chocolate cake … you can even make oatmeal muffins. Just be certain you can acquire all the ingredients before you set your heart on making a recipe.

(c) 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

OASIS program helps seniors stay living independently

Do you know (or are you) a senior who struggles to make ends meet? Or needs transportation to doctors’ appointments? Or has trouble getting nutritious food in the home? Catholic Charities’ OASIS program may be able to help.

Catholic Charities’ OASIS (Older Adults Services and Intervention System) program was founded in 1986 to assist senior residents continue to remain safely in their own homes. Throughout Ventura County, OASIS serves persons age sixty and above. There are no other qualifications to become a client other than that the senior can live independently safely.

OASIS offers individualized case management to seniors based on in-home assessments. Following the in-home assessment, OASIS staff develops an appropriate care plans based on each client’s individual needs. Subsequent services include service arrangements, information and referral on available social services and programs beneficial to seniors, the coordination of community and volunteer support services, routine telephone calls to the client for reassurance purposes, and ongoing monitoring of their well-being.

Please give us a call at 805-987-2083 we are open Monday-Thursday from 9am- 4pm.

We are also accepting volunteer applications for Friendly Visitors and Drivers.

Top 10 safety tips for seniors

Protect yourself from fraud and financial abuse! Be vigilant, be observant. Physical or financial abuse will continue so long as no one knows about it. Listed below are Top 10 Safety Tips to always keep in mind.

  1. Never give out financial information such as bank account, credit card, social security or Medicare numbers to someone you do not know.
  2. Medicare and Social Security do not cold-call beneficiaries or make house calls. If someone calls you and says they are from Medicare or Social Security, hang up. Do not give them any information.
  3. Don’t be pressured into buying anything immediately or because the offer will expire if you don’t act soon. Never be afraid to call someone for assistance. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  4. Before making any important financial decisions, make sure you fully understand the purpose and effect of the product you intend to purchase.
  5. If you do make a purchase, make sure you get everything in writing and require copies of all documentation.
  6. It is advisable not to wire money to anyone.
  7. Do not share personal information like your address or phone number on social networking sites like Facebook.
  8. Do not let strangers into your home without a trusted person, such as a family member or friend, present.
  9. Delete e-mail messages that ask you to verify your account information. Banks, credit card companies and PayPal will not ask for this.
  10. If you suspect anything is wrong, or that you or a loved one is being abused, do not hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency to report your suspicions.

What do COVID-19 scams look like in your state?

by Paul Witt Lead Data Analyst, FTC

We’ve been telling you about the scams related to COVID-19. But now we can tell you even more about the scams happening in your neck of the woods. Just today, the FTC released state-specific data on COVID-19-related issues, which you can check out with just a few clicks of your mouse. With user-friendly features, the FTC’s data dashboard lets you click on your state to see what people near you have been reporting. And see how people across the country are being affected, too.

Since January 1, people across the U.S. have made 91,808 COVID-19-related reports to the FTC. Most of these reports involve online shopping, with travel and vacations coming in second. The online shopping reports are mostly about people ordering products that never arrive, while most of the travel and vacation reports relate to refunds and cancellations. So far, people have reported losing $59.27 million on these and other COVID-related fraud reports.

So how have COVID-19-related consumer issues affected your state? Find out for yourself. Then tell your family, friends, and community what to look out for, and how to protect themselves. Also, be sure to visit for alerts, infographics, videos, and more information about COVID-19 scams.

We’re excited to share our data with you — but it’s only as good as what we hear from you. If we don’t know about the issue, we can’t work to stop it. If you’ve experienced or heard about scams of any kind, please tell us at

The truth behind weight loss ads

“How many more pills do I need to take to lose weight.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could lose weight simply by taking a pill, wearing a patch, or rubbing in a cream? Unfortunately, claims that you can lose weight without changing your habits just are not true, and some of these products could even hurt your health. So, don’t be hooked by ads that woo you with wild promises – or by glowing product reviews and “news articles” that are often fake. All you’ll lose is money. Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree: the best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more.

False promises in ads

Dishonest advertisers will say just about anything to get you to buy their weight loss products.

Here are some of the (false) promises from weight loss ads:

Lose weight without dieting or exercising. (You won’t.)

You don’t have to watch what you eat to lose weight. (You do.)

If you use this product, you’ll lose weight permanently. (Wrong.)

To lose weight, all you have to do is take this pill. (Not true.)

You can lose 30 pounds in 30 days. (Nope.)

This product works for everyone. (It doesn’t.)

Lose weight with this patch or cream. (You can’t.)

Here’s the truth:

Any promise of miraculous weight loss is simply untrue.

There’s no magic way to lose weight without a sensible diet and regular exercise.

No product will let you eat all the food you want and still lose weight.

Permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes, so don’t trust any product that promises once-and-for-all results.

FDA-approved fat-absorption blockers or appetite suppressants won’t result in weight loss on their own; those products are to be taken with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise.

Products promising lightning-fast weight loss are always a scam. Worse, they can ruin your health.

Even if a product could help some people lose weight in some situations, there’s no one-size-fits-all product guaranteed to work for everyone. Everyone’s habits and health concerns are unique.

Nothing you can wear or apply to your skin will cause you to lose weight. Period.

False stories online

Dishonest advertisers place false stories online through fake news websites, blogs, banner ads, and social media to sell bogus weight loss products. This is what they do:

Post false “news” stories. They create so-called “news” reports online about how an ingredient (like garcinia cambogia) found in a diet pill is supposedly effective for weight loss.

Use logos of legitimate news outlets. They place the stolen logos of real news organizations, or they use names and web addresses that look like those of well-known news outlets and websites.

Feature phony investigations. They say these false stories are “investigations” into the effectiveness of a product, and even add public photos of known reporters to make you think the report is real.

Pay for positive online reviews. Sometimes they write glowing online reviews themselves or pay others to do so. Sometimes they just cut and paste positive comments from other fake sites.

Use stock or altered photos. Very often they use images showing a dramatic weight loss, but these images are just stock or altered photographs.

For more information, visit

Assert your rights

No one has the right to hurt you.

Many elder and dependent adult victims are often unable to access services or assert their rights. Some have physical, cognitive, and attitudinal impediments that limit their access to the appropriate agencies. Others are unaware that they have been victimized or refuse to see themselves as victims.

Our elder/dependent adult advocates provide comprehensive advocacy services to these victims as well as training and outreach to law enforcement and other service providers. We collaborate with specific agencies such as Adult Protective Services, Legal Aid for seniors, the Ombudsman Office and The Center for Independent Living. These efforts have generated an increase in reporting the maltreatment of elders and dependent adults.

Failure of a caregiver to provide food, clothing, shelter, assistance with hygiene and protection from dehydration, malnutrition and health and safety hazards.

Emotional Abuse:
Fear, confusion or depression brought about by threats, intimidation of deception.

Desertion of an elder or dependent person by someone charged with his or her care.

Financial Abuse:
Any theft of an elder’s money or property; may include wrongful use of legal documents such as power of attorney.

Physical/Sexual Abuse:
Any physical pain or injury committed against an elder. All sexual acts committed without consent or ability to give consent.

What are some of the warning signs of Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse?
Not being given the opportunity to speak for yourself in presence of your caregiver
Your caregiver is too aggressive with you
Caregiver has problems with alcohol/drugs
If you feel socially isolated and your caregiver says he/she is the only one who cares about you
If you notice your caregiver lying to others about how your injuries occurred
Uncomfortable behavior by a caregiver towards you
Caregiver using your money for their benefit. Repeatedly pressuring you for money or power of attorney
If you recognize any of these signs, contact Adult Potective Services (APS) at 1-866-225-5277.

No one has the right to hurt you.

Signs that someone you know may be a victim
If you notice bruises, or abnormal color changes/spots, especially bleeding
If a person looks dirty, has sores or rashes, and poor hygiene, they may be neglected
Helplessness or hesitation to talk openly may be a sign
Depression, withdrawal, and suicidal acts or refusing medical attention
Sudden social isolation
Sudden involvement of a previously uninvolved relative or a new friend
Pressure to change will, power of attorney or to add a name to a property deed or to bank accounts
Disparity between lifestyle of the elder and the elder’s caregiver

Important Numbers to call for Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse
Adult Protective Services: 1-866-CallAPS or 1-866-225-5277

Exam for the early screening and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease.

Adding to other studies looking to the visual system, researchers peering into postmortem eye tissue have identified molecular and cellular changes that point toward possible development of a noninvasive exam for the early screening and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eye and visual cortex nervesThe NIH-funded research, published in Acta Neuropathologica, describes three Alzheimer’s-related processes occurring in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye: 1) loss of pericytes, cells that regulate blood flow in tiny vessels and help form the blood-retina barrier, which protects the retina from harmful substances entering through the bloodstream; 2) reduced signaling by platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFRβ), a protein that provides instructions for tissue maintenance and repair; and 3) accumulation of amyloid deposits in the retinal pericytes and blood vessels. The scientists, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, also mapped these changes to specific regions and layers of the retina.

For the study, which built on prior research, the research team compared eye specimens from people who had died with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with eye specimens from people who had been cognitively normal. In total, scientists studied samples from 62 donors as well as brain specimens from a subset of donors. For each eye specimen, the researchers studied the retina’s blood vessel structure, using an immunofluorescent staining technique and transmission electron microscopy.

The researchers found greater pericyte loss, reduced PDGFRβ signaling, and more amyloid accumulation in the retinas of people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or MCI than in the retinas of cognitively normal donors. Each of these changes has been previously reported in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The changes in the retina were correlated with changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

The researchers noted that several other diseases affecting blood vessels in the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, are characterized by a similar degradation of the blood-retina barrier. Discovery of the specific cellular and molecular changes related to this degradation could shed light on common aspects of Alzheimer’s and retinal disease processes. In addition, insights from this study could contribute to the use of retinal imaging to screen for and monitor Alzheimer’s in a way that is less expensive and less invasive than current neuroimaging methods.

This research was funded in part by NIA grants R01AG055865, R01AG056478, and R01EY13431.

These activities relate to NIA’s AD+ADRD Research Implementation Milestone 9.F. “Initiate studies to develop minimally invasive biomarkers for detection of cerebral amyloidosis, AD and AD-related dementias pathophysiology.”

Reference: Shi H, et al. Identification of early pericyte loss and vascular amyloidosis in Alzheimer’s disease retina. Acta Neuropathologica. Published online Feb. 10, 2020. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02134-w.

Does aspirin reduce the risk of dementia?

Daily low-dose aspirin did not reduce the risk of dementia, mild cognitive impairments (MCI) or cognitive decline among healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, according to recently published results from the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study. The results, funded in part by NIA, were part of an analysis of secondary cognitive outcomes in ASPREE and were published in Neurology on March 25.

In an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 19,114 older people (16,703 in Australia and 2,411 in the United States). The study began in 2010 and enrolled participants aged 70 and older; 65 was the minimum age of entry for African American and Hispanic individuals in the United States because of their higher risk for dementia and cardiovascular disease. At study enrollment, ASPREE participants could not have dementia or a physical disability and had to be free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. They were followed for an average of 4.7 years to determine outcomes. Initial results from the ASPREE study, published in 2018, showed that aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability).

For the current study, researchers at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, assessed the effect of 100 mg aspirin once daily compared to placebo on the development of dementia, MCI and cognitive decline. Participants received cognitive assessments at baseline, year one and then biennially for the remainder of the follow-up period. Researchers found that there was no significant difference between aspirin and placebo groups on the rates of incident dementia, MCI or cognitive decline at any of these timepoints.

The researchers note that despite the rigor of the clinical trial, there are some limitations. First, the low rates of dementia among the study population overall may make interpreting the dementia outcomes more challenging. In addition, the participants were all relatively healthy at baseline without previous cardiovascular disease or other major illnesses. These factors may have made it more difficult to detect the beneficial effects of aspirin, if there were any.

In an accompanying editorial, David Knopman, M.D., and Ronald Petersen, M.D., professors of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, note that the current ASPREE results are in keeping with the initial study results that showed no benefits of daily low-dose aspirin on the composite outcome of death, dementia, and physical disability.

The ASPREE team will continuing to track the outcomes of the ASPREE participants over time to assess longer-term outcomes, including the effects of aspirin on cognitive function and dementia. As these efforts continue, it is important to note that the ASPREE findings do not apply to people who are taking aspirin for stroke, heart attack, or other cardiovascular disease. Older adults should follow the advice of their physicians about daily aspirin use.

The study was funded in part by an NIH grant through the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute (U01AG029824).

These activities relate to NIA’s AD+ADRD Research Implementation Milestone 7.D, “Initiate early clinical development for at least 6 existing drugs or drug combinations for the treatment or prevention of AD and AD-related dementias.”

References: Ryan J, et al. Randomized placebo-controlled trial of the effects of aspirin on dementia and cognitive decline. Neurology. 2020. Epub March 25. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009277.

Knopman DS, Petersen RC. The quest for dem

Real-life benefits of exercise and physical activity

“We feel younger already.”

Why Is Physical Activity Important?

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.

Including all 4 types of exercise can benefit a wide range of areas of your life. Staying active can help you:

Keep and improve your strength so you can stay independent

Have more energy to do the things you want to do and reduce fatigue

Improve your balance and lower risk of falls and injuries from falls

Manage and prevent some diseases like arthritis, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and 8 types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer

Sleep better at home

Reduce levels of stress and anxiety

Reach or maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of excessive weight gain

Control your blood pressure

Possibly improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks or plan an activity

Perk up your mood and reduce feelings of depression

Quick Tip

Being active can help prevent future falls and fractures. For tips to help prevent falls at home, read Fall-Proofing Your Home.

The YMCA offers evidence-based group exercise programs for older adults to improve fitness and balance for falls prevention.

Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Research has shown that exercise is not only good for your physical health, it also supports emotional and mental health. You can exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support. So, next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed, try to get up and start moving!

Emotional benefits of exercise infographic

Read and share this infographic about the emotional benefits of exercise.

Physical activity can help:

Reduce feelings of depression and stress, while improving your mood and overall emotional well-being

Increase your energy level

Improve sleep

Empower you to feel more in control

In addition, exercise and physical activity may possibly improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

Here are some exercise ideas to help you lift your mood:

Walking, bicycling, or dancing. Endurance activities increase your breathing, get your heart pumping, and boost chemicals in your body that may improve mood.

Yoga. This mind and body practice typically combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation.

Tai Chi. This “moving meditation” involves shifting the body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply.

Activities you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening, playing tennis, kicking around a soccer ball with your grandchildren, or something else, choose an activity you want to do, not one you have to do.

Do not let life-threatening ailments go unchecked during the pandemic

by Kathleen A. Cameron, BSPharm, MPH

Hospitals across the country report that emergency department (ED) visits have declined significantly for illnesses not related to COVID-19. In particular, heart attacks and strokes appear to be going unchecked. Some hospitals also observe a decline in fall-related ED visits.

Doctors believe that people are so scared of contracting COVID-19 that they’re not seeking help for life-threatening ailments. Nationwide, nearly a third of adults say that they have delayed or avoided medical care because they are concerned about contracting COVID-19, according to a poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Nearly 75% of poll respondents also expressed concern about overstressing the health care system; more than half worried they won’t be able to see a doctor.

Strokes and heart attacks demand immediate attention

CardioSmart infographic outlining the symptoms of heart attacks and strokes

Use this helpful CardioSmart infographic to look for signs of stroke and heart attacks. Visit to download

While stay-at-home guidance is a critical part of reducing the spread of COVID-19, if you are having symptoms of a stroke or heart attack or have experienced a fall and suffered a fracture, broken bone, or brain injury, it is important to seek medical care right away.

For strokes, in order for clot busters—medicines that break up clots and prevent long-term problems like paralysis—to work, or for surgeries to be successful, it’s crucial to get to the hospital within 3 hours after the first symptoms appear. Some patients are not eligible for treatments if they get to the hospital too late.

Heart attack victims also may suffer more if care is delayed. A report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology looked at treatment of heart attack patients in March 2020, when COVID-19 cases were climbing, compared to the previous year and found a 38% reduction in patients being treated for a life-threatening event known as a STEMI—the blockage of one of the major arteries that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the heart, which results in a serious type of heart attack.

The bottom line

Our country is experiencing an unprecedented crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we cannot add to any suffering that might result from not seeking prompt care for many serious, but treatable, conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, and falls with injuries.

The bottom line is that hospitals have safety measures in place to protect us from infections and have allocated beds for patients with non-COVID illnesses. If you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke or heart attack or if you’d had a fall and suspect an injury, it’s important to get prompt treatment that may save your life or avoid long-term complications. The “Cardiosmart” campaign from the American College of Cardiology encourages those with symptoms to call 911 for urgent care and continue routine appointments through telemedicine.

Don’t delay care.