Category Archives: Senior Living

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias sleep patterns

Getting adequate sleep is very important for your health.

From NIH Research Matters by Erin Bryant

Changes in sleep patterns are common in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

They may wake up often during the night and find it hard to get back to sleep. These sleep problems are thought to result from brain changes caused by the disease that affect the sleep-wake cycle.

Studies have suggested that sleep patterns earlier in life may contribute to later dementia risk. Both insufficient sleep and sleeping longer than average have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing dementia. However, it has been hard to determine whether these sleep changes contribute to the disease or simply reflect early symptoms.

Many of the studies on sleep and dementia risk have followed participants for less than a decade and focused on people over the age of 65. A study led by Dr. Séverine Sabia of Inserm and University College London examined how sleep patterns earlier in life may affect the onset of dementia decades later.

The study was supported in part by NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA). Findings appeared in Nature Communications on April 20, 2021.

The researchers examined data from nearly 8,000 people in Britain starting at age 50. Participants were assessed on a wide variety of measures, including being asked on six occasions between 1985 and 2016 how many hours they slept a night. To assess the accuracy of this self-reporting, some of the participants wore accelerometers to objectively measure sleep time. Over the course of the study, 521 participants were diagnosed with dementia, at an average age of 77.

Analysis of the data showed that people in their 50s and 60s getting six hours of sleep or less were at greater risk of developing dementia later. Compared to those getting normal sleep (defined as 7 hours), people getting less rest each night were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

The researchers adjusted their model to account for other factors known to influence sleep patterns or dementia risk, including smoking, physical activity, body mass index, and medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. They also separated out people with mental illnesses like depression, which are strongly linked to sleep disturbances.

The findings suggest that short sleep duration during midlife could increase the risk of developing dementia later in life. More research is needed to confirm this connection and understand the underlying reasons.

“While we cannot confirm that not sleeping enough actually increases the risk of dementia, there are plenty of reasons why a good night’s sleep might be good for brain health,” Sabia says.

Quality sleep is known to play an important role in concentration and learning, as well as mood and overall health.

This research was supported in part by NIA grants R01AG056477 and RF1AG062553.

Tips for everyday tasks for people living with dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias get worse over time. Even simple everyday activities can become difficult to complete. To help cope with changes in memory and thinking, consider strategies that can make daily tasks easier. Try to adopt them early on so you will have more time to adjust. You can:

Write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar.

Set up automated bill payments and consider asking someone you trust to help manage your finances.

Have your groceries delivered.

Manage your medications with a weekly pillbox, a pillbox with reminders (like an alarm), or a medication dispenser.

Ask your doctor to provide a care plan and write down care directions (or have a family member or friend take notes during the visit).

Sleep Tips for People Living With Dementia

Dementia often changes a person’s sleeping habits. You may sleep a lot, or not enough, and wake up many times during the night. Poor sleep quality can make dementia symptoms worse.

Tips for better and safer sleep:

Follow a regular schedule by going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when traveling.

Develop a relaxing bedtime routine with lowered lights, cool temperature, and no electronic screens.

Avoid caffeine and naps late in the day.

Have a lamp that’s easy to reach and turn on, a nightlight in the hallway or bathroom, and a flashlight nearby.

Keep a telephone with emergency numbers by your bed.

Talk to your doctor if you have problems sleeping.

Healthy and Active Lifestyle Tips for People Living With Dementia

Participating in activities you enjoy and getting exercise may help you feel better, stay social, maintain a healthy weight, and have regular sleep habits.

Try these tips for a healthy and active lifestyle:

Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week. But be realistic about how much activity you can do at one time. Several short “mini-workouts” may be best.

Aim for a mix of exercise types — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. For example, you could do a mix of walking or dancing, lifting weights, standing on one foot, and stretching. Even everyday activities like household chores and gardening help you stay active.

Your diet may need to change as dementia progresses to maintain a healthy weight. Talk with your doctor about the best diet for you, and choose nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein and dairy products. Avoid added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

Stay social by talking on the phone with family and friends, joining an online support group, or going for a walk in your neighborhood.

Finding Care and Support: Tips for People Living With Dementia

Many people may be able to help in different ways. These people might include family members, friends, professional caregivers, community organizations, and others with dementia. For example, you can:

Ask friends or family to help with needs like cooking, paying bills, transportation, or shopping.

If you live alone, find people you trust who can visit often.

Consider letting trusted neighbors know of your diagnosis so they can help if needed.

Use social service agencies, local nonprofits, and Area Agencies on Aging to connect with in-home help, transportation, meals, and other services.

Learn more about support and services.

Four tips for older adults to stay motivated to exercise

“Are you sure this counts as exercise?”

Physical activity is a great way for older adults to gain substantial health benefits and maintain independence. Try to make exercise a priority. Remember that being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to maintain and improve health. Try these tips to help you stay motivated to exercise.

Some people like to walk on a treadmill at the gym. Others find that kind of activity boring. The key to sticking with exercise is to make it interesting and enjoyable. Be creative. Do things you enjoy but pick up the pace. Do all four types of exercise—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. The variety helps keep things interesting! Try some new activities to keep your interest alive.

You are more likely to exercise if it’s a convenient part of your day. Try exercising first thing in the morning. Combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, such as walking the dog or doing household chores. If you don’t have 30 minutes to be active, look for three 10-minute periods. As you progress, add more 10-minute sessions until you hit your goal!

There are many ways to fit physical activity into your regular schedule, even while you are at work! Look for easy ways to add physical activity to your regular schedule:

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Take a walk with co-workers during your lunch break. An exercise buddy can help you stick with your plan to be more active!

Walk down the hall and talk with a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail, .

Park a little farther away from your office and enjoy the walk.

Join your company’s fitness center if there is one.

Search for Move Your Way: Tips for Busy Days on YouTube for more tips on fitting more activity into your day.

Many people agree that an “exercise buddy” keeps them going.

Take a walk during lunch with coworkers.

Try a dance class—salsa, tango, square dancing—it’s up to you.

Use family gatherings as a time to play team sports or do outdoor activities.Women exercising together

The best way to stay motivated is to measure and celebrate your successes:

Make an exercise and physical activity plan that works for you.

Track your daily physical activity.

Find new ways to increase your physical activity.

Keep track of your monthly progress to see improvement.

Update your exercise plan as you progress.

Quick Tip: Rewards for Being Active

Don’t forget to build rewards into your plan. Write down something you will do for yourself when goals are achieved. Treat yourself to something special: a movie, a trip to the museum, a new audiobook, or a massage. Celebrate your successes!

Avoiding/Stopping various types of Senior Fraud

by Carol Leish

By being aware of different types of fraud/crimes occurring, you will become more aware of how to stop them/avoid them from happening. With knowledge, you will gain the power of ways to better cope and stop the fraud/crimes from happening to you and/or to your friends/loved ones.

According to, Debbie Deem, a retired victim’s specialist for the FBI, there are different types of fraud/crimes to be aware of in order to be able to stop/avoid them from happening.

Deem said that, “According to the FBI, romance imposter crimes occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The remote criminal than uses the illusion of a romantic or other close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. These criminals’ frequent social media sites, dating and word game sites, among others. Often the images sent to a victim are taken from an innocent victim who may not know their image is being used to defraud victims and break their hearts.”

“The FBI has information, helpful tips, and videos that describe these crimes in more detail,” according to Deem. “Go to: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/romance-scams.”

“Lottery and sweepstakes fraud,” according to Deem, “have been around for many years. According to AARP, the initial contact is usually a phone call, but may also be a social media post, an email, text or even direct mail offering congratulations for winning a prize or contest. But, before you can obtain your winnings (and usually a Mercedes car in addition to the prize money), there will be various fees, taxes, courier fees, insurance and custom duties to pay before you can obtain your prize winnings. These frauds may ask for cash, to send counterfeit checks, or to demand payments in gift cards or increasingly virtual currencies using special ‘ATM’s’ specifically for cryptocurrency payments.

“It’s important to know that, according to federal law, you never have to pay taxes or fees in advance of winning a prize or money. It is also illegal to participate in a foreign lottery or sweepstake. Beware of calling or taking calls from an unknown person using the Caribbean area codes of 876, 809 or 284 that suggest you have won money. If you get a call like this, just hang up.

“For more information on lottery and sweepstakes fraud, link to: https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/sweepstakes.html.”

“The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),” according to Deem, “says that Tech support or computer repair fraud/crimes can involve one of the following things. 1) You may get a pop up on your computer screen that looks like an error message or warning that urges you to contact a ‘toll free’ number immediately because a virus or suspicious activity was found on your computer. 2) You may also be getting a phone call from someone claiming to be a computer technician from a company such as Apple or Microsoft, saying there is a problem with your computer, asking for remote computer access to run a diagnostic test. In each of these cases, you are asked to fix a problem that doesn’t exist for a fee. Or, it may result in them putting a virus or accessing personal financial information, such as your banking information.

“The FTC has very useful information on what to do to both avoid tech support fraud, as well as what to do if you are a victim. Remember that legitimate companies won’t be contacting you by phone, email, text or via a popup message. Get more information at: https://ww.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-and-report-tech-support-scams.”

Thus, by being aware of the above types of senior fraud/crimes, you now have the tools to be able to stop/avoid it from happening.

Support group where people can share their own personal experiences and feelings

This Parkinson’s support group brings together people going through—or who have gone through—similar experiences with Parkinson’s. We provide opportunities for people to share their own personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, or firsthand information about the disease and/or treatments. Additionally, attendees are encouraged to offer each other support and encouragement—especially for those newly diagnosed who are experiencing this new “life transition” for the first time.

Once a month, we team up together to provide support and information—and even some entertainment as a supplemental “activity” to what participants may already be doing in their established health programs.

Providing attendees with self-help strategies and raising awareness with all facets surrounding Parkinson’s are what we strive to accomplish at each meeting. Brief informative presentations, followed by interactive participation, allow attendees to benefit from both a professional and personal perspective of the meeting’s topic.

Though we provide relevant information and relatable personal experiences, our main goal is to instill better understanding of Parkinson’s not only for its effect on a diagnosed person but also on caregivers. We want to empower all parties to engage in their own advocacy. Most importantly, at every meeting we listen to—and accept—experiences and viewpoints of others while providing caring understanding of everyone in the group/community.

For more information regarding this unique support group, please visit vcneurofitness.com. Or contact Dr. Vanessa White, owner/director: vanessa@vcneurofitness.com, cell 805.300.7749.

Ventura County Parkinson’s Support Group meets the third Tuesday of every month at Crosspointe Church, 5415 Ralston St., Ventura.

10:00-11:15am . Next meeting: Tuesday, Sept. 21

Try to keep up with this senior tennis player

Breeze publisher Sheldon (on the right) enjoys playing with John at the court at Portside Ventura Harbor. He hopes to beat him some day.

When not on the tennis courts, John B. Bennett has had a long career in motion picture and television production, and it’s still active in the profession.

He began his tennis career early, at just 10-years-old. He competed on his high school team and played in college for UCLA. John started playing senior tournaments in the 35 division a long time ago. John Bennett played, and won, plenty of tournaments. This is just a few of his most memorable wins and achievements.

2001: Number one ranking in Southern California.

2015: National grass and hardcourt third place in singles and doubles.

Has held a national ranking of number 2 in singles and number 3 in doubles.

Has held an SCTA ranking of number one in singles and number 2 in doubles.

Bennett has whipped juniors into shape in the SCTA Youth vs. Experience matches at the LA Tennis Club. He has also been a strong supporter of local tournament competition, and has been a participant in nearly every Senior Grand Prix championship over the past 33 years.

Gaining more knowledge to deal with senior fraud

There are many resources to call to prevent fraud.

by Carol Leish

There are many resources to deal with senior fraud. You can contact various websites for information. You can also call various phone numbers for assistance. Thus, by using various tools, you’ll be better able to protect yourselves.

According to Carey Aldava, Manager of Ventura County Adult Protective Services Program, “Unfortunately, according to AARP, a MetLife study determined that 55% of financial abuse in the United States is committed by family members, caregivers, and friends. Often, undue influence is used as a means of exploiting the elder or dependent adult financially. In a brief issued by the National Center on Law and Elder Rights in June 2017, undue influence is defined as: ‘Someone using their role and power to exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of others. They use the power to deceptively gain control over the decision-making of the other person.’”

Aldava emphasized by saying, “If you suspect elder or dependent adult abuse, call the Adult Protective Services 24-Hour Abuse Reporting Hotline at: 805-654-3200. To request information, visit vchsa.org/aps or call Adult Protective Services at: 805-658-4453.”

Debbie Deem, a retired victim’s specialist for the FBI, discussed where to report fraud and how to seek help. “If you are a victim of a computer, phone or other fraud crime, please report it to: www.ic3.gov if it is a computer/cyber related fraud; or, to: www.reportfraud.ftc.gov if it is a fraud involving the phone or mail.

“In Ventura County, it should also be reported to your local law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (if older or dependent adults) are involved.

“For those age 60 and over, the US Dept. Justice has a helpline-at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-372-8311 that can help provide referrals, support and even help in filing the above reports. Services are available for those in almost every language.”

“There are some common ways to avoid being defrauded,” according to Deem. She elaborated upon this by saying: “1) Learn to screen your calls from unknown numbers and use voice mail to decide before calling anyone back that you do not know. This provides you with time to further investigate if the person calling you is real. 2) Keep your computer updated with proper antivirus and other applications updated. 3) Don’t use the same password for email and other websites. 4) Use a password manager to help to remember a different password for each computer application. 5) Use privacy setting on social media accounts like Facebook. 6) Keep your settings to private, and don’t ‘friend’ strangers, even if they appear to be friends with someone who you know. 7) Use multifactor authentication protecting your accounts on line with something you know (password) and something you have (such as your cell phone). The website: https://stopthinkconnect.org/ has additional computer help.”

By becoming aware of what steps of avoidance to take; who to contact if necessary; and, various websites to gain knowledge, you’ll be able to better able to cope with/avoid the possibilities of senior fraud.

“There are some common ways to avoid being defrauded,” according to, Deem. “These include: 1) Learn to screen your calls from unknown numbers and use voice mail to decide before calling anyone back that you do not know.; 2) Keep your computer updated with proper antivirus and other applications updated.; 3) Don’t use the same password for email and other websites.; 4) Use a password manager to help remember a different password for each computer application.; 5) Use privacy settings on social media account life Facebook.; 6) Keep your settings to private.; 7) Don’t ‘friend’ strangers, even if they appear to be friends with someone that you know.; and, 8) Use multifactor authentication protecting your accounts on line with something you know (password) and something you have (such as your cell phone). https://stopthinkconnect.org/has additional computer help.”

Osher LifeLong Learning Program

The music tradition of Cuba; understanding Russia today; how oceans shape our planet; and California in American popular culture are all part of CSU Channel Islands Osher LifeLong Learning Program (OLLI). Our fall semester consists of 10 Zoom and 5 in-person courses that will enable adults aged 50 or over to sample OLLI’s university level courses taught by faculty and experts from many different walks of life. Classes, which last for either four weeks or 8 weeks.  Registration starts mid August.  Classes start on September 13th. See the list of courses and register by visiting go.csuci.edu/OLLI.

Which vaccines do older adults need?

As you get older, your doctor may recommend more vaccinations, also known as shots or immunizations, to help prevent certain illnesses. Talk with your doctor about which of the following vaccines you need. Make sure to protect yourself as much as possible by keeping your vaccinations up to date.

COVID-19 vaccines

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping people from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. We are still learning how effective COVID-19 vaccines are against new variants of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 12 and older get vaccinated.

Flu vaccines for older adults

Flu(short for influenza)is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.

The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again. To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year.

Everyone age 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, but the protection from a flu vaccine can lessen with time, especially in older adults. Still, you are less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized because of the flu if you get the vaccine. A flu vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

There are flu vaccines designed specifically for people age 65 and older. Medicare will pay for the vaccine, and so will private health insurance plans. You can get a flu vaccine at your doctor’s office or local health department, as well as at some grocery and drug stores.

Vaccines to help prevent pneumonia

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection that spreads from person to person by air. It often causes pneumonia in the lungs and it can affect other parts of the body.

There are two pneumococcal vaccines: PPSV23 and PCV13. According to the CDC, adults who are age 65 and older should get the PPSV23 vaccine. Some older adults may also need the PCV13 vaccine. Talk with your health care professional to find out if you need both pneumococcal vaccines.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines

Tetanus (sometimes called lockjaw) is caused by bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. It enters the body through cuts in the skin.

Diphtheria, also caused by bacteria, is a serious illness that can affect the tonsils, throat, nose, or skin. It can spread from person to person.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is caused by bacteria. It is a serious illness that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. It can spread from person to person.

The CDC recommends that adults get a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) or Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years. Ask your doctor when you need your booster shot.

Shingles vaccine for older adults

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. If you had chickenpox, the virus is still in your body. The virus could become active again and cause shingles.

Shingles affects the nerves. Common symptoms include burning, shooting pain, tingling, and/or itching, as well as a rash with fluid-filled blisters. Even when the rash disappears, the pain can remain. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN.

The shingles vaccine is safe and it may keep you from getting shingles and PHN. Healthy adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. (Zostavax, an earlier shingles vaccine, is no longer available in the United States.)

What Is Vascular Dementia?

This is not the best way to remember your daily chores.

Vascular dementia is caused by conditions such as stroke that disrupt blood flow to the brain and lead to problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Vascular dementia is the second most common dementia diagnosis, after Alzheimer’s disease, and can occur alone or alongside another form of dementia.

Vascular dementia is caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain and interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. In the research community, these conditions are known as vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID). The brains of people with vascular dementia often show evidence of prior strokes, thickening blood vessel walls, and thinning white matter — the brain’s connecting “wires” that relay messages between regions.

Not everyone who has had a stroke will develop vascular dementia. A person’s risk for dementia after stroke depends on the size and number of strokes and the brain regions affected. Vascular dementia can also result from other conditions that impede blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the brain, such as narrowing of the arteries.

High blood pressure, problems with the heartbeat’s rhythm, diabetes, and high cholesterol can increase a person’s risk of vascular dementia. By controlling or managing risk factors, you may lower your chance of developing cognitive impairment and dementia.

Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear suddenly and may progress slowly over time. Symptoms often look similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease, but memory loss is more prominent in Alzheimer’s, whereas problems with organization, attention, and problem-solving may be more obvious in vascular dementia.

People with vascular dementia may experience:

Difficulty performing tasks that used to be easy, such as paying bills

Trouble following instructions or learning new information and routines

Forgetting current or past events

Misplacing items

Getting lost on familiar routes

Problems with language, such as finding the right word or using the wrong word

Changes in sleep patterns

Difficulty reading and writing

Loss of interest in things or people

Changes in personality, behavior, and mood, such as depression, agitation, and anger

Hallucinations or delusions (believing something is real that is not)

Poor judgment and loss of ability to perceive danger

Symptoms may depend on the size, location, and number of damaged areas of the brain.

To diagnose vascular dementia, a doctor may ask about problems with daily activities, conduct memory or thinking tests, and speak with someone who knows the person well to see if symptoms of dementia are present. Medical history, lifestyle, and brain imaging tests are often used to help determine whether vascular dementia is the cause of symptoms.

No treatments are available to reverse brain damage that has been caused by a stroke. Treatment for vascular dementia focuses on preventing future strokes. Medications to prevent strokes, such as blood thinners, may help decrease the risk of further damage to the brain. Medications that help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease might benefit people with early vascular dementia. A doctor may also recommend treating risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, through medications and lifestyle changes.

A healthy lifestyle is important to help reduce risk factors of vascular dementia. This includes eating well, limiting alcohol, not smoking, exercising, and managing stress.

If you are concerned about vascular dementia symptoms, talk with your doctor. If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed, explore the resources on this website and linked below to find out more about the disease, care, support, and research.