As we grow older, some things naturally change. Our bodies, our environments, sometimes even our likes and dislikes. Even so, we remain the same at our core as when we were young. Just because we age, doesn’t mean we should be treated differently because of it.  

When we are treated differently or unfairly because our age, this is called ageism. Let’s take a step back and define what that is. “Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO continues with “Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults.” This is a pretty broad definition, so now let’s take a closer look at what this means.

First of all, we’re getting older as a society. Much older. By the year 2030–and for the first time in history–20 percent of all Americans will be age 65 or older.* Here in California, 8.6 million adults will be 65 or older by 2030, making seniors the fastest growing population segment in the state.**

As we age as a society, there is a lot of undue stress put on our existing care systems, that, realistically, we aren’t prepared for. Hospitals will become more crowded. Family members will find themselves caring for loved ones over longer periods of time. The need for in-home paid caregivers is going to explode and then there is a big enemy in the form of ageism, which is likely to grow in tandem with the number of aging adults.  

As the population ages, there will be increases in the number of older individuals who will:

  • Find themselves living in poverty or in unsuitable living conditions, including long-term care facilities
  • Be treated differently because of mental or physical declines, and potentially denied services to treat those declines
  • Be taken advantage of financially, emotionally or physically
  • Be discriminated against in the workplace, and perceived as being less competent than their younger counterparts simply because of their age

These are only a few factors associated with an aging society. What can do we do to prevent widespread ageism from happening, including our own family members, as America grows older?  For starters, we can:

  1. Recognize and name ageism as a problem. Like systemic racism or sexual discrimination, ageism exists in many forms and is not always openly detectable. But it happens to older Americans all the time. In order to fight it, we all must acknowledge it is an issue and identify its root causes.
  2. Put pressure on our lawmakers to enact laws and regulations that better protect older Americans from such things as unfair or illegal housing evictions, care facilities that partake in unlawful or harmful practices, or programs or organizations which exclude people on the basis of their age. 
  3. Reject “negative aging stereotypes” that can influence how we see ourselves and others. Our society has painted a picture that old age equals physical and mental weakness, and full dependence on others. But not everyone is the same; there are plenty of older adults who are more than capable of self-care. Also, being older does not mean anyone gives up their rights.
  4. Stand up for others when needed. Whether it’s an older co-worker who is being passed over for promotions or assignments, or someone you suspect is being taken advantage of financially, physically or mentally, take action on their behalf. Encourage your co-worker to report signs of discrimination to HR. Don’t be afraid to report elder abuse. Here are some guidelines to recognize signs of abuse and report abuse.
  5. Read this article on offers some good ideas for personally fighting ageism when it’s happening to you.
  6. Finally, we must recognize how those who fall victim to systemic racism and sexism may experience ageism at a higher intensity than their counterparts.

*  source: U.S. Census Bureau

** source: California Department of Aging

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If UMOOZE Worked in BPH Clinical Trials, Could it Work for Other Men?

During the global pandemic, we wish everyone continue to stay safe and hope that we can regain a sense of new normalcy. As we continue to write about prostate enlargement (BPH), we want the community to hold on to strength and hope for a world of better health.

Prostate enlargement may be accompanied by frequent urination, slow and poor urinary flow, and perhaps even some degree of sexual dysfunction. For men who have mild BPH, UMOOZE is probably an unfamiliar name. It was originally made in Taiwan but is offered around the world. In a 2014 clinical trial, it was shown to improve IPSS (international prostate symptom score), urinary flow rate, post voiding residual volume, prostate volume, PSA (prostate specific antigen) level, and quality of life compared to a corn starch placebo. Do you know of other supplements that have undergone clinical trials for BPH support? Although there may be a sense of hesitancy for some when considering a supplement to support one’s health, in the mild stage of BPH, a safe, plant based add-on to positive lifestyle modifications could be worth a try.

The main ingredients are astragalus, an herb known for immune boosting and antioxidant effects, and soy, a healthy low fat protein staple in Asian diets (possibly a reason why Asian men have a lower BPH incidence rate). What are your thoughts on UMOOZE and what questions do you have about it? Whether you are interested in giving it a try or not, getting the conversation rolling about BPH is important! Do you want to see more studies about BPH and supplements that could potentially improve the prostate in a natural way with less side effects? The important thing of course is to ensure the ingredients are safe for you in terms of allergies, reactions to other medications you are currently taking, etc.

What other BPH topics do you want to see covered in our BPH blog?   

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Alzheimer’s is a mystifying disease that can strike older adults 65 and up, and even begin in adults as young as 50. Every September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day, recognized globally, aims to raise awareness of the disease and challenge the common stigma that surrounds Alzheimer-related dementia. Studies have shown that on average, 2 out of every 3 people worldwide have little to no understanding of Alzheimer’s.

Here are a few interesting facts and tidbits related to Alzheimer’s.

Currently, There is No Cure for Alzheimer’s.

More than 100 years after the disease was discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the origin of Alzheimer’s is still largely a mystery, although countless studies have been done and there are varied explanations. What we know is that there is no cure or way to stop its progression. However, there are ways to treat the symptoms.

Growing Older Doesn’t Mean Dementia is a Given.

There’s a perception that as we age, losing our memory and mental faculties is a given. Our brains and bodies age, and therefore we lose our sharpness. While the mind of a centenarian won’t be the same as a 20 year old or even a 50 year old, there’s nothing that suggests that older adults are destined to be plagued with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia as they age.

Eating and Exercise Habits May Have Some Effect on Alzheimer’s.

Several years ago, Maria Shriver, who has become the de facto spokesperson for Alzheimer’s, reported on an experimental program that has shown to reverse the early onset of the disease. Called the Bredesen Program and developed by a California neurologist, it consists of consuming a Mediterranean diet high in fat and low in carbs, doing regular cardio-based workouts, fasting after dinner, getting proper sleep, taking supplements and engaging in brain training exercises. Dr. Bredesen claims that 9 out of 10 of his patients have improved cognitive functioning after participating in his program, but that it only works for those with early-onset symptoms.

Women are at a Higher Risk for Alzheimer’s Than Men.

Maria Shriver became a big advocate for Alzheimer’s prevention after her father died from the disease. She especially rallies for brain health in women, who are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s—two out of three of the 5.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are female. No one is exactly sure why women tend to develop it more than men, but some studies suggest that education and professional work opportunities, or lack thereof, could be a contributing factor. However, the closing gap in educational and occupational between men and women may also mean that the gender gap in Alzheimer’s diagnoses is also getting smaller. Shriver also spearheads Move for Minds, an annual initiative each November the encourages women and men to make their cognitive health a priority.

Researchers are Determined to Find a Cure for Alzheimer’s.

There are countless research studies that have attempted to explain how Alzheimer’s develops and what can be done to both prevent and cure it. Studies range from observational to clinical as well as preventional; and while scientists have made progress towards unraveling the mysteries behind this disease, there is much more to be done. The Alzheimer’s Association is a good source to read up on what scientific studies have been done to date. You and your family members can help be part of the solution by participating in a study, as scientists always need good candidates (both cognitive and non-cognitive impaired). Sign up through the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry.

For more information about making a contribution to IOA, please visit

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Fire season started in Northern California much earlier in 2020 than any of us ever expected, thanks to a series of unprecedented lightning storms in August. Experts predict that we are in for a whopper of a fire season this Fall, adding insult to the injury of a global pandemic that has left many of us anxious and on edge already.

Mary Griffin, who leads the home care division for Institute on Aging, has been working steadfastly on a care management strategy for IOA participants living in fire prone zones. Between potential evacuations and air quality issues, there is a lot for Bay Area seniors and their caregivers to consider and be concerned about, especially those older adults who are mobility compromised or dealing with complex medical issues. Griffin has this advice to offer to seniors, their caregivers and families in terms of mitigating fire-related concerns:

  1. Put a plan in place. Seniors and their families need to put together a plan well in advance on how mandatory evacuations will be handled. Many assisted living places are not accepting new patients due to the pandemic, so staying with friends, family members or at a hotel may be the best (and only) option. Consider all the possibilities and come up with a few housing scenarios, make a list of what to pack and jot down instructions on how to handle prescriptions and other necessities. Put it all in writing and keep in a safe place.
  • Find a local agency and connect with them. In her experience, Griffin says that it can be tough to get the attention of local firefighting and police organizations as they are often at capacity during a major disaster like a fire. If a senior needs help with an evacuation, they may be better off enlisting a local community organization to help them with temporarily relocation, providing transportation and other support. If the senior requires special assistance, such as a wheelchair accessible van, make sure to research organizations who have appropriate equipment well in advance.

A partial list of community organizations that may be willing to step up and help:

Archdiocese of San Francisco

Catholic Charities of San Francisco

Jewish Family and Children’s Services

Rotary Club

SFFD Volunteer Fire Dept

SFMTA Paratransit

Plus the following two sites list a number of organizations which can be contacted for help:

VOAD – Voluntary Organizations in Disaster

SF CARD – Community Agencies Responding to Disaster

  • Invest in an air purifier. Fires in Northern California have proven that they are going to be a yearly problem, so investing in a home air purifier is a good idea. Although purifiers can vary wildly in terms of price, you should be able to get a decent one for $150 or less, like this purifier that retails for about $85. Also invest in a few N95 masks in case seniors and caregivers need to go outdoors.
  • Hire a temporary home care worker. Even if older adults can manage fine by themselves in normal times, a situation like a potential evacuation can add a tremendous amount of stress, especially if the senior has no family members close by. Families can arrange for a home care assistant to come in for a few hours a day on a temporary basis to help the senior pack, find a place to stay, and arrange for medication and transportation in the event of a potential evacuation. Plus, says Griffin (a former nurse), hiring a home care worker on a temporary basis can help a senior who has been very resistant to the idea of extra help become more comfortable with it.
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With the widespread information about the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fiction. Even though we’ve learned a lot about the virus since March, there are still a number of “rumors” floating around. Here are a few of them in which the World Health Organization (WHO) helps clarify.

Fact or Myth? Hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19.

Myth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), while hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, this “wonder drug” is clinically ineffective when it comes to COVID-19.

Fact or Myth? People need to wear face masks when exercising as this prevents the spread of coronavirus.

Myth. The WHO recommends that masks should NOT be worn during exercise, as they reduce the ability to breathe easily and sweat encourages the growth of bacteria. The best way to be safe during exercising is to maintain social distance of 6 feet or more.

Fact or Myth? The weather outside has no effect on the spread of COVID-19.

Fact: COVID-19 can survive in any kind of weather, including extremely hot and cold temperatures. Countries with consistently hot weather (such as Brazil) have had outbreaks as well as those with cooler weather.

Fact or Myth? Adding hot peppers to your food can prevent COVID-19.

Myth: This one is real rubbish! Even though peppers can enhance the taste of your food, they don’t do anything to protect you from contracting a virus. The best way to keep safe is to wear a mask, practice frequent hand washing and social distance yourself.

Fact or Myth? If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without feeling uncomfortable or coughing, you don’t have COVID-19.

Myth: Remember that many people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, so this silly exercise gives no indication if you are infected or not. The best way to tell if you have the disease is through a laboratory test, although dry cough, tiredness and fever are all indicative symptoms.

Fact or Myth? Vaccines against pneumonia do not protect against the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: This is true. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

However, vaccinations that protect your from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia are recommended to protect your health. 

*Source: World Health Organization.

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r/Seniors - Meet An “Amazing” Whose Comedic Gifts Are A Gift To Us All

Lily Tomlin, at 80, is enjoying a career that actors in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s–supposedly in their prime–would no doubt envy. She’s a lead in Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” and has reprised her role as Professor Frizzle in “The Magic School Bus Rides Again,” having voiced the original Mrs. Frizzle in “The Magic School Bus” over 20 years ago. Lily started her career as a stand-up comedian off-Broadway. What set her apart from many other budding comedians was her ability to create unique, memorable, positively hilarious characters. From “Ernestine” the telephone operator, to 5½ year old “Edith Ann,” Lily’s characters are spell-binding. Lily’s talent had been rewarded not only with a flourishing career, but with many honors, including her 2017 Screen Actors Lifetime Achievement Award.

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30 years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by the United States Congress. It was a groundbreaking move that secured the rights of all Americans living with disabilities, adults who are part of IOA’s core audience that we serve every day. But did you know that the city of San Francisco was key to making the ADA happen? 

Back in 1977, disability rights activists took over and occupied of the San Francisco Federal Building – a move that by directly led to enactment of the ground-breaking Section 504 regulations, considered the first civil rights law protecting people with disabilities and on which the ADA is based. The 1977 event was the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building in U.S. history. There is an award-winning documentary, The Power of 504, that details what happened.

To commemorate this historical moment, San Francisco Mayor London Breed designated July as Disability Pride Month, with a proclamation that states in part: Disability Pride enables people with disabilities to redefine their identity with self-worth, serves as a tool to tackle ableism, bias, and discrimination, and reshapes false negative perceptions of individuals with disabilities as people with value, talents, and significance. On July 26, San Francisco City Hall was lit up in blue to mark and celebrate this important event. You can see a full list of events celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act here.

Institute on Aging is proud that San Francisco was a key part of the history of the Disability Rights Movement and we join all San Franciscans in celebrating this monumental anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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In case you haven’t heard, the City of San Francisco has opened the doors for seniors and adults living with disabilities to pick up groceries, visit the doctor and take care of other essential errands via subsidized taxi rides during the pandemic.

SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority) is now providing an Essential Trip Card (ETC) to anyone over age 65 and adults with at least one disability living in San Francisco. The card offers a substantial discount on taxi rides, with eligible participants only paying 20% of the cost of regular cab fare, and will cover between two and three trips per month within the city limits for essential trips such as to the pharmacy or to a grocery store.

Those over 65 years of age and persons living with disabilities may apply for the ETC program by calling 311 between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. on weekdays and mentioning the program. Qualifying customers may also enroll in person at the SF Paratransit Broker’s Office (68 12th Street) if needed. Once the ETC is activated, participants will need to add funds to a card in order to receive the trip discount. For every $6 loaded, participants receive a $30 value, or $12 for a $60 value (up to $60 value per month is allowed). More on the program, included frequently asked questions, can be found here.

Currently, MUNI service is largely restricted due to safety reasons associated with COVID-19, which has made it much harder on seniors in terms of getting around.

All riders are asked by SFMTA to wear a face covering, as required by the State of California, and San Francisco’s Public Health Emergency Order. It is also recommended that the rider take hand sanitizer along during their ride and touch as few surfaces as possible.  

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Samaritan is focused on one goal – ensuring the comfort of our clients. We strive to keep individuals healthy and independent. We thoroughly assess your needs and select the appropriate caregiver to ensure compatibility.

6151 Wilson Mills Road – Suite 101
Cleveland, OH 44143

Copyright by Samaritan Home Health Services 2020. All rights reserved.