Simple Ways to Dramatically Increase Home Safety

<div><p>This month, we’re partnering with AARP California to present HomeFit, a new AARP program to increase the safety of older adults at home. The free program will be presented online in two identical sessions on December 3 and 17. Details and registration information here.  By 2030, nearly 30 percent of all Americans will be 65 […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Simple Ways to Dramatically Increase Home Safety</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">IOA Blog</a>.</p></div>



Like the Easter Bunny, Spring into Action for Prostate Enlargement (BPH)

How was your Easter weekend? For some it is a religious celebration and for others it’s a time to celebrate spring imagery with bunnies and decorated eggs. With the global pandemic, we may not have been able to spend Easter the same way as in previous years, but we hope everyone stays safe and healthy in hopes for a more eventful Easter next year!

Today’s blog is (unsurprisingly) about BPH. BPH stands for benign prostatic hyerplasia, and it’s a common prostate enlargement condition that may come with frequent urination, poor urinary flow, and other bladder related symptoms due to the anatomic proximity of prostate and bladder. This condition is more likely to affect men in older age, but you may not have heard of it unless you or someone you know was diagnosed by a doctor.

Now, what does Easter have to do with BPH? Easter is a spring holiday that brings about the feelings of reawakening and new beginnings. For men avoiding their yearly health checkups, for men with frequent urination who haven’t gone to their doctor to get that checked out, and for men who were diagnosed with BPH but haven’t made many positive lifestyle modifications to properly manage symptoms, this could be your chance to make a positive impact for your health. For those whose loved ones may have BPH, this is your chance to learn more about this condition and offer support. Although we may feel limited by the global pandemic, we can still make adjustments in the home to help BPH patients starting in the mind and home.

Playing an active role in BPH could mean more  chances to live a better quality of life by considering your options carefully and responsibly with doctors, support groups, and loved ones. Although there’s not a one size fits all solution for BPH, if you can weigh the risks and benefits, there could be a way to manage mild BPH in a safe way. For those in need of surgical and medical intervention, and for those who are struggling with the side effects of stronger forms of treatment, we hope you can find ways to recover from the side effects as well with therapeutic and medical support.

BPH patients and loved ones, this year’s Easter season may have passed, but your spring awakening could be around the corner! 


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The recent spike in coronavirus cases means that many of us will feel extra lonely and isolated on Thanksgiving this year. After all, Thanksgiving is a gathering oriented holiday centered on good food and good company, but many Americans are looking at the possibility of a very scaled back celebration this year. There are activities we can do both for ourselves and for others, including older family members and friends not able to join us, in order to retain the joy this holiday brings.

Bring a meal to a senior. Many older adults, including those who are high-risk for contracting Covid-19, will be spending Thanksgiving alone. Bringing a home-cooked meal, safely prepared in your own kitchen, is one way to show you care – just make sure to check with the senior first to make sure that he or she doesn’t have any food allergies or dislikes. If cooking isn’t your thing, arrange for a meal to be delivered to your older adult friend or family member. You can also help your senior make a request for a Lasagna Love volunteer to bring them a dish of Italian comfort food to enjoy.

Set up a virtual dining room. Even if your senior loved one can’t join you in person, they can still dine with you! Set up a Zoom or FaceTime meeting so that everyone can eat Thanksgiving dinner together on screen. It will make everyone feel less alone while enjoying their meal.

Deliver or send Thanksgiving greetings, including ones made by the grandkids. Everyone loves getting deliveries to their door or in the mail, so taking the time to make a handmade card or craft for a senior can really make their day. Have the grandkids make a simple handprint turkey craft or other Thanksgiving themed creation for an extra personal touch.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade together. This year’s parade will look decidedly different from years past, but it’s still happening! The parade is a time honored tradition enjoyed by multiple generations, so why not tune in and connect virtually to enjoy it together.

Tell your older adult friends about the Friendship Line.  Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, which was expanded to serve all older adults living in California earlier in 2020 year, is a 24/7 toll free line seniors can call on Thanksgiving day (or any day of the year!) to talk to someone who will listen and provide some emotional warmth.

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November is National Family Caregivers Month – and it’s safe to say that 2020 is the most pivotal year that family caregivers have ever experienced. Nearly 8 months into the pandemic, what family caregivers are experiencing is nothing short of a crisis when it comes to balancing care for senior loved ones with life’s other priorities.

Samara Miller, Institute on Aging’s Regional Director of Client Services in Home Care and Support Service, interacts with family caregivers on a daily basis, and is acutely tuned in to their elevated stress levels. “Even in normal times, caregiving comes with a lot of stress and anxiety,” she says. “Adding in the restrictions created by a global pandemic combined with a shifting economy only worsens their  stress.”

With all these factors, it’s more important than ever for caregivers to take care of themselves as well as establish healthy habits and a positive mindset. Miller offers her thoughts below.

IOA: How has the pandemic changed the dynamics of caregiving?

Miller: Besides adding on more stress, caregivers are feeling lonelier than ever before in this day and age. They are taking care of the population’s most vulnerable individuals, which means that many activities they used to do outside the home have been put on pause for safety reasons.

We’ve also seen a lot of caregivers being innovative with their time. They have tapped into old fashioned fun, like doing puzzles or craft projects with those in their care. They are using technology, like Zoom, to connect with the outside world. Some are reintroducing music and dancing to their loved ones, and helping them discover new passions. We recently talked to the caregiver of an 85-year-old man who is practicing meditation for the very first time in his life. Here are more ways a caregiver can help older adults.

IOA: What are a few things that family caregivers can do in the name of “self-care”?

Miller: I like the term “caring for ourselves” instead of self-care because there is no stigma of needing to be fixed or helped attached to that terminology. Caring for ourselves is part of the caregiver journey and is a vital piece of making it successful. It’s important for caregivers to find what personally works for them, what makes them feel good, and what they can be passionate about. 

Some things I have found to work well for caregivers: taking a nap, listening to music, dancing, baking a special treat, cooking, taking socially distanced walks with friends, joining a support group, exercising, binge watching a TV program that makes them laugh, gardening, doing craft projects, meditating and having a spa day at home. I even had one client who purchased a punching bag and boxing gloves and took out his frustrations that way!

IOA:  What are things that other family members and/or friends can do to support the family caregiver and perhaps give them a break? 

Miller: Everyone has different needs. Instead of assuming what the family caregiver needs, it’s better to just ask them, “What can I do to support you?” All too often, family caregivers are resistant to having someone give them a break or help them, so don’t force it. They may just need someone to spend time with them and listen. Most important, family members and friends can demonstrate consistency, kindness, understanding, and show the caregiver that they are there to support them when needed and in ways that the caregiver prefers.   

Keep in mind that being a family caregiver can be a very thankless job, so simply saying “thank you for all that you are doing” to a caregiver — and showing your appreciation in other ways — can go far.

IOA:  Are there certain “boundaries” that caregivers need to put in place, and what do those look like?

Miller: Boundaries aren’t just important in caregiving, they are essential to success. I like to think of boundaries as setting up healthy, consistent habits. For example, caring for ourselves is a healthy habit, as is creating a daily routine and sticking to it. So is approaching caregiving without resentments and regrets, while having acceptance of the situation and finding a way to deal with it. 

IOA:  On the flip side of the boundary question….what can a family caregiver do when other family members want to insert their own opinions about the older person’s care, etc. but aren’t the primary one offering the care?

Miller: When someone in a family steps into a caregiver role, it changes the whole dynamic of the family structure. All too often, family members, friends, and almost everyone have an opinion in what the caregiver needs to do and how to handle things. As a result, it is often difficult for the caregiver to accept opinions of others who are not experiencing the situation on a daily basis.  

First and foremost, the primary caregiver needs to remember that family and friends are offering their opinion from a place of love and concern. Validate what they are offering by listening, however remember the final decisions rest with you. Be honest with them about that.

Above all, try to defuse any tense situations by looking for the humor in them. If you can laugh with your family, or even with the person you are caring for, it can go a long way.

Samara Miller, MFT, Regional Director of Client Services, Home Care & Support Services, Institute on Aging 

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The Pain Points of Prostate Enlargement (BPH)

The global pandemic has added something to be concerned about on top of other things going on in people’s lives. One group of people we want to focus on is men in their 40s and older. These men may very well be going through a physiological change into their older age and not realize it until later. This change is known as prostate enlargement or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Here are some pain ports men with an enlarged prostate may be feeling:

  1. I need to go to the bathroom frequently

  2. I’m not getting much sleep

  3. Things aren’t going well in bed with my partner

Frequent urination can happen day and night. Men may be paying attention to the nearest bathroom while being out and about. They might feel urges, and their urinary flow may be slow. They may also feel a sensation of urine still remaining in the bladder after having just gone. This can make going out uncomfortable and your mind may be focused on the bathroom instead of having a good time.

Not getting much sleep could be from getting up many times a night to go to the bathroom. If a man is sleep deprived, he can’t be as productive during the day or enjoy the things he usually does due to the tiredness.

BPH may also interfere with sexual function, be it in the form of erectile dysfunction or ejaculatory issues. These may also be risks that men with severe BPH could face after taking medications or surgical intervention for their BPH. 

One other pain point that men may not talk about is the depression or frustration that may come with their compromised quality of life due to BPH. The sense of shame, embarrassment, denial, refusal to seek help, or bearing this new reality in silence. Please know it doesn’t have to be this way, and with support we can hopefully find solutions for men with BPH.

For mild BPH and for men who are open to it, alternative treatments like traditional Chinese medicine and supplements with clinically proven ingredients could offer some initial relief and ease for coping with symptoms. Less bathroom trips, better sleep, and better time under the sheets could be the silver lining to men with BPH if they try a reliable solution. Not staying silent, reducing the hesitancy to speak with other men, doctors, and family could be a way to relieve stress, too.

As a community, let’s help men with BPH defeat their pain points! 


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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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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.

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