Senior Advocate

Martha Shapiro, Director of Programs at Senior Concerns, authors a weekly column for the Ventura County Star titled “Senior Advocate,” focusing on issues affecting seniors and their family caregivers.


What You Need to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

Q: My friend convinced me to join her Medicare plan, but my costs have been very high this year. What do I need to know about open enrollment for Medicare for next year? A: It is common for friends to share information about their health plans and, while this is well intentioned, every person’s [...]

Addressing trouble with language and speech

Q:  I am having trouble with my words. I have started saying the wrong words and have trouble recalling the word I need. Is there something I can do to help this? A:  Trouble with language can be caused by several different medical issues. Often it stems from a functioning problem within the brain. It [...]

What is Dementia Friendly America?

Q:  What is Dementia Friendly America? Do we have a local group in Ventura County? A:  Dementia Friendly America (DFA) is a nationwide network of communities who strive to support people with dementia and their family caregivers. A dementia friendly community is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families, and caregivers. [...]

Aggressive behavior and dementia

Q: Why do some people become aggressive when they have dementia? A: Dementia is a general term for memory loss and loss of other cognitive abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. Unfortunately, it is not [...]

Does Medicare cover therapy services?

Q: Does Medicare cover therapy services? A: Medicare Part B does cover therapy services and other mental health outpatient services. Individual and group psychotherapy with approved licensed professionals is covered. In addition, psychiatric evaluation, medication management, family counseling (if important to help with your treatment), depression screening, and more are part of the Medicare Part [...]

Are there really secrets to healthy aging and longevity?

Q: What are the secrets to healthy aging and longevity? A: Perhaps the secrets to healthy aging and living a long life are not so secret! When I look this up online the main answers are what one would expect: staying engaged with friends and family, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.  Of course, sometimes there [...]