April 2021 News from OPICA
 OPICA provides comprehensive, personalized services for adults challenged with memory loss, and for their families. We thank you for sharing this news with others.
“Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun .”

~ Albert Einstein

5 Tips to Keep your Brain Healthy

By Donn Dexter, M.D., is a neurologist in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
June 12, 2020

Changes to your body and brain are normal as you age. However, there are some things you can do to help slow any decline in memory and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Here are five things I recommend to my patients in order of importance:
1. Exercise regularly.
The first thing I tell my patients is to keep exercising. Exercise has many known benefits, and it appears that regular physical activity benefits the brain. Multiple research studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
We believe these benefits are a result of increased blood flow to your brain during exercise. It also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occur during aging, in effect reversing some of the problems.
Aim to exercise several times per week for 30–60 minutes. You can walk, swim, play tennis or any other moderate aerobic activity that increases your heart rate.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep plays an important role in your brain health. There are some theories that sleep helps clear abnormal proteins in your brain and consolidates memories, which boosts your overall memory and brain health.
It is important that you try to get seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep per night, not fragmented sleep of two- or three-hour increments. Consecutive sleep gives your brain the time to consolidate and store your memories effectively. Sleep apnea is harmful to your brain’s health and may be the reason why you may struggle to get consecutive hours of sleep. Talk with your health care provider if you or a family member suspects you have sleep apnea.
3. Eat a Mediterranean diet.
Your diet plays a large role in your brain health. I recommend my patients consider following a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil. It incorporates much less red meat and salt than a typical American diet.
Studies show people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to have Alzheimer's disease than people who don't follow the diet. Further research is needed to determine which parts of the diet have the biggest impact on your brain function. However, we do know that omega fatty acids found in extra-virgin olive oil and other healthy fats are vital for your cells to function correctly, appears to decrease your risk of coronary artery disease, and increases mental focus and slow cognitive decline in older adults.
4. Stay mentally active.
Your brain is similar to a muscle — you need to use it or you lose it. There are many things that you can do to keep your brain in shape, such as doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, reading, playing cards or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Consider it cross-training your brain. So incorporate different activities to increase the effectiveness.
I don’t recommend any of the paid brain-training programs available today. These programs often make promises that they can’t keep or focus on memorization skills that aren’t useful in everyday life. Your brain can get just as good of a workout through reading or challenging yourself with puzzles. Finally, don’t watch too much television, as that is a passive activity and does little to stimulate your brain.
5. Remain socially involved.
Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to connect with loved ones, friends and others, especially if you live alone. There is research that links solitary confinement to brain atrophy, so remaining socially active may have the opposite effect and strengthen the health of your brain.
Participation Creates Power!
Congress Considers Making HCBS a Medicaid Entitlement; Advocacy Will Be Needed to Assure Adult Day Services Are Included

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
This is a long-awaited opportunity! Making HCBS a Medicaid entitlement will remove the continual anxiety of states choosing to reduce budgets by eliminating ADS, which is now an optional service.
We need to advocate strenuously to assure ADS/ADHC is specifically included in the list of services contained in the legislative text. There are several references of services provided by ADS/ADHC but it would be better to have specificity. We have until April 26 th to offer recommendations and comments. Every ADS/ADHC provider should do so, as should those receiving services and others.
The following is the press release that provides additional information about the draft legislation.
Dan Black (Dingell) – Dan.Black@mail.house.gov
Laura Epstein (Hassan) – Laura_Epstein@hassan.senate.gov  
Trudy Perkins (Brown) – Trudy_Perkins@brown.senate.gov
Aisha Johnson (Casey) – Aisha_Johnson@casey.senate.gov

Also contact your own Congressperson and Senator
Dingell, Hassan, Casey, Brown Release Draft Proposal for HCBS Access Act
Lawmakers seek feedback on proposal to make home and community-based services mandatory under Medicaid, end the institutional bias in long-term care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today released a discussion draft of the HCBS Access Act for stakeholder feedback. The proposal seeks to mandate HCBS in Medicaid to provide critical services, creating national, minimum requirements for home and community-based services, and make it possible to enhance those services and the long-term care workforce. See here for discussion draft text and here for a memo seeking stakeholder input .
Under our current long-term care system, too many people cannot access the care they need in their homes and communities even though these are the environments where most people prefer to receive care. The patchwork system that currently exists through Medicaid HCBS waivers, where access to services depends on the state in which you live, undermines the much-needed creation of a durable system. States have been using a waiver process to provide long-term services and supports for almost forty years.
To build on the discussion draft, the offices are currently seeking feedback on:
  • Provider pay and rate structures of States for HCBS;
  • Workforce development, including but not limited to, wages and benefits for direct service workers and personal care attendants as well as training and recruitment;
  • HCBS infrastructure in States that support family caregivers, provider agencies, and independent providers, including but not limited to, housing, transportation, employment and enrollment systems and processes;
  • Other related policies and programs, such as Money Follows the Person and spousal impoverishment protections.
  • Many other critical items to further expansion and improve access to HCBS for those who desire the supports.
The offices ask that any feedback be provided, in writing, by Monday, April 26 by sending your comments to HCBSComments@aging.senate.gov .

YOUR EMAIL CAN BE AS SIMPLE AS: I support Congress making HCBS a Medicaid Entitlement which will remove the continual anxiety of states choosing to reduce budgets by eliminating ADS, which is now optional. ADS/ADHC needs to be specifically included in the list of services contained in the legislation. Thank you, My Name.


OPICA's 2021 Forget-Me-Not Luncheon will be virtual and wonderful! We hope you will be able to join us this year.
For sponsorship opportunities and tributes
please contact Craig Fleishman at craig@opica.org.

Online Day Program at OPICA OZ - OPICA on Zoom

Are you looking for daily activities for your loved one?

Do you miss having coffee with a friend or relative?

Would you like to add something new to your daily routine?

Join the NEW Online Day Program at OPICA.
OZ - OPICA on Zoom.

OZ is a daily interactive program for older adults and those experiencing memory loss, easily accessible from a single zoom link. 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Monday through Friday, OZ engages seniors with activities including exercise, cultural adventures, cognitive activities, home art experiences, and musical engagement and performances.

With our new OZ programming you have low-cost options to have meaningful days shared with others. Yes, OZ – OPICA on Zoom. One low price will keep you engaged and busy Monday through Friday.
Questions about OZ? Reach-out to Sara at sara@opica.org or (310) 478-0226

Online Day Programs Continue
Join us every week for one, two or as many groups as you want to be part of.
Mindfulness Based Art Group, Nisei Group,
Spirit Builders Group, Art Class,
Friendship Group, Storytelling, and Ladies Lounge.

At OPICA we strive to bring you an assortment of excellent online programs. Please check out the links below for all of our online programs, and hopefully we can spark your interest in joining!

All of our groups are facilitated by Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) and trainees

Sara Kaye 
for more information about these groups

Travel Time in the Water

Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea

Have you ever gone snorkel or scuba diving? If yes, let's do it again from your comfy chair at home. If no, let's do it now! Let's take a virtual trip under the sea. Four great dives around the world.

Click here and you're on your way.

OPICA Partners are dedicated to helping adults with memory loss and their families by making automatic deductions every month to their credit or debit card. You choose how much you will give.

Why Monthly Giving is Good for OPICA

It is Easy for OPICA and Easy for You
Monthly gifts spread out payments in smaller increments making it easier for you.
Cost Effective
Because you are giving regularly and in automated ways, we don’t have to keep spending money sending direct mail appeals just to make sure you give again this year. This helps keep costs down and allows us to focus our time on other things – like running an effective and impactful program.
Predictable Revenue
We all know how difficult cash flow can be. Gifts can be irregular in terms of timing and amount making it hard to budget, plan and strategize. Having a stable, reliable income stream from monthly donors helps alleviate some of those concerns.
It’s Convenient
Similar to why monthly giving is good for OPICA’s cashflow, it’s also good for our donors. You pay monthly for Netflix, HBO, Spotify, etc.  You can budget your giving or know how much you give every month. This makes it easier to manage without having to weigh the pros and cons of giving to every single ask that comes into your inbox or through the mail.
You Have Control
You pick how large or small your monthly gift is. You decide if you ever want to raise the level of giving or lower it or end it. It's easy!

Become an OPICA Partner with your monthly gift today.

Give Monthly Here - Become an OPICA Partner
Thank You
to our Wonderful Foundation Donor
for Your Support
Free OPICA Zoom Workshops
This free, online 6-week program is for people caring for a family member with a chronic condition. They will learn to take care of themselves while caring for their loved one.
Class Starts
Wednesday, April 21st
6 consecutive weeks
11am - 12:30pm
To register, Contact instructor Carol, carolhahnrn@gmail.com
or call 310-612-9064

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