5 Arthritis Myths Busted!
Arthritis Foundation “5 Arthritis Myths Busted!” VisitingAngels.com, June 30, 2012
FALSE: There is one form of arthritis

More than 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases affect approximately 46 million Americans today. If you think you have arthritis, don’t just run out and buy glucosamine supplements! It’s important to learn what type you have so you can manage it properly. There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis (related to wear and tear), and rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory autoimmune disease). Other forms include gout (caused by crystals that collect in the joints), psoriatic arthritis, lupus and septic arthritis.
FALSE: It’s just for older people
One of the most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, typically affects people over age 40, but it can occur in younger people, especially those who have suffered a joint injury. Arthritis can affect anyone at any age; nearly 60% of those diagnosed are under age 65. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic, systematic inflammatory disorder, can strike anywhere from infancy to age 16.

FALSE: Diet can’t help
Overall health is essential for managing arthritis. Keep in mind that every extra pound you carry puts 10 pounds of pressure on your joints! Experts suggest eating foods traditionally included in a Mediterranean diet such as olive oil, lean meats and fish, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s decrease the production of chemicals that cause inflammation, plus they inhibit enzymes that trigger it. Fatty fish also contain vitamin D, which helps prevent swelling and soreness. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which blocks enzymes involved in inflammation. Food can’t cure arthritis, but it can help you lose weight and ease aching joints.

FALSE: Glucosamine supplements rebuild joints
Many people take glucosamine, a cartilage-strengthening compound found in the body, to protect cartilage and manage pain. In theory, some glucosamine travels from the digestive system to damaged joints. Research has never proven this to be true! If you are already being treated for arthritis, talk to your doctor before adding glucosamine as a supplement.

FALSE: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
Cracking your knuckles does not damage joints or lead to arthritis. The “pop” sound comes from gas bubbles releasing from synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid within your joints. Once the bubble bursts, it takes around half an hour for the gas to reabsorb into the synovial fluid. Knuckle cracking pulls your bones apart, stretching the ligaments. Too much stretching of your ligaments may cause soreness and reduced grip strength, but not arthritis.


Thanks to the Arthritis Foundation for research used in this article.
7/2/2012 12:46:15 PM
Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia – How Social Workers Help
www.helpstartshere.org. “Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia – How Social Workers Help: Relationship and Emotional Changes for Family Members of Alzheimer’s Patients” By Sherry Katz, LCSW. http://www.helpstartshere.org/seniors-and-aging/family-relationships-and-emotions.html

Introduction

When someone has Alzheimer's disease, everyone in the family is affected, not just the patient. Taking the extra time to respectfully listen to a patient repeat themselves, provide the extra measures so that the patient's living environment is safe, and increasingly manage the patient's household and financial affairs, all require effort and energy from family members.

In addition to these very necessary practical aspects, Alzheimer's disease introduces major change in the relationships between patient and family members. When the patient cannot remember what they just said five minutes ago, it is not simply information being lost, it is the ability to share an experience which is affected. Communication requires memory, and diminished memory means diminished opportunity to understand and communicate with one another as people.

Feelings of Anxiety and Frustration

Family members will naturally feel some degree of upset when first becoming aware that their family member, who has Alzheimer's disease, cannot clearly express feelings in the same way as before the onset of the disease. Adding to the upset is confusion; although Alzheimer's patient's cognitive losses are steady, they are also irregular. There are good days on which the patient converses in a relatively clear manner and bad days, on which almost all conversation is cloudy.

When the phase of emotional and relationship breakdown starts to occur, it can be useful for family members of the patient to speak with a social worker who specializes in either family or older adult matters. It is normal for family members to feel mixed emotions while adjusting to how limited the relationship with the patient is becoming. While once there were predictable routines and common understanding, now there is unpredictability and uncertainty.

This interpersonal context raises many strong negative feelings, such as anxiety and frustration. Social workers are trained to listen, understand and redirect, and suggest new ways for an individual to approach relationship difficulties. Sometimes people feel angry with themselves for expecting too much from the patient, others feel angry with the patient, for example. Talking over these extremes can help family members bring their own inner turmoil to a more balanced perspective.

The Unpredictable Nature of Relationships

Relationships can get better or worse with Alzheimer's. It is largely unpredictable which direction a relationship will turn. It is possible, if the patient has always held a grudge or is highly critical, and now can't remember against whom or for what, family may find an easier time getting along with that person.

Alzheimer's disease eventually takes over the patient's ability to verbally communicate altogether. It is a difficult stage in the relationship between patient and family member. During this phase, emotions play a greater role in communication since it is the only way of communicating.

How Social Workers Can Help

Once again, clinical social workers are expert in finding new and different ways of finding ways for people to have the best possible relationship with one another, given the strengths and limitations of the people involved with one another.
"Where there is a will", there could be a way, and social workers increase your chances of finding what that means, for the patient family member of a person who has Alzheimer's disease.

Sherry Katz, LCSW has practiced social work for 27 years, and currently practices family therapy in Ridgewood, NJ. She has both a broad range of social work, clinical, and consulting experience in various older adult settings, as well as advanced clinical

Visiting Angels provides full time and respite support for family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If you would like to find out more about how we can fit into your loved one’s plan of care give us a call. We can be reached at three Bay Area locations!

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
3/1/2012 4:00:57 PM
Home for the Holidays? Use your visit to tell if a loved one needs help to stay at home safely
Visiting Angels. "Home for the Holidays? Use your visit to tell if a loved one needs help to stay at home safely." December 14, 2011.

Are you going home for the holidays? If you are, in addition to celebrating take a moment to make sure your older loved ones are still capable of managing their daily lives on their own. Often older adults need some help to stay safe and healthy, but don’t like to admit it.
To help determine if older people need help to stay at home, Visiting Angels, the nation’s leading network for quality, compassionate home care, has developed this simple checklist:

Check their appearance:

• Are they wearing appropriate clothing?
• Is there a drastic change in their clothing choices?
• Are their clothes clean?
• Is there any inappropriate body odor that could indicate difficulty bathing, washing their hair or brushing their teeth?
• Have they made any drastic changes to their appearance – wearing more or less makeup, not wearing dentures, etc?
Appearance is an immediate clue that the activities of daily living may be becoming more difficult. It’s also a potential indicator of deteriorating vision and possibly changes in mental acuity.

Take a look around the home:

• Is the refrigerator appropriately stocked?
• Is the house at its usual level of tidiness or is there a change?
• Are dishes and laundry being taken care of in a timely manner?
• Is there expired food in the pantry?
• Ask about meals – are they eating enough? What about water intake?
• Are medications organized or are there expired medications or bottles all over the house?
A change in housekeeping and food choices can indicate difficulty managing shopping, cleaning or cooking.

Talk about their daily routine:

• Ask about activities and friends – are they still participating in things they enjoy? Are they able to get themselves to where they want to go?
• Ask about their doctor appointments – do they understand their medications? Have they skipped or missed appointments?
• Check on the bills – are they paying bills on time, or is the mail being ignored?


Giving up activities, missing appointments and ignoring the mail are all signs that an older person may need help. They’re also signs of possible depression, an issue that affects older Americans at alarming rates. If you notice a change in interests or participation in activities you may want to speak with their doctor to rule out medical issues, and look into assistance for them.

Staying in their home is typically the goal of most seniors. But the reality may be that caring for a home and managing the activities of daily living can become increasingly difficult as we age. Many older adults are afraid to admit that reality because they fear losing their independence or admitting they need help. A holiday visit represents an ideal opportunity for adult children to assess older family members’ living situations and see if home care could help them.

If you’re not sure if your loved ones need home care, contact Visiting Angels at 800.365.4189 to locate a Visiting Angels home care agency near you.

A confidential consultation may help your loved ones stay at home safely, and give you peace of mind. For more information on how a local Visiting Angels may assist your loved one please contact one of our three Bay Area offices.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

12/29/2011 10:08:48 AM
Visiting Angels Walks the Talk
(December 5, 2011) – Every 69 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. Some may live only a short time after their diagnoses, others may spend 20 years with the disease. For most, a family member will be their primary caregiver, a job that 60% rank as high or very high in emotional stress.

Visiting Angels, the nation's leading network of non-medical, private duty home care agencies, understands the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease at a very individual level. Caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments is one of Visiting Angels’ specialties. But the agencies do more than provide much needed care and assistance – in 2011 Visiting Angels franchises across the country came together to “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” and raise over $52,000 to date to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Over 100 franchises from coast to coast fielded teams to raise money for the cause, and more than 700 Visiting Angels staff members participated in events ranging from tag sales to walks. Debra Desrosiers, owner of the Auburn, NH Visiting Angels agency, coordinated the effort across the corporation.

“Talking with people who are affected with the disease made me want to help even more,” Desrosiers explains. “Some are very aware of it, and it tears your heart. This is something I’m passionate about. It’s a big part of who we service and I see how devastating this disease is for families.”
Desrosiers knew she wanted her agency to participate in raising funds, but then she decided to take it a step further. She approached Visiting Angels corporate headquarters to set up teams at agencies across the country. Visiting Angels headquarters quickly agreed, and Desrosiers found herself heading up a major fundraising effort.

“Visiting Angels has always focused on increasing the public’s awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia through year round events and fund raisers,” says Richard Bitner, Vice President of Marketing. “Being able to participate across the corporation in this effort let us reaffirm our commitment to seniors across America.”

One of the franchises that participated is Visiting Angels of Carroll and Western Baltimore Counties in Maryland. “We participated because we want to make a commitment toward finding a cure for this devastating disease,” explains Deb Valenza, Director of Marketing for the franchise. “Our owners matched donations that came in and literally ‘walked the walk’ with the team. Walking as a team side by side with caregivers and individuals who have been touched by this disease was very powerful, moving most to tears when their stories were shared.”
Desrosiers, who had been involved in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, began planning in January of 2011, with events kicking off in April. She plans to keep up the fundraising until the last day of the year.

“I know this disease can ruin family relationships,” she says. “A lot of people get in over their heads and they don’t know that affordable help is out there. Agencies like ours can be pivotal in keeping people at home where their memories are. Once you displace people with Alzheimer’s from their home they can decline quickly. We have our sad moments but we know we help. We are able to accomplish a task, and that task is giving the best care possible while we all work toward a cure.”

Resources:

• Alzheimer’s Association – information and free care planning consultations: http://www.alz.org/
• Alzheimer’s Foundation - http://www.alzfdn.org/?gclid=CO6xn6b_u6wCFcp65Qod0xoUpQ
• 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures: http://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2011_Facts_Figures_Fact_Sheet.pdf
• Visiting Angels agencies: http://www.visitingangels.com/

Visiting Angels is a full service homecare organization. We help individuals and families while they are faced with the challenges of memory loss. If you would like more information please feel free to contact us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
12/16/2011 12:01:16 PM
National Family Caregivers Month
The National Family Caregivers Association, back in 1994, started to acknowledge and promote family caregivers around Thanksgiving. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first Presidential Proclamation, with every president since doing the same. Below is this year’s proclamation by President Obama. Please read it carefully, and, consider what this truly means to not only you and your agency, but to the millions of caregivers and care recipients in our country.

Presidential Proclamation: National Family Caregiver Month

Across our country, millions of family members, neighbors, and friends provide care and support for their loved ones during times of need. With profound compassion and selflessness, these caregivers sustain American men, women, and children at their most vulnerable moments, and through their devoted acts, they exemplify the best of the American spirit. During National Family Caregivers Month, we pay tribute to the individuals throughout America who ensure the health and well-being of their relatives and loved ones.

Many of our Nation’s family caregivers assist seniors and people with disabilities to help improve their quality of life. Their efforts help deliver short term comfort and security, facilitate social engagement, and help individuals stay in their homes and communities as long as possible. This heroic work is often done while caregivers balance other commitments to their families, jobs, and communities. As these remarkable individuals put their own lives on hold to tend to their family members, it is our responsibility to ensure they do not have to do it alone.

To ease the emotional and financial burdens that can accompany caregiving, my Administration has striven to support family caregiver for the crucial role they perform. Vice President Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force has focused on the importance of investing in respite care, counseling, and training for individuals who serve aging Americans. These initiatives would give family caregivers a leg up as they continue to support their aging loved ones.

One of our Nation’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure our veterans, their families, and their caregivers receive lasting and comprehensive support. Last year, I signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, which helps fulfill this obligation by extending assistance to family members who care for severely wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our military caregivers exemplify the heroism found not only on the fields of battle, but also in the hearts of those who tend to our wounded warriors when they come home.

As we observe National Family Caregivers Month, we honor the tireless compassion of Americans who heal, comfort, and support our injured, our elders, and people with disabilities. This month and throughout the year, let the quiet perseverance of our family caregivers remind us of the decency and kindness to which we can all aspire.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2011 as National Family Caregivers Month. I encourage all Americans to pay tribute to those who provide for the health and wellbeing of their family members, friends, and neighbors.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this the first day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the independence of the Untied States of America two hundred and thirty-sixth.

Barack Obama
44th President of the United States

If you are a family caregiver in need of support or assistance please give Visiting Angels a call to find out how we can help. Our team of professionals can provide respite support to your family and peace of mind knowing your loved one is taken care of. You can contact one of our three Bay Area offices for more information and to schedule a free in-home assessment by a nurse.

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585


http://visitingangels.com/national-family-caregivers-month-weekly-message_44
11/21/2011 10:30:28 AM
The Importance of Meeting Nutritional Needs As You Age: How Senior Home Care Can Help
As you age, your nutritional needs change. Age related changes can affect how a body processes food, which in turn influences your dietary requirements and appetite. The following are some of these important changes:

Digestive System: As you age, your body produces less of the fluids necessary for proper digestion, making food absorption more difficult. This is why B6 and B12 supplements, as well as folic acid are critical for seniors.

Appetite: As you age, you may be prescribed different medications. These medications may affect your appetite.
Metabolism: Age slows down your metabolism. Seniors also tend to slow down exercise routines, which slows down metabolism further. The fewer calories burned, the less calorie intake is required. Seniors are encouraged to consume food that is as nutrient-rich as possible and maintain a good level of exercise.
Emotional Health: Last but not least, elderly loved ones face many different situations, including physical issues, loss of friends, spouse, job, and these changes may result in depression, which in turn reduces appetite.

Many diseases prevalent in the elderly population can be prevented by senior care and proper nutrition. Nutritional intervention can also prevent hospitalization—malnutrition is one of the major reasons seniors suffer health problems.
Senior care and senior home care experts can help prepare small, healthy meals for your loved one at home. If your loved one is unable to shop for and prepare healthy food for himself or herself regularly, senior care providers can provide the necessary assistance, as well as help with other activities of daily living. Although in some cases, individuals require specific solutions to dietary needs, there are certain general guidelines that should be considered by all.

Senior Care Nutritional Guidelines:

Have your loved one drink plenty of water.
Stick to healthy fats.
Include whole grains in your diet.
Include foods high in fiber.
Include high amounts of calcium.
Ensure your loved one has a proper intake of B12.

Although getting older is inevitable, it’s possible to slow down the aging process and improve the quality of life of senior folks. Senior care and senior home care providers can help this process by promoting healthy eating. Remember to schedule regular physical exams and consultations for your loved one as well.

National Institute of Aging’s Daily Suggestions for Seniors:

Fruit: 1.5-2.5 cups
Meat and Beans: 5-7 ounces
Grain: 5-10 ounces
Vegetables: 2-3.5 cups
Oil: 6 teaspoons

DASH Diet Daily Requirements: (Heart Healthy Plan for Seniors with High Blood Pressure)
Grains: 7-8 oz
Meat and Beans: 6 ounces or less of meat, fish, or chicken – 4-5 servings of seeds, nuts, and/or dried beans per week.
Vegetables: 2-2.5 cups
Fruit: 2-2.5 cups
Oil: 2 teaspoons

Senior care and senior home care providers can help your loved one by preparing nutritional meals on a regular basis, taking specialty concerns into account, including medical problems and diabetes. Senior care allows aging loved ones to remain safely in their homes as long as possible—caregivers visit as needed and take care of everyday services, including cleaning, running errands, stocking the fridge, and meal preparation. These small steps can ease the burden on your loved one and make a big difference in their quality of life.

Bio: Erica R. is a freelance writer for Visiting Angels, the nation's leading, network of non-medical, private duty home care agencies providing senior care, senior home care, personal care, respite care and companion care to help the elderly and adults continue to live in their homes across America. Visit the Visiting Angels website to find out more information on elderly care.

For more information on how Visiting Angels may assist you find resources for a loved one please contact one of our Bay Area offices.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
12/29/2011 10:05:29 AM
Earthquake Safety Tips for Seniors
In light of the earthquake today that rumbled the Bay Area, we thought it would be helpful to share some safety tips to keep your loved one safe in the event of another one!

Prepare.org. “Earthquake Safety Tips for Seniors.” Compiled by the California Office of Emergency Services
http://www.redcross.org/museum/prepare_org/seniors/srquaketips.htm

Before an Earthquake:

Eliminate hazards. Make it as easy as possible to quickly get under a sturdy table or desk for protection.
Special equipment such as a telephone and life support systems should be anchored. Tanks of gas (such as oxygen) should be fastened to wall studs.
Keep a list of medications, allergies, special equipment, names and numbers of doctors, pharmacists and family members. Make sure you have this list with you at all times.
Keep an extra pair of eyeglasses and medication with your emergency supplies.
Walking aids should be kept near you at all times. Store extra walking aids in different rooms of the house.
Put a security light in each room. These plug into any outlet and light up automatically if there is a loss of electricity. They continue operating for four to six hours and can be turned off by hand in an emergency.
Make sure you have a whistle to signal for help.
Keep extra batteries for hearing aids with your emergency supplies. Remember to replace them annually.
Keep extra emergency supplies at your bedside.
Find two people who will check on you after and earthquake. Tell them your special needs. Show them how to operate any equipment you use. Show then where your emergency supplies are kept. Give them a spare key.

During and After an Earthquake:

If you are in bed or sitting down, stay there. Use a pillow or blanket to protect your head. Hold on until the shaking stops.
If you are standing, drop, cover, and hold on, or sit down. You could get thrown to the floor if you are standing.
Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days.
Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports. For your own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and instructions.
Be prepared for aftershocks.
If you evacuate, call your family contact to let them know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.

We hope you found these tips to be helpful. Please feel free to contact one of our three Bay Area offices to find our how we can assist your loved one stay safe at home.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

10/20/2011 4:48:21 PM
Make No Bones about it: Why Baby Boomers Need to Keep their Bones Strong
Kaiser Permanente, KP.org. “Make No Bones about it: Why Baby Boomers Need to Keep their Bones Strong.” By Diana Yee. April 28, 2011.
http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter/healthandfitness/2011/042811strongbones.html


If you’re part of the most talked about generation of the century — the baby boom generation — it’s likely your mother told you as a child to drink your milk to build strong bones. As boomers enter retirement age, maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis will be more important than ever. The statistics are startling. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

• One of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

• Twenty-four percent of patients who suffer a hip fracture die in the first year.

• The number of hip fractures in the United States — 300,000 a year — could double or triple by 2040.

“It’s a silent disease up until the point you have a fracture,” says Richard Dell, MD, orthopedic lead of the Healthy Bones Program at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. Dr. Dell says being proactive in preventing the disease is key. He recommends these easy tips to help keep your bones strong and healthy, so you can thrive for years to come.

1. Keep active
Find a way to keep fit every day. Weight bearing exercise like walking or dancing helps bones stay dense and strong, and can also help improve your balance to prevent falls. So grab a dance partner, take a walk around the block, or try a new activity like low-impact yoga for seniors. Check out Kaiser Permanente’s Every Body Walk! campaign for more information on incorporating physical activity into your day: www.everybodywalk.org.

2. Incorporate more calcium and vitamin D into your diet
Seek out calcium-rich foods like dairy and dark leafy greens. Studies have shown taking a calcium supplement can help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Be sure to pair calcium with a vitamin D supplement to maximize absorption. Women need 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium and 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

3. Be smart: Know your risk factors
Talk with your doctor about your family history, medications you’re taking, and other medical conditions that may contribute to accelerated bone loss or put you at a higher risk for fractures. Stay informed and active in managing your health so you can take the right steps toward prevention — be the boss of your own health!

4. Quit smoking and avoid too much alcohol
In addition to the many health risks posed by smoking, smokers lose bone density more rapidly, leaving them at an even higher risk of fracture. Excessive alcohol consumption decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium and may inhibit bone formation. Drink alcohol in moderation and check out the many resources available to help you quit smoking.

5. Get a bone density scan if you’re at risk
Talk to your doctor about if and when you may need a bone density test (DXA scan). This test is recommended for women age 65 and over and men age 70 and over.

Visiting Angels works with many individuals who have suffered from a hip fracture and need care after the fact. Our care can provide the assistance needed during the recovery process to help a loved one with their activities of daily living. But sometimes having homecare provider can help protect your loved one from having a fall or a hip fracture in the first place because our caregivers are assisting them with activities putting them at risk for an accident.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help your loved one give us a call. We can be reached at three Bay Area locations!

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209)952-3585


9/27/2011 4:10:11 PM
Making the Right Choice for Your Situation
Seniors.com. “Making the Right Choice for Your Situation.” By Kim McCreery. May 4, 2010 in Life Lessons. http://www.senior.com/living/life-lessons/making-the-right-choice-for-your-situation

Sometimes you can live right down the road from aging loved ones and be unaware of their inability to care for themselves. Joyce Eberhardt found that out the hard way. Her mother, Beverly Fisher, lived alone about 15 miles from Joyce. On weekend visits, Beverly seemed fine on the surface, but Joyce began to notice odd behavior. She invited her mom to stay with her for a week to see if her suspicions were correct. During that week, Joyce realized her mother regularly exhibited short-term memory loss, repeating the same things over and over in conversation. She often forgot to take her medicine and seemed disinterested in keeping the doctors’ appointments necessary to treat her various conditions, which include congestive heart failure, COPD and diabetes.

At the end of the week, Joyce admitted the truth – Beverly’s health and wellbeing had been rapidly deteriorating, yet no one had noticed. Joyce knew her mother could no longer safely take care of herself, and invited her to move in full-time.
“She needed someone to be involved, but didn’t know how to ask or who wanted to do it,” Joyce said of her mother. And she greatly appreciates Joyce helping her manage her doctor visits and medications. With Beverly’s declining cognitive abilities, this is especially important.

“I’m glad she’s with me,” said Joyce. “But I definitely see the need for more supervision. I’m at work all day, and it will get to the point where I’ll need someone else to make sure she has lunch and takes her lunchtime pills.”

Navigating the Senior Care Maze
So where do people turn when an elderly friend or relative needs assistance? Often families don’t know what to do because they’ve never been in this situation and are in crisis mode with an immediate need for care.

Senior care is never a one-size-fits-all solution, and factors such as frailty, specific diseases, social supports, and individual ability should be considered. To make an informed decision, it is necessary to understand the choices available.

Home care is often the preferred choice of seniors. Non-medical home care provides assistance with daily needs such as bathing, feeding and housekeeping. Medicare certified agencies provide health care services in the home if the patient qualifies, if the services are ordered by a physician, and if recovery or recuperation is a goal.

There are also a variety of options outside of one’s home for care. Independent living apartment complexes usually offer common areas for meals and activities. Assisted living facilities are similar, but also offer personal care assistance. Adult care homes offer a more intimate setting and benefit individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a medical condition that would do best with routine monitoring. Finally, skilled nursing homes offer medical care by registered nurses and doctors, with 24/7 medical care and rehabilitation available.

Geriatric care managers can be a very helpful resource in coordinating care needs while reducing stress on family members. Geriatric care managers help guide a family to determine how to best meet the needs of the individual. They also work as mediators between all the care providers and the family, which provides an invaluable service when the family cannot be present.

There are many resources available to help consumers become educated on senior care issues. A few of these include http://www.caring.com/; http://www.gilbertguide.com/; and http://www.parentcaregiving.com/. The National Private Duty Association, http://www.privatedutyhomecare.org/, provides valuable information on both non-medical and medical member agencies. To find a local geriatric care manager, visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, http://www.caremanager.org/.

When it comes to taking care of those we love in their later years, whether you’re near or far, it’s beneficial to become educated on all of the available options. The ultimate goal is to respect the wants and needs of the seniors, helping them live their final years with as much dignity and independence as possible.

We hope that this article was helpful if you are beginning to navigate the “maze” of finding care solutions for your loved ones. This article provided excellent resources that anyone can access in the United States. If you are ready to take the next step and find out more about hiring homecare in the Bay Area, call us at Visiting Angels and we will have a live person available to answer your questions day or night.

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

8/29/2011 2:50:22 PM
For Cancer Patients, Help Navigating the Maze
Wall Street Journal “For Cancer Patients, Help Navigating the Maze.” By Laura Landro. August 16, 2011, 8:53 AM ET

“Hospitals are offering a new service to cancer patients: navigators to help them steer through the often-overwhelming maze of decisions, doctor visits and treatments, today’s Informed Patient Column reports.

Researchers across the country have been studying patient navigator programs for several years in an attempt to determine how best they can help patients — and how exactly they should be designed and staffed. A new supplement to the journal Cancer is devoted to the issue.

The National Consortium of Breast Centers offers a certification program for patient navigators focusing on the unique challenges faced by breast cancer patients, who may see several types of specialists and face multiple decisions on surgery, radiation and follow-up care.

While many of the programs are dedicated to helping underserved and racial and ethic minorities with poor access to care, even the savviest patients who have medical insurance can often be daunted by the complexities of cancer care, and benefit from the help of a navigator, says Martha Hare, program director of the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. “Patients may be overwhelmed by family issues, job issues, and even questions about whether they can get an appointment at a reasonable time,” she says.

The NCI’s Patient Navigation Research Program is currently analyzing results of a five-year study of thousands of patients at nine centers around the country, comparing those who used patient navigators to those who did not. Preliminary results are “encouraging” about the benefits, according to Karen Freund, a Boston University physician and chair of the design and analysis committee.

Several studies, starting with a project in Harlem for minority women in the 1990s, have already shown that patient navigation services increase participation in cancer screening and adherence to follow-up care after detection of an abnormality in minority groups and economically disadvantaged patients.
While funding for such programs has largely come from government grants, private foundations and cancer advocacy groups, more hospitals are expected to add the services thanks to revised standards from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, which accredits more than 1,400 cancer centers in the U.S. caring for 71% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. By 2015, centers accredited by the commission must offer patient navigation services as a condition of accreditation.

Stephen B. Edge, chair of the commission and an oncologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, tells the Health Blog there are many interpretations of navigation. The commission is requiring “that each program do an assessment of their community and develop programs to address barriers to access and smooth cancer care,” he says. The group plans to provide assistance in developing the programs, including a repository of best practices so all programs can learn from each other, he adds.
While commission accreditation isn’t used for reimbursement, accreditation “will be increasingly a requirement for any organization holding itself out to the public as a quality cancer program,” he says.

Research shows show patient navigators can also be helpful in getting patients to be screened for cancer in the first place – such as getting that mammogram or colonoscopy that many avoid. A study published in May in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that black and non-English speaking patients working with navigators at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Boston-area public health-care system, were more likely to undergo colorectal cancer screening than control patients without navigators, more likely to be screened by colonoscopy, and more likely to have abnormalities detected.
Laureen Gray, program director of special projects at Cambridge, says the service is now being offered to all patients, many of whom are low-income and speak languages such as Portuguese or Spanish. Navigators “guide them through the whole process” of preparing for a colonoscopy, make sure the patients understand the preparatory instructions and then that they show up for the procedure.

At Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, where four nurses and a social worker comprise the navigation team, Dava Gerard, a breast surgeon and administrator in the cancer program says patient navigation services need to reflect the needs and concerns of the community, which can vary greatly.
Presbyterian is compiling data that shows the cost-benefit of professional navigators who can assess and adapt to a spectrum of needs. However, “a basic competence is for navigators to know their boundaries,” Gerard says, so a navigator without medical knowledge or medical social worker isn’t providing inaccurate or dated treatment information.”

Visiting Angels is a full service homecare organization. We help individuals and families while they are faced with the challenges of cancer treatment by providing assistance with their personal care and help with daily activities such as grocery shopping, transportation to medical appointments, and even child care. If you would like more information please feel free to contact us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

12/29/2011 10:07:13 AM
Making Your Business Green
Is there anyone out there who will question how difficult the economy has been over the last few years? I doubt it. And is anyone willing to say that “going green” is a bad way to operate your life, as long as you are not spending too much extra for moving in that direction, or making your life more uncomfortable than it already is? I doubt that also.

Well, if going green is such a good thing, and if the costs and the amount of effort are not too extraordinary, than why are we not moving as fast as we can towards going green? The answer may be that consumers, or in this case business owners, simply are not aware of the possible methods for turning their businesses a bit greener, thus they continue to think that making their businesses greener is just too expensive.

Collectively, we could all benefit from some simple tips on helping our company go green. Keep in mind, some of these ideas may be a bit too uncomfortable for your employees to attach themselves to; while other ideas may be forehead-slappers that make you wonder why you didn’t implement them earlier. Bottom line: going green is easier than you think. In fact, in many ways you can even save money (of course you can go overboard with some ideas, but the list below should be inexpensive, not time consuming, and prove that you can reduce expenses while helping the environment).

Here are some simply ideas to help your business go green:

1. Take an inventory of your office uses. For example, monitor the office electric bill for each month prior to and after you’ve
implemented a new energy policy. Then review what you are doing currently in the office to see where cuts/changes can be made,
i.e., use CF bulbs rather than your current high energy draw bulbs.
2. Get your employees to hop on to the bandwagon. Develop incentive programs that are tied to bonuses and encourage solid energy
conservation thoughts and actions.
3. Begin to streamline the way your equipment (computers, telephones, faxes, etc.) is attached to their power source. If practical,
group similar operating units together so they can be turned off (from the power source) when not in use, especially on weekends
or even at night. You can save a conservative 25% in energy charges through that one step alone.
4. Start to use more and more recycled paper. Do a bit of shopping around to find recycled paper that meets or exceeds your current
paper costs.
5. Use a fax-modem that utilizes your computer to send faxes rather than using a separate fax machine, which then also requires the
use of hard copy (paper) as a by-product.
6. Make certain your heating and cooling units are serviced regularly to ensure the maximum energy efficiency level.
7. Focus on energy reduction and recycling in the office, either directly through your initiative or through an energy committee.
8. Watch for water leaks on toilets and sinks. Did you know that in the United States for every six gallons of water used, one of those
gallons is lost through leakage of some sort? I’m sure the people living in the dry areas of this country (Nevada, etc.) would love to
have that leaking gallon back!
9. Use double sided reports whenever feasible – save paper.
10. Begin to utilize mass transit opportunities if available.

Giving your company a coat of green can be easy and save you money. Instilling such a solid philosophy amongst your employees will not only help your company through improved employee attitude, but this new approach at work might carry over into their home environment and save our environment even further. Remember, every little bit helps.

Written by Jeffrey Johnson
8/19/2011 3:22:30 PM
Beating Caregiver Stress
Are you an informal or family caregiver for an elderly person? If you are, you are not alone.

Most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. Each year more than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person 18 years or older. This is significant! It represents 80 percent of all long-term care in the United States.

Most caregivers are middle-aged or older women who have jobs outside of caring for an elderly person. Most of these women have changed hours or working conditions in order to care for their elderly family member.

Sound stressful? It is.

Take our caregiver stress questionnaire to see if you are under too much stress, and see if our suggestions can help you!

Survey Questions:

• Do you feel frustrated and angry while you take care of someone?
• Do you feel guilty about the care you can provide because you have so many other things to do?
• Do you feel that care giving has hurt your social life?
• Are you exhausted when you go to bed at night?
• Do you feel overwhelmed?
• Have you recently gained or lost a lot of weight?
• Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?
• Are you easily irritated or angered?
• Are you constantly worried?
• Are you often sad?
• Do you experience frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problems?
• Do you abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs?

Scores:
• 0-3 low stress level
• 4-7 medium stress level
• 8-12 high stress level

Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress

Focus on the rewards of care giving, and giving back to a loved one. Being a caregiver strengthens your relationship with the person receiving care and makes you feel needed, boosting your self-confidence.

• Make sure you are at your best:
• Get your prescriptions filled
• Keep your own doctor and dentist appointments
• Eat healthy meals
• Get enough sleep
• Exercise vigorously at least 45 minutes each day
• Do something just for yourself at least once a week.

Talk to a counselor, psychologist, or other mental health professional right away if your stress leads you to physically or emotionally harm the person you are caring for.

Find out how to deal with your loved one’s disease. This will help you take a positive approach to the daily questions and issues you will be presented with. You may be able to find a hospital or local agency on aging that offers classes on caring for people with that disease. Do research with doctors, nurses, on websites, and at the library. The more information you have, the easier it will be to prepare for issues that arise.

If you do find that you are under stress from caring for your loved one, try these stress reducing tips:

• Get help from community care giving service providers for:
• transportation
• meal delivery
• home health care services
• non-medical home care services
• home modification for easier daily tasks
• legal and financial counseling

Accept help from friends and family – this includes financial help.
Say "no" to volunteer tasks, such as hosting holiday meals.
Do the best you can and don’t feel guilty about not being perfect.
Prioritize your tasks and establish a daily routine.
Stay in touch with family and friends.
Join a support group for caregivers facing the same condition or disease.
Try to keep your sense of humor.

Check with the human resource office at your job. Employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for relatives.

Perhaps you will feel better about your loved one’s safety if you purchase an emergency or surveillance device. These devices include emergency response systems (not for people with dementia), intercom systems, web cams and mobility monitors. These devices can help with your peace of mind.

When you need a break (and you will), give a professional home care service a call. They will come to your loved one’s home and perform any number of household chores, personal grooming chores, and provide companionship for your loved one for a very affordable fee.

Visiting Angels is a full service homecare organization. We always employ, supervise, and manage our caregivers. To find out more about how we can help you find peace of mind when finding respite care, please feel free to contact us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
8/5/2011 10:39:58 AM
Home Care's Booming, and So Is Regulation
Business Week. “Home Care’s Booming, and So Is Regulation.” By John Tozzi. March 17, 2011, 5:00PM EST.
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_13/b4221060286462.htm


As the first baby boomers turn 65 this year, entrepreneurs see opportunity. The number of companies providing home health care or services such as assistance in dressing, bathing, and cooking increased by more than 50 percent in the past decade, U.S. Census Bureau data show. Now regulators are scrambling to catch up with the growing industry.

Home-care companies aren't regulated in about two dozen states, and just a handful require licenses for companies that provide nonmedical services. Today the industry faces a hodgepodge of inconsistent rules that advocates say puts vulnerable people at risk of financial exploitation or physical abuse. In states that require licensing, many operators ignore regulations because the costs of complying are high and the risk of getting caught is low, people in the industry say.

Advocates of home care say it is more compassionate and less expensive than nursing home care. More than 45,000 companies offered home health care or other aid in 2008, including 2,800 small outfits that pay franchisers for a brand name, training, and support, researcher Frandata estimates. They're targeting a $55 billion market that will surely grow as the number of Americans 65 and older increases by 79 percent in the next 20 years, to 72 million, according to Census projections.

A report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging notes that "addressing elder abuse in home-based care settings is becoming a growing concern." Much of the worry centers on how thoroughly companies vet workers before sending them into people's houses. The Senate report says that after seven states began requiring comprehensive background checks for caregivers in institutions and private homes, 4.3 percent of the 220,000 applicants were disqualified because of a history of serious crimes. Some 92 percent of nursing homes employ at least one worker with a criminal conviction, according to a Mar. 1 report by the U.S. Health & Human Services Dept. Not all crimes preclude workers from employment.

While nursing home workers are required by federal law to undergo 75 hours of training before taking a job in the sector, there are no similar rules governing nonmedical home aides. Seniors getting in-home care are "way more vulnerable than people who are in nursing homes because it's not supervised," says Lori Ann Post, a Yale School of Medicine professor who researches domestic violence. "We need legislation mandating background checks for people in the home ... more than in nursing homes," she says.

Home-care providers recognize the risks of mistreatment—and the potential for damage to their reputations. "When you have an industry that is growing like nonmedical home care and senior care, a lot of people ... think it's a way to make a quick buck," says Kim B. Stoneking, executive director of the 1,200-member National Private Duty Assn. (NPDA), which represents nonmedical home-care companies.

Stoneking says all NPDA members do background checks on their workers. The group has no formal position on whether states should require home-care businesses to be licensed. In states considering regulation, Stoneking advocates a less rigorous standard for nonmedical helpers than for aides who provide direct health care such as dressing wounds or giving medication.

Operating in states that ignore that distinction can be a burden for business owners. When Caroline Philpott opened a New York City senior-care franchise last May, she had to limit her services to housekeeping, cooking, and companionship. Anything that involves touching an elderly client, such as dressing or bathing, requires a license that New York had temporarily stopped issuing because state officials didn't have the capacity to monitor the fast-growing industry. "Helping someone get dressed requires the same license as giving them IVs," says Philpott, a former executive at American Express (AXP) who earned an MBA from Columbia University. Philpott invested a "low-six-figure" sum to start her franchise, licensing the brand from an Omaha company called Home Instead Senior Care. She now has 25 caregivers on call and 15 clients in New York.

More consistent oversight and enforcement would help the industry, says Peter Ross, chief executive officer of Senior Helpers, a franchiser in Towson, Md. His company holds its 300 franchisees in 40 states to the same standards regardless of local regulations, and Ross advocates licensing requirements for nonmedical care in states that don't have them. "In California, you need a license to catch a trout," Ross muses, "but you do not need a license to give a senior a bath in their own home."

The bottom line: As demand for home-care services grows, entrepreneurs are preparing for more scrutiny from regulators.

To find out more about Visiting Angels full-service, non-medical homecare services, contact one of our three Bay Area offices for more information.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
7/25/2011 5:58:48 PM
Managing Remote Workers
Let’s face it, managing workers who are located off-site (in care recipient’s homes or office staff working from their own homes) is quite challenging. It is different from a factory where you can walk up and down the assembly line to see the quality of worker production. It is also different from the office setting where you can easily have a spontaneous face-to-face meeting with employees to resolve a problem. In short, remote employees require some basic operational and philosophical assumptions to make this trend work well.

To keep a remote workforce motivated and productive requires a unique approach to management. In this article, Managing Remote Employees – Offsite Management in 6 Principles, author Steven Nichols, of Ezine Articles (www.ezinearticles.com), lists 6 key techniques to make remote management successful:

1. Better Communication. As a result of feeling isolated, remote employees require more, not less, communication in order to assimilate into the company’s milieu. If this additional communication is not present, higher turn-over and poorer work performance can result. Email, texts, telephone calls, faxes, etc., all help to eliminate the negative effects of poor communication.

2. Establishing Respect. The incorrect assumption by managers that “remote employees aren’t on the job” creates an ineffective posture by management similar to some parental positions – the “Because I said so” approach. A better approach is to respect the remote employee by offering reasons and explanations why certain tasks must be completed.
3. Building a Team Culture. Clearly, it is a challenge to get remote employees to feel as though they are part of the company’s team. Intra-team communication, creating partnerships for specific projects or jobs, and offering ways these employees can regularly communicate are essential to team culture development.

4. Creating Accountability Through Self-Monitoring. To have remote employees be successful, they must be able to self-monitor their work (if they can’t, management can begin as a process of destructive micro-managing). In order to develop this accountability through self-monitoring process, managers must provide clear goals and hold their remote employees responsible for results. Successful independence is key in these situations.

5. Training. It is essential that remote employees be trained (oriented) in face-to-face situations. This will ensure, a solid beginning to developing respect, facilitating positive communication methods, and provide a strong footing towards building a team culture. Remember, training of ALL employees is an ongoing process, not just a one time effort.

6. Disciplining and Conflicts. As a result of the difficulty in developing relationships with remote employees, resolving conflicts can be challenging. Speed in addressing these conflicts is of prime importance in order to stop the conflict from escalating. Listening to what is “not said” in your conversations with remote employees can help with jump starting your resolution of potential and real conflicts out-in-the-field.

Following these guidelines with remote employees (and your in-house staff) will set your company on the right path for higher productivity, reduced employee turn-over, and a positive company culture/environment.

Article written by Jeffrey Johnson.

Visiting Angels is a full service homecare organization. We always employ, supervise, and manage our caregivers. To find out more about how we can help you find peace of mind when hiring homecare, please feel free to contact us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

7/25/2011 4:09:56 PM
Self-Esteem in Our Elderly . . .
We would all agree with the statistics that inform us that our elderly are clearly more susceptible to becoming depressed as they age. Of course, there are many easily recognized reasons for such statistics to be accurate: Loss of gainful employment that once offered a sense of self-worth, increase in medically related ailments which can often negatively impact physical activities, increased isolation from friends and family, loss of a loved one, inability to be as independent as they once were (i.e., loss of driving privileges), necessary moves out of the family residences to some form of assisted living facility, and many other related reasons. The end result of these many and sad occurrences in our elderly’s lives is an increasingly lowered level of self-esteem, which in turn can further exacerbate the already decreasing medical situations most elderly face as time takes its toll on our bodies and minds.

There are numerous ways to counteract this seemingly natural progression in the aging process. In essence, we are looking at ways to reverse/prevent the negative effects of the aging process on self-esteem. Some of the methods that work well are:

1. Have the senior and/or their family members take better control over their health issues. For example, make regular preventative visits to their family physician. Seek out specialists when required, i.e., using a gerontologist for more age related illnesses such as a geriatric psychiatrist.

2. Continue, or increase, the senior exercise program, even if the senior is in some way restricted due to mobility issues. There are numerous ways to “staying fit” in today’s world. For example, performing yoga from your wheelchair.

3. Increase the senior’s learning regarding their own health issues. “Knowledge is power,” is a very real truism, especially when it comes to handling, understanding, and being proactive about one’s own health issues.

4. Increase your senior’s involvement in helping others. It is most likely that your senior has some very interesting and valuable past experiences, either from work or from their personal lives. Using these experiences to mentor others less experienced is so important in transferring life skills to the up and coming generation, and it is often a useful means to both the mentor and the recipient.

5. Help your senior to have more profound sense of purpose in their life. Restarting forgotten hobbies or pursuing new interests can be very fulfilling, and thus helping to stop the slide in self-esteem.

6. Increase social activities, both from family and friends. Often, our senior is the last one to be included in normal social activities such as birthday celebrations, etc. It may take some effort and an alteration of normal procedures, but make an effort to include the senior in as many of those family activities as possible.

7. And finally, treat your senior, or any senior, as someone of value, someone who has much to offer the younger population, and someone who does not need to be exposed to condescending speech.

Our seniors deserve our respect for many, many reasons. Offering them their full due will clearly help to prevent a lowering of self-esteem. Practice the above suggestions and any other thoughts that you may have that could assist in building solid self-esteem. These efforts will make for a healthier and happier senior and a happier existence for all family members.

To learn more about how Visiting Angels can help your loved one stay independent and happy at home, please feel free to contact us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
6/29/2011 11:39:43 AM
Keeping Our Seniors Cool When It Heats Up
In honor of the commencement of summer, Visiting Angels wants to share this article from St. Mary’s Hospital Center in Montreal, Quebec, containing tips to keep our seniors cool and healthy as the temperature rises.

“Dr. Shek Fung, Acting Chief of Geriatrics at St. Mary’s Hospital Center in Montreal, Quebec, has some handy tips to share to help keep seniors healthy as the weather heats up.

“Seniors tend to lose their sense of thirst and to sweat less,” explains Dr. Fung, “so they become much more susceptible to temperature fluctuations”. Common causes for hospitalizations of seniors during the summer include dehydration, confusion, and respiratory illness which can be exacerbated by allergies or smog alerts.

Dr. Fung encourages all seniors to take precautions to maintain their health this summer, mainly by following these simple tips:

• Be Active. Keep your mind and body active by walking, swimming, or spending time with friends and family. However, if the weather heats up, reduce your exertion accordingly.

• Stay Hydrated. Seniors should hydrate often, unless their physician has directed them otherwise. Water, juice and milk are great options, and caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks and colas should be avoided, as well as alcohol.

• Keep Cool. Wear light clothing, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. In extreme heat, seniors should seek shelter indoors and not hesitate to turn on the air conditioning or open their windows at home for a breeze. Some air-conditioned alternatives to staying at home might include the library or the mall. Cool baths or cold sponge baths are also a great way to cool down.

“In general, typical illnesses will present atypically in the geriatric population,” states Dr. Fung. “For example common ailments like urinary tract infections (UTI’s) may present as confusion or disorientation as opposed to the more common symptoms of fever and burning on urination.”

Here are some additional health tips that seniors should try to follow all year long:

• Take your meds as prescribed. According to Dr. Shek Fung, “only 30-50% of medications are taken according to doctors orders.” He advises seniors to take their medications as prescribed, as skipping pills or changing doses could lead to the medication being ineffective or potentially harmful.

• Talk to a Health Professional. Seniors should see their doctor regularly if they suffer from chronic illness. If difficulties arise with medication dosages, number of prescriptions or remembering when to take their pills, they should talk to a health professional for help.

• Notice Changes. Seniors and their caregivers should take note of any cognitive or functional differences, such as confusion or difficulty doing one’s usual routine. “Lots of little problems that by themselves may not amount to much can add up in the elderly – even if the changes are subtle, it may be worth talking to a health professional,” says Dr. Fung.”

http://www.smhc.qc.ca/en/news-events/news?id=847

To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers, and how we may be of assistance to you or a loved one, please feel free to call us:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
6/21/2011 11:45:58 AM
How of Choose Between Adult Day Care and Home Senior Care
Many times caregivers need to have additional assistance when providing senior care for a family member or friend. When you are evaluating options for senior care, consider the difference between Adult Day Care Centers and Home Senior Care. Each provides a specific service and environment in senior care alternatives. This article will help you make the best choice for your situation by outlining the differences between these options.

Adult Day Care

An Adult Day Care Center is an actual facility that provides a planned program of activities designed for senior care to promote well-being through social interaction. Facilities can be chosen to be medical or non-medical senior care. Transportation needs to be provided but in some situations transportation can be arranged. Adult Day Care Center participants need to be mobile, with the possible assistance of a cane, walker or wheelchair, and in most cases also be continent. Because Adult Day Care differs from Adult Day Health Care a required health assessment will be needed in most cases. Adult Day Care is a fine choice for seniors that want to remain actively engaged. Activities can include but are not limited to arts & crafts, recreational outings, live music and dance. The benefit of Adult Day Care for senior care is the opportunity for different social interactions.

Home Senior Care

Home Senior Care is a more personalized option to meet your specific home senior care needs. It is senior care assistance given in the comfort of your own home. In situations where the person you are caring for is not willing, able or comfortable to leave home many services can be provided by having a trained non-medical caregiver come into your home. As the primary caregiver, you are in charge of every aspect of customizing your Home Senior Care program. You choose the right caregiver from many qualified employees so that you have the right match for your home senior care program. You can customize the home senior care service depending on your needs. Services include but are not limited to aid with simple tasks such as personal hygiene, meal preparation/diet monitoring, light housekeeping, errands and shopping, joyful companionship. Options in Home Senior Care can vary in terms of service such as hourly rates, live-in/live-out, and sleep over, mornings, midday, and evenings, temporary or long term, weekends and holidays. The benefit of the Home Senior Care option is that you make all the right choices and all the right decision to customize your senior care in home program.

Being a caregiver is a tremendous responsibility. Don’t be hesitant to admit you need help. This is one responsibility you don’t have to handle alone. Evaluate your needs and what you want out of a senior care provider. Ask your physicians for senior care referrals, ask your friends, pick up the phone and call senior care programs to find out want options suit your situation best.

Bio: Linda Dunkelberger is a freelance writer and editor working for Visiting Angels, (www.visiting angels.com).across America.

For more information on how Visiting Angels may assist you find resources for a loved one please contact one of our Bay Area offices.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
6/6/2011 3:37:25 PM
New State Report Shows California Fails To Regulate Caregivers
The Contra Costa Times published an article on April 21, 2011 reporting California fails to regulate caregivers. This article brings to light the danger our elderly population is in when working with unregulated caregivers. View the article below in its full form.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A legislative report released Thursday suggests that California is putting its elderly population at risk of theft and abuse because the state does not regulate in-home caregivers.
The report by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes found that California is one of a handful of states that does not regulate in-home care agencies. It found that more than a quarter of caregivers accused or convicted of crimes had committed prior offenses and warned that many agencies do a shoddy job of conducting background checks on potential caregivers.
Few people even know they have a right to request a background check on a potential caregiver.
In one case, a woman convicted of stealing $43,000 from a church and $18,675 from her bed-ridden mother got a job as a caregiver through a classified ad in the newspaper. She moved into an elderly woman's home, started charging the client rent, bought cars on her client's bank accounts and put the woman's house up for sale before she was finally caught.
One of the victim's relatives said government should take steps to protect its seniors.
"Maybe there need to be some regulations that say you don't get to just walk in off the street and live in someone's home," Kellie Ikenberry said in a statement. Her parents unknowingly hired a caregiver with a criminal background who she said stole from them.
The report urges the state to let clients check on past convictions and create a registry that would allow clients to find caregivers who have been screened. It also recommended a public awareness campaign to let the elderly know they are entitled to a state Department of Justice background check when they are thinking of hiring a caregiver.
The Associated Press
Posted: 04/21/2011 02:33:37 PM PDT
Updated: 04/21/2011 03:33:29 PM PDT

Visiting Angels has recently upgraded our background screening system to bring the most comprehensive and accurate background check available. Visiting Angels is now using a company that surpasses a standard LIVESCAN or Fingerprint. Our top priority is the wellbeing and safety of our clients. Our caregivers are always interview, screened, and supervised. It is our hope that articles like this will result in increased public awareness will educate seniors and their loved ones to make informed and wise choices when selecting homecare.

To find out more information about hiring homecare contact one of out three Bay Area offices.

San Ramon (925) 552-6500
Marin (415) 499-1200
Stockton (209)952-3585
6/6/2011 3:31:35 PM
How Important is Socialization?
The long barren hallways of a nursing home, ten or twenty wheelchair bound frail seniors, heads slumped down, never looking up at the scurrying nurses rushing by to handle one emergency after another – the picture is indelibly written on our minds. This is not socialization – it is isolationism. Yet, study after study has shown that some form of active socialization can have a positive affect on one’s health. The sad truth is that as many of our elderly age, they begin to lose their social contacts and there are logical reasons for this loss.

First, our elderly begin to lose their ability to drive – clearly a means to an independent life style; thus limiting their access to friends, relatives, and social activities. Second, as one spouse becomes ill, the other spouse becomes more homebound in order to care for his or her spouse – again, further developing a form of social isolationism. And third, as we age, many of our friends pass away – further reducing the potential for normal social contacts. The result is a moderately constant decline in social function as we age.

The need to maintain social interactions, and thus good health, is strong. The following points have been paraphrased from the article by Gary M. Skole, Elderly in Home Care Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Socialization, Ezine Articles, January 5, 2010:

•Those elderly folks who get out and interact and spend more time with people during cold/flu season actually get fewer colds and illnesses than those who spend most of their time alone.
•Those folks with a companion pet to interact with have fewer illnesses than people who do not have a companion animal.
•Those who often use the words “I”, “mine”, and “me” during casual conversation are more susceptible to heart attacks than those who do not focus on themselves.
•Our natural immune system is negatively affected by social isolationism.

A recent Harvard School of Public Health study published in The American Journal of Public Health, suggests that “strong social ties, through friends, family, and community groups, can preserve our brain health as we age and that social isolation may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline in the elderly.” (Tara Parker-Pope, Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems, The New York Times, Well, June 4, 2008). The study indicated that those elderly engaged in many social contacts had the slowest rate of memory decline. The idea is to not sit and wither away, but rather engage in some form of social activity beyond the limited world of friends (which are, unfortunately, naturally declining).

With this perspective in mind, below are some tips for increasing social activities with the elder person in your life:

•Learn a new skill. Engage your elder in learning a new language for example. Or any type of brain stimulation game (my 11 year old has a Nintendo DS hand held game in which we can place a small card offering up many brain
teaser/stimulations games – and it’s fun).
•Volunteer at local soup kitchens or libraries. Work a part-time job at Walmart as a “greeter.” Suggest to your elder that enjoys walking to volunteer to maintain your local hiking trails.
•Join other social groups, such as church or civic organizations like the Kiwanis or Knights of Columbus.
•Contact the local town hall and see what the senior activities are in that area. Many local organizations schedule their activities through a town hall and seek out local workers and volunteers to assist with helping others continue to enjoy their social lives.
•Get your senior fit, and while doing that join a local gym where social interaction is certainly more prevalent than sitting at home.

For many elders, their social lifestyle is already in place, yet that does not mean they cannot change. Encourage your elder to get up, get out, and live again by interacting with others – it can really benefit their health!

For more information about Visiting Angels and how our caregivers can help your loved stay socially connected, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

5/3/2011 3:59:09 PM
Combating the Stress of Elderly Care
It is stressful being a caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one, no matter how much you may love them. There is a significant amount of disruption to your life and schedule, as well as the worry and sorrow of watching one you love become more helpless. There are also feelings involved with elderly care including frustration, guilt, resentment, and hopelessness. Feeling unappreciated for all of the work you do also contributes to anxiety. There are some ways to combat the stress of elderly care including getting help and support, maintaining your health, and staying organized about the patient’s health and care.

Allowing yourself assistance and support is critical to managing stress when caring for someone. Hold a family meeting and include the patient to identify problems and solutions. Together you can plan the care of the patient and share responsibilities so that you do not try to do everything alone. Seek additional help from professionals, community resources, or support groups for any specific medical conditions like Alzheimer’s or cancer.

Maintaining your personal health is important in helping you deal with the stress of elderly care. Getting proper nutrition, rest, and exercise allows for your stable physical and mental health. Neglecting your health problems will allow stress to catch up with you easily. You will not continue to be a strong caretaker if you put your needs last. This can lead to emotional exhaustion, depression, and illness. Understanding and communicating your feelings is also part of maintaining your health. There are fewer negative effects of stress for people who admit their feelings and express them.

It is important to stay organized and have awareness about the details of the patient’s care. You should be educated about legal matters, finances, and support services, and have knowledge about the patient’s medical condition. This helps the day to day process move along more smoothly, so that you do not become overwhelmed with logistics. In case of an emergency, a list of the patient’s doctors, hospital, pharmacy, and medications should be on hand to make an urgent situation less stressful.

Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services is a home care agency offering compassionate and experienced caregivers to help your loved one remain in their home. Visitingangels allows you to maintain your schedule and provides a respite for family members providing services such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, hygiene assistance, and companionship.

For more information about how Visiting Angels can help you care for your loved one contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano Counties (925) 552-6500
Marin County (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin County (209) 952-3585



3/20/2011 3:57:36 PM
Celebrate Social Work Month 2011
Visiting Angels wishes to extend a warm and heartfelt “Thank You” to all of our social worker friends that have helped us make the world a better place for Seniors. Without caring and understanding social workers, we would not be able to see a happy and satisfied senior population maintaining their comfortable lifestyle where they want and need to be...at home! The helpful advice and consultation from our cherished colleagues has assisted Visiting Angels in making informed, educated decisions to provide the best homecare possible. So thank you again and enjoy your honored month. You’ve earned it!

3/1/2011 1:34:51 PM
Visiting Angels and Alzheimer's Association National Partnership
Visiting Angels is proud to announce our most recent nationwide partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). The Alzheimer’s Association has been the global leader in the areas of research advancement, education, and the fight for a world without Alzheimer’s.

Over the years Visiting Angels has continued to work with clients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We have been able to provide our clients with experienced caregivers who offer tireless support allowing them to safely stay at home as long as possible.

All Visiting Angels agencies will now be listed in the Alzheimer’s Association local chapter click here for access to the Alzheimers Association site.

Please join us as we continue our mission to provide support for individuals who suffer from this disease.
1/31/2011 4:52:20 PM
Alzheimer's Association Study

Monthly News Article
February 2011

African-Americans at great risk of Alzheimer’s disease
With February being Black History Month, it’s a good time to note a few facts about African-Americans and Alzheimer’s disease.

African-Americans have a higher rate of vascular disease (diseases involving blood vessels, including heart attack and stroke), one of the suspected risk factors of Alzheimer's. According to 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, a report by the Alzheimer’s Association, African-Americans are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer's than whites, being twice as likely to have the disease. And although African-Americans have a higher rate of Alzheimer's than whites to have Alzheimer's and dementia, they are less likely than whites to receive a diagnosis.

Research shows that many African-American family members recognize the value of having a diagnosis, but long delays often occur between the recognition of symptoms of cognitive impairment and the scheduling of a medical evaluation. Such delays result in some African-Americans not getting treatments when available medications are more likely to be effective. They also have less opportunity to make legal, financial and care plans while still able to do so.
It may be difficult to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. To help, the Alzheimer's Association has created a list of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's and related dementias. If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the warning signs, please see a doctor.

For more information on African-Americans and Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.alz.org/africanamerican/.

“Reprinted by permission of the Alzheimer’s Association. © 2011 Alzheimer’s Association. All rights reserved."

For more information on how Visiting Angels may assist you find resources for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease please contact one of our Bay Area offices.

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
4/28/2011 4:44:20 PM
We Won the Pinnacle Award!
We are proud to announce that we are the receipients of the 2010 Pinnacle Award, an annual award given to the top Visiting Angels office in the nation. The award is based on overall excellence and superior service and was announced at the Visiting Angels National Conference in Boston. It is the highest award level recognized by the Visiting Angels National Office.

“We are proud of the hard work and dedication that have resulted in this award. We consistently strive to be the top provider of in-home care in the Bay Area,” said Kelly Miller, Director. “Our goal is to give unparalleled service to all of our clients and to recruit the most skilled and compassionate caregivers to continue this tradition. This award is confirmation to our entire staff that their attention to detail and commitment to excellence makes a difference.”

This is the first year we have received the Pinnacle Award. We credit our ongoing success to our caring and committed administrative and caregiving staff, as well as the many relationships we have built with local partners including hospitals, assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities.

Thank you for your support as we continue to provide outstanding homecare to the Bay Area community!

For more information about our award winning homecare services, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
10/4/2010 1:43:46 PM
Best of San Joaquin 2010
We are proud to announce that our Stockton office was voted 1st Place in the Home Health Care category for the Best of San Joaquin 2010!!!

Congratulations to our Stockton team. This recognition is well-deserved! Keep up the great work providing outstanding homecare to the San Joaquin Valley!

Photobucket

For more informaton about Visiting Angels and how our caregivers can assist your loved one of any age, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
9/20/2010 12:35:22 PM
Homecare: Not Just for Seniors!
It's true that a large majority of our clients at Visiting Angels are seniors. But did you know that we also care for a significant number of clients who are far from retirement age?

Homecare services are helpful in any situation where an individual needs assistance maintaining independence at home. Because the core of our non-medical services is providing help with the basics of daily living, there are countless scenarios where choosing to hire a caregiver can be an invaluable decision for anyone at any age.

A few examples of non-senior clients we have cared for include:

  • Children: We have helped families with children living with long or short term illnesses and disabilities that, in many cases, require care throughout the day. Frequent medication reminders, constant companionship and other routine activities make meeting a child's care needs difficult for parents who cannot be with them all day due to work or other responsibilities.

  • New moms: Light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands and other household tasks are life savers for new moms who are adjusting to life with an infant while simultaneously recovering physically and caring for other children.

  • Post-op Recovery: Whether cosmetic or routine, outpatient or inpatient, people of every age require additional assistance after a surgical procedure to maintain their independence and recover successfully. Visiting Angels can assist with picking up perscriptions, meal preparation, transportation to follow-up appointments and other tasks that spouses or other familiy members may not be available to help with.


  • For more informaton about Visiting Angels and how our caregivers can assist your loved one of any age, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    8/18/2010 10:20:01 AM
    Hospital Discharge Assistance
    Those of us who work in homecare are no stranger to the trials and tribulations of the hospital discharge process. We help many of our clients through the journey from admission to diagnosis to discharge, and are well aware of the pitfalls that can arise if you are going through the process without an experienced advocate.

    Unfortunately, due to insurance limitations, overcrowded hospitals, lengthening life expectancy and a host of other factors, the hospital discharge process is becoming increasingly traumatic- and consequently, increasingly ineffective. A high percentage of elderly patients who are discharged from a hospital will be re-admitted within 30 days. This is a huge probem that needs to be faced head on by all of us working in the continuum of care.

    Until a major healthcare system overaul takes place it is crucial that patients who are admitted into hospitals understand what they are facing and are armed with the right tools to successfully navigate a hospitalization. A recently published column in The New York Times sheds light on this issue and offers some invaluable tips. You can read the article here.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help you or a loved one successfully navigate the hospitalization process to an effective transition back home, please contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    7/12/2010 5:13:42 PM
    Happy Fourth of July!
    As you celebrate our nation's birthday, think about the seniors in your community who have fought to protect our freedom and now rely on us to ensure their independence.

    At Visiting Angels we celebrate Senior Independence Day everyday!!

    Have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday!

    From the Visiting Angels Team
    7/2/2010 2:21:08 PM
    A Cautionary Tale
    We are always heartbroken to learn about a senior who is abused by their caregiver. Unfortunately, it happens more frequently than anyone would like- just ask the overloaded office of Adult Protective Services in any county. Some stories are more shocking than others, as is the case of the recent murder of a Pleasant Hill woman by her live-in caregiver. You can read the story here.

    As unfathomable as this situation is, there is a very important lesson to take away from Ms. Scanlon's tragic death: Never hire a caregiver without knowing their background. Whether you go through an agency that takes care of screening and background checking their caregivers or hire someone privately and conduct your own background check, never let anyone into your home or your loved one's home without first thoroughly checking them out.

    While the majority of individuals who become caregivers do so with the best intentions and most caring of hearts, there are unfortunately those out there who are opportunists and are looking to take advantage of a vulnerable senior. Be smart, work with someone you trust, and whenever possible, hire caregivers through a full-service agency that thoroughly screens their employees- like Visiting Angels.

    Pass this important lesson along to anyone and everyone you know to help avoid future tragedies like Ms. Scanlon's death.

    For more information about hiring a fully screened and background checked caregiver, contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/3/2011 2:25:09 PM
    Moving an Elder with Alzheimer's Disease
    At Visiting Angels we care for many people living with Alzheimer's disease. Most of these individuals are in the early to moderate stages of the disease and do well staying at home with help from a caregiver.

    However, because Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease, many of our clients reach a point where it is no longer safe or appropriate for them to stay home- even with 24 hour care in place.

    In such situations, our caregivers communicate their concerns to our care team and we make a recommendation to the family. Typically this recommendation involves transitioning the elder into a community that specializes in working with memory impairment.

    In the Bay Area we are fortunate to have many outstanding options for memory care. One local company, Emeritus Senior Living, recently published tips for easing an elder's transition from home into a memory care community. Here is what Emeritus suggests:

    Before the move, make your loved one's new room or space look and feel as familiar as possible. Moving from one home to another can trigger anxiety for anyone. For a person with Azheimer's disease, however, a changed routine and an unfamiliar environment can be extremely stressful. If you're helping a loved one with Alzheimer's move to a new home or into a care facility, make the transition as comfortable as possible.

    Decorate the area with meaningful possessions. Familiar belongings can trigger feelings of ownership and boost their sense of security.

    Here are some recommended items for their new room:

    • Personal family photos - especially of parents and siblings.

    • A favorite blanket or throw for over the bed.

    • Favorite bedding can make the resident feel more at home instead of new bedding.

    • Familiar furniture can be better and more familiar than new.

    • A CD player and favorite music CD's are better than watching TV.

    • Bath towels that are familiar or similar to ones they had at home.


    Also stock the space with pictures of family and friends, memory books or photo albums. Reminiscing about the past can help a person with Alzheimer's bring important memories into the present. Label the pictures to help employees and others identify with the people in their lives and encourage conversations about the past.

    To see the article on the Emeritus page, click here.

    For more information about Visiting Angels and how we can help someone you know who is living with Alzheimer's disease, please contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    6/1/2010 9:53:41 AM
    Welcome Claudia, our new RN Care Manager!
    We are proud to announce the addition of Claudia Simone, R.N. as care manager to the care team in our San Ramon office! Claudia will oversee complex case management and share client assessment responsibilities with our Branch Manager. In addition, she will be actively involved in the development of our client care plans.

    “We are proud to offer our clients Claudia Simone’s valuable services as part of our comprehensive professional, non-medical homecare,” said Kelly Miller, our Community Relations Dirctor. “Claudia’s extensive experience will truly benefit our clientele, and she is an extremely valuable addition to our team.”

    Claudia brings with her over 36 years of nursing experience. Prior to joining Visiting Angels, she was a Director of Health Services for Assisted Living Communities in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She was also the Clinic Director for Axis Community Health in Alameda County, a Nurse Manager for Bayspring Women’s Medical Group in San Francisco, and she worked in a nephrology practice in Florida. She has also trained in Title 22 Regulations Division 6 of the Department of Social Services pertaining to retirement communities for the elderly.

    We welcome Claudia warmly and are excited about the clinical insight she brings to our team. With Claudia on board we look forward to offering our clients an even higher level of premium, professional, and reliable non-medical services.

    For more information about Visiting Angels, our care management and homecare services, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/19/2010 6:50:33 PM
    Aging is NOT a Medical Event
    Let me say it out loud: "Aging is not a medical event!" Normal aging does not require hospitalization. It is a natural process, a part of life. In fact, most people live their entire life at home.

    But what happens when an older adult gets sick? Usually, they continue to stay at home. And they recuperate with much less risk of infection and a higher level of satisfaction than is possible in a hospital.

    The limits to aging in place have more to do with safety, nutrition and security than medical events. Is the house or apartment a safe place that is designed to minimize the possibility of falling? Is there proper provision for nutrition so that regular healthy shopping and eating are a part of the aging lifestyle? Is there a risk for fire or for crime to occur? And is the older adult still driving when it is past the time when they can accomplish it safely?

    Then there is the question of social life. Is the older adult alone too much of the time? Is this leading to despair and possibly even depression and thoughts of death?

    The answer to these questions or limits doesn't have to do with buildings or building material. It doesn't have to do with a physician or a nurse. Rather, it has to do with human care and kindness.

    For years family members have helped their elders as they got older. In some cultures elders have even been given a special place of honor so they are included as important components of the society. But that is not how it is in contemporary America. It is important that we come to terms with the difference.

    In America we rely on caregivers to provide support for aging adults. They are either family members or paid caregivers who provide the safety, security, nutrition, transportation and socialization that seniors need to live a normal live.

    These caregivers offer kindness and companionship, help in preventing falls, do driving, cleaning and cooking—and generally make it possible for seniors to continue to live alone in their own homes despite factors of age and frailty. With all this, it is safe and sensible for seniors to continue to age in their own home without thought or need for institutionalized medical care.

    By Kathy Johnson, PhD
    Article from www.eldr.com

    To find out more about Visiting Angels and our homecare services, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/10/2010 5:08:31 PM
    Take the Pressure Off
    Many are expected to take care of elderly parents or family members as their parents age and become less independent. It is very difficult, especially considering that most caregivers have their own careers and families to take care of as well. Families are happy to take care of their loved ones; however, it is recommended that there is some type of additional senior care to give respite to families. This is helpful with daily tasks and overnight and out of town needs.

    There are a multitude of basic needs, including household maintenance and chores to be tended to when aiding in senior care. Fundamentals such as bathing and grooming, preparing meals, household chores, and paying bills are some examples of what needs to be done for someone. Perhaps some of these can be done by family members, but many times it is too much to handle, and additional caregivers are needed. Services are available to provide help for these basic senior care needs and companionship.

    In addition to chores and keeping up with household duties, maybe a challenge is overnight care, or even being responsible for someone who lives out of town. In this day and age, it is common for families to live great distances from each other. If the adult child who is responsible for a senior lives out of town, how will their parent get to a doctor’s appointment, have a companion to check in on them, or take their proper medication? Hired senior care is available, and they offer caring, secure, and trained caregivers. Perhaps a family has coverage during the day, but is unable to spend the night with a loved one, and would feel more secure if their parent had someone in their home overnight. These senior care services are available also.

    Visiting Angels provides caring, at-home caregivers offering respite for families, alleviating the stress that they may have. Visitingangels.com has caregivers that can help with hygiene assistance, meal preparation, housekeeping, errands, and much more. They allow the maintenance of a family’s schedule while providing personalized care.

    Bio: Grace Enderlein is a freelance writer and editor. “Take the Pressure off With Senior Care” notes that respite care from Visitingangels.com is helpful for a family caring for a loved one in need.

    To learn more about Visiting Angels and how our experienced caregivers can help you take the pressure off, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/3/2010 4:27:50 PM
    Earth Angels
    At Visiting Angels it is our goal to care for our community as a whole. This includes caring for the environment and practicing "green" behavior both at home and at work.

    With Earth Day right around the corner, Visiting Angels is sharing tips with our fellow professionals for how to make your workplace more environmentally friendly.

    Here are the top 5 Visiting Angels Earth Day tips for your office:

    1. Start a recycling program if your office doesn't already have one. It's easy, saves energy and pollution, and you can pool your recycling earnings to use for fun office extras.

    2. Paper or plastic? Neither! They both gobble up natural resources and cause significant pollution. Save energy and trees by bringing your lunch in a reusable bag.

    3. Americans send 29 billion plastic water bottles a year to our landfills, lakes, rivers and oceans. It takes 17 million barrels of crude oil to produce them- enough oil to keep a million cars going for a year! Reach for a reusable water bottle instead.

    4. Turn off your computer or set it to hibernate when your day at the office is done. This alone can save $75 per computer per year in energy use.

    5. Turn off your computer screen whenever you leave your office. Screen savers are not energy savers. Using a screen saver may in fact use more energy than not using one!

    For more information about these and other Earth Day tips, visit these sites:

    www.energystar.gov

    www.reusablebags.com

    www.nationalgeographic.com

    To find out more about Visiting Angels and our homecare services, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    4/12/2010 2:51:53 PM
    Know the Difference: Homecare Agencies and Private Caregivers
    At Visiting Angels all of our caregivers are our employees. What does that mean for you, the consumer?

    We run background and reference checks on all caregivers.
    We handle all worker's compensation claims.
    We carry liability insurance for all of our caregivers.
    If something happens while a Visiting Angels caregiver is in your home you are not legally responsible- we are.
    We handle all federal and state taxes for our caregivers so you don't have to.
    We verify employment eligiblity.
    We conduct ongoing supervision of all Visiting Angels caregivers.

    Because we know we are not always the right option for every potential client we want to educate the public about the differences between employee-based companies like Visiting Angels and other companies who provide caregivers that are not employees. Be sure to ask every homecare company you research about how they handle the issues listed above. This will ensure you are not getting into a situation that you are not prepared to handle.

    This article from the Wall Street Journal further outlines some of the differences between employee-based and referral agencies. It provides insight into why you should ask about caregivers' employment status when looking to hire an in-home care company.

    What to Know If You Are The Boss of a Private Caregiver

    To learn more about Visiting Angels and our experienced team of caregivers please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    3/15/2010 10:52:21 AM
    Finding Long Term Care
    Finding the right long term care option for you or your loved one can be overwhelming. It is emotional and can often become a jumble of information, paperwork, processes and procedures.

    Looking for long term care options raises many questions- Can I stay in my home? Am I appropriate for an assisted living facility? What are my needs? What can I afford?

    It also introduces a number of terms that the average person probably isn't familiar with: board and care home, home health v. homecare, palliative care, licensed v. unlicensed, and CNA (Certified Nurse's Aid), just to name a few.

    Luckily, many professionals in the senior healthcare industry recognize the difficult nature of the process of finding the right long term care option. As a result there are an increasing number of tools available to help make the decision easier. Here is a short list of resources to get you started:

    Placement Specialists:

    It is the job of a placement specialist to be the expert on long term care options in a given community. They keep up-to-date on the status of facilities by conducting a regular rotation of visits- some scheduled, some impromptu- to check up on the places they recommend to their clients.

    During their visits, placement specialists not only look into the care and licensing in each facility but at the intangibles that are important to families and future residents. What is the ambiance? Do the residents seem active and engaged? Is the facility clean and the staff attentive?

    For a list of recommended placement specialists in your area contact your loal Visiting Angels office.

    Online Tools:

    Websites for finding long term care resources are popping up right and left. Some are simply online directories, others are a little more involved and help walk you through your needs and identify your options.

    CalQualityCare.org is a great place to start. You can search for resources and take a quiz to identify what type of care you're looking for. Note: this site does not list non-medical options like Visiting Angels. The resources are provided by the State of California and only include licensed care options.

    Non-profit Organizations:

    Most communities are fortunate to have non-profit organizations that help connect seniors and their families with long term care resources. Some of these organizations are affiliated with hospitals and others are independent.

    We refer many of our clients in the East Bay to John Muir Senior Services. This comprehensive organization is a one-stop shop for senior-related information in Contra Costa County. Anyone can call and speak with a social worker who can assess the caller's needs and recommend appropriate long term care options.

    Ask your doctor, senior center or friends if they know of a similar organization in your area.


    To learn more about Visiting Angels and find out how we fit into your long term care plan, or to receive further information about the long term care resources listed above, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    2/8/2010 1:14:34 PM
    Cold Weather Warnings
    Winter 2009-2010 has already brought record cold temperatures to the Bay Area and the rest of the US- and it's only January! With weeks to go before the relief of Spring it is crucial that anyone who cares for a senior is aware of the dangers of cold weather.

    The National Institute on Aging publishes a pamphlet called, "Stay Safe in Cold Weather!". It contains vital information about the risks posed by winter weather as well as tips for keeping older adults safe and healthy through the cold months.

    To view or order the pamphlet click here.

    1/18/2010 3:05:05 PM
    Silvers Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show
    Emergency response systems that work anywhere? Online status updates from the staff at your parent's nursing home? A website customized to make caregiving easier? According to attendants at the second annual Silvers Summit technology show these and other advancements could represent the future of aging.

    Major tech companies are recognizing the opportunities for growth in senior healthcare, a traditionally low tech industry. But how practical are these inventions? What is the probability that they will be implemented in the near future?

    Read a discussion about this topic here. For more information about the Silvers Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show, click here.



    1/11/2010 11:50:25 AM
    Happy Holidays from Visiting Angels!
    We wish you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

    The Visiting Angels Team
    5/10/2010 5:31:55 PM
    Transportation Services
    We have received a lot of inquiries from people looking for assistance with transportation. In response to this need Visiting Angels is proud to present our transportation service!

    Our transportation service includes:

  • Door-to-door pick-up and drop-off

  • 3 hours of service *

  • 10 miles of free transportation **

  • Companionship and assistance

  • Our caregiver will wait with you

  • Flexible Scheduling

  • No Long Term or Ongoing Obligation

  • All caregivers are screened, bonded and insured with valid CA Driver’s Licenses and car insurance (can also drive insured client’s car)


  • Think of us for:

  • Outpatient Surgery and Procedures

  • Grocery Shopping

  • Prescription Pick-up

  • Doctor Appointments

  • Beauty Parlor Visits

  • Errands

  • Hospital Discharge Assistance

  • And much more!


  • To schedule transportation or for more information, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    11/30/2009 10:53:48 AM
    November
    The month of November is designated to draw attention to a few causes that are near and dear to our hearts here at Visiting Angels. Follow the links below to learn more about these causes as well as ways you can recognize some very important people and organizations during the month of November.


    National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month


    National Family Caregivers' Month


    National Hospice/Palliative Care Month


    11/2/2009 3:53:26 PM
    Earthquake Preparedness
    The recent 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake reminded all of us living in the Bay Area of how important it is to be prepared. With fears of "The Big One" looming it's critical that we have disaster supplies on hand and an emergency plan in place.

    For our clients and other seniors living in the Bay Area there are additional considerations. Health complications, physical impairments and isolation are very real issues facing seniors in our community, and they make disaster preparedness more complex. Questions that arise include, how can you ensure that you will have your necessary daily medications on hand after a major earthquake? If you live in an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility, how will you know where to go and what to do if the building sustains damage? If you have limited mobility or are no longer able to drive, what will you do if there is an evacuation?

    Various organizations offer information about how to assemble a survival kit, what to include in your disaster plan and other crucial tips to be prepared in the event of an earthquake. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) along with many partner organizations published the handbook Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country. An online version can be found here.

    Rebuilding Together Oakland published a helpful handbook that focuses on extra steps seniors should take to be prepared. The Earthquake Preparedness Manual: Survival Guide for Seniors can be found here.

    It doesn't take much effort to be prepared, but preparation is the key to surviving a major disaster like an earthquake. Use the publications above as a guide and make sure you have supplies in your home, office and car- you never know where you'll be when disaster strikes. Most importantly, be sure not only to prepare yourself but think about anyone you know who can't prepare themselves and may not have anyone else available to help.

    For more information about disaster preparedness for seniors and the homecare services we provide at Visiting Angels, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/23/2009 5:23:30 PM
    National Case Management Week
    October 11-17 is National Case Management Week. This is the time of year when case managers around the nation are recognized for the important work they do and the contributions they make to healthcare.

    But what is case management exactly? According to the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), "Case management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual's health needs through communication and available resources to promote quality cost-effective outcomes."

    At Visiting Angels we and our clients owe a lot to case managers. These individuals at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and private organizations assist seniors in identifying their needs and connecting them with the resources necessary to meet those needs. Often, we will get a call from a case manager working with a senior who needs assistance staying independent at home. Conversely, Visiting Angels will contact a case manager when we recognize that one of our clients could use some additional services that we may not provide.

    Case managers are extremely deserving of our thanks and we'd like to take this opportunity to wish all case managers a very happy National Case Management Week!

    For more information about National Case Management Week click here.

    To learn more about Visiting Angels and how we can help you or your loved one stay independent in the comfort of your home, please contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/12/2009 4:48:45 PM
    Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Take the opportunity to educate yourself about the disaese, increase awareness and celebrate those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.

    For more information about Breast Cancer Awareness Month visit http://www.nbcam.org/.
    10/2/2009 2:15:58 PM
    DASHA
    Visiting Angels is part of a new group that has formed to help Danville area seniors and their families locate vital healthcare services. The members of the Danville Area Senior Health Advocates (DASHA) saw a need for educating the Danville community about the many outstanding services available in their own backyards. The group of 10 organizations, including Visiting Angels, banded together with a mission to "assist seniors and families in accessing quality local resources, services and information for every level of senior care."

    DASHA has had informational booths at the Danville Hot August Nights and will have a booth once a month at the Danville Farmer's Market. For a calendar of events and more information about DASHA and its member organizations, visit the DASHA blog or send an email to dashanews@gmail.com.

    For more information about the homecare services provided by Visiting Angels in the Danville area and throughout the Bay Area, please call one of our local offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    9/21/2009 3:49:11 PM
    Caregivers and "Swine" Flu
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is predicting that 30-50% of Americans could contract the 2009 H1N1 Virus- commonly known as "Swine" Flu- during the 2009-2010 flu season. As flu season is officially upon us, there are many things the public can do to try and stay healthy during this period.

    It is particularly important that anyone working closely with vulnerable populations is aware of what can be done to prevent the spread of the Swine Flu. Although seniors are not thought to be disproportionately impacted by the Swine Flu, it's still important for caregivers to avoid any behavior that may put their care recipient at risk- especially if the care recipient has a condition that makes them more suseptible to the virus, like a chronic respiratory condition or compromised immune system.

    The following information taken from the San Francisco Examiner offers steps that caregivers can take to help their care recipients avoid falling victim to the Swine Flu:

    Swine flu is a highly contagious disease, easily spread person-to-person by virus particles contained in coughs, sneezes, or personal contact (such as kissing or on hands). Caring for the elderly is a huge responsibility and the last thing anyone wants to do is spread the flu or swine flu by not practicing hygienic practices.

    If you are a home care worker or health care worker, your job becomes more strenuous during the flu season. Below are some tips to ensure the continued health of your charges:

    1. Schedule and get your own flu shots - for both the flu and the swine flu. The flu shot does NOT protect against Swine flu so make sure to get immunized against both. Swine flu shots are proposed to be available in October sometime and come in a series of 2 shots, 3 weeks apart.

    2. Ensure your elderly friends are immunized against flu and pneumonia. The CDC recognizes that most elderly subjects have some natural immunity to swine flu so are more concerned with immunizing the primary targeted groups before the elderly.

    3. Monitor visitors coming in. Everyone wants their darling child to visit grandma or grandpa but little ones are breeding grounds for illnesses due to having a new immune system. The elderly are especially susceptible to illness so keep anyone with a running nose, cough or sneeze away from the people for whom you care. Swine flu contagion period is 7 days after symptoms start but children may remain contagious for much longer.

    4. Ask visitors to keep kissing and touching to a minimum. It's a good time to practice 'air kisses' or 'blowing kisses' from young children to the elderly.

    5. Keep antibiotic solutions (such as Pyrex) handy throughout the house. Controversy exists about whether antibiotic solutions really help reduce the spread of flu or Swine flu as they're viruses but it can't hurt! Ask visitors to use the solution before touching the elderly.

    6. Monitor the CDC Fluview spread maps to see where confirmed cases are, on a week by week basis. Increase prevention maneuvers accordingly - if flu cases have been confirmed in your immediate area, you might want to consider instituting a 'no visit' policy. Phone calls are always allowed....

    For more information about the non-medical caregiving services we provide at Visiting Angels please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    9/8/2009 1:03:12 PM
    My Vial of Life
    Medication errors can be deadly, so developing a plan to help you avoid them is a must. The best way to prevent a medication error is to know your medications and when and how to take. Creating a personalized medication record will help you keep track of when to take your medication so that you do not make mistakes or miss doses. If you are unable to create a medication record yourself, ask your caregiver, doctor or pharmacist to help. Remember, you are the boss when it comes to your medication and taking a proactive stance will help ensure your medication safety.

    The Vial of Life program consists of a vial (empty pill bottle, plastic bag or other container), labeled with a Vial of Life sticker, inside which is placed a medical form which has been filled out stating the health status of the individual and current medications being taken. The vial is placed in the refrigerator, usually recommended to be on the top shelf of the door, because it has been shown that the refrigerator's contents are preserved in the event of a fire. Stickers are placed in the front window of the home so that responding emergency personnel will know to look for the Vial.

    For more information, visit the Vial of Life website.
    9/1/2009 12:37:05 PM
    Memory Walk 2009
    Visting Angels is once again participating in the annual Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk. The Memory Walk is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, Memory Walk has raised more than $260 million for the cause.

    This year Team Visiting Angels is hoping to recruit 20 members and raise $10,000. Will you join us?

    For more information about the event and to join or sponsor our team, please visit our Memory Walk website.

    Thank you!
    8/17/2009 5:32:11 PM
    End of Life Tools
    When a loved one is nearing the end of life, the last things anyone wants to be distracted by are legal issues. Unfortunately, along with the emotional and psychological components of the dying process come many important legal and medical questions. Who is responsible for making health care decisions on the patient's behalf if the patient is unable to? Should the patient be given CPR if the need arises? Should the patient's organs be donated?

    There are many tools available to avoid confusion around these issues that arise at the end of a person's life. The Mayo Clinic has put together a helpful tip sheet that describes these tools and outlines their purpose. The information in the Mayo Clini's tip sheet can help you or your loved one prepare for both unexpected and expected end of life situations.

    To view the tip sheet click here.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help care for your loved one at the end of life, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    7/27/2009 4:54:48 PM
    Improving Doctor-Patient Communication
    Good communication between patient and practitioner is essential to good care. Practitioners need to know the whole story about a patient's condition, lifestyle, symptoms, etc... in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Patients need to receive all the facts and understand completely what their practitioner is telling them in order to follow instructions and stay healthy. Information about the patient's condition can then be passed on to other healthcare providers, such as Visiting Angels, in order to ensure that the patient is receiving the right level of care. If communication fails at any point in this chain, the result could be serious for the patient.

    Provider-patient communication improves drastically if a patient is prepared for their appointment. Following the simple tips in this article can result in more successful trips to the doctor, which means a better chance that the patient is receiving the care they need.

    For more information about Visiting Angels and how we can help provide the care your loved ones need to stay healthy and independent, please contact one of our local Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    7/20/2009 2:35:10 PM
    Nursing Home Complaint Center
    Over the years, we at Visiting Angels have unfortunately heard many complaints about the care provided in some nursing homes. Overall, skilled nursing and rehab facilities provide outstanding services to patients who are recovering from a major surgery or illness or who require ongoing assistance beyond what an assisted living community or homecare company can provide. However, there are some homes that do not operate to the highest standards.

    To help educate the public about nursing home performance, the consumer advocacy group America's Watchdog created the Nursing Home Complaint Center. The Nursing Home Complaint Center fields calls about potential situations of neglect and abuse in nursing home and acts as an advocate on behalf of the patient. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you can call the Nursing Home Complaint Center at (866) 714-6466.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help provide supplemental care to your loved one who is in a nursing home, please call one of our local Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    7/17/2009 3:27:38 PM
    Women's Top Health Threats
    There are many misconceptions about what diseases pose the greatest threat to women. The following list, courtesy of Health Net of California, ranks the diseases that cause the most deaths among American women:

    1. HEART DISEASE

    It's common to think that breast cancer is the #1 killer of women, however, heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.

    2. CANCER

    Did you know that the most common cancer killer among women is lung cancer? It is followed by breast cancer and colorectal cancer, the latter commonly thought of as a men's disease.

    3. STROKE

    Approximately two-thirds of the deaths from stroke are women. Smoking and uncontrolled blood pressure are major risk factors. Stroke is also one of the leading causes of disibility in America.

    4. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)

    An overall term for a group of chronic lung conditions, it's major cause is smoking and is associated with lung cancer. COPD includes bronchitis and emphysema and one's quality of life diminishes in relation to the progression of the disease.

    5. DIABETES

    An estimated 5 million Americans are unaware that they have diabetes. Complications are usuallly life threatening and include blindness, kidney damage, and severe nerve damage. Those with diabetes are also two to four times more likesly to have a stroke or heart disease.

    The risk of contracting many of these diseases can be lessened through simple lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or improving eating habits. Making basic adjustments like these can drastically improve the odds of living a long and healthy life.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can assist anyone you know who is suffering from these and other conditions, please contact one of our local Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    6/26/2009 4:25:05 PM
    Mom Took Care Of You...
    ...Now the Tables are Turned

    There’s nothing like a mother’s love. Whether she was making your school lunch, giving you a pep talk after a disappointment, acting as your biggest cheerleader, or spoiling your kids, Mom was always there for you.

    Perhaps that’s why it is so difficult for grown children to accept the fact that they are not always able to take care of an aging mother themselves. In a perfect world, you would be able to take care of your aging parent in your home or theirs, relying only on family to help you. But the reality is that caring for an aging or ill parent is a full-time job that can take a toll on the caregiver; add to that the demands of raising a family, working, and other responsibilities, and chances are you’ll need a little assistance along the way.

    That’s where Visiting Angels come in. A national network of franchised non-medical senior homecare agencies, the company provides senior homecare to help elderly and older adults continue to live in their homes. These caring, experienced home caregivers provide up to 24-hour care in the comfort of the client’s own home.

    Unlike most service agencies that assign staff and schedule appointments with little input from their clients, Visiting Angels representatives begin by meeting with potential clients in order to get to know them. They also talk with involved family members, and when necessary, a person's physician or social worker in order to develop an individualized program to manage the particular daily needs of each care recipient. Clients participate in selecting their own caregivers, and the client and her family have the final say in the selection process, ensuring that the match will be a good one.

    You can be confident that your caregiver is qualified and has excellent references. “Character counts,” says Richard Bitner, of Visiting Angels. “We build relationships with families and hire only experienced caregivers who pass a rigorous screening process.”

    “The families schedule is our schedule”. The company also emphasizes the intangible traits of the caregiver, such as a caring personality. Many of the company’s caregivers are former hospital staff who have grown tired of the money mentality taking over healthcare and who appreciate the opportunity to do one-on-one personal care.

    “We want our clients to look forward to a visit by their caregiver,” says Bitner. “That’s why the client is in complete control from start to finish.” After the caregiver has been placed in your home, the company continues its personalized contact through telephone check-in and home visits to make sure you and your caregiver are a good match.

    Although Visiting Angels are non-medical caregivers, they can provide a vital link in patient care. In cases where seniors are coming home from the hospital or a nursing home, the agency will consult with doctors, nursing home staff, social workers, physical therapists, and of course, the family, to establish each client’s personalized needs. In addition, although Visiting Angels do not dispense drugs, they can help monitor whether the patient is taking their medication.


    Because caregivers have access to a great deal of health information about their clients, Visiting Angels is one of very few national non-medical senior homecare providers to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). “Such information is very sensitive, and all of our clients deserve the protection that HIPAA compliancy can provide,” says Bitner. Many families request we take their Mother’s to their Doctor for scheduled appointments, so we can keep the family in the loop.

    In addition to offering joyful companionship, Visiting Angels will also do light housekeeping, run errands, prepare meals or do shopping -- other ways they can provide a respite for families dealing with the care of a loved one. A client from Florida says, “Thank you again for all of your help and kindness. My mother and I cou
    6/22/2009 9:40:34 AM
    Digital TV Transition
    On June 12, 2009 all television signals switched from analog to digital, making many older TVs unusable. This transition particularly impacted the low income population, many of whom do not own digital televisions or rely on antenna reception. This group includes many seniors.

    We all know seniors who depend on the television as a primary source of entertainment, a way to fill their day, watch movies from their youth and keep up on the latest reality TV show. Television can also serve as a vital link to the outside world for frail and homebound seniors. More importantly, television is a primary means of receiving emergency alerts and other important information about events and issues that may directly impact a senior.

    Luckily, there are many low cost or free options to ensure that all televisions will continue to work now that the transition has taken place. To find out more about what to do to ensure continued reception of local stations, call the Federal Communication Commissin (FCC) at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or visit the digital transition website, http://www.dtv.gov/.

    6/17/2009 10:13:55 AM
    When It's Time to Take the Keys Away
    How would you react if you were sitting in the back seat, one of your parents were driving, and they became slightly confused when it came time to take an exit? Or if they brushed a curb while driving down the road?

    Most people wouldn’t consider either situation alarming, but what if your loved one got lost on the way to the grocery store or some other place they had been to dozens of times before?
    It happened to 84-year-old “Mary” of Charlotte, N.C., about two years ago. She was supposed to drive herself to a dentist appointment, but somehow ended up about 10 miles away at a post office. Fortunately she remembered her home phone number and was able to call her husband for help. When he arrived, he hugged her and with tears in his eyes told her it was time to take away the keys.

    As the baby boomers age, taking away the keys is a decision more and more of their children and spouses are going to have to make. Safe driving is no longer possible once a person’s vision, hearing and/or reaction time have become impaired by old age; or once diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia have robbed them of such cognitive abilities as memory, judgment and understanding.

    “In Mary’s case, it wasn’t the first time she had taken a wrong turn. Fortunately, her husband found the strength to take away the keys, but a lot of people are reluctant to do so because they fear their loved one will see it as a loss of their freedom and dignity. We make sure that is not the case,” says Pat Drea, vice president of Visiting Angels, the agency hired to help Mary just days after she lost her keys.
    Some days the Visiting Angels would play cards with Mary or help her do housework and make dinner; other days she’d drive Mary to doctors’ appointments or the store, or just take her to the park for an afternoon stroll. “Our Visiting Angels did everything possible to make life seem normal that year before Mary entered the nursing home which I’m sure both she and her husband appreciated,” says Drea.

    In addition to helping out at home, Visiting Angels can also be hired as companions for people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Their services are covered by most long term care insurance plans.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can assist your loved one with their transportation needs, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    6/17/2009 9:53:42 AM
    Hot Weather Help for Older Adults
    When the heat is on it’s time for everyone to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and deaths. Each year approximately 200 people die of heat-related issues. The summer is an especially critical time for preventing heat-related health issues in older adults. Numerous studies have proven that hot weather is more likely to affect older adults, 50 and above, than younger ones.

    Heat-related health problems in seniors can result when the outside temperature is in the 80-90 degree range. Therefore, those caring for older adults should always check the temperature and monitor it and their loved one closely. Caregivers should be also aware of the many additional risk factors that place seniors in danger of suffering complications from the heat.

    As we age physical changes take place and older adults lose the ability to cool down. These and other physical changes in older adults sometimes do not allow them to feel the heat when temperatures rise to dangerous levels. Seniors are also less likely to hydrate themselves as they often do not recognize feelings of thirst as quickly as younger adults.

    To add to the elevated risk posed to older adults in hot weather, major diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and others common with seniors increase the likelihood that they will have problems when the temperature rises. Some medications, along with excessive heat, can make a volatile combination that shouldn’t be ignored.

    Here are some basic guidelines caregivers can follow to prevent heat-related illnesses in older adults:

    • Move the individual to an air conditioned room and make sure that the thermostat is set cool enough. Also make sure the unit is in good reliable working order. Fans are not enough as all they do is re-circulate hot air.

    • If there is no air conditioning available, perhaps frequent trips to your local shopping mall or grocery store are in order.
      No senior should ever attempt to walk even short distances during severe temperatures.

    • Older adults should always drink plenty of water or other clear liquid nutritional supplements.

    • Tip: If an older adult's urine is light in color, the person is properly hydrated. If it is a darker yellow, more hydration is required.

    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will dehydrate the body.

    • Frequent cool showers, baths or sponge baths can help keep an older adult's temperature down

    • Wearing light colored clothing, loose fitting, and made of a breathable fabric like cotton are helpful in managing heat.

    • If going outdoors is a must, be sure a hat is always worn with a brim to cover the face and ears.


    • For more information about how Visiting Angels can help keep your loved ones safe from heat-related illness, please feel free to call one of our Bay Area offices:

      Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
      Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
      San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/27/2009 3:31:35 PM
    Older Americans Month
    May is Older Americans Month, a time designated by the US Administration on Aging to celebrate seniors across the country.

    Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current elders to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.

    To learn more about this year's theme and celebrations, and to read President Obama's proclamation, visit the Older Americans Month website.

    For more information about Visiting Angels and how our homecare services can help you or a loved one, please contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585


    5/18/2009 3:05:50 PM
    HBO Alzheimer's Documentary
    As part of their continuing efforts to raise awareness of Alzheimer's Disease and raise money for a cure, the Alzheimer's Association has partnered with HBO to produce a documentary titled "The Alzheimer's Project."

    The Alzheimer's Association hopes that this new documentary will update the public on new advances in fighting the disease as well as expose the painful reality of what life is like for those living with the disease and their loved ones.

    To watch a trailer and read more about "The Alzheimer's Project," including the dates when it will air, click here.

    For more information about our homecare services and how we can help individuals living with Alzheimer's, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    5/8/2009 4:44:50 PM
    Seniors and "Swine" Flu
    Each year the government issues flu warnings for seniors and young children- the two populations most vulnerable to infectious disease. It is understandable that these same populations are particularly concerned about the new H1N1 flu virus, aka the "Swine" flu.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the H1N1 strain and tracking the outbreak on the CDC's official website. Along with listing reported cases by state, the CDC's H1N1 website is a great source for up-to-the-minute news, facts about the virus, and information about what you can do to stay flu-free.

    Being informed about symptoms and ways the virus can pass from person to person is the best way to make sure that you and your loved ones avoid contracting or spreading the flu. At Visiting Angels, we are closely monitoring our clients and staff to make sure we are doing our part to keep the H1N1 virus from spreading. Together we can keep our seniors and our community healthy!
    5/4/2009 5:57:57 PM
    Happy Earth Day from Visiting Angels!
    Want to be an Earth Day Angel? Change just one lightbulb in your home or office and you will be off to a great start!

    Did you know that exchanging just one standard bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) can:

    • Save at least $30-$40 over the life of the bulb (about 8,000 hours)

    • Increase safety by producing 70% less heat

    • Use 2/3 less energy, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and helps protect our environment from the risks of global climate change.


    Encourage the seniors in your life, family and friends to use energy efficient light bulbs. They can help save money and save the Earth at the same time! Together we can work to improve the health of our seniors and our planet.

    Sources: www.energystar.gov, www.lightbulbsamerica.com
    4/23/2009 9:56:13 AM
    Alzheimer's: Updated Warning Signs
    Wondering if losing your car keys is a sign that Alzheimer's or dementia is setting in? You're not alone, and that's one reason why the Alzheimer's Association has put together an updated list of early warning signs. The article below is taken from the association's monthly newsletter and includes their new list of signs that you should look out for.

    Updated Warning Signs Help with Early Detection

    It may be difficult to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer's. As part of it's public education effort, the Alzheimer's Association has worked with a wide range group of experts to update it's 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's to make them more current and user-friendly. The comprehensive review process included feedback from health professionals, clinicians, scientists and people with dementia.

    The revised warning signs are the cornerstones of Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters, the Alzheimer's Association's national early detection campaign. The signs are a key tool in promoting recognition of common changes that may facilitate early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another dementia. Early detection, diagnosis and intervention are vital because they provide the best opportunities for treatment, support and planning for the future.

    The revised list describes the following signs:

    • Memory changes that disrupt daily life

    • Challenges in planning or solving problems

    • Difficulty completing familiar tasks

    • Confusion with time or place

    • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

    • New problems with words in speaking or writing

    • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

    • Decreased or poor judgement

    • Withdrawal from work or social activities

    • Changes in mood and personality


    For more information about the 10 warning signs and early detection and diagnosis, contact the Alzheimer's Association at 877.IS.IT.ALZ (877)474-8259 or visit www.alz.org/10signs.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can provide care to those living with Alzheimer's or dementia, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    5/8/2009 4:35:34 PM
    Hot Weather Safety
    It's a hot day around the Bay! That means it's time to start thinking about staying safe in the heat.

    Did you know that those most at risk for heat illness are young children and the elderly? When the mercury starts rising into the high 90’s, here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from dehydration, sunburn and heatstroke:

    • Know and be alert for symptoms of heat illness: fainting, dizziness, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, flushed skin, and body temperature of 104 degrees.


    • Anyone suffering from a heat illness should rest in a cool, shaded area, and sip chilled water or fruit juice.


    • To avoid becoming dehydrated when sitting or working in the sun, replenish with fluids often and avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine. Keep your skin moist and cool.


    • Wear loose-fitting clothing, a hat, and waterproof sunscreen.


    • If you take prescription medication, check with your doctor before being in the sun for long periods of time.


    Please be certain that you pack the following items for summertime activities with a senior: sunscreen, umbrella and lots of water or juice. It is especially critical for seniors to drink more fluids to prevent dehydration. Circulatory or other conditions make it difficult for older individuals to maintain a balance of fluids in humid weather, so drink up! In addition, a sturdy chair and insect repellent should also be available. Packing everything in a rolling bag is helpful and easier to manage.

    For more information about Visiting Angels and our homecare services, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    4/20/2009 12:50:18 PM
    America's Choice in Homecare!
    4/14/2009 1:16:27 PM
    Hospital Hints
    Consider this situation:

    You fell and broke your hip. You are sent to the hospital where you are quickly admitted and told that you will need surgery. Over the course of the next few hours you meet nurses, doctors and specialists. You are asked questions about your medical history, allergies and pain level. You are sharing a room with a stranger on a noisy, bustling floor. On top of all of this, you are in pain and you are alone.

    Situations similar to this fictional scenario are very common among the senior population. Navigating the hospital system is intimidating to begin with, and adding pain, confusion or fear to that makes the experience practically impossible to handle.

    Educating our seniors about what to expect in the hospital is one way to reduce the stress of hospitalization. Identifying people who are willing to act as your advocate in the hospital, whether it's a family member or friend, is also helpful. Anyone who will be charged with navigating a hospitalization should become familiar with basic processes and procedures, terminology, technology and personnal in order to reduce the chances of confusion and eliminate as much stress as possible.

    The National Institute of Health has put together an article titled "Hospital Hints" that provides useful information regarding the hospital system that everyone should know. It is a great introduction to effectively navigating a hospital stay.

    Hiring a homecare agency is another way to reduce the stress of a hospital stay. At Visiting Angels, we are experts in working with hospital staff and are familiar with the processes and procedures that you will likely encounter. We can work with you social worker or discharge planner to ensure that you have everything you need to recover at home and avoid future trips to the hospital. These and other care management services can help make your hospital experience and transition home more manageable and less stressful.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help you or a loved one who has been hospitalized, please feel free to call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    4/14/2009 12:54:52 PM
    Employing a Caregiver
    One of the most important questions someone can ask when finding a company to provide homecare is, "Are your caregivers employees or independent contractors?"

    This may seem like a very minor distinction. However, as this article from the New York Times explains, it is essential that care recipients understand what responsibilities they have if a caregiver is not employed by a full service agency. These responsibilities often include purchasing liability and worker's compensation insurance, tax witholdings, and verification of employment elligibility.

    At Visiting Angels, we know that we may not be the right choice for every family. For instance, some people may prefer to hire a private caregiver because it provides them with more direct control over the caregiver. However, we also know that working with a full-service agency like Visiting Angels relieves the burden on a care recipient and their loved ones by taking care of taxes, worker's compensation, liability insurance and a host of other precautions.

    For more information about our full-service homecare model and how we can help you or your loved one, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    3/26/2009 4:24:34 PM
    Nursing Homes for Baby Boomers
    What will retirement look like for the Baby Boomers?

    This question is being asked more and more frequently as Baby Boomers get closer and closer to reaching the magic age of 65 in 2011. The Baby Boomer generation will be more educated about options after helping their parents navigate the long term care system. They know the pitfalls that their parents faced and have high expectations for standards of living, independence and care.

    Some retirement communities are already preparing for the next generation of retirees. Here is just a sample of what one community anticipates needing in order to appease future residents:

    "Private rooms. Internet access. A fitness center. Massage rooms. Kitchens in each dining area, so the coffee is hot and the toast crispy. Electronic medical records to eliminate the need for nursing stations. Windows that face the river, positioned so someone in a wheelchair can enjoy the view. And showers in each room to eliminate the indignity of being wrapped in a sheet and wheeled down the public hallway."

    Sound intriguing? Read the rest of the article here.

    Everyone in senior care needs to be asking, what comes next? How will we need to evolve and develop? What services will we need to add or change to suit the needs and standards of the Baby Boomers? Stay tuned...

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help members of every generation, please contact one of our three Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    3/23/2009 4:28:43 PM
    Long Distance Caregiving
    What to Do When Your Loved One Needs Long Distance Care

    You took that fantastic job offer in another state. Mom and dad were healthy and fine. As time passed, you were promoted and became successful. Dad passed away and mom is not doing well on her own. She’s reached an age where daily assistance may be necessary and you’re a 1,000 miles away. How do you manage this situation without picking up and moving your family or your mother? If this scenario sounds familiar, remote care giving might be the answer.

    “This scenario plays out each and every day in thousands of American’s lives,” says Richard Bitner of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. “I had relocated to Florida in 1985 and my mother followed shortly after. In 2000 I relocated back to Pennsylvania to start a life with a new wife and family. My mother stayed and many questions arose. What do I do if she cannot live day-to-day being able to care for herself? How can anyone take care of a loved one so far away?”

    That’s when Visiting Angels began to focus on remote care giving and taking the burden off families and loved ones of those that need care. “Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not the only options available,” says Bitner. Non medical home care allows your loved one’s to live where they want to be … their own home.

    Visiting Angels has over 300 offices around the country to help educate families and provide care to loved ones. Here are some questions to consider when determining if your loved one needs professional care:

    • Does your loved one need assistance with walking?

    • Has their physical and/or emotional health been declining?

    • Are they able to prepare nutritious daily meals?

    • Are they able to shop for themselves?

    • Are they able to manage their bills and financial responsibilities?

    • Are they taking their medications on time?

    • Are they still able to drive safely?

    • Are they in need of companionship?

    • Are they able to dress and groom themselves?


    If you answered yes to any of these questions, professional home care might be an option for you. When considering agencies, choose one that can offer more than basic homemaker services, including dressing, bathing and other hygienic activities. Because not all states require licensing, be sure to check that the agency is bonded, insured and licensed.

    For piece of mind for you and your loved one, understand the caregiver’s background and experience. Agencies should be able to provide you this along with conducting a criminal background check on its employees. You also should be able to meet with the caregiver before you agree to services to make sure that personalities match and you are comfortable with the service they provide.

    “And you should be entirely comfortable with the person helping your loved one,” adds Bitner. “For example, at Visiting Angles, we try to match the personalities of our clients with the personalities of our caregivers. If something doesn’t fit, we find someone who does. This makes everyone happy and allows us to give the best care possible.”

    Since home care services are non-medical, they currently are not covered by Medicare. But you do have options. Home care services can be paid individually or by long term care insurance. Often, funds from associations are available as well. For example, contact the organization that is involved with the illness that your loved one is afflicted with. Funds are sometimes available for their members.

    Veterans and their spouses might qualify for the Disability Pension for Aid and Attendance. Others decide to take out a reverse mortgage. Whatever your situation, the proper research can determine the best route for financing care.

    Most importantly, stay in contact with your loved one and the people involved in their care. Establish periodic phone calls and visit when you are able. Conversation shows you care whether you are in th
    3/18/2009 11:31:07 AM
    Happy Social Work Month!
    March is Social Work Month. We at Visiting Angels take this time to recognize all of the social workers who are our partners in care. Whether at hospitals, facilities or other organizations, social workers provide a critical link between our seniors and the resources they desperately need. Social workers give advice that helps people make informed decisions about services that can increase their quality of life and improve their health, including the homecare we provide at Visiting Angels.

    For more information about Social Work Month and the valuable contributions made by social workers nationwide, click here to visit the National Association of Social Workers website.
    3/13/2009 2:49:55 PM
    Technology and Aging in Place
    Technology is no stranger to the senior care industry. Most people have heard of emergency alert systems that involve a button a senior can press when they fall to call for help. Additionally, many assisted living facilities and rehab centers have purchased Nintendo Wii gaming systems to provide low impact exercise and increase range of motion.

    As technology becomes more advanced and the senior population grows, many companies are seizing the opportunity to create technological devices that can assist with some aspect of the aging process. Many of the products that are being developed target the aging in place market with the goal of providing tools to help seniors stay at home and avoid nursing home or assisted living placement.

    A recent article from the New York Times discusses a few of these new aging in place technologies, including sensors that can detect if a senior falls and machines that can take a senior's vital signs from home and send the data directly to their doctor. You can access the article by following this link.

    While these technologies are still new and require further testing to see if they can be implemented on a broad scale to help seniors age in place, they are a step in the right direction. In the meantime, homecare is still one of the best options to help a senior live safely while remaining at home.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help you or your loved one age in place, please contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    3/5/2009 3:36:56 PM
    Case in Point Magazine Article
    The COO and VP of Operations for Visiting Angels were recently interviewed in "Case in Point," the official magazine of the Case Management Society of America.

    The article, titled 'Home Care Guardians," provides information about our company, our standards and our services. It also provides helpful insight into the homecare industry and some of the things that consumers should be aware of when hiring a homecare company.

    Read the article in the Visiting Angels pressroom.

    For more information about we can help you or your loved one, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    3/2/2009 1:36:36 PM
    Basics of Alzheimer's Disease
    As Americans continue to live longer, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease is increasing at an alarming rate. Today, more than 5 million people have Alzheimer's in the United States.

    Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease. It destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to effect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but treatment for symptoms, combined with support services, can make life better for people living with the disease.

    Risk Factors

    The greatest know risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease is increasing age. Most individuals with the disease are 65 or older. However, people can get Alzheimer's in their 50s, 40s, and even 30s. Other risk factors for developing Alzheimer's include family history and genetics.

    Although there are several risk factors for Alzheimer's disease that we can't change, including family history and genetics, research has shown that there are things we can do to keep our brains healthy:

  • Stay mentally active


  • Remain socially active


  • Stay physically active


  • Adopt a brain-healthy diet -dark fruits and vegatables and omega-3 fatty acids. Reduce your intake of foods high in fat and cholesterol.


  • For more information about Alzheimer's disease, visit www.alz.org or call 1.800.272.3900.

    Reprinted by permission of the Alzheimer's Association. Copyright 2007 Alzheimer's Association. All rights reserved.
    2/25/2009 5:32:58 PM
    Preventable Falls and Senior Health
    When you think of your aging loved ones, what do you worry about most? Is it a heart attack or stroke cutting short their life, or perhaps cancer? While these illnesses are very real worries for everyone as they age, it may surprise you to discover that falls are the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and 75 percent of these falls occur in the older adult population.

    Falls are the single largest cause of injury among seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes. One-third of older adults who fall, sustain a hip fracture and are hospitalized, die within a year.

    Even if a fall does not result in hospitalization, fear of falling can become a major factor in seniors’ quality of life. Fear leads to inactivity and loss of confidence which in turn produces a cycle of fear, loss of self-confidence and inactivity.

    Here are some easy tips to help minimize the risk of life-altering falls for your loved ones:

  • Throw rugs can be a tripping hazard. Either remove them or make sure they are securely tacked down.


  • Add hand rails to all stairs.


  • Clear clutter from walking paths, and make sure hallways and stairways are well-lit.


  • Eliminate long extension cords that snake across a room. Plug lamps into outlets near the wall so cords are tucked away.


  • Add grab bars next to the toilet, tub and shower.


  • Getting in and out of the tub can be hazardous. In addition to grab bars, make sure the tub has non-skid mats. A tub seat may make showering easier, too.


  • Trade in floppy slippers for well-fitting slippers with non-skid soles. Also, avoid night clothing that drags on the ground.


  • To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we can help prevent falls in your home, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    2/23/2009 4:41:03 PM
    Seniors and the Economic Crisis
    It's no secret that the US economy is in the middle of a crisis. The news is filled with stories about businesses folding, layoffs, falling stocks and foreclosures. The message is clear: our economy is struggling and the future is uncertain.

    There is one subset of the population for whom this is especially true. Older Americans are disproportionately impacted by the state of the US economy, leaving many of our seniors gripped with fear and anxiety. This generation who worked tirelessly to provide for their families and plan for a comfortable retirement is now facing an uncertain future.

    Many factors contribute to the impact the economy has on our seniors. As stocks lose value, Older Americans watch their 401K funds deplete and questions rise about how to pay for life after work. Seniors who need to sell their homes to pay for long term care either cannot do so or their houses aren't valued high enough to cover the care they need. Inflation means that pensions don't go as far as they used to leaving many seniors on a fixed income. And this is just the tip of the iceburg.

    The government is currently working on a plan to address the economic crisis. The current proposal is controversial, and our seniors are left wondering, "How is it going to help us?"

    To address this question, AARP has put together this report, a detailed and clear analysis of what the proposed stimulus plan means to American seniors.

    It's clear that there aren't any easy solutions to the current economic crisis. In the meantime, it is imperative that we all do whatever we can to support the most vulnerable of our population during this challenging time.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help the older adults in your life, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    2/16/2009 6:04:02 PM
    Alcohol and Aging
    Many people, including some health care professionals, do not realize how common alcohol abuse is among older adults. Emotional issues combined with habit and generational norms contribute to the prevalence of seniors with drinking problems.

    Alcohol abuse, while harmful at any age, is especially dangerous for older adults. As we age, our bodies become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Additionally, many seniors take prescription medications that cause severe interactions when combined with alcohol.

    The National Institute on Aging published this report about the dangers of alchol abuse among older adults. It is an extremely helpful tool for family, friends and providers who work with seniors who have drinking problems, as well as anyone who suspects an older adult is abusing alcohol.

    For more information about how our caregivers can help you care for an older adult who struggles with alchol abuse, please call one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    2/9/2009 1:17:04 PM
    Dark Chocolate and Your Health
    Dark chocolate is tasty and healthy.

    Sound too good to be true? It isn't! Experts say that eating a little bit of dark chocolate each day is good for you. Dark chocolate contains anti-oridants and has been shown to lover blood pressure and cholesterol.

    So go ahead and indulge a little- it's good for you!

    Happy Valentine's Day from Visiting Angels!

    For more information about our in-home caregiving services, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    2/13/2009 9:08:54 AM
    Veterans Benefits
    Did you know that US veterans and their spouses may be eligible to receive a benefit that will help cover homecare services like those provided by Visiting Angels? The benefit, called Aid and Attendance, is not very well known but can ease the burden of paying for care.

    The Veterans Administration (VA) has set very specific gudielines for receiving the benefit. The description and requirements below are taken directly from the VA website.

    *WARNING: The process to qualify for these benefits is very complicated. As a result, many companies and individuals have emerged offering to help veterans complete the paperwork necessary to receive these benefits. But take caution, not everyone has a veteran's best interest in mind. For example, some veterans are being charged illegally for seeking help in completing their forms. Be sure to find out if the company or individual you are working with is certified by the VA. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 to check.

    What are Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits?

    Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension. This benefit may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:

  • The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,

  • The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
    The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,

  • The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.


  • Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:

  • The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises, OR,

  • The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling.


  • A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.

    How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound:

  • You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA regional office having jurisdiction of the claim. That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office.

  • You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.

  • The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.

  • In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
    Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the individual gets around, where the individual goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day.


  • For more information about the homecare services we can provide to veterans of any age, contact on
    2/6/2009 4:18:37 PM
    Nursing Home Ratings
    Choosing the right nursing home for your loved one is a difficult decision. Very few people- including those of us who work in the industry- know the questions to ask and things to look for when trying to figure out which facilities are better than others. Being educated about what makes a nursing home a quality facility can help you become an advocate for your loved one, but reliable, unbiased information that is easy for the average consumer to understand is difficult to come by.

    In an effort to make the nursing home ratings system more transparent, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services developed a new method that assigns homes one to five stars for quality, staffing and health inspections, plus an overall score.

    USA Today published an article about the new ratings system along with a link to the searchable results. You can search for one of the 16,000 facilities nationwide that are included in the study by entering the name of the nursing home, or the city and state in which the nursing home is located.

    For a free assessment to find out whether in-home care or nursing home placement is the right option for you and your loved one, please call one of our Bay Area Offices.

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    1/26/2009 10:03:10 AM
    Older Driver Case Studies
    Convincing an older adult that it is time to give up the car keys is a challenge. Many seniors see losing the ability to drive as a blow to their independence. However, older drivers can become a safety risk to other drivers and themselves. This is particularly true if they are experiencing any of the physical impediments to driving that come with age, including impaired vision, hearing loss and diminished response time.

    An employee at Visiting Angels in Illinois faced just such a challenge with her own father-in-law. This article about her experience, as well as the experiences of a few others, may help you come up with a plan to approach the older driver in your life about giving up their car keys.

    As the article explains, there are many resources available to help you convince a senior that they are no longer safe to drive. A person's physician or eye doctor can plead your case from an unbiased and professional perspective. In California, the California Highway Patrol Older Californian Traffic Safety Task Force conducts workshops and provides resources to promote older driver safety. Visiting Angels has developed informational brochures about the issues that arise among older drivers and how to address these issues. Our previously posted blogs on the subject may also be helpful. Click on the category "Driving Issues" on the list on the right side of this page.

    To receive information about older driver safety or to find out how we can assist with transporting the older adult in your life who has given up their car keys, contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585


    1/19/2009 9:59:13 AM
    Why Choose the Right Caregiver is So Important
    As the number of seniors in the U.S. continues to grow—indeed, the first “Baby Boomers” will turn 65 in 2011—so does the market for non-medical senior homecare. Chances are, you will at some point be looking for a caregiver for an elderly family member.Visiting Angels is one of the nation’s leading providers of non-medical senior homecare, with over 170 locations nationwide.

    According to Frank Miller of Visiting Angels in San Ramon, “ At Visiting Angels, we are dedicated to working with clients and their families to ensure the best possible non-medical homecare. Nothing is better than providing the quality care that allows an elderly client to stay in their own home.”

    “Today’s seniors wish to maintain their independence and quality of life as long as possible,” states Miller. “At the same time, their adult children are often sandwiched between taking care of their own offspring and helping their elderly parent, who may live hours away. That’s why the Visiting Angels non-medical homecare has become popular in the Bay Area.”

    “Many seniors do not require a nurse, but simply need the assistance Visiting Angels provides helping with the tasks of daily living,” continues Miller.

    Visiting Angels’ services include, meal preparation, basic household chores, personal hygiene, shopping, companionship and, in some case, simply providing a respite for family caregivers.

    Due to the increased need for such assistance, many non-medical homecare agencies are sprouting up across the landscape. However, not all agencies are alike, and it’s important to understand the differences.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels and our outstanding caregiving staff, please feel free to contact us at one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585


    1/12/2009 1:17:33 PM
    Staff Profile: Ruth Rosek, Human Resources Manager
    Providing outstanding homecare would not be possible without the ongoing contributions of our caring and capable staff. Because we believe it is important that our clients and their families know who they are entrusting with the care of their loved ones, we are proud to present the first in our series of Visiting Angels Staff Profiles. Every now and then we will post information about a member of our wonderful administrative team. This is your chance to get to know who we are and why we do what we do!

    Ruth Rosek, Human Resources Manager

    What is your role at Visiting Angels?
    Human Resources Manager

    How do you contribute to the care of our clients?
    I hire the most qualified caregivers; run background and reference checks and ensure that quality caregivers are available to our clients for excellent care.

    What motivated you to work for Visiting Angels?
    Working for Visiting Angles is not just a job; it is an opportunity to give back to society by enabling dependent and elderly adults to live at home instead of moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home environment. This enables people who have difficult life circumstances to maintain a reasonable quality of life.

    What do you enjoy most about working in the senior care industry?
    Senior care provides an opportunity to gain knowledge from senior citizens, and to share in a history of leaning.

    Can you provide an example of Visiting Angels making a difference in our community?
    When the elderly received excellent care we can provide the community with on-going source of commitment and outstanding service. And by improving the client’s physical health and fitness the clients are more able to cope with changes in their lives, thus promoting hope for the future of the entire community.

    What makes Visiting Angels unique?
    Visiting Angels has the ability to hire a very diverse caregiver staff; therefore, there are a variety of personalities and skilled caregivers for the clients, regardless of the client’s needs.

    For more information about how our staff can help the older adults in your life, please feel free to contact us at one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    1/7/2009 3:48:17 PM
    Happy New Year!
    Wishing all of our clients, families and friends and happy and healthy 2009.

    The Visiting Angels Team

    1/2/2009 12:56:30 PM
    The Holiday Blues
    Many of our older clients experience symptoms of depression when the holiday season rolls around. Because this is the time of year when families gather and memories are made, seniors are often more aware of feelings of loneliness and the opinion that their best memories are all behind them. This is commonly referred to as, "the holiday blues." Unfortunately, there are some older adults who suffer more serious side effects as a result of the holiday blues- some that may lead to suicide.

    There are many things you can do to help a senior you know beat the holiday blues. This article from the Washington Post provides suggestions for conquering the symptoms of depression that creep up around the holidays and ensuring that the seniors in your life enjoy the holidays to the fullest.

    For more information about how we can help the older adults in your life, please feel free to contact us at one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    12/24/2008 10:06:19 AM
    Happy Holidays!
    We at Visiting Angels wish all of our clients, families and friends and very happy holiday season!

    The Visiting Angels Team
    12/22/2008 2:38:05 PM
    Paying for Long Term Care
    Long-term care is expensive. Whether it's in-home caregiving services, like those provided by Visiting Angels, or an assisted living community, many seniors in our community struggle to cover the extensive costs involved in maintaining a comfortable standard of living after retirement.

    Long term care insurance is one option available to subsidize the cost of services like those listed above. However, as this article from the Contra Costa Times discusses, long term care insurance is an option that many hold off considering until it's too late.

    If you already have long term care insurance and are in need of homecare services, Visiting Angels can assist you in billing your insurance company.

    For more information please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    12/8/2008 10:33:42 AM
    Identity Theft Awareness Month
    December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. This serves as a reminder to all of us to be vigilant about who has access to our personal information.

    It is especially important to increase awareness of the freqeuency at which seniors are preyed upon by identity thieves and financial abusers. Unfortunately, the news is peppered with stories of elders who have lost their savings, homes, cars and other valuable possessions to the hands of criminals- often people they consider to be trustworthy.

    According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there are 4 types of identity (ID) theft:

    Financial ID Theft: Thieves use victims’ names, Social Security numbers, and other identifying information to apply for telephone service, credit cards or loans, buy merchandise, or lease cars or apartments. /strong>

    Criminal ID Theft: Imposters provide victims’ information instead of their own when stopped by law enforcement. Eventually, when warrants for arrest are issued, they are in the names of the victims.

    Identity Cloning: Imposters use victims’ information to establish new live. This form of ID theft is often committed by undocumented immigrants, criminals avoiding warrants, people hiding from abusive situations, or people who want to leave behind poor work and financial histories.

    Business or Commercial Identity Theft: Businesses may also be victims. Typically, perpetrators get credit cards or checking accounts in the names of businesses, which find out when unhappy suppliers send collection notices or their business rating score is affected.

    There are many local, state and national resources avilable to help prevent ID theft and assist victims. The following list is just a sample:

    The Federal Trade Commission
    United States Department of Justice
    California Office of Privacy Protection
    Contra Costa County District Attorny
    San Joaquin County Superior Court

    12/4/2008 2:46:56 PM
    Give Thanks
    Thanksgiving is a day set aside to recognize how grateful we are for what we have. This Thanksgiving, we at Visiting Angels are thankful for everyone who has allowed us to serve so many in our community over the past year.

    To all of our caregivers, clients, families and colleagues, THANK YOU!

    - The Visiting Angels Team
    11/26/2008 3:34:59 PM
    Alzheimer's Disease and the Holidays
    The holidays provide a great opportunity for families and friends to spend time with each other and reconnect. Occasionally, family members notice subtle changes in loved ones that lead to health concerns and questions.

    The Alzheimer's Association helpline experts (800-272-3900) assist callers who often, especially this time of year, have questions about warning signs and resources available to help family members possibly confronted with Alzheimer's disease.

    There are 588,208 California residents age 55 and older living with this disease. It is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive the information, care and support they need as early as possible. Being aware of the different warning signs of Alzheimer's disease can equip families to look out for behavior and actions that may warrant concern and require follow up from a health professional.

    The Alzheimer's Association has developed a checklist to help you recognize the difference between normal age-related memory changes and possible warning signs of Alzheimer's disease.

    Additionally, if your family is struggling with the disease, the Alzheimer's Association website provides some suggestions to make your holiday celebrations enjoyable for all.

    * Article provided by the Alzheimer's Association

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help individuals living with memory impairment, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    11/24/2008 4:17:59 PM
    National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
    President Reagan launched a national campaign against Alzheimer's disease 25 years ago when he proclaimed November as National Alzheimer's Disease Month. The former president courageously announced his Alzheimer's diagnosis to the public in 1994 and passed away ten years later.

    Every November since President Reagan's proclamation in 1983, the President issues a White House proclamation calling upon American's to observe the month as National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Communities around the country hold events, memorial services and forums. Organizations like the Alzheimer's Association use the month to increase awareness of the need for research, advocacy and support, as well as to educate the public about the disease.

    At Visiting Angels we work with many clients who are living with Alzheimer's disease. Our caregivers provide compassionate and tireless service to increase the quality of live of these clients and help them remain at home as long as possible. This month we recognize the contributions made by our caregivers and remember our clients, past and present, who have been touched by Alzheimer's disease.

    To find out more about how Visiting Angels can help you, a loved one, or someone you know who is living with Alzheimer's disease, please contact one of our offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    11/17/2008 11:22:52 AM
    National Homecare and Hospice Month
    November is National Homecare and Hospice month, a time set aside to recognize the men and women who have dedicated their lives to caring for others through providing homecare and hospice services.

    Our caregivers often provide supplemental assistance to clients who are receiving hospice care. In these special circumstances, Visiting Angels works closely with various hospice organizations to help ensure that clients are comfortable at the end of their lives, and that families can focus on their loved one rather than worry about meals, housework or errands.

    Hospice care is a valuable resource to many in our community, but it is a service that is often misunderstood. In honor of this month's dedication to homecare and hospice workers, please enjoy the following article written by one of our local hospice organizations, Hospice of the East Bay:

    Hospice isn’t a place. It’s a type of care that focuses on living; living as fully as possible, up until the end of life.

    Talking with Bonnie Safine, Vice President, Clinical Services of Hospice of the East Bay, about hospice care, one soon understands that a significant component of the great work of hospice is bringing comfort during what can be the loneliest of experiences -- dying. "We make the journey less solitary," says Safine. "When a cure is no longer possible, hospice is with you every step of the way."

    Since 1977, Hospice of the East Bay has worked to ease physical and psychological pain for terminally ill patients and their families by offering in-home medical care, practical assistance, emotional support, and bereavement services. “Until the 1950’s, most Americans were born and died at home, surrounded by those they loved. Death was seen as a natural part of life’s journey,” remarked Safine, “In today’s high-tech world, most people die in hospitals, isolated, and challenged to find meaning at the end of their lives.”

    Surveys show that 8 out of 10 Americans wish to die at home, cared for by family, and in control of their medical and personal choices. They understand that death is as much an emotional and spiritual passage as a physical one. When they choose hospice care, terminally ill patients become part of a new tradition: death in the comfort of home, supported by a team of professionals who offer compassionate, practical, medical, emotional and spiritual care.

    Hospice of the East Bay offers specialized programs that include: Anna’s Program (for women with recurrent breast cancer), Comfort for Kids (pediatric hospice and palliative care) and Skye’s Angels (perinatal hospice care). In addition, in 2004, hospice opened Bruns House acute care hospice facility in Alamo. Bruns House accommodates six terminally ill patients in comfortable, attractive, medically appropriate private rooms. Patients experience privacy and quiet that cannot be achieved in a hospital, and intensive around-the-clock care that cannot be achieved at home. Family members enjoy unrestricted access to the House.

    During the 31 years that Hospice of the East Bay has been serving terminally ill patients, public awareness of the value of hospice care in general, and of the excellent quality of our services in particular, has increased dramatically. As a result, hospice’s patient load has grown from one patient in 1977 to more than 1500 in 2007.

    “Hospice of the East Bay helps our patients and their loved ones meet one of the most difficult times in life with grace, dignity, comfort, and compassion,” says Safine, “We empower them to take control when they feel most powerless. Our focus is on quality of life, not the length of time left to live.”


    To find out more about how Visiting Angels can help you, a loved one, or someone you know who is receiving hospice care, please contact one of our offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    11/14/2008 12:43:57 PM
    Veterans History Project
    November 11, 2008 is Veterans Day. This is a day set aside to thank and honor those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.

    On Veterans Day at Visiting Angels we remember and celebrate the many veterans who we have had the pleasure of working with. The stories we have heard from our clients who have served in the military are inspirational and remind us of the great contribution these individuals have made to our country.

    Unfortunately, many of our veterans are no longer around to share their experiences with us. There is only one living American veteran from World War I. Once 16 million strong, U.S. veterans of World War II are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day and now number about 2.5 million, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates. Judging by the passing of the World War I veterans, it's predicted that WWII veterans will all be gone by 2020.

    When our veterans pass they take their memories with them. In an effort to counteract this loss, Visiting Angels has committed to help preserve the stories of our veterans by participating in and publicizing the Veterans History Project, a program of the Library of Congress.

    The Veterans History Project (VHP) collects and preserves the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. These collections of first-hand accounts are archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for use by researchers and to serve as an inspiration for generations to come.

    VHP relies on volunteers throughout the nation to collect veterans’ stories, both written and spoken on video or audio recordings, on behalf of the Library of Congress. These stories are made available to researchers and the general public, both at the Library in Washington, D.C., and via the VHP website.

    If you are interested in contributing your story or the story of a veteran you know to the VHP, visit the VHP website for information about how to collect and submit remembrances.
    11/10/2008 11:19:49 AM
    Long Distance Caregiving
    You took that fantastic job offer in another state. Mom and dad were healthy and fine. As time passed, you were promoted and became successful. Dad passed away and mom is not doing well on her own. She’s reached an age where daily assistance may be necessary and you’re a 1,000 miles away. How do you manage this situation without picking up and moving your family or your mother? If this scenario sounds familiar, remote care giving might be the answer.

    “This scenario plays out each and every day in thousands of American’s lives,” says Richard Bitner of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. “I had relocated to Florida in 1985 and my mother followed shortly after. In 2000 I relocated back to Pennsylvania to start a life with a new wife and family. My mother stayed and many questions arose. What do I do if she cannot live day-to-day being able to care for herself? How can anyone take care of a loved one so far away?”

    That’s when Visiting Angels began to focus on remote care giving and taking the burden off families and loved ones of those that need care. “Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not the only options available,” says Bitner. Non medical home care allows your loved one’s to live where they want to be … their own home.

    Visiting Angels has over 300 offices around the country to help educate families and provide care to loved ones. Here are some questions to consider when determining if your loved one needs professional care:

    * Does your loved one need assistance with walking?
    * Has their physical and/or emotional health been declining?
    * Are they able to prepare nutritious daily meals?
    * Are they able to shop for themselves?
    * Are they able to manage their bills and financial responsibilities?
    * Are they taking their medications on time?
    * Are they still able to drive safely?
    * Are they in need of companionship?
    * Are they able to dress and groom themselves?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, professional home care might be an option for you. When considering agencies, choose one that can offer more than basic homemaker services, including dressing, bathing and other hygienic activities. Because not all states require licensing, be sure to check that the agency is bonded, insured and licensed.

    For piece of mind for you and your loved one, understand the caregiver’s background and experience. Agencies should be able to provide you this along with conducting a criminal background check on its employees. You also should be able to meet with the caregiver before you agree to services to make sure that personalities match and you are comfortable with the service they provide.

    “And you should be entirely comfortable with the person helping your loved one,” adds Bitner. “For example, at Visiting Angles, we try to match the personalities of our clients with the personalities of our caregivers. If something doesn’t fit, we find someone who does. This makes everyone happy and allows us to give the best care possible.”

    Since home care services are non-medical, they currently are not covered by Medicare. But you do have options. Home care services can be paid individually or by long term care insurance. Often, funds from associations are available as well. For example, contact the organization that is involved with the illness that your loved one is afflicted with. Funds are sometimes available for their members.

    Veterans and their spouses might qualify for the Disability Pension for Aid and Attendance. Others decide to take out a reverse mortgage. Whatever your situation, the proper research can determine the best route for financing care.

    Most importantly, stay in contact with your loved one and the people involved in their care. Establish periodic phone calls and visit when you are able. Conversation shows you care whether you are in the same room or across the country.

    Courtesy of ARAcontent

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help you care f
    11/5/2008 3:17:13 PM
    National Silver Alert
    If you have an older adult in your life suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you may worry about them wandering away and not being able to find their way home. A new law that addresses this issue is under consideration right now.

    In September, the House of Representatives passed the National Silver Alert Act. Much like an Amber Alert for missing children, the act would establish a formal, public notification system to spread information about senior citizens who are missing. The bill was introduced after an 86-year-old Florida woman wandered away from an assisted living facility and was later found dead.

    Visiting Angels is urging everyone to call and write their senators to encourage them to sponsor the bill.

    "Senior safety is first and foremost for Visiting Angels," says chief operating officer Patricia Drea. "The National Silver Alert Act would give families the peace of mind that, if their loved one is missing, the public would be notified and on the lookout for them."

    Currently Silver Alert programs operate in about a dozen states and the National Silver Alert Act would provide federal support to the state initiatives and assist in the expansion of Silver Alert. The bill, S 3579, would create a Silver Alert Coordinator within the Department of Justice, who would set voluntary guidelines and monitor state Silver Alert programs. The coordinator would consult with agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Transportation and the Administration on Aging to develop best practices and provide federal funds to implement state Silver Alert programs.

    "Reuniting missing seniors with their families requires a rapid and united response," says Drea. "With the National Silver Alert Act our communities can use and build on existing resources to help keep our seniors safe."

    Visiting Angels and other organizations serving older adults are asking the public to contact their senators and encourage them to become a co-sponsor of S 3579 and to support the bill when it comes to a vote on the floor. You can find your senator at www.senate.gov.
    11/3/2008 11:08:44 AM
    Hoarding and Cluttering
    Hoarding and cluttering is a problem that effects many American adults. It is characterized by an extreme accumulation of possessions, including items such as newspapers, food, clothing and sometimes animals. For older adults, hoarding/cluttering can pose many risks including falls and health problems.

    Although often misunderstood as laziness or lack of hygiene, hoarding and cluttering is a mental health issue that can be caused by depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other disorders. It is possible to treat hoarding/cluttering, and to do so it is first necessary to identify if the problem truly is hoarding/cluttering or a separate issue.

    Use this list of questions composed by Gail Steketee of the Boston University School of Social Work to find out if you or a loved one may have a hoarding/cluttering problem:

    1. Am I afraid I will get in trouble with my landlord because of clutter or have I already gotten in trouble?

    2. Do I have too much stuff? Have I fallen over my clutter?

    3. Do I have to move stuff off the futniture in order to use it?

    4. Do people tell me that my place is dirty, a mess, or that it smells bad?

    5. Am I reluctant to have people come over because of clutter?

    6. Do I have to move stuff off the bed to go to bed at night?

    7. Do I lose things all the time in the clutter?

    8. Am I unable to get to my windows, fire escape, and doors?

    9. Do I bring things home even though my place is already cluttered?

    10. Do I get anxious when I think someone might take, rearrange, or throw away my clutter?

    Answering "yes" to two or more of these questions is indicative of a potential hoarding/cluttering problem.

    To learn more about resources for managing and treating hoarding/cluttering, or to find out how Visiting Angels can help anyone of any age who is living with this condition, please contact one of our offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/29/2008 10:39:33 AM
    The Sandwich Generation
    You’re rushing out of the office on a weeknight, hoping to get your daughter to soccer practice on time, cook dinner and help your other child with their homework. Just as you hit the road, your cell phone rings. It’s the pharmacy telling you that the two prescriptions your father needs immediately are ready for pick up. Or you’re off to your son’s school play just as your mom’s neighbor calls to inform you that she has fallen again and needs you right away.

    If these scenarios sound familiar, you’re stuck in the middle and have joined the “sandwich generation.” The term refers to adults with families of their own who find themselves caring for their parents as well. According to numbers from the National Family Caregiver Survey, 44 percent of Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 have aging parents or in-laws as well as children under 21.

    This means that lots of families are dealing as best they can with the stress of running two households. Whether your parent lives with you, lives nearby or lives in another state, trying to juggle all these responsibilities is stressful, no matter how much support you have from family and friends.

    And don’t forget the guilt. There’s plenty of that, too. Guilt over not spending enough time helping your kids with their homework because you’re cooking and freezing meals for your dad. Guilt over making your mom postpones her doctor appointment because your meeting at work ran overtime. Guilt at not having enough time to spend with your spouse. Guilt over asking your next-door neighbor to drive the kids to football practice – again – because you have to make long distance arrangements to attend to your loved one’s needs in another state.

    “Caring for an aging or ill parent is a full-time job that can take a toll on the caregiver. Add to that the demands of your job, lost time at the job plus your immediate family’s needs chances are you’re going to need assistance along the way,” says Richard Bitner of Visiting Angels, a national network of franchised non-medical senior homecare agencies.

    “Not everyone needs to be placed into an institutional facility and can remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own home,” says Bitner. “Visiting Angels provides something these families have been missing -- stability in everyone’s lives and peace of mind.”

    The company provides senior homecare to help elderly and older adults continue to live in their homes. These caring, experienced home caregivers provide up to 24-hour care in the comfort of the client’s own home.

    In addition to offering joyful companionship, Visiting Angels can provide a vital link in patient care. Although Visiting Angels are non-medical caregivers, they are an important link between the patient, their family and their doctor.

    Caregivers will also do light housekeeping, run errands, prepare meals or do shopping -- other ways they can provide a respite for families dealing with the care of a loved one.

    Courtesy of ARA Content

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help relieve the burden on "sandwich generation" caregivers, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/27/2008 10:39:45 AM
    Caregiving and Alzheimer's
    Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia brings with it many unique issues. Caregivers working with people suffering from various forms of memory loss often struggle with the ambiguity and uncertainty it causes. They also may have difficulty coping with the fact that someone living with memory impairment is physically present but is mentally and psychologically drifting away.

    The Family Caregiver Alliance has compiled a helpful Fact Sheet outlining these and other issues facing caregivers working with memory impaired care recipients, why such issues arise and how caregivers can address them and better cope with the situation.

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help individuals living with memory impairment, please feel free to contact one of our Bay Area offices:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/13/2008 10:39:39 AM
    Senate Unanimous on Increasing Falls Safety Awareness
    Senate Unanimous on Increasing Falls Safety Awareness
    Falls Are Leading Cause of Injury Deaths among Persons Over 65


    Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, announced the Senate's unanimous passage this week of her resolution to designate Sept. 22 as "National Falls Prevention Awareness Day." The resolution was intended to promote public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older Americans, which are the leading cause of deaths from injury among persons over 65.

    Falls among seniors are a very serious matter, and are costly not only in terms of spending for care and rehabilitation but in the quality of life of many older Americans. Falls often lead to reduced mobility and exacerbate other previously manageable problems, making independent living more difficult to maintain and fueling a negative outlook for those who suffer them.

    But even modest efforts to increase fall awareness among seniors, as well as the clinicians who provide care for them, have been shown to have a significant positive impact. To boost these efforts, the Private Duty Homecare Association (PDHCA) has made fall prevention resources available for its members to help their clients avoid falls.

    To learn more about how Visiting Angels can help prevent falls in your home or the home of a loved one, please call one of our Northern California locations:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    10/9/2008 12:09:30 PM
    Staying Healthy During Flu Season
    Seniors are one of the groups hit hardest during flu season. It's important for anyone who spends time around older adults to take precautions in order to keep from spreading the flu to this vulnerable demographic.

    The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy during this year's flu season:

    1. Avoid close contact

    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

    2. Stay home when you are sick

    If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

    3. Cover your mouth and nose

    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

    4. Clean your hands

    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

    5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

    Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

    6. Practice other good health habits

    Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
    Printable Materials for Promoting Good Health Habits

    * Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/flu
    10/6/2008 12:08:21 PM
    Caregiver Stress Test
    With caregiver fatigue and burnout being more prevalent than ever, it is vitally important that caregivers maintain a sense of well-being so that they can provide those important services required by the care recipients. We are always concerned about making sure the care recipient is well cared for, yet we rarely discuss the needs of the caregiver. Caregivers must take care of themselves if they are to remain effective in their duties for the care recipient.

    There is no doubt that caregiving is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. With that in mind, below you will find a Caregiver Stress Test (from www.seniormag.com) which will help to identify particular areas of concern for caregivers.

    Which of the following are "seldom true," "sometimes true," "often true," or "usually true"?

  • I find I can't get enough sleep.

  • I don't have enough time for myself.

  • I don't have time to be with other family members besides the person I care for.

  • I feel guilty about my situation.

  • I don't get out much anymore.

  • I have conflict with the person I care for.

  • I have conflicts with other family members.

  • I worry about having enough money to make ends meet.

  • I don't feel I have enough knowledge or experience to give care as well as I'd like.

  • My own health is not good.


  • If the response to one or more of these areas is "usually true" or "often true" it may be time to begin looking for help with caring for the care recipient and help in taking care of yourself.

    To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we can help lighten your load by providing respite care, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    9/29/2008 3:14:08 PM
    Memory Walk
    On October 11, 2008 Visiting Angels will join thousands of walkers participating in the Alzheimer's Association Treasure Island Memory Walk. This annual event raises money for the Alzheimer's Association's research and support programs.

    Alzheiemer's disease effects many of our clients at Visiting Angels, and we have wittnessed firsthand the impact it has on the friends and family members of those living with the disease. Our caregivers have devoted countless hours to assiting people in our community to stay independent at home while suffering the debilitating side effects of Alzheimer's disease. We believe that participating in the Memory Walk may one day lead to a world without Alzheimer's disease.

    At last year's Memory Walk our group of 18 coworkers, friends and family took the leisurely 3 mile walking route around Treasure Island where we chatted, enjoyed the view and danced to the bands that played along the way. We all wore matching t-shirts bearing the names of the friends, family and clients who we walked in honor of. It was a beautiful morning and a rewarding experience- not to mention a whole lot of fun. Together we raised over $3,000 for the Alzheimer's Association!



    We're looking forward to this year's event and hope to see you there!

    For more information about how Visiting Angels can help care for someone you know who is living with Alzheimer's disease, feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585
    9/26/2008 1:25:43 PM
    Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving
    How do you know when it's time to take the keys away from an older adult driver? Here are a few signs that you may need to have a difficult conversation with your family member or loved one about their ability to continue driving:

  • Abrupt lane changes, braking or acceleration

  • Reacts slowly to changes in driving environment

  • Has close calls or more fender benders than usual

  • Fails to use turn signal or keeps signal on without changing lanes

  • Drifts into other lanes

  • Drives on the wrong side of the road or in the shoulder

  • Appears fearful or scared of driving or excessively tired after driving

  • Has trouble reading signs or navigating directions; gets lost more than usual

  • Notices the irritation and honking of other drivers but doesn’t seem to understand, or seems oblivious to the frustration of other drivers

  • Fails to pay attention to signs, signals or pedestrians

  • Misses exits or backs up after missing exit

  • Experiences physical difficulty or range of motion issues (looking over the shoulder, moving hands or feet, etc.)


  • For more information about safe driving and to read a story about how Visiting Angels helped one older adult stay independent after losing her keys, read our previously posted article, "When It's Time to Take the Keys Away."

    To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we may be of assistance to you or a loved one, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    9/22/2008 12:16:50 PM
    National Private Duty Association
    Visiting Angels is a member of the National Private Duty Association (NPDA), the nation's first association for providers of private duty homecare.

    Membership to NPDA is limited to agencies who employ their caregivers, create a plan of care for clients, maintain 24/7 on call coverage, perform regular supervisory visits, maintain Workers' Compensation coverage and carry liability insurance.

    Because of these rigorous standards, NPDA members offer more than just home care: They offer peace of mind. From their code of ethics to their continuing education to their gentle, compassionate services, NPDA members are ready to help you and your loved ones.

    Visiting Angels is proud to be a member of the NPDA!



    To learn more about NPDA and take advantage of their resources, visit their website.

    To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we may be of assistance to you or a loved one, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585

    9/20/2008 1:13:08 PM
    New Medicare Site for Help in locating Caregivers and Services
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled a major new web resource for families, caregivers, and seniors to help navigate long-term care needs. The new website, activated Sept. 18, is part of the Medicare program's consumer site and includes links to help locate providers of services. It also provides a link to direct users seeking information on home care and hospice services to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice's (NAHC) home page.
    The new Medicare caregiver site includes links to information on the variety of long-term care services and how to pay for them, including the types of Medicare coverage for eligible individuals and financial assistance. A link to the Administration on Aging's website helps caregivers locate federal, state, and local assistance and support through organizations and providers. Users of the caregiver site can also sign up to receive a free newsletter on updates from Medicare and learn about other caregivers' stories. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled a major new web resource for families, caregivers, and seniors to help navigate long-term care needs. The new website, activated Sept. 18, is part of the Medicare program's consumer site and includes links to help locate providers of services. It also provides a link to direct users seeking information on home care and hospice services to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice's (NAHC) home page.
    9/20/2008 12:55:19 PM
    Stress-Reduction Tips for Caregivers
    It is so easy to get wrapped up in the quickening pace of life. This time of the year is especially busy with kids heading back to school and holidays to prepare for, not to mention the demands of caring for a loved one! Many of us become stressed, which leads to high hormone levels and health problems down the road. It’s extremely important to remember to take care of yourself amid all of the hustle and bustle.

    Here are some tips to help you slow down:

  • Take at least 20 minutes for yourself everyday. Go for a walk or run, close your eyes and breathe deeply, take a bath- do anything that gives your body and mind time to de-stress.

  • Organize your time. Divide your day into three lists: “Must do,” “should do,” and “could do.” Try limiting your could-dos or bundle them together. Don’t forget to put “relax” on your list of must-dos!

  • Leave space in your schedule: Try leaving at least one evening a week open. Set some time aside on the weekend for slowing down.

  • Stay away from the screen: Try limiting the time you spent surfing the internet or checking your email. These activities are useful but take up a lot of your spare time.

  • Call Visiting Angels and let our caregivers give you a break!: Visiting Angels can send a caregiver to provide respite anywhere from 1 to 7 days a week, 4 to 24 hours a day. There's no set schedule involved- call us when YOU need us. Just a few hours off duty once in a while can help give you the time you need to take care of yourself so you can better take care of someone else.


  • To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we may be of assistance to you or a loved one, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585



    Parts of this post taken from “Top Health,” a publication of Care West Insurance Company.
    9/22/2008 11:58:22 AM
    Choosing the Right Caregiver
    As the number of seniors in the U.S. continues to grow—the first “Baby Boomers” will turn 65 in 2011—so does the market for senior homecare. Chances are you will at some point be looking for a caregiver for a family member or for yourself. Due to the increased need for such assistance, many non-medical homecare agencies are sprouting up across the landscape. However, not all agencies are alike, and it’s important to understand the differences.

    When interviewing a homecare company, be sure to ask the following questions about their caregivers:

  • Are your caregivers employees or independent contractors?

  • Do you interview your caregivers in person?

  • Are your caregivers screened, bonded and insured?

  • What screening processes do you employ?

  • Do you require that your caregivers attend an orientation?

  • Do your caregivers need to have experience?


  • A homecare company is only as good as its caregivers, and at Visiting Angels we work hard to attract and hire the very best caregivers in the Bay Area. All of our caregivers are our employees, which means that they are bonded and we handle their taxes and worker’s compensation insurance. It also means that we have an opportunity to meet and get to know each caregiver on many different occasions and maintain oversight while they are working with our clients.

    In addition, all of our “angels” have to pass a rigorous screening process. This process includes an in-person interview, skills assessment, DMV and Social Security background checks, drug testing and an orientation. We require that all Visiting Angels caregivers have at least one year of experience before they work with our clients.

    To learn more about Visiting Angels, our caregivers and how we may be of assistance to you or a loved one, please feel free to call us:

    Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties: (925) 552-6500
    Marin and San Francisco Counties: (415) 499-1200
    San Joaquin Valley: (209) 952-3585


    9/22/2008 11:59:40 AM
    Elderly Driving
    When It’s Time to Take the Keys Away
    (ARA) - How would you react if you were sitting in the back seat, one of your parents were driving, and they became slightly confused when it came time to take an exit? Or if they brushed a curb while driving down the road? Most people wouldn’t consider either situation alarming, but what if your loved one got lost on the way to the grocery store or some other place they had been to dozens of times before?

    It happened to 84-year-old “Mary” of Charlotte, N.C., about two years ago. She was supposed to drive herself to a dentist appointment, but somehow ended up about 10 miles away at a post office. Fortunately she remembered her home phone number and was able to call her husband for help. When he arrived, he hugged her and with tears in his eyes told her it was time to take away the keys.

    As the baby boomers age, taking away the keys is a decision more and more of their children and spouses are going to have to make. Safe driving is no longer possible once a person’s vision, hearing and/or reaction time have become impaired by old age; or once diseases like Alzheimers and dementia have robbed them of such cognitive abilities as memory, judgment and understanding.

    “In Mary’s case, it wasn’t the first time she had taken a wrong turn. Fortunately, her husband found the strength to take away the keys, but a lot of people are reluctant to do so because they fear their loved one will see it as a loss of their freedom and dignity. We make sure that is not the case,” says Pat Drea, vice president of Visiting Angels, the agency hired to help Mary just days after she lost her keys.

    Some days the Visiting Angels would play cards with Mary or help her do housework and make dinner; other days she’d drive Mary to doctors’ appointments or the store, or just take her to the park for an afternoon stroll. “Our Visiting Angels did everything possible to make life seem normal that year before Mary entered the nursing home which I’m sure both she and her husband appreciated,” says Drea.

    In addition to helping out at home, Visiting Angels can also be hired as companions for people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Their services are covered by most long term care insurance plans.

    Visiting Angels is the nation’s fastest growing franchisor of non-medical senior homecare. The company now has 300 offices across the country. To find the one nearest you, log on to www.visitingangels.com or call (800) 365-4189.

    Courtesy of ARA Content
    9/22/2008 12:09:17 PM
    Taking care of Elderly Parents
    Mom Took Care of You -- Now the Tables are Turned

    There’s nothing like a mother’s love. Whether she was making your school lunch, giving you a pep talk after a disappointment, acting as your biggest cheerleader, or spoiling your kids, Mom was always there for you.

    Perhaps that’s why it is so difficult for grown children to accept the fact that they are not always able to take care of an aging mother themselves. In a perfect world, you would be able to take care of your aging parent in your home or theirs, relying only on family to help you. But the reality is that caring for an aging or ill parent is a full-time job that can take a toll on the caregiver; add to that the demands of raising a family, working, and other responsibilities, and chances are you’ll need a little assistance along the way.

    That’s where Visiting Angels come in. Visiting Angels is a premier provider of in-home care helping all those with short or long term needs. In addition to helping elderly and infirmed adults they care for those with extended illnesses, disabilities and other short or long term personal needs. These caring, experienced caregivers provide up to 24-hour care in the comfort of the client’s own home.

    Unlike most service agencies that assign staff and schedule appointments with little input from their clients, Visiting Angels representatives begin by meeting with potential clients to thoroughly review the specific needs. They talk with involved family members, and when necessary, a person's physician, social workers, hospitals or nursing home staff. Working in conjunction with the family they develop an individualized program to manage the particular needs of each care recipient. They match the client needs to the best possible caregiver and then bring them to the home so that the client can participate in the selection process. Clients who participate in selecting their own caregivers always ensure that the match will be a good one.

    You can be confident that your caregiver is qualified and has excellent references. “Character counts,” says Eric Jensen, one of the owners of the Bay Area Visiting Angels offices. “We build relationships with families and hire only experienced caregivers who pass a rigorous screening process.

    “We want our clients to look forward to a visit by their caregiver,” says Jensen. “That’s why the client is in complete control from start to finish.” After the caregiver has been placed in the home, the company continues its unique system of personalized contacts through telephone check-in and home visits.

    Although Visiting Angels are non-medical caregivers, they provide a vital link in patient care. In cases where seniors are coming home from the hospital or a nursing home, the agency will consult with doctors, nursing home staff, social workers, physical therapists, and of course, the family, to establish each client’s personalized needs. In addition, although Visiting Angels do not dispense drugs, they can help monitor whether the patient is taking their medication.

    In addition to offering companionship, Visiting Angels provides light housekeeping, does errands and shopping, prepares meals, provides transportation, and does anything they can to provide a respite for families dealing with the care of a loved one.

    Visiting Angels has three offices in the greater bay area. For more information on services visit their website www.jmhomecare.com or call (415) 499-1200.
    9/19/2008 1:53:24 PM
    Category List:
    -All Categories-
    Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
    Caregivers
    Driving Issues
    Elder Abuse
    Events
    Fall Prevention
    Financial Issues
    Health Tips
    Helpful Resources
    Hospice
    Legislative Issues
    Mental Health Issues
    Staff Profile
    Technology and Aging
    Written by Visiting Angels


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