Angel News
October 2008
In This Issue
Depression Masking as Dementia
Visit Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties for more information and to download our free resources.

For more ideas on ways to research and make wise choices, we recommend the following resources:

Includes a scale to differentiate between depression and dementia and how to receive help.
Mayo Clinic
Provides information about treatment options for both Alzheimer's and depression.
Interactive tutorial that is a self screening tool that can be used to assist in determining if depression is present and how best to proceed if it is.
Alzheimer's Association
Provides an informative comparison of Alzheimer's and depression.
National Guideline Clearinghouse
Information from a study describing characteristics that increase the risk of depression and some recommended tests for screening.
American Academy of Neurology
Downloadable guideline from the American Academy of Neurology entitled "Screening and Treatment for Depression, Dementia, and Psychosis with Parkinson Disease."
Mental Health America
Provides concise facts on depression in older adults, as well as links for more information.
The link for free access to Medline search, the National Library of Medicine's search service that provides access to over 11 million articles.

Aging seniors and the disabled have a right, spelled out in the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision of 1999, to enjoy care services in the least-restrictive environment possible. Oftentimes, that means at home rather than in a nursing home.
According to AARP, 59 percent of people older than 65 are living on a fixed income.
Roughly 7 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer's disease are living at home and receiving 75% of their care from informal care partners.
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With October comes the inevitable changing of the seasons. The trees are illuminated in seasonal beauty and the temperature is starting to drop, harkening the onset of cooler days and nights.

At Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties, this newsletter is our commitment to bringing you the latest and most important information in home care, home health care, and elder care news. We hope you will enjoy these articles in the spirit of community in which this newsletter was sent.
How Boomers are Reshaping the Landscape Today
BoomersAccording to a recent study, by 2030 more than six out of every 10 boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition. Meeting that and other future healthcare challenges "will require more resources, new approaches to care delivery and a greater focus on wellness and prevention," the report says. One out of every four - 14 million - will be living with diabetes. One out of every two - nearly 26 million - will be living with arthritis.
An aging population also presents opportunities, however. Two of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. today are personal- and home-care aides as well as home health aides. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of people working as home health aides is expected to grow by nearly 50%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the full report, "When I'm 64: How Boomers Will Change Healthcare," go to this link and download.
Jump on the Treadmill to Rewire Your Brain and Improve Fitness!
It is most typical for stroke patients to be told to "learn to live with" their disabilities, unlike heart attack patients and others who are often prescribed lifestyle changes and exercise programs to help recover function. According to recent research at Johns Hopkins published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, people who walk on a treadmill even years after stroke damage can significantly improve their health and mobility, changes that reflect actual "rewiring" of their brains. The study's results suggest that patients' brains may retain the capacity to rewire through a treadmill exercise program months or years after conventional physical therapy has ended.

Most stroke rehabilitation programs focus on short-term improvement, ending just a few months after a patient has had a stroke. Consequently, over the following years, patients' functional improvement plateaus and their fitness often wanes, a factor that could increase the chance of a second stroke.

Hoping to find evidence that improved brain activity was responsible for the results, the investigators analyzed the brain scans and found markedly increased metabolic activity in brainstem areas associated with walking among all the treadmill exercisers.

Those patients with the most improvement in walking showed the strongest change in brain activity, though the researchers don't yet know whether these brain changes were caused by more walking or whether participants walked better because brain activity in these key areas increased. This question will be the focus of a future study. Read the entire article here.
Creating a "Habitat for Living" for Seniors
William H. Thomas, M.D., switched to geriatrics after working in a nursing home in 1991. He found that "...their problems didn't have to do with their medications. Their three biggest problems were loneliness, helplessness and boredom."  This fall he is teaching "Aging 100: You Say You Want a Revolution," for freshmen at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Erickson School on Aging, Management and Policy.

Thomas and his wife, Judith Meyers-Thomas, started the Eden Alternative, which began by bringing parakeets into patients' rooms in one nursing home, a program that has now been introduced into more than 300 nursing homes in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. The idea is to make long-term care settings for older people more like gardens - habitats for living things - rather than sterile medical institutions. For the complete article click here.
A Conversation with Cancer
Leroy Sievers, in his blog on his own experience with cancer, writes, "After that day, your life is never the same." 'That day' is the day the doctor tells you, "You have cancer." Every one of us knows someone who's had to face that news. It's scary, it's sad. But it's still life, and it's a life worth living. "My Cancer" is a blog that was Sievers' daily account of his life and his fight with cancer.
No Sleep for Those Who Care for Persons with Dementia
CaregiversResults of a recent study show objective and subjective differences in sleep patterns of older adults with and without caregiver status. A study in the August 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that the sleep patterns of older adults who live with and provide direct care during the night for a person with dementia are significantly worse than other older adults without caregiving responsibilities.

When sleep was measured objectively, and after adjusting for depressive symptoms, age, health condition and education, adults who take care of a person suffering from dementia took longer to fall asleep and had less total sleep than non-caregivers.

The most surprising finding of the study was that the caregiver group took a longer time to fall asleep, which is consistent with the greater worry and concern that caregivers may have.

Other measurement tools used in the study included daily sleep diaries, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and the Fatigue Severity Scale. Participants were also assessed for depressive symptoms.

For the full article, click here.
If You Are Old and Drive in Texas - Beware: the Eyes of Texas Are Upon You
Katies LawThere are 483,730 drivers 79 and older in Texas, about 3 percent of the state's registered motorists. An analysis of Texas traffic data from 1975 - 1999 by AAA showed drivers age 75 and older are 2.38 times as likely to be impaired by illness or another physical problem when involved in an injury crash.

A new Texas law affecting older drivers is "Katie's Law", named for a Dallas teenager, Katie Bolka, who died in June 2007 in an accident with a 90-year-old woman who sped through a red light and slammed into Katie's driver's-side door. The Texas law requires motorists age 79 and older to renew their licenses in person and undergo a vision test. Starting at age 85, drivers must renew every two years, instead of every six. Also, if office staffers observe the driver having shaking hands, trouble answering questions or other red flags, they can require a road test or ask for input from onsite medical examiners.

Chicago lawyer David Rosenfield, who advocated reforms like Katie's Law in a paper for The Elder Law Journal, says the older drivers "...are far and away the most dangerous drivers on the road" on a per-mile basis.

Read the full story here.
What's New At Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties?
We are happy to announce that Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties ("Visiting Angels of B&M") has joined the Private Duty Homecare Association ("PDHCA"), an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice ("NAHC"). PDHCA is the unified voice of home care providers who help the aged, ill and disabled with services they need to remain independent in their homes. As a member, we will review the latest trends in home care and look forward to sharing certain findings with our readership.

We are also ever more increasingly active in our local and regional business communities. Visiting Angels of B&M is a member of, and participates in, the following business associations:
  • BNI - Hopewell Chapter
  • Mercer County Chamber of Commerce
  • Southern Jersey Chamber of Commerce
We congratulate Reva Foster, Executive Director of the Willingboro Senior Center, and her team for the great turnout at "The Faith in Wellness Minority & Multicultural Health Fair" on Sept. 20. There was face-painting for children; prizes; and let's give a hand to our nurse, Joanne Hanlon ... who had a group of seniors exercising to the tunes of the live DJ. Visiting Angels of B&M's table was recognized as the most-visited table at the Fair! We did have a lot of "Angels" and "Cupids" there stirring up interest! We also had a lucky winner of our 2 GB-MP3 music player.

As part of our ongoing commitment to reach out to the community on home care and elder care issues, we are hard at work preparing for our upcoming sponsorships of, and exhibitions at, the following events:
Princeton Senior Resource Center's 2008 Caregiver Conference: "Caregiving with Confidence": Sat., Oct. 18 from 8:30-1.00 at the Senior Center's Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. We are a "Silver Sponsor"!
Saul Funeral Homes' "4th Annual Fall Senior Fest": Tues., Oct. 21 from 9:00-4:00 at Angeloni's Cedar Gardens in Hamilton, NJ.
Burlington County Woman's "2nd Annual Women's Expo": Sat., Nov. 15 from 9:00-3:00 at the Hartford Intermediate School, 397 Hartford Rd, Mount Laurel, NJ. We are a "Platinum Sponsor"!!!
Please note these dates on your calendar and visit us there to hear more about the latest developments in the home care and elder care sectors and to learn more about our services.
We again congratulate Nora de Cárdenas, Director, Co-Owner, in her capacity as a Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) Peer Leader; this time for completing the 6-session "Healthy Living: A Way of Life" workshop she and her co-facilitator, the Rev. Charles Levi Martin, a community leader, gave every Thursday at the Willingboro Senior Citizen Center in Burlington County. Given the great success of this program, Nora and Rev. Martin are planning to give another workshop in early 2009.

We are happy to report that Nora's article "Is Your Loved One Safe Living Alone? A Working Assessment Guide for Families", in the Sep./Oct. editions of Burlington County Woman ("BCW") and Mercer County Woman ("MCW") newspapers, has garnered rave reviews from its readership and has sparked a strong interest in the Nov./Dec. editions of BCW and MCW where the second article in her series will appear.  As you may recall, in this series of articles, Nora helps readers create their own working guide on topics ranging from how to assess a loved one's possible care needs to options for "aging in place".  

A copy of this, as well as our other home care and elder care articles in prior editions of BCW and MCW, will soon be available on our website under "Press Room".
Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties:
About Our Care

Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties is a New Jersey-licensed, non-medical home care company committed to going well beyond the "industry standard" to provide an exceptional level of security, comfort and peace of mind to our clients and their loved ones. Our "Angels", all certified home health professionals, are ready to provide compassionate and dependable assistance with the activities of everyday living to seniors, the disabled, those recovering from surgery and to those who are simply frail. Our services include such simple tasks as light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands and shopping to more personal tasks such as hygiene assistance, bathing, dressing and grooming.
Visiting Angels' in-home care helps make it possible for seniors and adults with special needs to continue to live at home and maintain the independence of their daily routines and familiar surroundings, for as long as they can do so safely. We truly understand how challenging and alien the entire home care selection process can be ... and we are experienced in working with families; with loved ones "resistant" to receiving care; and with third-parties payors (such as insurance companies and the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs) to help insure that the best interests of the family and their loved ones are met. Visiting Angels' services help families spend more mutually-rewarding and meaningful time with their loved ones and also helps provide comfort and peace of mind to those who face the challenge of long-distance caregiving.
For more information, please visit our website,; call us at 609-716-8600 or 856-988-1900; or contact us by email at