Angel News
May 2009
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Resources: Providing Relief for the Alzheimer's Caregiver
In This Issue
A Growing Long-Term Care Need
Veterans Aid and Assistance
The Tax Man Cometh: Determine if Home Care is Tax Deductible
What's Happening at Visiting Angels
The Aging Brain: Use It and Improve It

Searching for solutions, the Linden Center at Ithaca College in New York is exploring and trying to understand how older people can continue to flourish creatively and remain engaged in life and society.

The findings are that "It's not 'use it or lose it' - it's use it and improve it."

Research shows, among other things, that staying engaged in creative activities gives people a sense of mastery, significantly improves overall health, and improves scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Loneliness Scale.

Read more about their creative approaches here.

Take the Geriatric Depression Scale test here.

Pick a Sandwich, Any Sandwich!

It's estimated that over one-third of the population is in a caregiver role for the elderly. Many of these caregivers also provide care for children as well. In light of the ever growing population of "sandwich" generation folks (those who are sandwiched between caring for adults and children) a new group of defining terms has been cooked up to describe the group's demographics:
  • Traditional Sandwich: Those sandwiched between aging parents, who need care and/or help, and their own children who still need them. This sometimes includes elderly aunts, uncles and in-laws with no other resources.
  • Club Sandwich: Those in their 50s and 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren; or, those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
  • Open-Faced Sandwich: Anyone else involved with elder care.
What kind of sandwich are you? What about your friends, co-workers and colleagues? Find more information here.
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Are you "age aware?" With an aging society come many changes that will affect all. By 2050, for the first time in history, seniors will outnumber children and youth with 40 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 50. By 2030, those people aged 65 years of age and older are expected to hit 20 percent, whereas in 1900 it was a mere 4%. At the same time, birth rates have declined. While  the population of individuals over the age of 50 will grow by nearly three-quarters over the next 15 years or so, the population of those under 50 is expected to increase by a mere 1 percent during the same period.
What does this mean for you? An increased need in services pertaining to the aging. At the far end of the aging spectrum, America's eldest population group grows the fastest. Americans age 85 and up numbered some 4 million in 2000. That number is expected to pass 19 million by 2050. No one knows what changes these demographic shifts will create, but you can rest assured that life as we know it will change. Let's make it for the better!

As always, we send this newsletter in a spirit of sharing and community. We hope you will find the included news informative and beneficial.

Thank you,

Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties
Growth Spurts in Need for Long-Term Care

A new analysis found that nearly 30% of long-term care costs are paid out-of-pocket--a full 10% higher than amounts reported in widely used previous estimates. The previous analyses did not include spending on assisted living, which is a key component of long-term care. The findings revealed that individuals and their families contributed an estimated $64 billion of their own funds out-of-pocket towards long-term care services in 2006. In addition, families and communities played a central role in the nation's long-term care system by providing unpaid care valued at $350 billion. Private health and long-term care insurance played a much smaller role, contributing a little over $16 billion.

The long-term care need among individuals 85 and older is nearly four times as high (36 percent) as the need in the age 65 to 84 population (10 percent).

To access the full report, click here.
Finally, Increased Aid To Those Who Served

There are 23.5 million veterans of all ages across the nation. Many elderly veterans and surviving spouses whose incomes are above the congressionally mandated legal limit for a VA pension may still be eligible for the special monthly Aid and Attendance benefit if they have large medical expenses, including nursing home expenses, for which they do not receive reimbursement.

In 2009, the Veterans Administration increased its payment in the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. A veteran is eligible for up to $1,644 per month from the VA; a couple can qualify for up to $1,949 per month. A surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,056 per month. To qualify, claimants must be incapable of self support and in need of regular personal assistance.  

The basic criteria for the Aid and Attendance benefit include the inability to feed oneself, to dress and undress without assistance, or to take care of one's own bodily needs. People who are bedridden or need help to adjust special prosthetic or orthopedic devices may also be eligible, as well as those who have a physical or mental injury or illness that requires regular assistance to protect them from hazards or dangers in their daily environment.
The best way to find about the Aid and Attendance Program at the VA is to call your local office. You can also go here for the Aid and Attendance or Housebound Examination.

Visit the VA website here.
Home Care: An Untapped Tax Break?

In-home services required to assist with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, feeding, medication and ambulating may be deductible as medical expenses if they are of the nature of the services which a nurse would perform. The services do not have to be performed by a nurse as long as the services are of a kind generally performed by a nurse.This includes services connected with caring for the patient's condition, such as giving medication or changing dressings, as well as bathing and grooming the patient. These services can be provided in the patient's home or another care facility. If the caregiver also performs personal or household services, unrelated to the medical care of the client, these may have to be apportioned since they are not deductible.

For details, see Maintenance and Personal Care Services here and Home Care here.

What's Happening at Visiting Angels

"3rd Annual Head to Toe Women's Expo"

We were very pleased to have participated at the 3rd Annual Head to Toe Women's Expo," The Ultimate Girls' Day Out", hosted by Mercer County Woman Newspaper. Both the Expo and our booth were well attended, and our eldercare resource materials were disseminated at a rapid pace. Nora de Cardenas, J.D., Director and Co-Owner of Visiting Angels of Burlington and Mercer Counties, presented a seminar on "Fall Prevention: What Can You Do?" which received rave reviews from the attendants.

If you would like to receive a free "Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults", or are interested in having Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties present a "Fall Prevention Seminar" at your facility or company, simply contact Nora de Cárdenas at 609-883-8188.

Naming New Director Sales and Operations

We are pleased to name David E. Sebra as Director of Sales and Operations for Visiting Angels of Burlington and Mercer Counties. According to Director and Co-Owner, Rudy Tervooren, Mr. Sebra brings to this home care company over a decade of sales experience and an in-depth knowledge of successful, creative sales strategies, innovative solutions, and the launching of new products into the marketplace.

Most recently, Mr. Sebra served as Vice President of Sales at Clement Communications in Concorde, Pennsylvania. He also has held a number of prestigious sales and marketing executive positions with such companies as Electric Mobility Company in Sewell, NJ, Colorado Prime Sales Corporation in Farmingdale, NY and Home Food Services Corporation in Philadelphia, PA.

A resident of Marlton, NJ, Mr. Sebra holds a BS degree in Business from Rowan College of New Jersey in Glassboro, NJ.

"Maintaining Independence" Lunch & Learn at RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness

Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties successfully presented a "Lunch & Learn" entitled "Maintaining Independence" at the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness. Speakers were Rudy Tervooren, Director and Co-Owner of Visiting Angels of Burlington & Mercer Counties, and Eileen Doremus, BSW, Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging. It was a lively, interactive session and Rudy's assessment tools to determine the functioning level for assistance in remaining at home were well received.
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 609-883-8188; or contact us by email at