Archive for August, 2012

NJ Seniors: be even more careful when crossing the street!

August 31st, 2012 1 Comment


New Jersey’s older adults should be extra cautious when crossing the street, as senior pedestrian death rates are on the rise. This, despite a law that went into effect in April 2010, requiring vehicles to come to a complete stop for pedestrians at a crosswalk, and remain stopped until the person reaches the opposite sidewalk. Fatality rates are higher in more urban parts of NJ. As seniors age, they are naturally slower walkers as they cross the street and they may become victims of drivers who are in a rush or aren’t paying attention. For more, read



Why Mesothelioma Cancer Occurs in Today’s Seniors

August 30th, 2012 No Comments

Mesothelioma is a cancer that most commonly affects seniors. Some younger patients have developed the disease, but the vast majority of patients are between 50 and 70 years of age.

Seniors almost always develop the disease as a result of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers were present in many different materials, and the carcinogenic material was not regulated until the 1970s. By that time, however, many people had already inhaled or ingested the mineral.

Once the fibers are inside the body, they are able to get trapped inside the lining of the lungs.  They can then cause genetic and tissue damage that goes undetected for up to 50 years. Since asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma often take several decades to arise, people who encountered the fibers during its height of popularity may just now be developing mesothelioma.

How Seniors Might Have Encountered Asbestos

Modern-day seniors most commonly encountered asbestos as younger professionals working in industrial jobsites. Shipyards, construction sites, refineries and factories were all laden with asbestos. Males made up the majority of the workforce in these industries. As a result of this gender difference, males are four times more likely to develop mesothelioma than women.

Even though occupational asbestos exposure affected more men than women, secondhand exposure was a greater risk for women. When an industrial worker wore their work clothing home, they inadvertently risked bringing asbestos fibers into the house. Women often inhaled asbestos while washing asbestos-contaminated laundry. Women also may have encountered asbestos in certain household products, such as talc or hairdryers.

Men and women who served in the military (especially in World War II or the Vietnam War) also have an elevated risk of past asbestos exposure. The government did not phase out their use of asbestos products until the late 1970s, and armed service members often encountered the fibers on military ships, aircraft and bases.

What Asbestos-Exposed Seniors Can Do

While seniors cannot undo asbestos exposure, they can talk with their doctor about their mesothelioma risk. If they have a known history of exposure, seniors can also arrange asbestos-related disease screenings. They should not wait until they notice symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing; by the time these symptoms arise, an asbestos-related disease has often advanced to a later stage. Regular mesothelioma screenings can help high-risk seniors detect the disease early in its progression.

Guest Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.

Sources: National Cancer Institute: Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. (1 May 2009). Retrieved from

Mercer County proposes legislation for “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” program…

August 28th, 2012 No Comments

Seniors who live in a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” (NORC) throughout Mercer County, NJ, may receive elder care help if legislation passes. A NORC is any community in which seniors inhabit over 50% of the homes or apartments. As residents in a community age, but do not move to another location, a senior community is naturally developed. In Mercer County, Park Place Apartments in Ewing is one local example.

Legislation for a program in Mercer County has been proposed to help these NORCs with offering health screenings, medication management, mental health screenings, nursing on-site, shopping assistance, etc. If successful, it would be offered state-wide.

For more about the program, read the article:


Seniors need to guard against West Nile virus

August 27th, 2012 No Comments

Seniors and those providing NJ elder care should be aware that older adults are at higher risks of developing severe symptoms of the West Nile virus. According to the CDC, this year has had the greatest number of cases (over 1000) in U.S. history. Older adults are being advised to take safety measures to guard against becoming infected, especially those with health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and respiratory disease. These health issues place them at greater risk and should avoid areas in which mosquitoes are present.

Symptoms of West Nile virus:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Body Aches
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen Lymph Glands


Poor dental health may contribute to dementia risk…

August 23rd, 2012 1 Comment

Your mother (and dentist) always told you to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Turns out, Mom was right. Now, a study from the University of California suggests those who brush less than one time per day may have an increased risk for developing dementia…65% greater. This may be related to bacteria which could cause brain inflammation. Read more on’s website:



August 22 is “Be An Angel Day”!

August 22nd, 2012 1 Comment

“Be An Angel Day” was created to help encourage kindness in the world. Its objective is to act like an Angel by doing nice things for each other…to help one another. This will not only be a blessing for the recipient, but to you as well.

At Visiting Angels, our home care NJ Angels’ job is to spread kindness and goodness each day!


Smart pills with ingestible digital chips? It’s not science fiction anymore!

August 21st, 2012 No Comments

Visiting Angels - In The NewsSeniors, we’ve all asked ourselves, “did I take that pill today or not?” The FDA has recently approved a pill which contains a tiny silicon chip the size of a grain of sand. When swallowed, this chip will transmit a message to a smart phone, thus answering the question. Currently, they’ve only been approved for placebos, but the company who makes the pills, Proteus Digital Health, is hoping for approval with other drugs soon. This has implications for family caregivers, as well. No longer will they need to ask their parent if they’ve taken their pills today. Go to to read more.


Family caregivers, are you reaching burnout?

August 20th, 2012 1 Comment

Are you a family caregiver of a senior loved one in NJ elder care? Chances are, you have experienced stress that can lead to burnout. Check out our Family Caregiver Resource Page for helpful tips on ways to combat caregiver stress. Take a “Caregiver Burnout Quiz” on’s website (  Not a family caregiver? You can help the family in so many ways.

Thursday Trivia Time…great quiz questions for seniors

August 16th, 2012 No Comments

Are you a family caregiver or home care NJ aide looking for a fun activity to do with a senior? Trivia is a great way to engage with an older adult. Do you remember what Walt Disney’s first animated feature movie was? Or what is the real name of Rita Hayworth? Check out our senior trivia page for the answers to these questions plus more!



Love chocolate? Your aging brain may, too!

August 15th, 2012 No Comments

Great news for chocolate lovers! A new study showed that elder adults who drank a cocoa-rich beverage (high in flavanols) every day for 8 weeks performed better on tests affecting their attention and other mental skills than their counterparts who were given drinks with low amounts of flavonols. This is promising news for the aging brain. As with everything, moderation is important to remember. Chocolate is high in calories, but cocoa can be added as flavoring to milk, smoothies and other foods. For more on this study, go to WebMD’s article: