Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

What is Sundowning?

December 5th, 2017 No Comments


Many who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia agree that symptoms get worse in the late afternoon and early evening–the time just before and after the sun goes down. This neurological phenomenon has been named Sundown Syndrome and is often called “sundowning.” Sundowning is the increased state of confusion or agitation that many people with memory issues experience as the day’s natural light fades.

Increased shadows, darkness, and changing ambiance can cause confusion and distress in people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. This stress and agitation can, in turn, be frightening and/or confusing for loved ones who don’t understand why their loved one is behaving in certain ways at certain times of the day.

The more you know and understand about Sundowning, the more you can help your loved one when and if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Sundowning

Symptoms of this condition are associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and may include:

  • Increased confusion as natural light begins to fade
  • Increased mood swings
  • Increased agitation
  • Decrease in energy; lethargy
  • Increased stress or visible worry
  • Increased tremors or shaking
  • Increased hostility or aggression
  • Increased disorientation

People who have dementia and who suffer from Sundowning Syndrome may pace nervously or behave in an odd manner. They may display visible signs of worry such as crying or mumbling to themselves. Dealing with these symptoms can be confusing and frustrating, but there are ways to lessen their severity and make your loved one more comfortable during the toughest part of their day.

How Can You Help?

There are a few ways your help your loved one with dementia make an easier transition from daytime to nighttime.

  • Keep the home well-lit
  • Minimize shadows, especially in rooms your loved one spends the most time in
  • Encourage activity during the day
  • Ensure a regular eating and exercise schedule
  • Consider hiring a professional home health aide who specializes in memory care to provide extra support for your loved one and yourself

For those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, a specialized caregiving routine can ease symptoms and help them feel more comfortable, no matter the time of day.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our certified home health aides and how we can help your loved one live more independently at home.

Discounted CNA to CHHA bridge course in NJ

August 8th, 2017 No Comments

CNAs must also have CHHA license to work at home care companies in NJ

Soon, the State of NJ Board of Nursing will require ALL accredited Home Healthcare Agencies to employ only CHHAs with valid and active certifications. This means if you have a CNA license without dual certification, you will not be able to continue to work as a Home Health Aide at any accredited home care company, including Visiting Angels.

Discounted Bridge Course

Visiting Angels has arranged a fixed price for a 10-hour bridge course offered through Mercer County Community College. When you have successfully completed this course, you will qualify for dual certification. MCCC will give a 10% discount to Visiting Angels employees who attend the August 22 & 25, 2017 course.

Space is Limited

The course attendance is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Call Kelly from our Care Management Team at 609-883-8188 for more information about this opportunity.

Already have CHHA license in NJ?

We are hiring exceptional CHHAs to service our clients throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties in New Jersey. If you live in this area (includes Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Trenton, West Windsor, Burlington, Marlton, Medford, Southampton, Willingboro, and many other surrounding towns), complete our online job application by going to We look forward to meeting you!

April is Distracted Driving Month. Make YOUR pledge today to go cell phone-free!

April 12th, 2017 No Comments

Hands free not risk free
Provided by The National Safety Council

Distracted Driving in New Jersey

Think going hands-free is “safe enough” for driving? Although it’s legal in New Jersey to drive using a hands-free device (earpiece, dashboard, speakerphone) with your cell phone, consider these statistics:

  • 26% of all car crashes involve the use of cell phones
  • 94% of car crashes involve driver error
  • When talking on or using hands-free or hand-held cell phones, drivers can miss up to 50% of their surroundings–other drivers, people walking or jogging, children, bicyclists, etc.
  • Think speaking a text is better than typing? Think again. New studies have shown that using voice-to-text is more distracting.
  • Distraction leads to driver error
  • 7% of all drivers at any given time are using their phones while driving
  • When you start your car, disconnect your phone and Just Drive

Worried about your older parent or loved one who uses a cell phone while driving? Share these statistics to them, and suggest they take a local driving course to refresh their driving skills. To learn more about older people and driving, read our article about Older Drivers and Safety.

Go to to take the pledge to drive cell-free.

Caring for Seniors with Epilepsy

April 19th, 2016 No Comments

Epilepsy in Older Adults

Epilepsy in Older Adults New Jersey

When our parents or loved ones reach their sixties, seventies or eighties, experiencing unusual feelings such as loss of time, suspended awareness, and confusion is common, and you may think that “getting older” is to blame. However, there could be another explanation for this change in behavior: they might be one of the 300,000 seniors with epilepsy. Seniors age 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of epilepsy patients in the United States, and the condition has been difficult to diagnose. The increase in epilepsy diagnoses in seniors has led to more healthcare professionals becoming more aware of how to care for them.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder affecting 3-million Americans. Regardless of age, 1-in-26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Although seniors make up ten percent of the people affected by this condition, their diagnosis can be delayed due to the symptoms being mistaken for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression or just normal aging. Some leading causes of epilepsy and seizures in older adults include the after effects of sudden strokes, tumors or cardiovascular events (heart attack or myocardial infarction).

Being diagnosed later in life can pose additional problems with treatments due to age-related issues and the use of other medications. There’s an increased risk of your loved one falling and breaking bones during an episode. Each seizure also puts extra strain on their heart, due to the reduced intake of oxygen during an episode. Caring for a senior with epilepsy presents different challenges from a child with the condition, but the main principle is the same when handling their seizures: “Protect the person from harm until full awareness returns.”

The Epilepsy Foundation provides several tips to help you when handling convulsion in an older adult.

  • Ease the person into a reclining position on the floor or flat surface.
  • Place something soft and flat under their head.
  • Turn him or her gently onto one side to prevent choking and keep the airway clear.
  • If the person is already seated, turn them gently to one side so any fluids drain away from the mouth.
  • Don’t attempt to force anything into their mouth. Seizures do not cause people to swallow their tongues.
  • Don’t attempt to give any fluids or medicine until the seizure is completely over and full alertness has return.
  • Don’t attempt to restrain the jerking movements. Applying restraint could cause tears in the muscles or even break a bone, especially in seniors.

Although epileptic seizures are usually not life-threatening, they can stop the most active seniors from living an independent and satisfying lifestyle. Many seniors with epileptic seizures are treated and the condition is managed successfully.

If your loved one or someone you know has epilepsy and could use assistance with remaining independent in the comfort of their home, contact Visiting Angels today. We offer professional, individualized, in-home care to adults and seniors in Mercer and Burlington County, New Jersey.

Don’t miss the AARP Driver Safety Program at Hopewell Valley Senior Center 7/30 & 31…

July 13th, 2012 1 Comment

If you’re 50 or older and live in New Jersey, mark your calendar to attend the AARP Driver Safety Program! This is a refresher course designed specifically for drivers 50+. As we age, changes occur in our vision, reaction time, and hearing. This course will teach you how to be safe when adjusting to these changes. Those who graduate will receive a certificate of completion entitling a reduction on their automobile insurance premiums in New Jersey. If you’re a caregiver of an elder family member or loved one in NJ, this is a great program to recommend.

  • When: Monday, July 30 & Tuesday, July 31 (must attend both days to receive certificate)
  • Where: Hopewell Valley Senior Center, 395 Reading Street, Pennington, NJ
  • Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Cost: $12 for AARP members; $14 non-members; $5 for current and retired educators/school personnel
  • Registration Required: Call Hopewell Valley YMCA at 609-737-3048

You’ve heard about taking the keys away from older drivers, but how about “brain training” for them instead?

October 19th, 2011 No Comments

Before you take away the keys from your aging parents, why not try “brain training” first? In his weekly message (, Visiting Angels’ co-founder Jeffrey Johnson writes about this alternative. This new training–a computer software program–developed by Posit Science, has been proven to decrease accidents by half in senior drivers. Test your own Crash Risk level online at

Don’t miss this FREE dementia care program Oct. 20 in Trenton, NJ…

October 13th, 2011 No Comments

Senior Care of Trenton and the Mercer County Office on Aging is offering a free program, Skills2Care (, designed to help families and caregivers deal with the daily challenges of caring for people with dementia. Refreshments and supervised activities for your loved ones will be provided during the program. Come hear guest speaker, Eileen E. Doremus, Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging. Come with your questions…don’t miss this informative and helpful program!

  • When: October 20, 2011
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Where: Senior Care of Trenton, 1450 Parkside Avenue, Suite 7, Trenton, NJ
  • RSVP by Oct. 17: Call 609-883-0200 or email

Read these 10 valuable tips for avoiding Medicare fraud

October 10th, 2011 No Comments

Medicare fraud costs Americans over $60 billion each year! It not only hurts older adults who receive coverage, but also affects every taxpayer who must make up the losses through increased taxes. Jeffrey Johnson, co-founder of Visiting Angels (providing senior home care), has presented 10 valuable ways to help prevent Medicare fraud.

First tip: Guard your Medicare number as you would your Social Security Number. Never give it out on the phone, to a door-to-door sales person, or even over the internet.

To read the nine remaining tips, click on the full article here:


Paranoia in Older People

August 3rd, 2011 1 Comment

Have you noticed your older parent, friend or loved one becoming increasingly paranoid? Have they been hallucinating? Dealing with someone in this mental state can be unsettling, but once the source of paranoia is diagnosed, treatments are available and effective. Visiting Angels co-founder Jeffrey Johnson has written an article on this important elder care topic. Read the article at


Protecting Older Adults During the Dog Days of Summer

July 13th, 2011 No Comments

By Nora de Cárdenas, Co-Owner and Managing Director, Visiting Angels

As temperatures and the humidity soar, it is time for everyone in elder care New Jersey to take extra precautions to avoid heat related illnesses. The human body responds to hot weather by increasing blood flow to the skin and sweating. The evaporating sweat carries away excess body heat to help maintain a normal body temperature. When the weather is especially hot, our bodies sweat more and work harder to keep a normal temperature. The combination of high humidity and high temperatures slows down the evaporation of sweat making it difficult for the body to regulate its internal thermometer.

The American Geriatrics Society (“AGS”) estimates that 200 Americans, mostly 50 and older, die of heat related health problems each year.1 Older adults are at higher risk for heat related illnesses for three reasons:

  • Physiological changes that occur with age;
  • Older adults are likely to have chronic illnesses; and
  • They are more likely to be taking several different medications.2

Physiological changes that occur as part of the natural aging process reduce the body’s ability to adjust to summer heat. Older adults, for example, are less likely to perceive excess heat. Making matters worse, they perspire less, which hinders the body’s ability to cool itself. Seniors are also less likely to experience thirst, even when they are in the initial stages of dehydration and their bodies have lost dangerous amounts of water.

Very high temperatures and humidity place an extra burden on the body in its attempt to maintain a normal internal temperature. Chronic conditions such as heart disease, circulatory problems, diabetes or a previous stroke may further upset the body’s normal response mechanism to hot weather and make these persons even more vulnerable to heat related illnesses. Finally, some medications interfere with the body’s natural ability to adjust to the summer heat. For example, some medicines impede thermoregulation, while others can increase metabolic heat production.

It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

It is very important to keep in mind that temperatures do not have to be very high to cause problems in older adults. Temperatures in the low 90-degree range can be very hazardous for seniors.

Because they may not feel hot even when the temperature skyrockets, older adults should have a network (family, friend, caregiver) that monitors them closely and regularly checks both the outdoor and their indoor room temperatures.

In addition to providing the extra care that may become necessary during these hot summer months, you can have peace of mind knowing that Visiting Angels offers safety, security and joyful companionship to seniors, the convalescing, the disabled, and those who are simply in need of occasional help. Its “Angels” are all carefully screened, bonded and insured certified health care professionals (CNAs/CHHAs).

Hourly to live-in senior home care assistance is available, wherever “home” may be (including any health care facility) throughout Mercer and Burlington counties. Visiting Angels’ home care services allows families to spend more mutually rewarding and meaningful time with loved ones and also provide comfort to those who face the challenge of long-distance caregiving.

1 Source: The American Geriatrics Society. June 26, 2008, <>
2 Source: Scott C. Sheridan, Ph.D., associate professor, geography, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; John B.Murphy, M.D., associate director, division of geriatrics, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; July 2007 International Journal of Biometeorology

Article originally published in Burlington County Woman, August 2008