A helping hand at home
By Alison Rentschler
Visiting Angels provides elder care services and incorporates activities of daily living. Joe Sedelmeyer, owner and director of Visiting Angels in Rochester, Minnesota, notes the local office has been in Rochester for over 10 years. It includes about 100 caregivers, six office staff and four registered nurses. According to Sedelmeyer, they see about 100 clients and have helped thousands in the last 10 years. Visiting Angels has been providing elder care services since 1998, and now has more than 600 locations throughout the U.S.
“Visiting Angels’ elder services incorporate what are commonly known as activities of daily living. Our service coordinators are trained to create a personalized care plan for your loved one,” explains Sedelmeyer. “With a personalized care plan, families can customize our services to meet all their elder care needs.”
Sedelmeyer says that Visiting Angels provides families with respite care, friendly companionship, personal care, hygiene assistance, meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, laundry assistance, medication reminders and assistance with running errands.
VISITING ANGELS HELPS ON-SITE
“The care is provided in the client’s home, senior living housing, assisted living or any other types of facilities,” says Sedelmeyer. “We are often providing care in the Rochester area hotels for clients who are here for their Mayo Clinic appointments.”
Nursing supervisor Judy Strenge, RN, mentions that if people are visiting from out of town and need help navigating through the clinic or staying with them at night in the hotel room, they can go there.
Strenge states, “Clients are usually senior citizens who need help in their home to stay at home. This includes assistance with activities of daily living, light housekeeping, escorting people to appointments, providing respite care for primary caregivers, providing one-on-one care to those who can’t be left alone and providing help for those who are in hospice and want to die at home.”
Sedelmeyer says that while most clients are senior citizens, there are many times when they assist younger adults who may need some extra assistance after experiencing some physically limiting incident.
AGING IN PLACE
“At-home senior care from Visiting Angels makes aging in place possible,” explains Sedelmeyer. He notes that aging in place describes the desire most seniors have to continue living in their own home for as long as possible before moving to a care facility. He continues, “At Visiting Angels, our compassionate caregivers provide assistance with activities of daily living that make aging in place possible. With our at-home care services, seniors receive the one-on-one support they need to remain independent and live safely at home.”
Strenge explains that the benefit of helping people age in place is that they get to stay in their home. She says, “Some people are unaware they are not functioning well at home. The kids somehow convince Mom and Dad to allow help a few hours each week. The services provided by the caregivers go so well, that our hours increase. Mom and Dad are happier, the environment is neater, food is not spoiling in the fridge and the kids are happier knowing Mom and Dad are doing better.”
HELP, SERVICES AND COMPANIONSHIP
Sedelmeyer says, “The senior care services we provide can accommodate a wide range of needs including companion care, personal care, palliative care, post-hospital stay care, social care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and end-of-life care.”
Strenge notes that they offer unique services including training caregivers before they help people in their home, and they also provide annual training. Office staff is also encouraged to receive training specific to helping people with dementia, says Strenge.
As Strenge explains, companion care is needed when someone can’t be alone for one reason or another. “A caregiver can escort or go with them to a movie, coffee, out to eat, or be with them to encourage eating or socializing,” she says.
Sedelmeyer adds that a common activity Visiting Angels does is go for walks and engage in favorite activities and friendly companionship.
“Our caregivers are scheduled at the clients’ convenience,” says Sedelmeyer. “Weekday, weekend, holiday and overnight visits are available as needed. From hourly visits to 24-hour care, a Visiting Angels caregiver can be there when you need them.”
Sedelmeyer explains, “When they choose Visiting Angels for at home senior care, we’ll work with them to create a plan for care that addresses their loved one’s individual needs. Care is always scheduled for the times they need it and can be modified as needed to adjust to changing needs.”
He continues, “No two people are the same; therefore the elderly care needs are very different. Whether someone needs respite care, in-home care, part-time or full-time care or care at an assisted living facility, Visiting Angels can offer a skilled caregiver that is right for them. We tailor their program of senior home care based on their needs. The elderly care program is flexible, and they can change the program as different needs arise. We will also work along with any home health agency or nursing agency that may be assisting them after a recent hospital stay.”
Sedelmeyer lists some examples of common activities Visiting Angels help with, including meal planning and preparation; light housekeeping, such as doing laundry, making beds and vacuuming; assistance with running errands and shopping; transportation to appointments or activities; assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming and using the bathroom; and reminders to eat meals, drink fluids and take medications.
With winter coming, Strenge offers some suggestions for senior safety in the winter. “I like to tell people to err on the side of caution,” she says. She suggests salting and sanding the walk and driveway, not driving if you’re unsure, taking advantage of grocery delivery and letting those around you help with making sure the house is taken care of. Have someone to clear walks and check that you’re OK.
VISITING ANGELS AT 125 LIVE
125 Live hosts an educational series with talks by volunteers from businesses who provide valuable and practical information about the importance of living wills, hospice, power of attorney, disease processes, practical interventions, resources in the community and steps to make the home more safe.
Part of Sedelmeyer’s goal is to provide education on aging. He says, “Many times over the years we have received calls looking for many different resources in the area. We also have received questions on how to handle some of life’s challenges as we age. We feel the more information we can share, the more people can make better-informed decisions on handling those challenges.”
BECOMING A VISITING ANGELS CLIENT
If you have questions or would like more information about Visiting Angels services, call their office at 507-289-1147. You can also learn more on the Visiting Angels website at visitingangels.com or on their Facebook page, Visiting Angels (Rochester, MN).
Strenge notes that sometimes referrals come from local hospitals or nursing homes. Sedelmeyer says, “Many times we have people contacting us to discuss the many different options for providing extra support for their parents.”
Regarding the costs of the services, Sedelmeyer says, “The services we provide are ‘private pay,’ but some people can be reimbursed by their long-term care insurance. Our services don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. The services can be for as little as a two-hour visit each week. So by creating a customized care plan and schedule, our clients are able to receive their services at the times that are most effective and efficient for them.”
Alison Rentschler is a writer and editor living in Rochester, Minn., with her two dogs and her cat. She is often planning her future travels and adventures.