We solve one of the most difficult challenges facing families today...caring for loved ones requiring in-home companion care and personal assistance.

Jerry and Tawanda

"We loved Tawanda right away! She and dad clicked immediately and we could see how she truly cared for him," said Mindy M.

Visiting Angels of Pikesville began caring for Jerry G. when his care needs became increasingly challenging for his wife, Libby, and his daughters Mindy and Marcy.

"Two years ago I knew my mom needed more help as my dad's physical and mental status was rapidly declining. Mom wanted to take care of dad in their home without any help. I talked her into letting me help two afternoons a week. That was hard for her, accepting help," said Mindy. "As my dad's health continued to decline, it became obvious that mom needed more help in addition to what I was doing. We contacted Visiting Angels of Pikesville and they introduced us to Tawanda. She and dad clicked immediately and she also became good company for mom. Tawanda became family."

"I fell in love with Tawanda the first time I met her. She is so sweet, compassionate and caring," said Libby. "She took care of Jerry as if he was her own family. She was certainly our 'Visiting Angel.'"

Jerry's daughter Marcy also was impressed with how warm and caring Tawanda was, not just with her father but with the entire family. "Tawanda is warm and caring. Dad responded very well to her right away and would do whatever she asked. She also became close with my mom and has kept in touch with her since my dad passed. I know she felt honored to be a pallbearer at his funeral," said Marcy.

This is just one example of how a professional caregiver employed by Visiting Angels of Pikesville has impacted a local family. To learn more about our services and how a Visiting Angel can assist you or your loved one, please call us at 410.218.9506.

 Dementia vs. Alzheimer's: Which Is It?   
How to understand the difference - and why it matters 
The terms  "dementia" and  "Alzheimer's" have been around for more than a century, which means people have likely been mixing them up for that long, too. But knowing the difference is important. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia (accounting for an estimated 60 to 80 percent of cases), there are several other types. The second most common form, vascular dementia, has a very different cause - namely, high blood pressure. Other types of dementia include alcohol-related dementia, Parkinson's dementia and frontotemporal dementia; each has different causes as well. In addition, certain medical conditions can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia.  
A correct diagnosis means the right medicines, remedies and support. For example, knowing that you have Alzheimer's instead of another type of dementia might lead to a prescription for a cognition-enhancing drug instead of an antidepressant. Finally, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial for Alzheimer's if you've been specifically diagnosed with the disease.  

Challenges Facing Those Moving or Downsizing

We recently sat down with Tara Donohue Rudo, a Certified Professional Organizer, Certified Organizer Coach and owner of No More Piles. Her team helps those in life transitions,
executives, entrepreneurs, and busy families declutter, organize, improve time management, move and/or downsize.
The team often works with seniors and their families when they are thinking of downsizing but haven't put their house on the market yet. "This is the perfect time to go through all your items and decide if they are useful or loved enough to move to the new house. People often keep items for years in the hopes of use, but because of changing life and social circumstances have stayed in boxes or closets. Now, is the time to truly surround yourself with only the items you love and use," said Tara.
"Another common situation is when a move is due to an illness or medical situation. We assist the family members, quickly sorting through needed items and making sure we don't miss all the great hiding spots for valuables and family treasures. We can itemize furniture and other items and communicate with family members to distribute items. In these circumstances, the quick sale of the house can provide added money for care, and we can help our clients achieve that."
Here's more from our conversation with Tara:
Why should I move or downsize?
We highly recommend a move or downsize to all of our clients if they do NOT have a bedroom and full bathroom on the first floor or if their house requires lots of stairs for basic living. The fact is that as you age, the odds of an injury or prolonged illness are high, if even for a few weeks or months. If your house doesn't allow for proper meals, bathing and sleeping on a main level, you will have to recover at a hospital, facility or have 24-hour home health care. Moving BEFORE this happens to a home with a more user-friendly layout can help you age in place much more easily, comfortably and less expensively.
What do I do with my child's or children's personal items that are still in the house?
This is where it can really help to have a firm timeline. You can box their items and ask them to pick them up or ship them. Often parents are more afraid of getting rid of these items than the kids are of having them thrown out. If the children live out of town, we do Skype or Facetime sessions in which they can see what is theirs and only box the items they truly want. Either way, give them a deadline and do NOT move adult children's items to the new house.
I want to take most of the furniture from my 3,000 sq ft home to my new 1,400 sq ft condo.
This is always tough. As much as you love your furniture, it is often unrealistic to keep the oversized furniture in your family room, living/dining rooms and master bedroom to put in your new home. It can make a smaller space feel cramped and cluttered because the size is not the right scale for the room size at your new home. Pick a couple favorite pieces and let the rest go. It may be difficult, but it gives you the opportunity to BUILD and DESIGN your new space to fit your current lifestyle, not the one you originally bought the furniture for.
I don't want to just donate or trash items. They are valuable and worth money.
This is the hardest conversation that we have with our clients. They often saved and spent large amounts of money on good quality furniture, china, silver, collectibles or inherited items from family members over the years. The unfortunate reality is that the market is saturated with these items and they have little to no value for sale. There are very few exceptions. Also, younger generations that are building their homes don't value china and silver and often have homes too small for the large family furniture.
Do I really need to hire professional organizers to help with my move?
The answer is that you don't NEED to hire someone. But, those clients who hire us are grateful they did. Most of our clients have lived in their homes for 20-60 years. They have forgotten the amount of stress: emotional, physical and financial, that is involved in a move. We can help you declutter, pack your old home and unpack into your new home in a matter of days. We handle the logistics and manpower.
What is the biggest mistake that people downsizing make in their new homes?
The biggest mistake we see is trying to put everything away in the same places they were in the old house. We try to help them see how they use items everyday and put the most used items away within reach to avoid bending or step ladders (that can often end in injuries or falls).
For more information about the services No More Piles provides, contact Tara at 410-861-2095. Sign up for their free newsletter at www.NoMorePiles.com

A Recommended Reading List for Caregivers
Caregivers often feel that there aren't enough resources available on
how to provide quality care while balancing work, relationships and self-care. The truth is that there are a few excellent books out there, it just comes down to weeding out the ones that are truly informative and meaningful. If you're looking for a new perspective on aging, tips for communicating with elders, advice on setting boundaries or valuable insights on dementia care, pick up one of these acclaimed books.

AARP Focuses on Alzheimer's and Announces $60 Million Investment

Alzheimer's research is getting a boost from AARP, which recently announced a major financial commitment to help put development of new medications on a fast track. Alzheimer's is a 100% fatal disease. Currently there is no cure or treatment for Alzheimer's disease, making it among the grimmest diagnoses that one can receive. It is no surprise that among AARP members, Alzheimer's ranks as one of their top fears.  
In a special Brain Power report, TODAY's Dylan Dreyer sits down with Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, 
to discuss how the organization is prioritizing research into Alzheimer's and brain health.
At Visiting Angels of Pikesville, the care we offer those coping with Alzheimer's is one we embrace, but also one we look forward to ending with a cure. Until that day comes, we understand that care is more than a daily activity for caregivers. That is why we're a proud supporter of the Alzheimer's Association. In the past 5 years, Visiting Angels offices throughout the country have generated over a million dollars in donations to help in the fight to End Alzheimer's disease.
Visiting Angels of Pikesville welcomes your participation on our team! Join us on our Walk to End Alzheimer's.