In-Home Oral Hygiene Service available for Elderly in Southern NH

Meet Joan Fitzgerald, Certified Public Health Dental Hygienist. Joan provides oral hygiene services for elderly in southern New Hampshire who are homebound or live in a residential care community. She has over 30 years of experience doing this work. When working on her Capstone Project at Granite State College in 2012, Joan recognized an unmet need, especially among the homebound elderly population, and founded Oral Healthcare@Home, Inc. Her company is committed to providing high quality preventative oral healthcare services including oral health screening, assessments, and ongoing oral health care services.

Joan FitzgeraldIn additional to working with the elderly, Joan works with the residential students living on the campus at the Crotched Mountain. As a dental hygienist with advanced training and collaboration with a supervising dentist, Joan goes into her patients' homes, makes the initial assessment, creates a care plan, and provides ongoing care.

Joan is passionate about advocating for oral health as part of total body health. Her interventions are designed to stabilize her patients and get them on a healthy path.  For those on palliative or hospice care, her job is simply to stabilize them, arrest the disease process, and provide comfort measures.

Oral Healthcare@Home, Inc. is designed from the ground up to deliver compassionate, holistic care using evidence-based principle. Currently, Oral Healthcare@Home, Inc. accepts private pay and most dental insurances. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover adult preventative dental services.

As a Certified Public Health Dental Hygienist serving homebound elderly, Joan offers a valuable and highly important service in our community. For more information, contact Joan Fitzgerald, CPHDH, and Clinical Director at 603-493-4723.

Vitality to You: PT, OT, and Speech Therapies at Home Covered by Medicare Part B

Vitality to You: PT, OT, and Speech Therapies at Home Covered by Medicare Part B
By Ami Sarasvati, CSA, CDP

The exploding trend of seniors receiving home care services sets the stage for a parallel trend being rolled out by Genesis HealthCare: in-home physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Home care has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade and is going through an explosive growth pattern as the baby boomers begin to require services to remain at home.

Genesis, one of the nation's largest skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapy providers, has over 400 centers around the US. They also recognize the growing trend in seniors aging at home and are rolling out a landmark program called Vitality to You. This program is being set up in "pods" which will cover territories of several Genesis properties in geographic clusters.

[From their website] Genesis Rehab Services offers Vitality to You to allow you to continue your medically-necessary outpatient rehabilitation therapy services in the comfort and privacy of your home. Instead of providing care in a clinic, our licensed and credentialed therapists travel to provide treatments in private residences as well as in assisted or independent living facilities. Unlike home health agencies covered under Medicare Part A, you do not need to be homebound or qualify for skilled care. As long as you demonstrate medical necessity for physical, occupational and/or speech therapy services, Vitality at Home may be covered by Medicare Part B and other private insurance. [end]

Lindsay Vertullo, OTR/L, Director of the Vitality to You covering six New England states, clarifies for us, "The client does not need to be affiliated with a Genesis Healthcare facility or with prior Genesis Rehab therapy services.  We are able to evaluate patient referrals from our home care partners, physician groups, private organizations, and from patients themselves who have identified a decline in function."

The program will expand to the NH seacoast area in the late fall of 2015. PT/OT/Speech Therapy has been available by select small PT/OT agencies, but with a conglomerate like Genesis launching a program nationwide, these services could potentially become the "norm" for those needing therapy.

Vitality to You presents a solution for seniors by eliminating the steps of having to arrange for transportation, additional support, and coordination to an outpatient clinic. These steps can be prohibitive and could potentially be the cause for some folks to neglect following through in receiving the services they need.

This in-home program is a great partner program for our home care clients of Visiting Angels needing PT, OT, or speech therapy. For more information, visit or call 603-296-3713.

Legal Resource for Elders

Beasley & Ferber 

Helping our clients live as well as possible is our priority. We know they have age-related needs that are beyond the scope of our services. We strive to point our clients in the direction of excellent local resources for those needs. One important task of the senior years is being sure one's legal documentation is in order exactly how they wish. This can be a vast and somewhat overwhelming area and we encourage our clients and their families to educate themselves. One elder care and disability law firm which offers free education is Beasley & Ferber. They have offices in Concord, Bedford, Nashua, Exeter, and a satellite office in N. Andover, MA.

[From their website] "For more than two decades, Beasley & Ferber has been helping clients protect their homes and hard-earned savings. Principal attorneys Edward D. Beasley and David Ferber opened their Concord, N.H.-based practice in 1991. Now, with a combined 60 years of asset-protection and estate-planning experience, the firm continues to provide clients with the information and tools they need to prepare for the future."

Beasley BookBeasley & Ferber are big on education for their clients. They skillfully guide their clients and families away from trouble. They have a straightforward approach in getting their clients' legal documents in good shape in terms of incapacity (unable to make decisions), trusts, wills, understanding the reality of nursing home care expenses, and related age-related matters.

Atty. Beasley offers free seminars on these topics in various locations primarily in NH. The upcoming calendar in our area is accessed by clicking here.

One of their books, Trusts for the Average Person, The Optimum Estate Plan - A practical guide to avoiding probate, nursing-home costs and estate taxes, is available for FREE at any seminar or by calling their office at 1-800-370-5010.  Additionally, for anyone who attends one of their free seminars, they offer a free 1-hour consultation.

Another rather unique approach in their practice is that they offer services on a flat fee basis as opposed to hourly.

For those who need to get their documents in order, the resources available at Beasley & Ferber are a great way to gain education.  For more information, visit their website at

Caregivers over 50 Years Old Find New Purpose in Life with Rewarding Second Career

AARP magazine ran an article in the October 2014 edition entitled "Part-Time Jobs for Workers 50+". The message was consistent with what our caregivers over 50 years old tell us. Many older caregivers come to work for us after retiring from their career job or raising a family. Their new role as a professional caregiver gives new meaning to their lives. Their new job as a Visiting Angel provides them with much more than a paycheck. Here is what two of our over-50 caregivers had to say:  

Sherry, one of our many great caregivers over 50, is featured in one of our videos (see Sherry says, "The best part [of being a Visiting Angel] is the rewards I've gotten back from my clients. I had gone into this with the desire to give, not really expecting to get back as much from them as I had gotten back."

Connie, in her late 60s, says, "Taking care of seniors is very rewarding profession. You get to know them, know their heart, hear their story. It is just a really neat thing! It opens up your world, you know. I had lost my husband a few years ago and I had to kind of start life over again. I wondered what would be an enjoyable thing for me. When this opportunity came up to work with seniors I thought, yes, this gets me out, it gets me in other people's homes, I get to experience something about their lives. It's been a very rewarding experience."

Most of our caregivers are over 50 years old who have had experience, paid or unpaid, taking caring for someone. They may be retired from a job or are empty-nesters. They re-discover a fulfilling purpose with their new work as a Visiting Angels. Whether they work as caregivers part-time, or full-time, that is up to them as there is plenty of work! With the great demand for quality homecare, we are blessed to have such big hearted people have found a second career with us caring for seniors in their homes.

If you know of someone, perhaps a bit older, looking to re-connect with people, re-purpose their lives, provide care for seniors in their home, and get paid for doing it, let them know they can learn more about working for Visiting Angels by going to our employment page.

Visiting Angels of Auburn NH Receives 2015 BBB Torch Award in Large Business Category

Visiting Angels of Auburn NH won the 2015 Better Business Bureau Torch Award in the large business category on June 11, 2015 at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford NH. The agency earned this award by demonstrating extraordinary efforts in leadership, character, business ethics, marketplace excellence, and superior commitment to exceptional standards.

The award announcement included highlights of the agency’s extraordinary efforts including how Visiting Angels of Auburn NH truly earns their wings by “Creating a Culture of Caring” for their hardworking caregivers and full-time office staff. In April of 2015, the agency won the national Visiting Angels corporate competition for “Best Practices in the area of Caregiver Recruitment and Retention”. Debra Desrosiers will present her agency’s stellar practices at the national 2015 conference to over 500 Visiting Angels franchise owners. As part of the on-boarding process, all employees of Auburn NH Visiting Angels are put through 30 hours of paid, live, classroom-style training. Over 13 hours of training is specifically on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia which is Debra Desrosiers’ biggest passion in terms of education and caregiver empowerment. Additionally, the agency provides their caregivers with free activity products and ongoing CEU training to improve clients’ quality of life and job satisfaction for caregivers.

Also highlighted were examples of the agency’s high ethical standards. Most notably, the agency recently received the distinguished Best of Home Care Leader in Excellence Award for FOUR YEARS IN A ROW from Home Care Pulse, the leading firm in quality assurance for private duty home care. Receiving this award for four consecutive years made Visiting Angels of Auburn NH one of only two agencies in the country to earn this achievement.
Debra Desrosiers' is known for her hard work and community involvement as an educator in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. She has given numerous free educational Lunch ‘n Learn seminars on her course “Caregiver Keys: Navigating the Dementia Journey”. These seminars are open to the general public and have been life changing for attendees.

Since 2012, Debra has been the Regional Leader for The Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in New Hampshire. This role alone takes numerous hours and dedication. Debra was given the “Unsung Hero” Award by Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter for her dedication for advocacy, education, and awareness of dementia in our community by the Alzheimer’s Association MA NH Chapter in 2012.
Debra has served on the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk committee since 2004.

Receiving the 2015 BBB Torch Award is a reflection of the dedication, innovation, and commitment of Visiting Angels of Auburn NH. Debra Desrosiers, Director of the agency, comments, “Our team is thrilled by this honor, but truthfully, I believe everyone should be involved in their community in some way and always striving for excellence by putting in 110% effort to make their clientele and employees happy.”

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