The staff of Visiting Angels Senior Home Care Services include, from left, Aimee Tucker in scheduling, Amy Alsum, human resources manager, Joe Sedelmeyer, director, and Tara Thomas, R.N., case manager. Not shown is Susan Bidinger, client care coordinator. They work together from their Rochester office, assisting residents of southeastern Minnesota wishing to stay in the comfort of their homes as they embrace concerns of the aging process.
The staff of Visiting Angels Senior Home Care Services include, from left, Aimee Tucker in scheduling, Amy Alsum, human resources manager, Joe Sedelmeyer, director, and Tara Thomas, R.N., case manager. Not shown is Susan Bidinger, client care coordinator. They work together from their Rochester office, assisting residents of southeastern Minnesota wishing to stay in the comfort of their homes as they embrace concerns of the aging process.
As the aging process makes its presence known in concrete ways, older people, as well as those who love them, are finding new opportunities to address independent living options. Visiting Angels Senior Home Care Services of Rochester has been assisting residents of southeastern Minnesota since 2009, allowing people to stay in the comfort of their homes longer than they imagined.

Joe Sedelmeyer is the owner and operator of Rochester's Visiting Angels. He is originally from New York State making his home in southern Minnesota in 1994, working in the field of information technology. When not working, Joe volunteers as a youth sports coach as well as helps with programs for youth, men's groups and church.

A change in the direction of his life came when Joe witnessed the impact a caring organization had on family members through hospice ministry.

"After seeing firsthand how people's lives can be impacted by caring individuals, who want to provide comfort and support, I knew this is what I needed to do," Joe stated.

It is true that the richness of the life we have developed is most clearly witnessed in our homes. Our dwellings are more than shelters from the elements, they are rooms filled with memories of the journey of our lives as well as statements of our independence. Being able to remain in one's home is a gift more people are receiving as home care is made available and affordable.

"The staff of Visiting Angels can provide care including senior care, elder care, personal care, respite care, homemaker services and companion care to help people continue to live in their homes," Joe explained. "Visiting Angels is locally owned and operated but is connected to a nationwide network of home care agencies that began in the '90s. Look us up on the Internet or call our office and see what we can do to help you or your loved one stay living at home."

Areas presently covered by Visiting Angels Senior Home Care Services of Rochester include Olmsted, Mower, Freeborn and Fillmore counties. Clients live in Albert Lea, Austin, Brownsdale, Byron, Clarks Grove, Dexter, Dover, Elkton, Eyota, Hayfield, Hollandale, Kasson, Manchester, Nicolville, Oakland, Oronoco, Racine, Rochester, Sargeant, Stewartville, Spring Valley, Viola and Waltham. Visiting Angels is adding other towns as word of their services is understood.

Visiting Angels' staff members often work in assisted living homes providing seniors with the extra help they may desire.

The services offered by Visiting Angels vary. Light housekeeping, meal preparation, running errands, shopping and taking walks are available to clients. Medication reminders and providing joyful companionship are also among the services offered. Care can include personal hygiene assistance.

Hourly rates are affordable and schedules are created around the needs of the client, ranging from just one hour to around-the-clock assistance. Visiting Angels are available to serve for temporary or long-term visits and arrangements can be made for weekends and holidays.

Joe mentioned, "Although most of our care is on a daily or weekly basis, one woman, (the main caregiver for her husband), sought our help so she could attend a special wedding that was being held in a distant city. She contacted Visiting Angels and had us come for a few visits so her husband could get to know our staff and become accustomed to having a new person helping out. Then the weekend of the wedding came and Visiting Angels stayed with her husband all weekend so she was able to gather with family and other loved ones at the wedding. The entire family was grateful for our presence."

Oftentimes, it is the children of the senior citizen who see the need for some extra help for their parents or beloved relative and just do not know how to address their concerns. The professional staff at Visiting Angels is available to answer questions.

After contacting their office, the staff will go to a client's home and conduct a free, no-obligation assessment. "We will then, at your direction, identify caregivers who have the skills, personality and availability to assist you," stated the organization's website. "You then will be able to meet the caregiver and, if you approve, they will begin working for you."

When caring for the non-medical needs becomes a concern to a person or family members, turning to the expertise of Visiting Angels can help. Asking for help in a confidential way by setting up an appointment with this agency allows older people to continue to be in control of their decision of "aging in place," respecting a person's desire to grow old in their own home or the home of their family.

Tara Thomas, a registered nurse with Visiting Angels, meets with each client after the initial contact is made. "Coming into the home of our clients, I am able to assess their needs and develop an individualized personal care plan," said Tara. "Nursing visits are done with all personal care clients to assure that all their needs are being met."

Tara also works closely with caregivers in training sessions and communicates with them the needs of each individual client. Those coming in to help out understand what they can and cannot do and carry out their duties in a professional manner. Trying to fit the right caregiver with the right person asking for assistance is a high priority at Visiting Angels.

It is important for lines of communication to be open and a freedom exists for seniors and their children or other relatives when they gain an understanding of just what level of help is desired.

In a blog article, "Caring For Your Parents," on the Visiting Angels website, a survey by the AARP stated that "approximately 44 percent of Americans are caring for elderly parents." It mentions how steps can be taken to ensure proper care is available by preparing in advance to understand the parents' wishes and becoming well-educated about community resources that can help provide parents with the best possible care.

A first step is to start figuring out just what needs exist. Physical and emotional needs like personal hygiene, nutrition, general cleaning, help getting gifts, groceries and other essentials, as well as companionship, are often listed by those seeking assistance. It is important to find out what is important in your life or in the life of your aging relative.

Next, check available resources in the community of your loved one. Begin the discussion on the best plan with family members, friends and neighbors. Working together and keeping communication open is key in this process of planning for the future.

Also, check to make sure important documents, policies, records and personal files are able to be located, a power of attorney has been established and advanced directives have been discussed.

Taking time to update or create a will and even to discuss funeral arrangements can give a family peace of mind found by being prepared.

Affordable options are an important part of today's health care plan and the staff of Visiting Angels is committed to helping seniors and their relatives in any way possible.

Joe concluded, "Our families truly can remain in the comfort of their own homes with the proper care and support that is now available."

To contact Visiting Angels Senior Home Care Services of Rochester, call (507) 289-1147 or visit its website www.visitingangels.com or write Visiting Angels, 302 Elton Hills Dr. NW Suite 200, Rochester, MN 55901.