Visiting Angels April 2021

April 2021

5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876




How We Can Combat Depression & Isolation During COVID-19 You Are Not Alone

I’m happy to announce that I am fully vaccinated, and while that offers relief, what I’m most appreciative of is the chance to hug my children again. My daughter, who is an educator, is also fully vaccinated, and in late February, we hugged for the first time in almost a year. I didn’t want to let go. I’ve missed social interactions like this during the past year, especially since it has meant interacting with clients or new families at a distance and with a mask on, rather than with a handshake and a smile. I have had to cope with this disruption in connection, but what we are hearing from our clients and caregivers is that this period of physical distancing has exacerbated the existing concerns of social isolation and loneliness among the elderly. Prior to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified social isolation and loneliness as a significant health risk for older adults. It leaves people more susceptible to diminished mental health, increases their chance of developing dementia by 50%, and heightens the risk of premature death. Our clients have told us that the pandemic has worsened their chronic health conditions. Blood pressures are rising, and dementia symptoms are progressively getting worse.

It’s more evidence that humans are social creatures who thrive both mentally and physically when we can be together. But what do you do when it’s not safe to venture outside your home, but staying home could be just as detrimental to your health? That’s not an easy question to answer, especially when you consider the technical limitations some older adults face. (We have some tips for managing that on Page 3!) Some people struggle because dementia makes it difficult to perform daily functions, and others pose a physical risk because of their mobility. Furthermore, the engagement available in the home may be limited to TV and the news. Today’s news is so dreary that it’s hard to feel anything but dread after watching or listening to it. All of this makes for a very depressing reality: COVID-19 has taken a toll on the well-being of our older adult populations — even among those who have not gotten sick. Yet, there is good news. We can’t speed up vaccination rollouts, and we will be dealing with COVID-19 for a long time. But our caregivers are equipped to help make this time easier. You may not be able to visit your parents, but if our caregivers

are in their home, providing safe services, they can help your loved one cope with isolation. They can set up Zoom or FaceTime meetings with you and help your loved one use the technology. They can encourage new activities like doing puzzle books, playing an instrument, using new cookbooks, playing games, finding a new hobby, reading books, and so many other things. Our caregivers can also offer that social interaction piece that so many older adults are missing. It isn’t uncommon for those with dementia to become frustrated when, at a family’s request, their caregiver won’t allow them to go to the store. But our team is trained in redirection. This could include prompting the client to tell them about life 40 years ago or looking through old photo albums. This past year has been hard, and our seniors are feeling the effects of isolation, loneliness, and fear. Our goal is to make sure they are not alone, and we know that’s all you want for them, as well. Please ask us how we can help until you, too, can receive that coveted, long-awaited hug.


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Feline Friends or Canine Comrades How Pets Improve Our Health and Happiness

helps them avoid this. The daily tasks of feeding, playing with, and walking your animal can help provide structure and bring meaning to your life. They also give you something to look forward to each day. What’s better than waking up or coming home to a wagging tail or loud meow? This is how pets help improve their owners’ mental and physical health. Studies also show that those who care for pets have less stress and lower blood pressure and cholesterol than their petless counterparts. You’re also more likely to maintain a daily exercise routine. Humans have an innate need to be social, and without someone to talk to regularly, our mental well-being can start to deteriorate. Pets may not be the best conversation partners, but they may increase your social activity. Walking a dog to a local park every day,

for example, can provide an opportunity for you to interact with other people. If you live alone, this simple activity can increase your social circle and improve your mental health. Find the Right Pet Before taking advantage of the many benefits pets offer, it’s crucial to consider which pet is right for you. Doing research can help answer important questions about which animals might be a good fit for you and your lifestyle and which aren’t. Finding a perfect match may take some time, but once that connection is made, there is nothing that will bring more joy into both of your lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of questions that will help guide you to the perfect pet. Take a look at .

As people grow older, they’re more likely to find themselves at home with less company. If your family members live far away or you have physical limitations that make it difficult to leave the house, you may be at an increased risk of experiencing loneliness. This is why adopting an animal can be so helpful. Pets offer comfort and love, and many encourage physical activity. Integrating a pet into your life as you grow older can be just what you need to lift your spirit and keep you healthy. The Benefits of Pet Ownership A lack of purpose can take a significant toll, but the sense of duty pet owners have around caring for their animals

The Origins of a Truly American Language: Pennsylvania Dutch

People often assume American culture isn’t as rich as other cultures, but that simply isn’t true. Americans have developed unique values, mannerisms, art, music, and even languages across their diverse nation. One great example of this is Pennsylvania Dutch. The language didn’t evolve from Dutch, interestingly enough. It started when early German immigrants needed to escape from the Holy Roman Empire regions of Europe to avoid religious persecution. Many of them escaped to Pennsylvania, which is still 29.9% German today. These immigrants generally didn’t bring many belongings; however, they did bring a rich dialect. So, why is it called Pennsylvania Dutch? Rather than a mistranslation, it’s a corruption of the Pennsylvania German endonym Deitsch , which

means “Pennsylvania Dutch/German” or “German.” The terms Deitsch, Dutch, Diets, and Deutsch are all cognates of the proto-Germanic word piudiskaz , meaning “popular” or “of the people.” The language flourished safely within German immigrant communities and religious sects; however, while 10% of the original Pennsylvania Dutch settlers were Amish and Old Order Mennonites, today over 250,000 people speak the Germanic language, mainly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. You might be wondering how this language is different from German, considering its roots. It’s entirely different, as it turns out. Pennsylvania Dutch shares the most similarities with the Palatine German dialect, a small southwestern region of Germany where most Pennsylvanian settlers came from.

If you can speak Pennsylvania Dutch, you can likely converse with Palatine Germans to a limited extent. Can you write in Pennsylvania Dutch? Yes! However, not many speakers read and write in it, so it doesn’t have standardized spelling rules. If you’re curious to see it in print, however, look at the only Pennsylvania Dutch newspaper in the U.S.: Hiwwe wie Driwwe. Scholarly efforts have also been made to advance the language, such as the Pennsylvania German Studies minor program at Kutztown University. We hope you enjoyed learning a new fact or two about American history! Enjoy your April!



The Best Tools for Seniors to

Stay Connected Tech for an Analog World

Technology has changed our world in so many ways, but for older adults, the world’s transformation to all things digital can feel a lot like getting left behind. So much of their lives never involved technology, and something as simple as sending a text message can be like learning a new language.

requiring those with dexterity issues to attempt to plug a small cord into the device. Learn more at

Aura Frame Similar to GrandPad, Aura Frame allows pre-selected users to upload photos to a digital photo frame. Aura will then display the images in high resolution for the viewer! Family members can simply download

But they don’t have to be shut out. Many innovators have found ingenious ways to incorporate technology into user- friendly platforms for seniors looking to stay connected with loved ones and explore this new frontier of easier living. Check out our top choices for staying connected with your loved one. GrandPad GrandPad is tailored toward the unique needs of seniors. The tablet provides

the Aura app and upload the photos from their computers or phones from anywhere at any time, bringing their experiences into the older adult’s home with just a simple snap and click. As a bonus, the frames have multiple design options! Discover a new connected world at

StoryWorth Once a week, StoryWorth emails your loved one a question (or two). They respond with a story, and at the end of the year, all of the answers from the user are compiled into a thoughtful, well-designed book! In order to use this great tech, your loved one will need access to an email address or will need to be able to chat regularly with someone who has one, but the result is well worth the work. Visit to get started on your story today!

users with a video-calling platform, a space to store family photos, easy-to-play games, and a help center. The device comes pre-loaded with the apps selected by their family administrator and will only connect with people in the user’s circle via GrandPad, preventing unknown calls or hacks. Inventors of the tablet created GrandPad with older adults in mind, going so far as to equip GrandPad with a charging stand rather than

Celebrate spring with this easy, tasty, herb-packed pasta bake. Ingredients • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced • 1 14-oz can artichokes, drained and quartered • 1 cup fresh asparagus pieces • 1/2 cup carrots, grated • 1 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped and divided SPRING VEGETABLE AND CHICKEN PASTA BAKE • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and divided • 2 tsp minced garlic • 1/4 tsp salt • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


Directions 1. Preheat oven to 425 F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. 2. In the prepared dish, stir together cooked chicken, artichokes, asparagus, carrots, uncooked pasta, chicken broth, half the chives, half the parsley, garlic, salt, and 2 tbsp Parmesan. 3. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

4. Uncover and stir. At this point, check the pasta to make sure it is al dente. If it’s undercooked, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is tender. 5. Remove from oven and garnish with remaining Parmesan, chives, and parsley.

Inspired by

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Personalized Homecare ... When You Need It ... From People You Trust!

5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 24/7 831-430-0616

Scotts Valley Office Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Friday Home Care Organization #444700002



Older Adults Are in Crisis. Let’s Fix That


Caring for Pets Brings Health and Happiness The Origins of Pennsylvania Dutch


Tech Tools to Keep Your Senior Loved One Connected Spring Vegetable and Chicken Pasta Bake


3 Local Eco-Friendly Groups You’ll Want to Support!

3 Local Conservation Groups You Can Support This Earth Day Protect Our Landscape

The SPCA Monterey County Where: Salinas, California Phone Number: 877-4-SPCAMC (toll-free) Website:

From sandy beaches to tall redwood trees, the California landscape is beautiful and diverse. This Earth Day, do your part to keep it that way. Plant a tree — Arbor Day is just around the corner, too! — pick up trash, or donate and volunteer with the following local conservation groups.

lobbying for eco-friendly legislation, and educating the community and students about how plastic use and climate change impact the ocean. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Where: Santa Cruz Phone Number: 831-429-1840 Website: There are so many great ways to enjoy California’s landscape, and the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks was founded to protect those locations. The group, founded in 1976, partners with local communities to provide education, resources, and volunteers to improve state park landscapes and shelters, preserve history, and ensure the parks are safe for all adventurers. If you are unable to donate or volunteer, the group’s ParkStore offers fun gifts and trinkets, and proceeds from the store benefit the group’s endeavors.

The first Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in America was founded in New York in 1866. Today, there are thousands of SPCA’s across the nation, including one in Monterey County! SPCA Monterey County was founded in 1905 and relies on donors and volunteers to rescue and treat animals in distress. The group also provides a home for animals who are awaiting their forever homes and helps with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. The shelter welcomes all types of animals, promotes limiting overpopulation, and has a food bank for pets. They also offer behavior classes for pets and do community education.

Save Our Shores Where: Santa Cruz

Phone number: 831-462-5660 Website:

More than 40 years ago, a group of community members met for a rally on the beaches of Monterey Bay with the goal to stop offshore drilling. From that successful movement, an organization was created that’s dedicated to preserving our oceans and shorelines. Save Our Shores is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cleaning up local shorelines and oceanfronts, advocating and



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