Hints, Tips & Advice

Visiting Angels Walks the Talk

(December 5, 2011) – Every 69 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. Some may live only a short time after their diagnoses, others may spend 20 years with the disease. For most, a family member will be their primary caregiver, a job that 60% rank as high or very high in emotional stress.

Visiting Angels, the nation's leading network of essential personal, private duty home care agencies, understands the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease at a very individual level. Caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments is one of Visiting Angels’ specialties. But the agencies do more than provide much needed care and assistance – in 2011 Visiting Angels franchises across the country came together to “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” and raise over $52,000 to date to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Over 100 franchises from coast to coast fielded teams to raise money for the cause, and more than 700 Visiting Angels staff members participated in events ranging from tag sales to walks. Debra Desrosiers, owner of the Auburn, NH Visiting Angels agency, coordinated the effort across the corporation.

“Talking with people who are affected with the disease made me want to help even more,” Desrosiers explains. “Some are very aware of it, and it tears your heart. This is something I’m passionate about. It’s a big part of who we service and I see how devastating this disease is for families.”

Desrosiers knew she wanted her agency to participate in raising funds, but then she decided to take it a step further. She approached Visiting Angels corporate headquarters to set up teams at agencies across the country. Visiting Angels headquarters quickly agreed, and Desrosiers found herself heading up a major fundraising effort.

“Visiting Angels has always focused on increasing the public’s awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia through year round events and fund raisers,” says Richard Bitner, Vice President of Marketing. “Being able to participate across the corporation in this effort let us reaffirm our commitment to seniors across America.”

One of the franchises that participated is Visiting Angels of Carroll and Western Baltimore Counties in Maryland. “We participated because we want to make a commitment toward finding a cure for this devastating disease,” explains Deb Valenza, Director of Marketing for the franchise. “Our owners matched donations that came in and literally ‘walked the walk’ with the team. Walking as a team side by side with caregivers and individuals who have been touched by this disease was very powerful, moving most to tears when their stories were shared.”

Desrosiers, who had been involved in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, began planning in January of 2011, with events kicking off in April. She plans to keep up the fundraising until the last day of the year.

“I know this disease can ruin family relationships,” she says. “A lot of people get in over their heads and they don’t know that affordable help is out there. Agencies like ours can be pivotal in keeping people at home where their memories are. Once you displace people with Alzheimer’s from their home they can decline quickly. We have our sad moments but we know we help. We are able to accomplish a task, and that task is giving the best care possible while we all work toward a cure.”


• Alzheimer’s Association – information and free care planning consultations: www.alz.org/
• Alzheimer’s Foundation - www.alzfdn.org/?gclid=CO6xn6b_u6wCFcp65Qod0xoUpQ
• 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures: www.alz.org/documents_custom/2011_Facts_Figures_Fact_Sheet.pdf
• Visiting Angels agencies: www.visitingangels.com

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.