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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

Health care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton


Greek Myth of Klotho May Hold Key to Unlocking Dementia

By Laurie Edwards-Tate


Klotho, the Greek mythological goddess of fate, was believed to be the one who could cleverly “spin the threads of life.”That mythological belief may soon become a modern-day reality in the treatment of dementia.

In a study partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers at the University of California San Francisco discovered Klotho, a variant longevity gene KL-VS.

Studies of over 700 persons aged 52 to 85 showed that those with one copy of the naturally occurring genetic variant KL-VShave have greater thinking, learning, and cognitive abilities, regardless of any genetic predisposition for developing dementia.

Additionally, researchers believe that those possessing the gene have increased IQs, possibly by as much as 3 percent.

Multiple copies of the KL-VS variant or its gradual declining levels could be indicative of decreasing cognitive abilities and increasing disease processes caused by aging.

According to Suzana Petanceska, PhD, program director at the National Institute on Aging, “Understanding the factors that control the levels and activity of Klotho across multiple organ systems may open new therapeutic avenues for prevention of age-related cognitive decline and dementia.”

This is exciting news for the estimated 35.6 million people worldwide suffering from some form of dementia, with estimates of continued growth as high as 65.7 million by 2030.

It is also important news, given the unprecedented growth of America’s aging population. As the silver tsunami continues to sweep on, 10,000 persons will turn 65 every day by 2020.

Dementia Care Central demonstrates that the rates of dementia occurring in the United States will increase with the advancement of age, affecting the following percentages of the senior population:

  • Age 71-79: 5 percent
  • Age 80-89: 24 percent
  • Age 90 and over: 34 percent

Dementia is a progressive brain disease that causes cognitive impairment. There are also a variety of health conditions that mimic dementia such as depression, thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, medication side effects, and the like. They could be reversed if properly treated.

Currently, victims of non-reversible dementia are not so fortunate. For them, every day can be progressively harder. Memory loss, confusion, disorientation and continuous decline in capacity to perform essential activities of daily living slowly but surely reduces their quality of life.

They will need some form to assistance to accomplish simple daily tasks, such as preparing meals, bathing, and dressing, along with grocery shopping and going on outings. In time, they will be completely overtaken by the dreadful disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and oftentimes strikes more women than men.

Of the more than 5 million Americans stricken with Alzheimer’s, approximately two-thirds of them are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Organization. In fact, once a woman is in her sixties she has a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

As the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, it is also the most costly condition plaguing our society, says the Alzheimer’s Organization. The organization estimates that the financial costs of treating Alzheimer’s in the U.S. throughout 2014 is staggering and projected as follows:

  • Medicare: $113 billion
  • Medicaid: $37 billion
  • Out of Pocket: $36 billion
  • Other: $28 billion

In short, dementia portends to be a major, age-related epidemic with serious consequences for human and financial capital. With the discovery of Klotho, there is hope for the possibility of preventing and stopping the progression of this deadly disease. Although preliminary, the research findings “suggest that a form of Klotho could be used to enhance cognition for people suffering from dementia,” says Roderick Corriveau, PhD, program director at NIH’s Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Going a step further, it would be ideal if humans were routinely tested genetically for the prevalence of dementia and assessed for their risk factors. Based on their outcomes, they could be offered appropriate treatment options that could potentially prevent dementia altogether — or stop it from progressing if the disease process has already begun. What hopeful threads of life to spin for those who would fall victim to this most debilitating disease!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!


About the Author:Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. She is the president and CEO of At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services. You can reach her at


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