Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

Stroke Recovery Tips: How to Modify the Home Post-Stroke

Stroke Care Recovering from a stroke can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming, and the only thing a stroke survivor wants to do is return home to his or her everyday life. However, since more than two-thirds of stroke survivors have some form of disability (per the National Stroke Association), modifications to the home may be necessary to make life easier and safer for a client who is recovering from a stroke.

There are some simple steps that we can take to make the home safer and more accessible for a stroke survivor. Below is a checklist of items to use when assessing the home that can be used to make suggestions to the client:

Fall Prevention:

As many as 40% of stroke survivors experience serious falls within the year following their strokes. Check the following to prevent trips and falls in the home:

  • Hallways and pathways to the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen should all be clear so the person can move to and from these high traffic areas easily
  • Stair glides or platform lifts are recommended to help the client move safely up and down stairs
  • Loose rugs and throw rugs should be removed, or firmly secured to the floor
  • Grab bars should be installed in the shower or bathtub and beside the toilet
  • A tub bench or shower chair makes bathing easier and safer
  • Non-slip mats should be placed both inside and outside of the tub

Laundry Safety:

Laundry tasks require a great deal of lifting, reaching, ducking and pulling that can be challenging for those who have suffered a stroke. These changes can help:

  • Washer and dryer should be moved to an easily accessible location in the person’s home
  • Stackable, front-loading washing machines and dryers may be easier to utilize
  • Detergents and other laundry supplies should be stored in an easy-to-reach spot
  • An ironing board that folds down from the wall is a safer option than a free-standing one

Bedroom Safety:

The stroke survivor’s bedroom should be a place that he or she feels safe, relaxed and comfortable in. Consider these tips:

  • A light switch near the bed can help prevent falls from stumbling in the dark
  • Clothing and personal items should be reorganized to make them easier to access; for example, placing the most commonly used items in drawers that are easiest to reach
  • A commode chair near the bed makes bathroom needs easier to manage at nighttime

Clients who have survived a stroke can be offered a free in-home assessment to improve the safety of their home as they recover, and to reduce the risk of re-hospitalization. Check with your supervisor if you believe this would be beneficial for your client.

 

Getting Creative with Colors to Help Clients with Low Vision

low visionPerhaps of all our senses, vision is the one we appreciate the most. So much of what we experience in the world around us comes through what we see. Our vision also serves to help enhance our safety. Compromised vision can make it more difficult to see dangers and obstacles as we navigate the world around us, both inside and outside of the home.

If you are caregiving for a client who struggles with reduced vision – also known as low vision – strategic use of colors and contrasts can enhance his or her safety and independence. It’s not as difficult as it might seem. Basically:

  • Bright, solid colors like orange, red, and yellow reflect the most light and thus are easiest to see.
  • Light-colored objects placed against darker backgrounds provide better contrast. For example, placing a white sheet of paper on a brown desktop stands out more than on a tan surface.
  • Likewise, dark objects are easier to see against light backgrounds. A dark colored chair will stand out best against light colored walls.
  • When arranging furniture and other objects in a room, bear in mind that some colors are so similar that distinguishing between them can be difficult. The most common problem color groups are:
    • Navy blue, black and brown
    • Blue, purple and green
    • Pink, pale green and yellow
  • Placing light-reflecting tape or bright paint on the leading edge of the first and last steps helps them stand out.
  • Hallway runners in solid, bright colors help to clearly define walking spaces.

Naturally, prior to making any changes in the home of an older adult with low vision, it’s essential to keep that person’s feelings and wishes in mind. Someone dealing with vision loss is likely to be struggling through a variety of fears, including a lowered sense of control over his or her life, fear of losing independence and privacy, and concern that others may view him or her differently. He or she may also be experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed or anxious about the future and reluctant to share thoughts. Being sensitive to these feelings instead of simply dismissing them can make a tremendous impact.

If you are interested in helping seniors with low vision to enjoy a higher quality of life, contact Hillendale Home Care of Walnut Creek, California. We fully support our caregiving team through ongoing training and CEU offerings to help you keep your CNA or HHA license current. Contact us any time to learn more by calling 925-933-8181.

 

Learn the Stages and Symptoms of ALS from Hillendale Home Care

symptoms of ALSReceiving a diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) can bring up a lot of questions and concerns, for both the individual diagnosed and his or her family members. What causes ALS? What are the symptoms of ALS now, and how will they change in the years to come? Where can I go to find needed support?

As many as 30,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with ALS, and nearly 5,600 new patients are diagnosed with the disease every year. And although the ultimate cause is unclear, some studies point to puzzling risk factors, such as a doubled risk of ALS in veterans who served during the Gulf War

Although each person can experience ALS differently from others, the progression of the disease does seem to follow certain stages. Understanding these stages can help those with ALS and those who care for them implement the most appropriate plan of care.

Early Stages

  • Symptoms of ALS may be noticed only in a one particular area of the body
  • However, milder symptoms may affect more than that one region
  • For some individuals, the first affected muscles are those used for speaking, swallowing or breathing

Possible Symptoms:

  • Poor balance
  • Fatigue
  • Slurring of speech
  • Weakened grip
  • Stumbling when walking

Middle Stages

  • Some particular muscles may be paralyzed, while others are weakened or completely unaffected
  • Symptoms of ALS are now more widespread
  • Twitching may be evident

Possible Symptoms:

  • Challenges in standing up unassisted
  • Trouble with eating and swallowing, which can result in choking
  • Difficulty breathing, especially when lying down
  • Possible uncontrolled and inappropriate laughing or crying, known as the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)

Late Stages

  • The individual with ALS needs full assistance to care for his/her needs
  • Speaking may no longer be possible
  • The person can no longer eat or drink by mouth

Possible Symptoms:

  • Paralysis in most voluntary muscles
  • Breathing is severely compromised, resulting in fatigue, unclear thinking, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
  • Mobility is severely impacted

Receiving care from a professional in-home caregiver, such as Hillendale Home Care of Walnut Creek, California provides, can improve quality of life for individuals during any stage of ALS. Our professional caregivers work with families to create an individualized plan of care, allowing those experiencing symptoms of ALS to maintain dignity and the highest possible level of independence at all times. Interested in becoming a caregiver for Hillendale? Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.