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

Hillendale Senior Care Tips: Better Lighting to Assist Vision

Walnut Creek Home Care

Learn how the proper lighting can assist seniors with vision impairment.

Dim lights and shadows can make it problematic for people with reduced vision to make out distinct objects. They may bump into objects that didn’t seem to be as close as they truly were, or fall over something they didn’t notice at all.

This can lead to accidents in the home, which can result in a decline in a senior’s overall health. Dim lighting can take away enjoyment too – if the light isn’t bright enough to read, for example, the simple pleasure of reading may be lost. But there are things you can do as a CNA or Home Health Aid to help reduce these risks, one of which is ensuring that the lighting in your senior loved one’s home is adequate, reducing the shadows and making objects stand out more visibly.

For example, did you know that cutting the distance between a light source and the task in half by bringing the light closer to the work will make the brightness of the light approximately four times greater? Here are some other lighting tips to help a senior with low vision:

  • A “task lamp” with a flexible arm or gooseneck can focus light closely and directly on a working area, ensuring better light for reading, cooking, using the telephone, or doing crafts.
  • If one eye has better vision, position the lamp on that side of the body, slightly to the side. Take caution in placement however, so that the light is not reflecting from the page into the eyes of the reader.
  • To reduce glare, which can make it harder to see, make sure all light bulbs are covered with some sort of shade.
  • To reduce the heat of a higher-wattage bulb, use a lamp with an internal reflector (a double shade). This significantly reduces the heat, and allows the lamp to be closer to the face than with a single shade, especially one made of metal.
  • Install extra lighting in places where it may be difficult to move around, such as hallways and stairs.
  • Install dimmer switches for controlling the amount of light in the room.
  • Install under-cabinet lighting for tasks in the kitchen or work areas.

These lighting changes can help a senior in your care more easily adapt to low vision. If you are interested in joining our CNA and HHA training school or joining the experienced caregiving team at Hillendale, contact us today at 925-933-8181.

What Differently-Abled Adults Wish You Knew

Walnut Creek senior caregiving

Learn how to better serve adults with disabilities in this article from the senior care experts at Hillendale Home Care.

Although the mental and/or physical challenges encountered by individuals with a disability may be apparent, many of us fail to fully comprehend the social struggles that often go hand in hand. As a result, we may tend to “talk down” to or make incorrect assumptions about the person.

Below are some suggestions to help you better and more respectfully communicate with disabled individuals in your life:

  • Never judge or assume anything about an individual’s disability. Just because a person is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean the person is paralyzed, and just because someone has a speech impediment doesn’t mean that person is intellectually impaired.
  • Talk directly to the individual and look him or her in the eyes when speaking.
  • If you can’t understand what the person is saying, never pretend that you do. It’s perfectly fine to ask again for clarification.
  • Respect personal boundaries and avoid leaning on the person’s wheelchair or walker, or touching a service animal unless you have been given permission to do so.
  • Never patronize.
  • Maintain patience.
  • It’s acceptable to offer assistance, but never insist or be offended if your offer is not welcomed.
  • Never assume the individual is unable to participate in an activity. Always give the person the benefit of the doubt. You may be surprised!

One great way to boost the independence of differently-abled adults is through technology. If the person is willing, suggest trying one or more of the following:

  • Digital Voice Recorder: These devices come in handy for those with cognitive impairments to provide reminders for things like phone numbers and medication instructions, or daily routine details such as when a favorite show comes on.
  • Motorized Chair Lifts: For people in wheelchairs as well as those with other mobility disorders, a motorized chair lift is a wonderful way to allow for getting up and down stairs safely.
  • Vibrating Alarm Clocks/Strobing Smoke Alarms: For someone who is deaf or struggles with hearing issues, alarm clocks and smoke alarms that only make noise are of little help. A vibrating alarm clock uses a sensor that can be placed under the bedsheets which vibrates when the alarm goes off, allowing the person to feel the alarm instead. In the same way, a smoke alarm equipped with a strobe light allows the hearing impaired person to see the alarm and get to safety.

If you’d like to learn more about joining the Hillendale team as a CNA and improve quality of life for a senior or differently-abled adult in our California community, contact our CNA and HHA School by completing this simple form!

Tips to Best Help a Person Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Help those recovering from a traumatic brain injury with these tips

Providing care for someone who’s struggling with the effects of a traumatic brain injury can be more manageable with compassion combined with education. The following tips can help reduce stress and frustration for both the person for whom you’re providing care, as well as for yourself as a caregiver.

  • Allow Plenty of Time for Recovery: Recovery for someone with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) very often can take years. Although the person may seem to be recovered on the outside, there will naturally be some days that are better than others, and pushing the person too hard can lead to setbacks. Remain patient and refrain from negativity.
  • View Things Differently: Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the person with the TBI, and view the situation through his or her eyes and abilities.
  • Focus on Structure: A structured day is often crucial to the person’s recovery. It can help the individual retrain his or her brain and know better what to expect during the course of the day.
  • Patience Is Key: Allowing the person to manage tasks at his or her own pace will help the individual regain independence. Offer plenty of patience in listening, enabling the person to finish what he or she wants to say without interruption, even if it takes some time to find the correct words. This will help him or her to relearn important language skills.
  • Help, But Don’t Do Everything: If the person appears to be “stuck” in a task or is repeating actions, he or she could just require a little assistance with processing information. Refrain from taking over the task, and instead offer simple suggestions. Often, people with brain injuries will find that they need to finish a task in a very set order as the brain is being retrained.
  • Rest Is Best: A person with a TBI requires more rest than usual, and this is not a condition of laziness. It causes fatigue for the person to process and organize thoughts, particularly if already tired.
  • Remain Alert in Social Settings: Parties and crowds can be particularly challenging, with various conversations and loud noises occurring all at once. Be mindful that it may be too much for the person to process and a break can be beneficial.
  • Never Treat the Individual like a Child: Be sure you never talk down to the TBI survivor. Although you may be trying to help, it can appear to be belittling.
  • Behavior Management: It’s vital to figure out what triggered a challenging behavior. Was the person tired? Was there too much noise or chaos that resulted in anxiety? Was a particular routine broken? If at all possible, avoid those triggers to help prevent the problematic behaviors.
  • Be Prepared for Strong Emotions: Understand that the person may become more irritated or frustrated, or could be more sensitive than before the TBI. Keep in mind that many things which could formerly be done without a second thought now require a great deal of effort to accomplish.
  • Provide Hope and Encouragement: Celebrate each accomplishment with the individual. Each moment of progress, regardless of how small, is a victory. New discoveries and stories of healing are happening each and every day. No one individual’s recovery is exactly like another.

Be sure to note any changes in condition in someone with a traumatic brain injury so they can be relayed to the person’s doctor immediately.

If you’d like to learn more about joining the Hillendale team as a CNA, contact our CNA and HHA School by completing this simple form!

Providing Top Tier Care Throughout the 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's DiseaseAccording to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and more than 10 million people worldwide are living with the disease. Although each individual’s experience with Parkinson’s disease is unique, there are typically five stages of progression that most people go through. As a home health aide or CNA caring for individuals with Parkinson’s, understanding these five stages can help you provide more informed and better overall care.

Stage 1: Also known as early-stage Parkinson’s, a person in stage 1 typically exhibits only mild signs or symptoms that may present as follows:

  • Tremor and other movement symptomsoccur on one side of the body only
  • Symptoms are concerning, but not disabling
  • Changes in posture, walking and facial expressions occur

Stage 2: In stage 2 of Parkinson’s, it may become more apparent that the individual is struggling to complete everyday tasks:

  • Symptoms now may be apparent on both sides of the body
  • The person is slightly disabled, and may be experiencing ambulatory or balance problems
  • Posture is impacted and daily tasks are more difficult

Stage 3: The third stage is known as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a greater level of disability is often noted, including:

  • A marked slowing of body movements
  • Falls become more common as balance and mobility are further impacted
  • Activities such as dressing and eating may become more significantly impaired

Stage 4: Parkinson’s disease is more advanced in stage 4, and is accompanied by more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Bradykinesia and rigidity, or lethargic movements
  • Loss of ability to complete daily tasks
  • Inability to walk without the use of a walker

Stage 5: This final stage of Parkinson’s is the most advanced and debilitating:

  • The person will experience an overall decrease in vitality and strength of both mind and body
  • He or she may require a wheelchair or be bedridden
  • Hallucinations or delusions may be experienced
  • One-on-one care is required

While symptoms and disease progression are unique to each person, knowing the typical stages of Parkinson’s allows home health aides to provide better care. Caring for a person who has Parkinson’s disease requires empathy, patience, and well-rounded care training. For additional tips on caring for a client with Parkinson’s disease, or for information on CNA training or HHA classes, contact Hillendale Home Care.

Understanding and Caregiving for Adults With Disabilities

Adults with DisabilitiesAdults with disabilities not only face physical challenges, but social ones as well. As a result, they may often feel as though people are “talking down” to them or making incorrect assumptions about their abilities.

The tips below can help professional caregivers communicate better and more respectfully with adults with disabilities:

  • Avoid judgment about a person’s disability. Just because someone is in a wheelchair, that doesn’t mean he or she is paralyzed, and just because a person has a speech impediment doesn’t mean he or she has a cognitive impairment.
  • Instead of speaking to the person’s family member or caretaker, speak directly to the disabled person and make eye contact with him or her while speaking.
  • If it is difficult to understand what the person is saying, ask him or her for clarification. Don’t just pretend that you understood.
  • Always respect the person’s personal space. Avoid leaning on assistive devices or touching a service animal unless you receive permission to do so.
  • Don’t patronize or talk down to the person.
  • Exercise patience.
  • Offer assistance, but also respect the person’s ability to perform tasks on his or her own.
  • Do not assume the person cannot participate in an activity. Always give him or her the benefit of the doubt. You may be surprised!

Additionally, Hillendale’s caregivers know that remaining safe and happy in the home is important to clients with disabilities. Here are just a few ways our CNAs can improve the quality of life for seniors and those with disabilities.

Exercise

Exercise and activity are important for maintaining the best health. Work with the physicians and other care providers to devise and implement an exercise plan that will best benefit the disabled person.

Meals

A healthy diet is extremely important for everyone, regardless of ability, but often, disabled individuals need to adhere to special diets. With guidance from the physician, caregivers can create a meal plan that will best meet the client’s needs.

Transportation

One of the biggest benefits for people who cannot drive themselves is to have a caregiver who can help them stay active in the community by driving them to and from appointments, accompany them on public transportation, run errands, provide transportation to social events and enjoy fun day outings.

At Hillendale Home Care, we take great care to treat each of our Walnut Creek area home care clients with the utmost respect and dignity. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Hillendale Home Care CNA, click here for more information.