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

What Differently-Abled Adults Wish You Knew

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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!

Try These Breathing Exercises to Reduce COPD Symptoms

Concord home care

Read step-by-step instructions on exercise to reduce COPD symptoms in this article.

COPD can turn everyday life into a struggle. The good news is there are breathing exercises that can help ease the symptoms and improve quality of life. These exercises help make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger, so people with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.

Practice these techniques for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Learn these simple exercises so you’ll be ready to use them any time you have a client who feels short of breath:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or firm bed with your knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows.
  2. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of three. Use your hands to check that your belly rises while your chest stays still.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to a count of six. Check that your chest remains still.
  5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes as tolerated.

Controlled Coughing

This technique can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Get a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Lean your head slightly forward. Place your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Put one hand on your belly under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward your diaphragm while you cough once. This should help move the mucus up into your throat. Cough again to clear the mucus from your throat.
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue.
  5. Rest for a moment or two and repeat as needed. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you’re finished.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this method so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity such as climbing stairs or lifting groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with your mouth closed.
  3. Purse your lips as if you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds is too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable.

Interested in becoming a trained in-home caregiver with Hillendale Home Care? Call 925-933-8181 to learn more about our experienced Concord home care team and review our Service Area to see the full list of cities that we service.

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!

Top Tips for Reducing the Risk of Pressure Sores for Seniors

home care Pleasant Hill

Reduce the risk of pressure sores in seniors with these tips.

Reduced ability to move or walk, chronic conditions such as diabetes, and thinner, more delicate skin are all issues that leave older adults at risk for a very serious issue – pressure sores. Also referred to as bedsores, pressure sores aren’t merely painful; they can also lead to infections that can be life-threatening.
For seniors who have limited movement or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, staving off pressure sores can seem like a never-ending battle for their caregivers. Pressure sores arise from a lack of blood flow that occurs when someone is in one position for too long. It is vital for caregivers to learn how to prevent pressure sores, and at Hillendale, providers of dedicated home care Pleasant Hill seniors need, we provide the training and education caregivers need to aid in preventative care.

Follow these tips to help protect the seniors in your care from these dangerous sores:

Repositioning

  • Hourly if wheelchair-bound, every two hours if bedbound
  • Make use of lifting instruments whenever possible to prevent friction during repositioning

Support

  • Use supportive cushions and pads:
    • Between knees and ankles
    • Under calves to protect heels
    • To lie at an angle, protecting hips

Skin Care

  • Use mild bath soap and warm – never hot – water and apply lotion
  • For those who have very moist skin, use talcum powder
  • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to promote circulation

Promote Healthy Nutrition and Activity

  • Consult the senior’s health care provider for dietary and supplement guidelines for optimum skin health
  • Ensure adequate hydration
  • Encourage the senior to refrain from smoking
  • Assist with daily exercise (as appropriate and per doctor’s recommendations)

If the senior does develop a pressure sore, it could progress through the following four stages:

  • Stage 1:A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch appears on the skin which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and feel itchy or create a burning sensation.
  • Stage 2:An open sore develops on the bruise, resembling a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and soreness are often also present during this stage.
  • Stage 3:As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin becomes darker and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4:During this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a serious infection of the bone) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can occur.

Pressure sores are serious and must be treated by the senior’s physician early in order to promote healing. When caring for a senior, if a pressure sore is noticed, contact the senior’s health care provider for proper treatment. At Hillendale Home Care, we provide the high quality home care Pleasant Hill families need to ensure their loved ones are safe and healthy. For more information on how you can become a CNA with Hillendale, contact our CNA and HHA School today!

Fact or Fiction: Uncovering the Truth Behind Flu Vaccine Myths

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Uncover the truth behind flu vaccine myths from Hillendale, the demntia care experts.

For most healthy people, the flu is just another illness that might use up a few sick days at work. For older adults and those with compromised immune systems, though, the flu can be deadly. That’s why it is vital to encourage seniors and those who are in close contact with seniors to get a flu vaccine each year. However, with all the false information flying around about the flu vaccine, many people choose not to get vaccinated even when they should.

Help seniors and their families uncover the truth for better health with the following flu vaccine myth busters:

Myth: The flu shot will give me the flu.
Truth: The flu shot is made from a dead virus that is not capable of causing the disease. It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot. The nasal spray version of the vaccine, however, is a live but weakened virus and is not recommended for adults over 50.

Myth: Flu shots don’t work. I once got the flu after taking the shot.
Truth: While the flu vaccine is your best shot at preventing the virus, it is not 100% effective in preventing flu. However, people usually get a milder case of the flu than they otherwise would get if they have taken the vaccine. The risk of hospitalization and death from complications of influenza is also greatly reduced.

Myth: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
Truth: The flu virus changes each year, which means last year’s shot may not protect against this year’s virus. Getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.

Myth: Healthy people don’t need to get the flu vaccine.
Truth: While it’s especially important for seniors and those who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, healthy people should also get the vaccine to help prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Understanding how the flu vaccine works can often ease fears that many people have about taking it. Helping seniors maintain optimum health is one of our highest goals. To learn more about how we can help keep seniors safe and well at home, or to learn how to become an in home caregiver through our CNA and HHA programcontact us today.

Walnut Creek Home Care | Fit for Life: Top Exercises for Seniors

cna assisting senior female exercise

Walnut Creek home care tips on exercises for seniors

Exercise is important throughout all stages of life, and there are numerous benefits of exercise for seniors of all activity levels. Even seniors who have limited mobility can still improve strength and flexibility with a wide range of appropriate exercises.

First off, always check with the senior’s physician to get a recommendation on the best exercises for seniors that fit with his activity level and medical history. Initially, exercising even for as little as a few minutes a day, repeated several times throughout the day, can greatly enhance the senior’s health and wellbeing.

Following are several examples of the exercises for seniors that caregivers and CNAs can assist with:

  • Aerobic Exercises: If whole body movements aren’t possible, exercises from a seated position are available to build cardio strength. When possible, good options include:
    • Swimming or water aerobics
    • Dancing
    • Walking
    • Tai Chi
    • Bowling
  • Resistance Exercises: Elastic resistance bands are excellent to build strength in a safe way. Studies show that even one day per week of resistance training helps seniors build muscle and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Flexibility Exercises: Stretching helps improve flexibility and freedom of movement. Senior yoga classes can help older adults stay flexible.

Keeping up with exercise is a challenge for people of all ages, so encouraging senior clients to maintain an exercise program is key to success. Try these ideas to make it something fun that he will look forward to:

  • Participate in an exercise program with the senior. It’s always more fun to exercise with a buddy.
  • Add favorite, upbeat music.
  • Set aside dedicated time each day specifically for exercise, and make it a priority.
  • Designate incentives or rewards for achieving milestones.

The senior care professionals at Hillendale Home Care provide exceptional home care Walnut Creek seniors need to stay healthy, active, and happy at home. We also provide CNA training and CNA CEU’s. Contact us to learn more!

Small Adjustments Make a Big Difference in Senior Vision

Concord home care

Learn how to improve senior vision with these tips.

Vision is important to us; it allows us to see the beautiful faces of our loved ones, witness a sparkling sunset, and to take care of our day-to-day needs without a second thought. In essence, vision plays a big role in helping us stay independent and self-sufficient, and the idea of losing our sight can be frightening.

Senior vision naturally declines with age, and in order to help older adults stay independent, it is important to make some small adjustments around the home that can make a senior’s life much easier and safer. A good rule of thumb when making home modifications to accommodate senior vision is to pay special attention to the basic concepts of lighting, color and contrast. Try making a few of these minor modifications:

General Lighting

  • Ensure that there is adequate lighting throughout the home. If possible, install extra lighting in entryways, hallways, and at the top and bottom of each staircase to eliminate shadows or excessively bright areas.
  • Install fluorescent ceiling fixtures for general room lighting, supplemented with LED, or halogen lighting in desk lamps, table lamps, and floor fixtures.
  • Use a bedside lamp that can be easily turned on by either clapping or touching the base.
  • Use light colored lampshades to allow the maximum transmission of light without glare.
  • Install flexible-arm lamps wherever needed for reading or identifying clothing and medication.

Kitchen

  • Use white plates on a dark tablecloth, or place dark dishes on a white or light-colored cloth. If possible, avoid using clear glass cups and dishes.
  • Use brightly colored, raised marking dots on the stove, oven, and microwave controls to allow for easier adjustments.
  • Use a reversible black and white cutting board to provide contrast. For example, lightly colored vegetables like onions and potatoes will show up more clearly on the black side, while the white side will provide greater contrast with dark green veggies like kale and green peppers.

Bathroom

  • When towels, washcloths, and bath mats need replacing, purchase solid colors that contrast with the tub, floor, and wall tile.
  • Transfer soap, shampoo, and other bath products to brightly colored plastic bottles or wall-mounted containers that contrast with the tub and wall tile.
  • Replace a white toilet seat with a brightly colored one that contrasts with the walls and fixtures.

Helping seniors live safely and independently at home is the mission or our Concord home care experts. To learn more about how we can help improve senior vision at home through simple home modifications or to learn how to become an in home caregiver through our CNA and HHA program, contact us today.

Top Tips for Providing Better In-Home Care for ALS Patients

In-Home Care for ALS

In-home care tips to help caregivers better care for ALS.

As a neurodegenerative disease, ALS (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease) can result in a number of physical challenges that can lead to depression. For caregivers providing in-home care for ALS patients, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and feel unsure how to best help the person live life to the fullest and remain optimistic.

When it comes to providing in-home care for ALS, it is important for caregivers to understand the struggles that the disease presents so they can provide better care. Hillendale Home Care’s CNA School has put together the following strategies to help caregivers provide the best care for people with ALS:

  • People with muscle diseases like ALS are capable thinkers even if they can’t communicate clearly. Discuss choices openly and make joint decisions regarding the person’s care.
  • Ask if the person wants help before helping. Try not to take over tasks that still can be performed if the person is given adaptive devices and time.
    Patience is key. While it may often seem faster and easier for you to take over certain tasks, be patient and let the person complete the tasks that he or she can.
  • Set up a computer and Internet access. Computers and other assistive technologies provide entertainment and social interaction and enable the person with muscle disease to help with tasks such as paying bills, tracking down information, hiring services, and grocery shopping.
  • Use adaptive devices. The use of assistive equipment like wheelchairs is a move toward independence, not away from it. Adaptive devices are available for many everyday tasks such as eating, opening jars and doors, buttoning or zipping up clothing, writing and taking a bath.

For people with ALS, independence and exceptional care are vital. The in home care experts at Hillendale Home Care of Walnut Creek, CA are fully trained to help provide the care and assistance needed to ensure people with ALS live their best lives, and their family members receive the respite they need. If you would like to train to become a CNA and provide care for people with ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic conditions, contact us today to learn more.

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.

How to Tell if a Senior Is Suffering from Loss of Vision

loss of visionDiscussing health issues can be tough for seniors. They may feel that their health is private, or they might be fearful that admitting that they have a problem will lead to loss of independence. This is often the case when it comes to vision loss.

A senior who is suffering from loss of vision may do her best to hide the issue from family and friends. For family and friends, it is helpful to know how to identify changes in behavior and appearance that might indicate a senior should visit her doctor or eye care professional. Keep an eye out for these red flags that could be symptoms of vision loss:

  • Bumping into objects, tripping, moving very carefully or touching the wall while walking
  • Visual confusion (i.e. not recognizing buildings, landmarks, houses, etc.) in a familiar place
  • Under-reaching or over-reaching for objects
  • Ceasing enjoyable activities such as reading, watching TV, driving, walking, or participating in hobbies
  • Tilting the head or squinting to see, or holding reading material close to the face
  • Struggling to identify faces, objects or colors
  • Stained clothing or outfit color combinations that do not match
  • Seeking out more or different kinds of lighting for reading or other activities
  • Having trouble cutting or serving food, or knocking over objects in the kitchen or on the table

Additionally, if the senior complains about the following, it could be a sign of vision loss:

  • Halos or rings around lights, or seeing spots
  • Eye pain
  • Reduced night vision, double or distorted vision

Loss of vision doesn’t have to mean loss of independence. As a Hillendale Home Care provider, you can help seniors with vision loss live safer and more independent lives. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Hillendale Home Care CNA, click here for more information.