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

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Appropriate Responses to Inappropriate Behavior

Alzheimer's CaregiverAlzheimer’s is a complex disease that often presents complex issues for Alzheimer’s caregivers. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s increasingly tend to communicate through behavior instead of speech, and oftentimes these behaviors can be of an inappropriate nature. For example, people with more advanced Alzheimer’s disease may exhibit the following:

  • Aggression and agitation
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior such as:
    • Undressing or touching themselves in public
    • Using vulgar or obscene language
    • Jealous accusations that a spouse is having an affair
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression

These behaviors can be embarrassing or troubling for Alzheimer’s caregivers, but they can also be very confusing and frustrating for the person with Alzheimer’s, as he or she most likely doesn’t understand why the behavior is considered inappropriate or why it is upsetting to others.

As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, it’s important to remember that any troubling behaviors the senior shows are the result of the disease — or possibly other health issues or medications — not a reflection of the person’s character. Also, often what seems like sexually inappropriate behavior is really an expression of a non-sexual need, such as a need to use the restroom or a need for closeness.

If you cannot figure out a reason for the senior’s behavior, try these responses:

  • Redirect the person to a favorite hobby or activity such as listening to music or looking through a family photo album.
  • Calmly, but promptly, find a private area like a restroom or changing area if the senior feels the need to undress in public.
  • Respond to feelings of loneliness or a need for closeness with a caring pat or a hug and soothing conversation.
  • Try increasing the amount of exercise or activity the person gets.
  • Consider practical solutions; for inappropriate disrobing, buy special clothes designed with fasteners in the back for this specific reason, or try putting trousers or dresses on backwards.

When responding to challenging behavior:

  • Respond calmly and matter-of-factly. Arguing with or embarrassing the person can exacerbate the situation; try to be gentle and patient.
  • Don’t overreact in either direction. Providing too much affection may encourage unwanted sexual behavior, while yelling or shaming may frighten or confuse the person further.
  • Find a solution, whether it is a new setting that does not allow for the behavior to be a cause of concern, or a new activity that distracts from the behavior altogether.

Becoming an Alzheimer’s caregiver is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding career. If you are interested in helping seniors with Alzheimer’s disease live their best lives at home, 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.

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.

What a Certified Nurse’s Aide Does in Walnut Creek CA

A certified nurse’s aide has a vast array of duties to keep their patients comfortable and healthy. The tasks may change on a day-to-day basis depending on the care and needs of the patient. Some of the duties, which a Certified Nurse’s Aide may perform, are:Certified Nurse’s Aide in Walnut Creek CA

  1. Measuring the patient’s vital signs, which would include his or her temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration. A Certified Nurses Aide may also assist with a patient’s daily living activities. This would include dressing, bathing, eating, brushing of teeth and using the bathroom.
  2. Collecting urine or stool samples, which would be needed for certain, tests by physicians and laboratory technicians. He or she would also record any of the patient’s health concerns and provide information in reports for the nurses to review.
  3. If the patient were in a wheelchair, walker or other equipment that would limit mobility, he or she would reposition and transfer the patient as needed.
  4. Doing tasks, which would include making the patient’s bed, changing any necessary bedpans, replacing bed linens and towels and collecting dirty laundry.
  5. Educating patients on range of motion exercises. Also showing him or her stretches to relieve pain and to improve functioning.
  6. Performing CPR and other safety techniques if needed in emergency situations.

Certified Nursing Aides are not just here for helping patients and providing assessments, but for their emotional support as well. And because the CNA works with the patient daily, the CNA comes to know the patient and can have friendly conversations and interactions, which are good for the patient’s mental wellbeing.

All in all the CNA makes sure that the care needed is provided within the bounds of the job. He or she monitors the response to the care received, records any observations and listens to any concerns that the patient may have about his or her health or on other issues. The aide also makes sure that the patient’s room is clean, sanitary and disinfected for optimal patient care and comfort. If the patient is bedridden, the aide can turn and reposition him or her on a schedule, to prevent bedsores and for comfort.

Certified Nursing Aides provide the link between the hospital and full patient recovery at home. It’s winning situation for all involved.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

The Benefits of Being a Certified Nurse’s Aide in Walnut Creek CA!

The Benefits of Being a Certified Nurse’s Aide in Walnut Creek CA!

If you are looking for a job in the medical field, a certified nurse’s aide may be just what you’re looking for.  A certified nursing aide’s job is to provide basic nursing tasks and duties for patients who are unable to take care of themselves either temporarily, or permanently.  The duties can range from temperature readings to personal hygiene.  Some of the benefits of being a nurse’s aide are listed below:Certified Nurse's Aide in Walnut Creek CA

  1. The Training Programs are short, about 75 hours for the mandate of the federal government to be satisfied.  Each state may require a few more hours but the program runs about six weeks on average.  There are also usually weekend and night classes for those who can’t go to school during the day.  The tuition is also very affordable compared to other medical programs.
  2. There are varied work environments to choose from such as hospitals or working with patients in their homes.  Every work environment has different benefits and requirements.  A private home allows you to work with only one patient at a time in a one on one environment.  A hospital has structure and has a variety of patients.
  3. A CNA has a flexible schedule, which can be all hours of the day or night.  You can usually find a schedule that will suit your needs.  You may be working weekends and holidays though, too.  You can also work part time if you have a family to take care of, and possibly overtime if interested.
  4. You have exposure to the medical field by working with doctors, nurses and other health care employees.  This will allow you to gain needed experience in the health care field while you’re performing your duties to make you more valuable in your field.
  5. If you enjoy working with people, then this is the perfect career for you.  You will be assisting people who are ill, frightened or can’t perform the tasks they were once able to do, so you will gain fulfillment as a needed person.  You are a trusted caregiver to him or her, and you’ll learn something from each person you come in contact with.
  6. Certified Nursing Aides is an expanding and in demand field.  You can build yourself a successful career as a certified nurse’s aide and have job security for years to come.
  7. If you want to change careers further down the road to a related career, you have already faced the emotional and physical challenges of this job.  This will give you the experience to adjust to a similar demanding job much faster. 

Being a certified nurse’s aide can be a long and rewarding career knowing you will make a difference in someone else’s live.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

6 Reasons Seniors Should Hire an Excellent CNA in Walnut Creek CA!

6 Reasons Seniors Should Hire an Excellent CNA in Walnut Creek CA!

As you get older, things that you used to do easily or even without giving it a thought become much more difficult.  Maybe you’re having trouble keeping up with the housekeeping or preparing meals.  Perhaps you have decided you no longer want to drive or if you do drive, you don’t feel as safe driving your vehicle as you once did.  Maybe you’re having difficulty getting dressed or bathing yourself.   CNA Walnut Creek CA

Whatever the problem, you’ve decided you need help.

So where do you turn?

Well-trained Certified Nurses Aides can answer that question for you:

  1. CNAs can keep your household running smoothly.  A companion will arrive on the day or days that you request and do laundry, light housekeeping and your shopping.  The service will even provide gardening help and handyman services if needed.  Financial and healthcare management assistance is offered to and can be helpful if you are having difficulty keeping appointments and paying bills on time because of memory lapses.
  2. If you are having transportation issues such as not wanting to drive at night or you don’t want to drive at all, there are other options.  And by having alternate options, you can keep your independence while maintaining your circle of friends.  In this, home care services can provide transportation to appointments and other places you need to be. Too, you can also take a bus or hire a taxi at reduced senior fares.
  3. You can modify your home if you have health issues instead of moving so that a home companion or CNA can help you stay in the home you love.  This will make your home more adaptable to your needs plus more comfortable too.  Some modifications may be having grab bars installed in the shower for extra grip when being assisted by your home care companion.  You can have ramps put in to avoid using stairs too.  You can even put a bathroom in on the first floor for more convenience.
  4. Personal care is when you need help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation and eating.  If you need assistance with any of this, a nurse’s aide or home health aid or can provide care for a few hours a day, a few days a week or even provide live-in care.
  5. If you need health care at home, such professional can provide health care services as home health nurses, social workers or even occupational therapists.  These professionals can take care of your health needs, including hospice care.
  6. If you want to keep busy, there are day programs called senior daycare.  This can provide socialization and activities for you to enjoy while giving a break for your caregivers.  A CNA can take you and pick you up if needed.  Some senior centers offer transportation as part of their program that may be convenient for you.  There are also different types of day programs.  One may be only social, another may have some health services and others may be for disorders such as Alzheimer’s. 

CNAs provide more than nursing care; they provide companionship and safety for seniors.  So if you have any of the above issues, you may consider looking into hiring a CNA in your area.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

Characteristics to Look for in a Home Care Companion in Walnut Creek CA!

Characteristics to Look for in a Home Care Companion in Walnut Creek CA!

Two of the best traits in a home care companion are kindness and compassion.  It makes the person who the caregiver is taking care of feel both safe and understood.  It also protects that person’s dignity.  Other characteristics for consideration are:Characteristics to Look for in a Home Care Companion in Walnut Creek CA!

  • A good caregiver will be willing to sit still and just ‘be.” Sitting and holding your family member’s hand and listening to what story he or she has to tell is important.  To give your loved one the time and having the willingness to let your family member share a piece of his or herself is a priceless gift.
  • Being willing to be flexible if the occasion arises.  For instance, say you couldn’t get back in time or were held up for some reason.  Some elderly people can’t be let alone even for a few minutes and may get confused or frightened if this is done.  Would the companion be willing to wait until you got back?
  • The caregiver would be aware of any changes in your loved one’s eating habits or appearance.  This doesn’t mean the companion has to have a medical degree but he or she must be able to tell if your family member is a little “off” or maybe not eating.  Or maybe your family member is running a fever or is complaining of a bad headache.  By observing any changes and making sure you know so a physician can be seen early; this is priceless. This can prevent an illness from worsening and your senior ending up having a long stay in the hospital.
  • Can the companion be comfortable outside his or her own comfort zone?  For example, if your family member acts up while in public, will the companion be able to handle the situation with grace and tact?  Would the caregiver be willing to do a little dance on the sidewalk if that is what your senior feels like doing?
  • Being drama free.  This means the caregiver wouldn’t bring personal problems to your family member’s home.  No talking about personal issues or problems because that could add to any emotional turmoil your family member may be suffering from.  His or her job should be making your family member comfortable and as happy as possible.
  • Does the caregiver have a similar hobby or hobbies which he or she could share with your family member and talk about?  Maybe the caregiver likes crocheting or likes to knit?  Maybe the companion builds model cars as a hobby and so does your senior.  It’s not something which is always possible; but when it happens, it’s great. 

Being a home care companion is about more than cooking meals and doing the laundry. Sometimes it’s sharing a piece of his or herself or being a little silly.  Sometime it’s finding a common interest which both the senior and the caregiver can enjoy doing.  Sometimes, it’s going beyond the call of duty.  And lastly; it’s treating your client like family.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

Certified Nurse’s Aides in Walnut Creek CA and the Value of a Good Reputation

Certified Nurse’s Aides in Walnut Creek CA and the Value of a Good Reputation

Being a certified nurse’s aid is not just about the job, but it is also about the reputation, which you acquire.  You have to work hard to develop a good reputation and good certified nurse’s aides are in demand.  What would you have to do to make sure your reputation would be a good one?Certified Nurse’s Aides in Walnut Creek CA

First of all, you would need to be responsible and excel at your job.  Not being responsible would put the senior at risk both health wise and in his or her safety.  Your client, therefore, needs to feel secure in knowing that you are there to take care of his or her needs.

You also need to be supportive of your patient and offer the support your patient is looking for and needs.  As a person gets older, support is so important as both health and the body fails.  To be successful, you need to be supportive then; it goes hand in hand with other skills.

A caring attitude is also important.  A person who is older needs a compassionate caring certified nurse’s aide who is always looking out for that person’s wellbeing.  This will go really far in keeping your client happy and contented, as an older person is comfortable with a person who has his or her best interests at heart.

Respect is a powerful attribute.  When you give respect, you receive respect back in return though it may not be from the person you are helping because that person may not be capable of doing so.  But your giving respect still adds a positive energy and a sense of dignity.  Also by being respectful, it can help add to your reputation as a professional.  As a final note on this too, you may be one of the few people who offers respect to that senior, and it might be the difference in the senior being happy.

As a person ages, special needs can happen and being understanding and sensitive as a certified nurse’s aide is important.  Your patient may have personal issues which he or she may need a sympathetic ear for, such as the passing of a spouse.  This would give him or her some relief and lighten any sorrow he or she may be feeling.

Because the elderly move slower and it may take longer to get things completed, patience is a virtue.  When you are patient when taking care of them, they are appreciative because they are aware of the slowing down of their bodies and minds.

Having good people skills is also important when handling the sick and infirmed.  By being flexible and adaptable in caring for the elderly, you will be able to deal with difficult patients with greater ease too.

You must know too that your job is so very important and that you are a valuable person.  But this has to be internal in your nature.  Feeling sorry for you or being mean back because you are having a bad day is not in the job description.

By always being encouraging in your day to day interaction with them, it gives him or her a boost in morale which in turn improves the mental and physical health of that senior.  By encouraging the senior, it in turn makes him or her try harder with greater confidence.

The skills mentioned above are what make a good reputation even better.  By making these skills your second nature, you can be assured you will never be looking long for a job.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

Certified Nurse’s Aides in Walnut Creek CA: Keeping Your Senior Positive!

Certified Nurse’s Aides in Walnut Creek CA: Keeping Your Senior Positive!

When caring for a senior it is important to have a positive attitude.attitude. Positivity can make a huge difference in your senior’s life: keeping them positive about medical concerns, helping them recover fully from an injury, keeping them from falling into depression and adding to their overall health.  Everyone needs positive people in their lives and your senior is no exception.  A positive environment can be even more healing than a pill and the people your senior spends time around can influence their mood and overall well being.Certified Nurse's Aide CA

Certified nurse’s aides are trained in practical nursing care and  bedside manner.  They are taught the power of positive behavior..  Not only do they know how to administer personal care to your senior, they also know how to interact with them.  It’s important for your senior to have a trusting relationship with their caregiver.  They should be happy to be in their presence, and not be fearful or concerned to be around them.  A great certified nurse’s aide is a blessing all-around.

Your aging loved one’s nurse’s aide dictates your senior’s attitude more than you know. Depending on their certified caregiver your senior can have a good  or  bad day so having someone who lifts your senior’s spirits is important.  Getting along with their caregiver gives seniors a sense of trust. They can enjoy the company of their caregiver, knowing that they are someone they can depend on.

Your senior’s caregiver must  be responsible for the energy they bring into your senior’s home and must always remember not to share negative energy with their client because the effect can be quite damaging. We all have personal struggles, but they should not be shared in the work place.

Your senior’s mood can have huge effects on their health.  A negative outlook can result in more medical complications the same way a positive outlook can cut recovery in half.  Keep a watchful eye on your senior’s caregiver.  If you think they are bringing unnecessary negativity into your senior’s home you should have a respectful conversation with them.  Explain that you are thinking of your senior’s needs first and that they need a positive environment.  It is after all their home.

 

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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

Certified Nurses’ Aide in Walnut Creek CA: What Does a CNA do?

 Certified Nurses’ Aide in Walnut Creek CA: What Does a CNA Do?Certified Nurses’ Aide in Walnut Creek CA: What Does a CNA Do?

You are trying to decide what type of care your aging parents need.  Do they need bedside care or assistance when walking?  Can they get up and down by themselves, or do they need help doing so?  If so, a certified nurses’ assistant may be what you need to help care for your parents.

A certified nurse’s assistant or CNA assists people who need health care services combined with daily living activities.  A CNA also can provide bedside care when needed.  Some of the other tasks a CNA can perform are:

  • When a client’s call signals a need, the aide answers it quickly.
  • A CNA can turn and reposition a client, either alone or with assistance.
  • She can measure or record food and liquid intake as well as output.  She can report changes in vital signs and conditions to the professional nursing staff.
  • A CNA will help a client in and out of bed if necessary.  Help with walking and doing doctor ordered exercises is also provided.
  • If a client needs a treatment or an examination; he or she can prepare the client for it and transport the client to a treatment center if needed.
  • A CNA can provide a clean living environment for the client. 

Another very important part of a CNA’s training is having a strong, independent understanding of emergency procedures.  He or she is trained to stay calm in stressful situations.  If an emergency happens, this person will be who everyone depends upon and will also know what to do.

Some other information and items a CNA should have easy access to are the following:

  • A list of your loved one’s current doctors, pharmacies and the number and address of the local hospital in a notebook by the phone or in a center place of communication. Also a list of the cell phone and work numbers for close family members and the names, addresses and phone numbers of a neighbor or close friend who can get there quickly if you can’t be reached.
  • Have a local street map of your area and write down the phone number, street addresses, and directions on how to get to the home.
  • You should also have written down in the notebook where your main water shut off is. You need to write down the location of any breaker boxes, smoke alarms and which rooms the fire extinguishers are in, and where they are placed in the rooms.
  • In the notebook, have a list of health related information concerning your loved one. This will include where a living will is located or the power of attorney for health care, in case of emergency care. 

Realizing that your parents may need home health care services isn’t easy.  But if you hire a capable person and have all the necessary information available, your loved one will be safe and secure.

If you would like to start a rewarding career in the home care services field, contact Hillendale Home Care today and inquire about their CNA classes and CEU offerings.

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