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

10 Easy Steps to Proper Skin Care for the Elderly

senior woman applying facial cream

Learn techniques for proper skin care for the elderly.

As we grow older, our skin becomes more dry and delicate. Medscape reports that nearly 75% of seniors experience dry, flaky skin, which not only is easily damaged (cut, scratched, or bruised), but also often leads to uncomfortable itching.

The most common areas for dry skin in seniors are the elbows, lower legs, and forearms. For older adults who are less mobile, dry skin may also play a role in the development of bed sores that result from being in one position too long, in either a bed or chair.

Dry skin can be caused by the loss of sweat and oil glands. Try these tips for proper skin care for the elderly:

  • Avoid hot baths and showers. Warm water causes less drying to the skin.
  • Encourage the senior to bathe less often if possible. Although hygiene is important, the utilization of “dry baths” (with a dampened bath towel) may be sufficient between baths and showers.
  • Use mild shampoo and soap on the senior’s skin. If his/her scalp or skin is extremely dry, there are certain products, such as Nizoral, that may be helpful.
  • Moisturize the senior’s skin well, especially after showering or bathing.
  • Use unscented products, as scented products may irritate the skin.
  • Be sure the older adult drinks an adequate amount of fluids.
  • Consider utilizing a humidifier in cold weather or dry environments.
  • If the senior smokes, encourage him or her to quit.
  • Incorporate stress-reducing activities into the senior’s everyday routine.
  • Ensure the senior uses sunscreen when outside, and minimize exposure to the sun.

It’s also important to examine the senior’s skin on a frequent basis to see if there are any signs of excessively dry skin, and to report any conditions that may require medical care.

If you are interested in learning more about senior care and becoming a HHA or CNA through our professional school, contact the leading provider of elder care in Pleasant Hill and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care.

6 Cancer Care Tips to Try When Chemotherapy Affects Appetite

Grilled chicken with fresh vegetable salad

These cancer care tips can help with appetite problems from chemotherapy.

Maintaining a healthy diet is particularly crucial for those undergoing chemotherapy or another type of cancer treatment, but one of the leading side effects stopping patients from eating well is an alteration in how foods taste. It’s important to conquer this and other hurdles to healthy eating in order to preserve the strength needed for chemo treatments and safeguard against infections. Eating a well-balanced diet may perhaps even help cancer patients better cope with greater dosages of some types of medicines.

When suffering from challenges with taste changes that interfere with adhering to an advised dietary plan during cancer treatment, you can help the clients you’re caring for with these cancer nutrition tips:

  • Experiment with various food temperatures. For some people undergoing cancer treatment, cold foods are more palatable, providing less fragrances than hot foods, which could increase feelings of nausea.
  • Try different seasonings. Marinades, herbs, and spices can make food more appealing. Several choices to try include mint, garlic, rosemary, dill, lemon and basil.
  • Pay attention to oral health. Taste buds may become inflamed by chemotherapy, and bacteria amounts may become imbalanced. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste a few times during the course of each day, and encouraging a visit with the dentist for further suggestions, can help.
  • Consume smaller portions. Smaller, more frequent meals tend to be easier to digest. Be sure to incorporate plenty of fluids, both during and between meals, as well.
  • Try gum and mints. Sugar-free gum and mints, or other flavored hard candy, can help reduce the metallic or bitter tastes in the mouth that can occur from chemotherapy treatments. They can also trigger production of saliva to soothe a dry mouth.
  • Partner with a dietitian. A professional dietitian who has a specialty in cancer nutrition can help with suggesting food choices specific to the person’s particular difficulties. He or she can also recommend suitable vitamin supplements, high-nutrition liquid shakes, etc.

For more tips to combat changes in taste or other side effects of chemotherapy, contact Hillendale Home Care’s experts in CNA and home care aide training as well as home care in Concord, CA and the surrounding area. And contact us to learn more about joining our team of caregiving professionals through our CNA and HHA school, or share with someone you know who’s interested in a rewarding career as a senior care provider!

Tips for Caring for Someone with Dementia to Prevent Senior Illnesses Like COVID-19

These tips can help prevent senior illnesses like COVID-19.

Providing caregiving assistance for a senior with Alzheimer’s can be challenging under the best of circumstances; mix in a worldwide pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks and gloves, and meticulous sterilization of both ourselves and our environment, and the challenge might appear impossible.

The following guidelines can help reduce anxiety and frustration for those diagnosed with dementia, while keeping them safe from contagious senior illnesses like COVID-19.

  • Make self-care a top priority. Now more than ever, it is imperative that you evaluate your own level of stress, and take steps to ensure you’re healthy – both emotionally and physically. You can only offer the best caregiving help for a senior if your own needs are met. This might mean limiting time spent monitoring the news as well as on social media, maintaining connections with friends and family, and taking time for comforting, enjoyable activities.
  • Take care of personal hygiene. Proper handwashing techniques are critical for all of us, but could be tricky for individuals with Alzheimer’s to keep up. Depending on the person’s stage of the disease, it might help to wash your hands together, demonstrating for the senior; or, place signs beside the sink in the bathroom and kitchen with a reminder to wash for 20 seconds. And keep in mind that repetition, a typical behavior in Alzheimer’s, could work to your advantage in this instance.
  • Consider your words very carefully. When speaking with a senior with dementia about changes related to COVID-19, it is critical to keep it very simple, utilizing a calm and reassuring tone. Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Care and Support at the Alzheimer’s Association, suggests statements such as, “We have to stay inside because that’s most safe for us, but we’ll do it together. I’ll be with you and we’ll be okay.”
  • Make certain family caregivers have a backup plan. Let family caregivers know that in the event that they are diagnosed with COVID-19, or another medical problem that could prevent them from safely providing help for a loved one with dementia,  Hillendale Home Care is the perfect choice, with expertise in specialized Alzheimer’s care.

For more information on preventing senior illnesses like COVID-19 while ensuring your own health as a professional caregiver, contact the experts in eldercare in Walnut Creek, CA and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care. We also invite you to learn more about home care through our CNA and HHA school.

Caregivers: Learn the Signs of a CHF Flare

hands holding heart

Watch for these 5 signs of a CHF flare-up.

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump blood as efficiently as it should. CHF can be brought on by several other conditions, such as high blood pressure or coronary artery disease. Those with CHF may experience flare-ups, or sudden worsening of symptoms. As a professional Hillendale Home Care caregiver, you can help the clients we serve with CHF by watching for signs of a flare-up and taking steps to help them manage the condition.

Following are five changes to watch for:

  • Sudden weight gain. If a client gains three or more pounds within a period of one or two days, it could mean that his or her body is retaining fluid. Excessive fluid can exacerbate CHF symptoms. Those with CHF should weigh themselves each day and keep a record of daily weight. That way, they will recognize changes the doctor should know about.
  • Swelling of abdomen, feet or legs. Swelling is a result of fluid buildup in the body. It can be painful, or cause nausea or constipation. Report to your supervisor right away if you notice that a client’s legs, feet or abdomen are swollen, as this is a condition that will require medical attention.
  • Coughing/shortness of breath. Coughing and/or shortness of breath are often the result of too much fluid in the lungs, which will make it hard to breathe comfortably. Things to watch for include shortness of breath when performing simple, everyday tasks, such as getting dressed; shortness of breath while resting or lying down; or waking up in the night and feeling as though it’s hard to breathe. If your client is experiencing these symptoms, let your supervisor know immediately so that medical attention can be obtained. If the symptoms are severe or worsen, call 911 for help right away.
  • Rapid heartbeat. If someone with CHF experiences a racing heart or a heartbeat that feels irregular, contact your supervisor for immediate medical assistance.
  • Fatigue. Some degree of tiredness is normal with CHF, but if your client suddenly becomes unusually fatigued and is experiencing any other warning signs, contact your supervisor for immediate medical assistance.

If your client has CHF and begins to feel faint, is having chest pain that won’t subside with rest, feels dizzy or confused or can’t breathe, call 911 immediately.

For more tips to help someone with CHF to prevent or work through a flare-up, contact Hillendale Home Care, the top providers of professional home care services in Walnut Creek and the surrounding area. You can also explore opportunities to join Hillendale Home Care’s team of care experts through our CNA and HHA school.

Effective Communication Techniques for Those with Hearing Loss

gesture of a senior woman hard of hearing

Find tips to improve communications with someone with hearing loss.

“Excuse me?”

“Would you repeat that please, my dear?”

“I’m so sorry – what did you say?”

If this represents a typical response in your discussions with an older loved one, you’re not alone. The National Institute on Aging shares that there is a strong relationship between growing older and hearing loss, with as many as 50% of all seniors age 75 and older experiencing hearing difficulties.

Senior hearing loss usually occurs gradually, over time. After a while, the damage to the ears from noise results in hearing loss from harm to the vulnerable inner ear. Yet in spite of this, older adults with hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help, and more than 15 million people in the United States with hearing loss avoid seeking help altogether.

Although hearing loss is irreversible, there are ways to help effectively manage the challenge. To communicate more effectively, those with a hearing loss should do the following:

  • Position themselves to better be able to hear by facing the person to whom they are speaking
  • Minimize all background distractions
  • Ask others to speak clearly
  • Find a quiet setting for conversations
  • Consider utilizing an assistive listening device — hearing devices, such as TV-listening systems or phone-amplifying products, help improve hearing while lessening other sounds
  • Investigate devices such as flashing/vibrating clocks and phones, visible doorbell alerts, specialized smoke and burglar alarms

Friends and family can help by:

  • Understanding the signs of hearing loss and making appropriate referrals
  • Being sensitive to the effect hearing loss has on the senior and the stages of adjustment he or she may go through before acceptance
  • Modifying the home, when possible, to accommodate the special needs of those with a hearing loss
  • Seeking out support from experts in providing quality home care to seniors with hearing loss

For more information…

Unfortunately, many seniors begin to feel left out and isolated when experiencing hearing loss. The caring, fully-trained care providers at Hillendale Home Care can help reduce loneliness for seniors by providing companionship, accompaniment and transportation to appointments and events, and much more.

Visit Hillendale Home Care’s website for more information on help with hearing loss, and to learn more about joining Hillendale Home Care’s team of care experts through our CNA and HHA school.

Dementia Care Walnut Creek Experts Offer Tips to Improve Communication With Alzheimer’s Patients

charming young woman and senior woman in a wheelchair sit together in a park and have fun

Caregivers can improve communication and dementia care techniques with these tips.

Alzheimer’s disease is well known for having a profound influence on language capabilities. In addition to the disease impacting speech, it also impacts an individual’s ability to correctly use words, as well as the comprehension of words. As the disease continues into later stages, using language as a way of socializing will become less effective, and caregivers may elect to utilize differing strategies for communicating to connect with their clients. [Read more…]

Improve Nutrition For Home Care Clients During Cancer Treatments

3 apples on white background

Help someone better manage cancer treatments with these dietary tips.

A proper diet is crucial for everyone, but even more so for persons going through cancer treatments. Proper nutrition can help home care clients with cancer gain the strength needed for chemotherapy treatments, protect against infections, keep body tissue from breaking down, and assist in the rebuilding of body tissue. Proper nutrition also can help clients handle the side effects of chemotherapy and may even be able to assist them in being able to handle higher doses of certain drugs. [Read more…]

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!

Fact or Fiction: Uncovering the Truth Behind Flu Vaccine Myths

dementia care Walnut Creek

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.