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.

Alzheimer’s Communication Tips for Each Stage of the Disease

senior with Alzheimer's and caregiver using communication tips

These tips will help caregivers more effectively communicate with a senior with dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease can make communicating even the most basic needs a challenge. Caregivers can feel as though they’re trying to solve a puzzle in determining how to meet the needs of someone with dementia and ensure life is as fulfilling, comfortable, safe, and enriching as possible.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers these helpful, stage-by-stage Alzheimer’s communication tips to help:

Early Alzheimer’s

In the early stage of the disease, the person can usually still communicate clearly for the most part, but may begin repeating stories or struggling to think of a word from time to time. You can help by:

  • Never excluding the person with dementia from conversations, or talking about them as if they’re not in the room. Speak to the senior directly, taking as much time as needed to allow them to express what they wish to say.
  • Listen without interrupting, correcting, or filling in the blanks. If the senior can’t think of the word “toothbrush” and describes it as “that thing you put in your mouth,” accept that explanation respectfully.
  • Although you should never laugh at the senior or belittle them in any way, shared humor and laughter are perfectly fine and can ease communication challenges.

Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s

Communication becomes a bit more difficult as the disease progresses. Try:

  • Minimizing distractions. Turn off the TV or radio, and talk with the senior in a quiet location.
  • Speak clearly and slowly, looking the senior in the eye.
  • Continue to allow plenty of time for the senior to respond.
  • Ask yes or no questions that can more simply be answered; for instance, “Would you like oatmeal for breakfast today?” rather than, “What do you want for breakfast?”
  • Never argue.
  • Use visual cues or simple, step-by-step instructions for a task.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

Nonverbal communication becomes more important in the later stages of the disease:

  • Always approach the person face-to-face and identify yourself.
  • Encourage the person to communicate nonverbally through gestures and pointing.
  • Try to determine what the senior is feeling by the words or sounds being made along with facial expressions and other types of body language.
  • Simply being there as a comforting presence sometimes communicates better than any words.

For more dementia communication tips, or to learn more about becoming part of our caregiving team as a trained dementia caregiver, contact our CNA and HHA school at (925) 297-2676 any time.

Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs of a Stroke

emergency department sign - stroke warning signs

If you’re a caregiver in Pleasanton or a nearby area, Hillendale Home Care can provide training on recognizing the warning signs of a stroke.

Stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is listed as one of the leading causes of death in America, with approximately 800,000 people experiencing a stroke on an annual basis. In other words, approximately every 40 seconds a person somewhere in the U.S. is having a stroke. And every four minutes an individual dies from stroke. If you are providing care for an elder or chronically ill client who is at an elevated risk for stroke, it’s necessary to be sure you are able to recognize the warning signs of a stroke.

The more quickly you find professional assistance, the more likely the senior you serve will pull through the stroke. Stroke warning signs typically include sudden onset of:

  • Feeling weak or numb in the arm, face, or leg – notably on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Blurry vision or difficulty with vision
  • Difficulty walking, lightheadedness, loss of coordination or balance
  • Severe headache without any known cause

If you observe these stroke symptoms in someone, remember to act F.A.S.T.

Face: Ask the individual to smile and notice if one side seems to droop.

Arms: Ask the individual to lift up both arms. Does one arm droop down?

Speech: Ask the individual to repeat an easy sentence. When he does, take note if speech sounds slurred or if the individual is unable to speak words the proper way.

Time: Time is critical! If you observe any of the above warning signs of a stroke, call 911 right away!

At Hillendale Home Care, we pride ourselves on providing high quality training that equips caregivers to help seniors live in the comfort and familiarity of home. We offer both a certified nursing assistant and home health aide program in order to best prepare you for the career of a lifetime. Contact us online or call us at 925-297-2676 to learn more about becoming a caregiver in Pleasanton and nearby areas.

Parkinson’s Caregiver Tips to Increase Safety and Quality of Life

caregiver assisting senior man with Parkinsons

Learn Parkinson’s caregiver tips that can help increase safety and wellbeing for a senior client

Many seniors with Parkinson’s disease receive the majority of their care at home from friends and family, particularly during the early parts of the disease. As the experts in home health care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding areas, it’s our job to understand the unique concerns experienced by family members who are care providers for a loved one with Parkinson’s, and to provide the support and educational resources they need. Our respite care services help provide family caregivers with time to rest and recharge and our home care services help ensure safety and a high quality of life during each stage of Parkinson’s.

These Parkinson’s caregiver tips are helpful for both clients and their families:

  • Nutrition: A balanced and healthy diet helps lessen cell loss in a person with Parkinson’s. Getting lots of antioxidants, like those found in green tea, spinach, blueberries, broccoli, beans, and certain kinds of nuts, can help fight against oxidative stress.
  • Chewing and Swallowing: Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s frequently have some degree of difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Every person providing care for a senior with Parkinson’s must learn the Heimlich maneuver in order to be prepared in the event the person starts to choke.
  • Fall Prevention: Individuals with Parkinson’s sometimes have problems with walking and balance; therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the home surroundings and make modifications to reduce the possibility of falls. Installing customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and eliminating obstacles throughout the house, are great starting points.
  • Anxiety/Depression: Lowering the risk for anxiety and depression is an essential component in the battle against Parkinson’s. Closely monitor the senior for signs and symptoms of depression, and if noted, recommend that she or he see a doctor for an evaluation at the earliest opportunity.
  • Medications: Parkinson’s treatment options may have an array of unwanted side effects, and may impact the individual in a variety of different ways. Certain types of medications may cause nightmares or hallucinations, for example. The senior’s physician should provide information about any potential medication side effects in order to be prepared.

Your assistance and support as a Hillendale Home Care caregiver can result in an improved quality of life for both seniors and their family members. By helping with a number of the more routine components of caregiving, family members are able to spend more high-quality time together.

If you or someone you know is interested in a rewarding career opportunity where you can make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families each day, contact us at 925-297-2676 to find out more about our CNA and HHA training programs.

The Benefits and Rewards of a Professional Caregiving Career

Cheerful home caregiver consoling senior woman

Jump-start your career in professional caregiving with these tips from the experts in Walnut Creek home care.

There’s an old saying: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  While professional caregivers will tell you that there are days their job feels like plenty of work, they will also tell you that more often than not, professional caregiving is fulfilling because of the difference it makes in peoples’ lives.

In working closely to aid others, caregivers utilize many different skills in order to ensure that the individuals in their care live full and engaged lives. In the event that you’ve helped a loved one informally as a family caregiver, you almost certainly know firsthand the important role of a caregiver – not only in helping with basic care needs, but also in helping to maintain dignity and independence.

If you’re curious what it will take to begin a professional caregiving career, and aren’t sure what skills are needed to be successful, continue reading to learn what home care agencies actively seek in a fantastic caregiver.

  • Compassion and Empathy. Having compassion and empathy means understanding what someone may be going through. As a caregiver, this implies showing support and kindness to individuals and their loved ones who can be dealing with a rapid change in health, recuperation from a hospitalization, or the reality of a recently available diagnosis.
  • Communication. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are vitally important in professional caregiving. From recording details about a client’s day into his or her care plan and interacting with clients to make certain their care needs are successfully met, to sharing updates about a client’s condition with family and medical experts, clear and concise communication is a foundation in every caregiver interaction.
  • Patience. Working with individuals who might be impacted by age, disability or medical issues typically means that you will have challenges from time to time. For caregivers, it’s important to take these challenges in stride, to bring calm to frustrating situations, and to concentrate on providing compassion and understanding when navigating through difficulties.
  • Flexibility. Life isn’t always predictable, and for caregivers to be truly successful, it’s important that they’re flexible, always showing a willingness to put the client’s needs first, and be ready to adjust to new routines so that you can deliver exceptional, consistent care.
  • Trust and Reliability. Clients and caregivers develop unique and deep bonds, often over a long period of time. Like most other relationships, the client/caregiver relationship is made on trust and reliability. This means that caregivers need to show up when expected, follow through on tasks and must constantly look out for a client’s best interests. To make sure clients and families feel at ease with the caregiver paired with their family member, caregivers must go through employment screenings and meet ongoing training requirements.

Now that you know more about some of the qualities that home care agencies try to find when hiring caregivers, perhaps you are wondering what the next steps are in order to become a professional caregiver. At Hillendale Home Care’s East Bay CNA Training School, we offer the finest in Walnut Creek home care training. If you’re searching for a career that gives flexibility, advancement opportunities and professional and personal growth, sign up for our CNA or HHA training program now or call us at 925-297-2676 to learn more.

COPD Care Tips During COVID-19

Senior inhalation therapy in progress

Help seniors better manage lung disease and stay safe during the pandemic.

Those diagnosed with COPD or another lung disease have had to stay especially watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a greater risk for contracting the virus and for developing more severe complications due to this fact. A recent research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that patients with a lung disease such as COPD were more apt to be admitted into the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.

And while the CDC provides strategies for everyone to avoid getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever you can, one advisory is especially a challenge for someone with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that individuals diagnosed with lung disease try a number of different types of coverings to discover one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for short periods of time in order to become more used to the feeling.

Further suggestions for COPD care include:

  • Make sure seniors continue to properly manage their lung disease as suggested by the physician, with modifications to curb contact with other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Help seniors boost their body’s defense system with a healthy and balanced diet and a lot of rest, while following the doctor’s recommended plan for treatment.
  • Ensure seniors take care of their emotional health to lower stress. Switch off the news and social media and help your senior clients participate in soothing and rewarding activities instead. Seniors should also speak with a mental health professional if needed for assistance with managing stress and preventing depression.

Of particular importance for everyone with lung disease is the significance of regular exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, since COPD causes shortness of breath, physical exercise is particularly challenging. He, together with the Respiratory Health Association, suggest that seniors should, with physician approval:

  • Strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 times every week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Incorporate deep breathing exercises.

These resources provide more useful information specific to lung disease issues during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Hillendale Home Care caregivers are skilled in helping older adults more effectively manage life with COPD, and are here with the professional training and resources that professional caregivers need to provide specialized chronic disease care for their clients. Contact the leading provider of respite care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care, and learn more about how to get the training needed to be considered for our professional, compassionate care team through our CNA and HHA school.

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.