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.

How Hospice Care at Home Makes Each Day the Best It Can Be

carer hand holding elder hand woman in hospice care

Hospice care can make a world of difference in quality of life.

When asked what people would most wish for in the last six months of their lives, responses included:

  • Having a choice about which services would be provided
  • Relief from pain
  • Emotional and spiritual support, both for themselves and for their loved ones
  • The ability to receive care at home (or at a loved one’s home)
  • The chance to put their lives in order

Hospice care at home provides all of these benefits and more, offering a way to meet physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, and practical needs, with a goal of relieving or preventing pain and suffering while respecting the care recipient’s final wishes. Here’s how.

Physical Needs

Near the end of a person’s life, he or she may experience pain, fatigue, problems with breathing, digestive issues, seizures, skin irritation, and more. As a caregiver, it’s important to pick up on a client’s nonverbal cues that may indicate physical discomfort, such as moaning, grimacing, pacing, or agitation.

In addition to medical interventions, the person may benefit from:

  • Relaxation techniques such as soft music, light massage, guided imagery, aromatherapy, etc.
  • Distractions, such as playing a game or cards, engaging in an art project, or reminiscing
  • Deep breathing
  • Cold or heat (ice pack, heating pad, etc.)

Additionally, pay close attention to the senior’s skin. Bedsores and dry skin can be remedied to relieve pain and discomfort. Use lip balm to soothe dry lips and ice chips or a damp cloth if the inside of the mouth is dry, and take steps to prevent bedsores by repositioning the person every few hours, placing foam pads underneath bony areas, and ensuring skin stays clean and moisturized.

Emotional/Spiritual Needs

Sometimes, simply sitting quietly with someone and being there to listen if he or she would like to share any feelings with you can be a tremendous comfort. Never correct or argue with the person, or try to change his or her feelings or thoughts in any way. And never talk about the person as though he or she was not in the room.

It’s also important to respect and honor the individual’s personal spiritual beliefs and needs, without judgment or interference.

Practical Needs

Caregivers are fundamental to helping families of those receiving hospice care to experience a sense of relief from the many everyday tasks that continue to need attention. Taking care of laundry, household chores, meals, and running errands allows families to spend quality time with their loved ones. Never underestimate the value you provide by tending to even the simplest of tasks.

As experts in home health care in Walnut Creek and nearby areas, Hillendale Home Care serves as an integral part of a client’s hospice care team, and the sooner services begin, the more comfortable the client will be. Contact us to learn about joining our team of care professionals 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.

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.

Respite Care: How You Can Create A Win/Win for Family Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

Meeting the ongoing care needs 24/7 of an elderly or disabled loved one is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding job for a family caregiver. As such, it’s important to allow them time to rest and relax on occasion in order to continue to be effective in their role. Respite care from a professional caregiver provides relief from the daily tasks of caregiving, enabling the family caregiver to also care for himself or herself.

Principles of Respite Care:

  • Relief from ongoing care responsibilities allows seniors to still get the attention they deserve.
  • Respite care provides family caregivers with care that is planned, temporary, intermittent and substitute.
  • Time required for respite can vary, from just a couple hours per day to ongoing, scheduled, routine relief.

How to Help A Family Caregiver:

  • Ask how the family caregiver is doing. Having someone specifically ask about a family caregiver’s wellbeing not only shows compassion, but may also help you discover other ways to help the family.
  • Assist with the family caregiver’s own personal chores. Family caregivers have their own lives too, and finding time to take care of their own laundry, shopping, or housecleaning can be difficult.
  • Professional caregivers can help family caregivers have regular breaks and bring peace of mind by providing high-quality, compassionate care.

Benefits of Respite Care:

  • Allows family caregivers to take time away when needed for such things as medical appointments, a haircut, or a social outing with friends. 
  • Provides the senior with companionship from someone other than a family member, helping to keep him or her socially engaged.

Overcoming Objections to Respite Care:

  • A changed routine and new caregiver can be a bit stressful for a senior. You can help ease any anxieties with the following steps:
    • Meet the client ahead of a shift so that he or she can become comfortable and get to know you a bit.
    • Reassure the senior and engage him or her in activities that will aid in improving health and wellbeing. 
  • If the family caregiver is having second thoughts about leaving their loved one for a short period of time, encourage him or her and emphasize the importance of self-care. 

Helping family caregivers is an important component of what we do each day at Hillendale Home Care, providers of top-rated home and Alzheimer’s care in Walnut Creek, CA. Learn more about our CNA program and HHA program and find out if a career as a professional caregiver is right for you. For more information, reach out to us today via our online contact form or by phone at 925-933-8181.

Help Senior Clients Maintain Joy Despite a Chronic Disorder

Man and his best friend

A chronic disorder doesn’t have to dampen a senior client’s spirits.

Have you ever started your day and figured, “It’s going to be one of those days!” Perhaps your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to stop working, and the dog chewed up one of your favorite shoes overnight. Then envision if each day were “one of those days!” Hillendale’s Walnut Creek home care professionals know that for somebody coping with a chronic disorder (and that’s much of the older adult population), day-to-day struggles and challenges can be a given. [Read more…]

What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know

Male carer with beautiful senior female patient

Those recovering from traumatic brain injury may experience these feelings.

Caring for a patient who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be challenging, especially as the patient’s needs can fluctuate dramatically from one day to the next. While each person’s circumstances are unique, there are some common effects that are important to understand. Keep these ten tips in mind:

  1. Rest is crucial. Fatigue can be compounded from both the physical and mental strain required in recovery. Ensure plenty of opportunities for downtime and rest.
  2. Outward appearance can be deceiving. While the person may look perfectly normal on the outside, there are often underlying cognitive limitations. Never push the individual to complete tasks if he/she seems resistant.
  3. Recovery takes time. Expect a slow recovery process – often years.
  4. Socialization can be hard. Understand that loud noises, multiple conversations, and crowds of people can overwhelm those recovering from brain injury.
  5. Look beyond behaviors. Try to determine the trigger behind a challenging behavior and address that, rather than the behavior itself. The person may be hungry, tired, or uncomfortable.
  6. Use patience. Patience is key, both for empowering the person to complete tasks independently to the best of his/her ability, and in conversations, to allow the person to rebuild language skills.
  7. Never condescend. The brain injury survivor should always be treated as an adult, with respect and dignity, and never spoken to as a child.
  8. Repetitions help with memory. If the person is engaging in repetitive behavior, it can actually be helping with memory restoration. If the behavior becomes agitating for the person, however, suggest a period of rest.
  9. Emotions may run high. Frustration is understandable with the struggles inherent with brain injury recovery. High emotions may also result from the particular part of the brain that was injured. Maintaining a calm, patient demeanor can be helpful.
  10. Remain encouraging. It’s important to focus on the positives as much as possible, cheering on each new achievement, regardless of how small. Refrain from negativity or criticism.

Most importantly, trying to view life through the eyes of the person recovering from brain injury can go a long way towards providing effective care that balances the need for helping the person with empowering him/her to regain independence.

Looking to learn more about caregiving or Hillendale’s CNA and HHA training school? Find information about our CNA program here and our HHA program here. Or contact us for more information online or at 925-933-8181.

Dementia Wandering Prevention Tips

Man behind locked door

Try these tips to aid in dementia wandering prevention.

Out of all the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease, probably one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering, together with the potential dangers which could arise in the event that the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Wandering may occur when the older adult is: [Read more…]

Is a Senior Refuting a Dementia Diagnosis? It Might Be Anosognosia.

Senior man sitting on sofa

A senior may be unaware of his or her dementia diagnosis.

“How could you possibly say that I have a dementia diagnosis? There’s nothing at all wrong with me!”

If a senior in your care with a dementia diagnosis is unaccepting of the reality of the disease, you may be prone to think that he or she is simply in denial. However, there is sometimes a legitimate reason for this denial: anosognosia, or a person’s unawareness that he or she is impaired by dementia. [Read more…]

How to Help Someone with Kidney Disease Live the Fullest Life Possible

urologist

There are several key ways to help someone better manage kidney disease.

Hiccuping. Itching. Changes in appetite and sleep. These are just several of the seemingly innocuous red flags that may possibly point to kidney disease. And with as many as 20 million people in the United States alone managing the disease, plus many more who are as yet undiagnosed, it’s important that those experiencing these symptoms bring them to the attention of the doctor. [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…]