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

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 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…]

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…]

Improving Life for Parkinson’s Disease Clients Through Exercise

Healthy Senior Man in GYM

Discover how quality of life can be enhanced for those with Parkinson’s through exercise.

The particular results of exercising throughout aging are incredible; however, for individuals with Parkinson’s, it could truly be a game-changer regarding the progression of the disease. Several studies are revealing direct links between physical activity and Parkinson’s, like the largest clinical study to date, in which patients who exercised a minimum of 2½ hours each week realized a higher total wellbeing than those who refrained from physical activity. And that is only the start.

The onset of Parkinson’s symptoms happens following the loss of the brain cells that create dopamine. Researchers think that exercise allows the mind to restore lost connections, form new ones, and continue maintaining those that are in place. Additional studies also show:

  • Gains were realized in stride length, gait speed and balance after treadmill exercise – after as little as only one session, and lasting for many weeks afterwards.
  • Motor function and coordination were enhanced in people who pedaled at a quicker rate on a stationary bike – again, with results lasting for weeks after the study finished.
  • Recognizable improvements regarding the normalcy of movement were discovered in persons with Parkinson’s who engaged in a routine exercise regime compared to people who did not.

It’s important to note that the outcomes achieved were reliant upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The scientific tests revealed that any protective benefits realized were discontinued if the amount and intensity of physical activity was reduced or was implemented for only a short span of time. The necessary criteria for sustainable results seem to be exactly like those needed to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty and complexity.

Additional research is underway to hone in further on the benefits of exercising in those with Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. For the time being, if the person you are caring for has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s certainly beneficial to recommend that family members talk with their loved one’s primary care physician for a recommended exercise regimen, and then assist in implementing the approved activities.

For more tips on providing care for someone with Parkinson’s disease, or to learn more about joining Hillendale Homecare’s professional care team, contact our CNA and HHA School through our online contact form.

How to Help a Client With Kidney Disease Management Through Proper Food Choices

healthy colorful vegetables

Help clients make better dietary choices for kidney disease management with these tips.

As the saying goes, we are what we eat, and for those with kidney disease, it is crucial that a proper dietary plan is followed to reduce symptoms like an upset stomach, pain, swelling and more. Plus, adhering to a kidney-healthy diet might even slow down the progression of the disease. As a professional caregiver, it’s important to know the best and worst dietary choices for someone with kidney disease:

Sodium

High levels of sodium in the diet can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, and can cause the heart to work harder. Sodium should be restricted to no more than 2 grams per day for those with kidney disease. One way to help is to avoid serving foods that contain large concentrations of salt, such as:

  • Canned foods
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Chips, pretzels, and crackers
  • Nuts
  • Pickled foods
  • Condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce

NOTE: Pay close attention to salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, many of which are high in potassium.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral, and is found in almost all types of food. Our bodies need potassium in order for our muscles to work, but when someone is undergoing dialysis, potassium levels must be monitored very closely. Getting too much or too little potassium can lead to muscle cramps, erratic heartbeat and weakness of the muscles. The physician or dietitian can identify how much potassium is ideal for the specific person.

Protein

Although protein is a vital nutrient, when the kidneys are not performing correctly, excess protein can build up in the blood. Those with kidney disease should consume no more protein than what is needed by the body. When treatment begins early, a diet low in protein along with essential amino acids at appropriate amounts during each meal has been found to prevent the need for, or at least push back the need for dialysis and in fact could even reverse some kidney problems.

Vitamins and Minerals

People with kidney disease may require additional supplements of vitamins to reduce some of the typical side effects of kidney failure, including bone disease or anemia, but they should only be taken if directed by the doctor.

For more resources on caring for someone with kidney disease, or to inquire about joining Hillendale Home Care’s professional care team[D2] , contact our CNA and HHA School by completing our online contact form.

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

cna assisting senior female exercise

Walnut Creek home care tips on exercises for seniors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Adjustments Make a Big Difference in Senior Vision

Concord home care

Learn how to improve senior vision with these tips.

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

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

General Lighting

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

Kitchen

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

Bathroom

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

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

Providing Top Tier Care Throughout the 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's DiseaseAccording to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and more than 10 million people worldwide are living with the disease. Although each individual’s experience with Parkinson’s disease is unique, there are typically five stages of progression that most people go through. As a home health aide or CNA caring for individuals with Parkinson’s, understanding these five stages can help you provide more informed and better overall care.

Stage 1: Also known as early-stage Parkinson’s, a person in stage 1 typically exhibits only mild signs or symptoms that may present as follows:

  • Tremor and other movement symptomsoccur on one side of the body only
  • Symptoms are concerning, but not disabling
  • Changes in posture, walking and facial expressions occur

Stage 2: In stage 2 of Parkinson’s, it may become more apparent that the individual is struggling to complete everyday tasks:

  • Symptoms now may be apparent on both sides of the body
  • The person is slightly disabled, and may be experiencing ambulatory or balance problems
  • Posture is impacted and daily tasks are more difficult

Stage 3: The third stage is known as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a greater level of disability is often noted, including:

  • A marked slowing of body movements
  • Falls become more common as balance and mobility are further impacted
  • Activities such as dressing and eating may become more significantly impaired

Stage 4: Parkinson’s disease is more advanced in stage 4, and is accompanied by more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Bradykinesia and rigidity, or lethargic movements
  • Loss of ability to complete daily tasks
  • Inability to walk without the use of a walker

Stage 5: This final stage of Parkinson’s is the most advanced and debilitating:

  • The person will experience an overall decrease in vitality and strength of both mind and body
  • He or she may require a wheelchair or be bedridden
  • Hallucinations or delusions may be experienced
  • One-on-one care is required

While symptoms and disease progression are unique to each person, knowing the typical stages of Parkinson’s allows home health aides to provide better care. Caring for a person who has Parkinson’s disease requires empathy, patience, and well-rounded care training. For additional tips on caring for a client with Parkinson’s disease, or for information on CNA training or HHA classes, contact Hillendale Home Care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take These Steps for Better Diabetes Foot Care

diabetes foot careOne of the most crucial aspects of diabetes care, aside from managing the disease itself, is ensuring feet remain free of the problems that can lead to serious health risks. Since improper foot care can lead to the potential for nerve damage, restricted blood flow, and even a weakened immune system, wounds, especially those that occur on the feet, can require extra care to heal.

To make sure those with diabetes stay a step ahead of foot problems, try these strategies from the American Diabetes Association:

  1. Keep diabetes in check: Stay on top of overall diabetes care with health care professionals, such as by making sure blood glucose levels are in the appropriate range.
  2. Check feet each day: It should be part of the daily routine to inspect the bottoms of the feet for any red spots, cuts, swelling, blisters, etc.
  3. Remain active: With the advice and approval of the physician, implement – and stick to – an effective exercise regimen.
  4. Seek out specialized footwear: There are shoes made specifically for diabetic feet, and Medicare will sometimes even cover the expense.
  5. Make sure feet stay clean: Carefully wash and dry the feet every day, paying particular attention to the areas between the toes.
  6. Take care of the skin: Apply a light layer of skin lotion on both the tops and bottoms of the feet (but never between the toes).
  7. Clip toenails: Keep toenails clipped straight across, and file the edges carefully with an emery board.
  8. Avoid going barefoot: Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes at all times.
  9. Keep it warm: Treat your feet the same way you would a baby, by checking water temperatures before stepping into the tub or shower, and avoiding the use of heating pads, hot water bottles, and electric blankets.
  10. Increase blood flow: Avoid crossing the legs for extended periods of time, elevate the feet when sitting, and take time throughout the course of the day to wiggle the toes and flex the ankles.

For additional tips on proper foot care for those with diabetes, call on the Walnut Creek home care experts at Hillendale Home Care. Learn more about how our caregivers assist those with diabetes and other chronic conditions with in-home care services such as bathing/showering, dressing/grooming, mobility, homemaker/companion services to offer emotional support, recreational activities, light housekeeping and laundry, and much more, customized to each person’s unique needs. Interested in becoming a Hillendale caregiver? Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.