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 Dementia Impacts Vision

Learn how dementia impacts vision and how to help older adults feel safe.

The intricate steps needed to enable us to see are mind-boggling. In the blink of an eye, our brains have the ability to take transmitted details on the environment all around us, translate that information based on input from other senses, experiences, and thoughts, and then build an understanding of that information to make us aware of what we are seeing.

It’s not surprising to learn that dementia impacts vision, and that individuals with dementia can encounter visual deficits and misperceptions, particularly in the aspects of:

  • Depth and/or color perception
  • Contrast
  • Motion recognition
  • Peripheral vision

Moreover, people who have Alzheimer’s disease can frequently experience a distorted sense of reality in the form of illusions. As an example, someone with Alzheimer’s disease could see a shadow on the floor, and confuse it for something innocent, such as the family pet, or a hazard, such as an intruder. Some other types of visual misperceptions in dementia can consist of:

  • Misjudging reflections in glass or mirrors for another person. This could lead to distress in believing someone else is present, or believing that a restroom mirror reflection means the washroom is currently occupied by another person.
  • Believing that images on television are real and taking place in the room.
  • Difficulty with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, being afraid of a fall.
  • Stress in overstimulating environments that causes confusion.
  • Reaching for objects that are not there, or missing the mark in trying to grab an item.
  • Troubles with self-feeding and drinking.

Below are some approaches to help clients:

  • Keep sufficient lighting through the entire home, and remove any particular items that cause stress or visual confusion when possible.
  • Incorporate contrasting colors anytime you can; for example, serve dark-colored soup in a light-colored bowl, or a fried egg on a brown plate.
  • Close blinds or curtains both at night and whenever the sun causes a glare.
  • Take advantage of adaptive tools such as remote controls and telephones with large buttons to help facilitate opportunities for independence.

At Hillendale Home Care, the top-rated providers of home health care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding areas, we are committed to offering thorough and specialized training to ensure seniors are safe and thriving in the comfort of home. If you or someone you know is interested in a fulfilling career opportunity where you can truly make a difference, contact us today at 925-933-8181 to learn more about our CNA and HHA training programs.

Alzheimer’s Care: Strategies to Ease Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

enior wears a mask to protect against viruses and bacteria

Alzheimer’s care during a pandemic is easier with these tips.

Confusion. Isolation. Loneliness. These feelings are becoming common for a number of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but once you factor in dementia, the challenges and frustrations are elevated to an entirely new level.

Consider, as an example, the short-term loss of memory inherent in Alzheimer’s disease. A caregiver searching for the best way to explain why the senior cannot head out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors might need to offer up that explanation numerous times – often in the same day.

Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the need for helping those with dementia to minimize unnecessary stress, which could increase the progression of the disease. So how do you best help the seniors in your care with Alzheimer’s to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Stay calm. Although you may feel anxious and overwhelmed because of the state of the world, it is better to try to avoid talking about alarming issues and even watching the news with a senior with dementia. Be sure to find an appropriate outlet for your feelings, however – your partner or other loved ones, a therapist, or trusted friend.
  • Stick with routines. Keep in mind, certain previously enjoyed routines that entail outings or visits with family members may need to be placed on hold, but keep a predictable schedule in the senior’s home that’s reassuring to the him or her, such as maintaining a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies, and bedtime.
  • Ensure there’s a backup plan. Family caregivers need to understand that if they were to become ill, a plan needs to be in place for backup caregiving. Strategizing now, prior to when the need arises, is important, and they can partner with an experienced home care agency, like Hillendale Home Care.

And remember, it is very important for you to take care of yourself, too! Be sure to designate time every day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to help you to unwind and destress after work, to stay connected with friends, to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, and also to get a healthy amount of sleep.

As we all continue to wait for a vaccine or effective treatment option for COVID-19, Hillendale Home Care caregivers are fully equipped and prepared to safely care for seniors, including those with dementia, following all recommended protective guidelines. For further tips to help someone with Alzheimer’s during these tumultuous times, contact the top-rated providers of home care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care, and learn more about how to join our professional care team through our CNA and HHA school.

Tips for Managing Dementia and Incontinence

senior woman drinking orange juice in a seat at home

Learn effective ways to manage dementia and incontinence in older adults.

Dementia care calls for both compassion and creativity to deal with an assortment of challenging behaviors and effects, and that is particularly true with regards to incontinence, something that is exceedingly common in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true approaches are generally helpful in lessening the effect of incontinence and protecting against an escalation of emotions in someone you adore with Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Pick your words very carefully. Instead of talking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” However, take the cue from your senior loved one; if she or he decides to utilize the word “diapers” and appears at ease with that, then follow along.
  2. Clear away regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid frustration or opposition to wearing incontinence products, make certain those are the only choice in his or her closet.
  3. Experiment with various products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels on the market, it may take some experimenting to come across one that’s most comfortable and effective.
  4. Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the older adult from waking throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try inserting booster pads within the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads can also be extremely helpful.
  5. Ensure easy access into the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to estimate how easy it is for her or him to make it to the bathroom. Most notably, take away any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to prevent falls.
  6. If an accident does occur… Maintain a relaxed demeanor in order not to offend (or further upset) the older adult, and say something like, “It looks like something might have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It appears as if your pants are wet; that happens occasionally.”
  7. Address reluctance to keep products on. For older adults who frequently make an effort to remove incontinence products, first see if you can identify why. The senior may be trying to change, due to a feeling of wetness. If uncomfortableness is an issue, try different types of products to find one that is more comfortable. In all instances, monitor the senior’s skin for signs and symptoms of rash or irritation, and contact his / her medical doctor if noted.

For more tips for managing dementia and incontinence, and to discover more about Hillendale Home Care’s dependable, professional home care services, reach out to us at 925-933-8181 and speak to one of our compassionate team members today. We can provide Danville area caregivers as well as caregivers to several other California communities. See our service area.

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…]

Learn About Dementia Treatment Options

Prescription Medicine

Dementia caregivers need to be aware of these two dementia treatment options.

Recent statistics on Alzheimer’s disease are troubling; it has now become the 6th leading cause of death, surpassing both breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. And while deaths from a number of other chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, are declining, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen by more than 100%. The effects the condition has on caregivers providing dementia care is shocking as well, with over 16 million Americans providing over 18 billion hours of care for a loved one with the disease.

While we have yet to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are two types of dementia treatment options that can help alleviate some of the more challenging symptoms. The person you’re caring for may be taking:

  1. A cholinesterase inhibitor: By preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that is essential for memory, attention, learning, and muscle activity, this type of treatment can offer some help in the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s for some patients. Dr. Zaldy Tan, medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, advises, however, to bear in mind that the benefits will likely to be moderate at best. “The best case scenario is that the patient’s memory and cognitive function may improve slightly to what it was six months to a year ago – it’s not going to turn back time,” he makes clear. Included in this class of medications are galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
  2. Memantine: In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, the doctor may prescribe memantine (Namenda), which takes a different approach from a cholinesterase inhibitor, reducing the chance of overstimulation of glutamate NMDA receptors, which in turn can assist with rebuilding limited memory functionality. Physicians will frequently add this medication to a patient’s care plan along with a cholinesterase inhibitor as the disease progresses.

It takes time to determine the effectiveness of these dementia treatment options, as they require four to six weeks before benefits will be realized. And, it’s necessary to weigh the benefits against any unfavorable side effects, which can include confusion and constipation in memantine, and nausea, vomiting and a reduced heart rate with a cholinesterase inhibitor.

Visit Hillendale Home Care’s website for more information on specialized dementia care, and to learn more about joining Hillendale Home Care’s team of dementia care professionals through our CNA and HHA school or call 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…]