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.

Seasonal Influenza Preventative Measures Keep Older Adults Safe

These tips can help seniors remain safe from seasonal influenza.

If there is one important lesson that we have learned during the pandemic, it’s how critical everyday preventative actions are in stopping the spread of a virus. Not only have measures like remaining home if feeling ill, frequent hand washing, and wearing a face covering helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, but these steps have also had a significant impact on reducing the spread of colds and seasonal influenza. This is especially welcomed news for older adults and others who are at greater risk for complications from these viruses.  [Read more…]

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.

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.

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.

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.

Try These Breathing Exercises to Reduce COPD Symptoms

Concord home care

Read step-by-step instructions on exercise to reduce COPD symptoms in this article.

COPD can turn everyday life into a struggle. The good news is there are breathing exercises that can help ease the symptoms and improve quality of life. These exercises help make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger, so people with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.

Practice these techniques for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Learn these simple exercises so you’ll be ready to use them any time you have a client who feels short of breath:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or firm bed with your knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows.
  2. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of three. Use your hands to check that your belly rises while your chest stays still.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to a count of six. Check that your chest remains still.
  5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes as tolerated.

Controlled Coughing

This technique can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Get a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Lean your head slightly forward. Place your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Put one hand on your belly under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward your diaphragm while you cough once. This should help move the mucus up into your throat. Cough again to clear the mucus from your throat.
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue.
  5. Rest for a moment or two and repeat as needed. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you’re finished.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this method so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity such as climbing stairs or lifting groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with your mouth closed.
  3. Purse your lips as if you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds is too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable.

Interested in becoming a trained in-home caregiver with Hillendale Home Care? Call 925-933-8181 to learn more about our experienced Concord home care team and review our Service Area to see the full list of cities that we service.

Top Tips for Reducing the Risk of Pressure Sores for Seniors

home care Pleasant Hill

Reduce the risk of pressure sores in seniors with these tips.

Reduced ability to move or walk, chronic conditions such as diabetes, and thinner, more delicate skin are all issues that leave older adults at risk for a very serious issue – pressure sores. Also referred to as bedsores, pressure sores aren’t merely painful; they can also lead to infections that can be life-threatening.
For seniors who have limited movement or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, staving off pressure sores can seem like a never-ending battle for their caregivers. Pressure sores arise from a lack of blood flow that occurs when someone is in one position for too long. It is vital for caregivers to learn how to prevent pressure sores, and at Hillendale, providers of dedicated home care Pleasant Hill seniors need, we provide the training and education caregivers need to aid in preventative care.

Follow these tips to help protect the seniors in your care from these dangerous sores:

Repositioning

  • Hourly if wheelchair-bound, every two hours if bedbound
  • Make use of lifting instruments whenever possible to prevent friction during repositioning

Support

  • Use supportive cushions and pads:
    • Between knees and ankles
    • Under calves to protect heels
    • To lie at an angle, protecting hips

Skin Care

  • Use mild bath soap and warm – never hot – water and apply lotion
  • For those who have very moist skin, use talcum powder
  • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to promote circulation

Promote Healthy Nutrition and Activity

  • Consult the senior’s health care provider for dietary and supplement guidelines for optimum skin health
  • Ensure adequate hydration
  • Encourage the senior to refrain from smoking
  • Assist with daily exercise (as appropriate and per doctor’s recommendations)

If the senior does develop a pressure sore, it could progress through the following four stages:

  • Stage 1:A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch appears on the skin which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and feel itchy or create a burning sensation.
  • Stage 2:An open sore develops on the bruise, resembling a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and soreness are often also present during this stage.
  • Stage 3:As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin becomes darker and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4:During this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a serious infection of the bone) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can occur.

Pressure sores are serious and must be treated by the senior’s physician early in order to promote healing. When caring for a senior, if a pressure sore is noticed, contact the senior’s health care provider for proper treatment. At Hillendale Home Care, we provide the high quality home care Pleasant Hill families need to ensure their loved ones are safe and healthy. For more information on how you can become a CNA with Hillendale, contact our CNA and HHA School today!

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.