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.

On the Front Line of COPD Management

Elderly woman on wheelchairChronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to two lung diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In essence, patients’ breathing is severely compromised by an obstruction to airflow. Common symptoms include an excessively wet cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. [Read more…]

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.

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!