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.

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.

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.

6 Cancer Care Tips to Try When Chemotherapy Affects Appetite

Grilled chicken with fresh vegetable salad

These cancer care tips can help with appetite problems from chemotherapy.

Maintaining a healthy diet is particularly crucial for those undergoing chemotherapy or another type of cancer treatment, but one of the leading side effects stopping patients from eating well is an alteration in how foods taste. It’s important to conquer this and other hurdles to healthy eating in order to preserve the strength needed for chemo treatments and safeguard against infections. Eating a well-balanced diet may perhaps even help cancer patients better cope with greater dosages of some types of medicines.

When suffering from challenges with taste changes that interfere with adhering to an advised dietary plan during cancer treatment, you can help the clients you’re caring for with these cancer nutrition tips:

  • Experiment with various food temperatures. For some people undergoing cancer treatment, cold foods are more palatable, providing less fragrances than hot foods, which could increase feelings of nausea.
  • Try different seasonings. Marinades, herbs, and spices can make food more appealing. Several choices to try include mint, garlic, rosemary, dill, lemon and basil.
  • Pay attention to oral health. Taste buds may become inflamed by chemotherapy, and bacteria amounts may become imbalanced. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste a few times during the course of each day, and encouraging a visit with the dentist for further suggestions, can help.
  • Consume smaller portions. Smaller, more frequent meals tend to be easier to digest. Be sure to incorporate plenty of fluids, both during and between meals, as well.
  • Try gum and mints. Sugar-free gum and mints, or other flavored hard candy, can help reduce the metallic or bitter tastes in the mouth that can occur from chemotherapy treatments. They can also trigger production of saliva to soothe a dry mouth.
  • Partner with a dietitian. A professional dietitian who has a specialty in cancer nutrition can help with suggesting food choices specific to the person’s particular difficulties. He or she can also recommend suitable vitamin supplements, high-nutrition liquid shakes, etc.

For more tips to combat changes in taste or other side effects of chemotherapy, contact Hillendale Home Care’s experts in CNA and home care aide training as well as home care in Concord, CA and the surrounding area. And contact us to learn more about joining our team of caregiving professionals through our CNA and HHA school, or share with someone you know who’s interested in a rewarding career as a senior care provider!

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.

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.

Caregivers: Learn the Signs of a CHF Flare

hands holding heart

Watch for these 5 signs of a CHF flare-up.

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump blood as efficiently as it should. CHF can be brought on by several other conditions, such as high blood pressure or coronary artery disease. Those with CHF may experience flare-ups, or sudden worsening of symptoms. As a professional Hillendale Home Care caregiver, you can help the clients we serve with CHF by watching for signs of a flare-up and taking steps to help them manage the condition.

Following are five changes to watch for:

  • Sudden weight gain. If a client gains three or more pounds within a period of one or two days, it could mean that his or her body is retaining fluid. Excessive fluid can exacerbate CHF symptoms. Those with CHF should weigh themselves each day and keep a record of daily weight. That way, they will recognize changes the doctor should know about.
  • Swelling of abdomen, feet or legs. Swelling is a result of fluid buildup in the body. It can be painful, or cause nausea or constipation. Report to your supervisor right away if you notice that a client’s legs, feet or abdomen are swollen, as this is a condition that will require medical attention.
  • Coughing/shortness of breath. Coughing and/or shortness of breath are often the result of too much fluid in the lungs, which will make it hard to breathe comfortably. Things to watch for include shortness of breath when performing simple, everyday tasks, such as getting dressed; shortness of breath while resting or lying down; or waking up in the night and feeling as though it’s hard to breathe. If your client is experiencing these symptoms, let your supervisor know immediately so that medical attention can be obtained. If the symptoms are severe or worsen, call 911 for help right away.
  • Rapid heartbeat. If someone with CHF experiences a racing heart or a heartbeat that feels irregular, contact your supervisor for immediate medical assistance.
  • Fatigue. Some degree of tiredness is normal with CHF, but if your client suddenly becomes unusually fatigued and is experiencing any other warning signs, contact your supervisor for immediate medical assistance.

If your client has CHF and begins to feel faint, is having chest pain that won’t subside with rest, feels dizzy or confused or can’t breathe, call 911 immediately.

For more tips to help someone with CHF to prevent or work through a flare-up, contact Hillendale Home Care, the top providers of professional home care services in Walnut Creek and the surrounding area. You can also explore opportunities to join Hillendale Home Care’s team of care experts through our CNA and HHA school.

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…]

Effective Communication Techniques for Those with Hearing Loss

gesture of a senior woman hard of hearing

Find tips to improve communications with someone with hearing loss.

“Excuse me?”

“Would you repeat that please, my dear?”

“I’m so sorry – what did you say?”

If this represents a typical response in your discussions with an older loved one, you’re not alone. The National Institute on Aging shares that there is a strong relationship between growing older and hearing loss, with as many as 50% of all seniors age 75 and older experiencing hearing difficulties.

Senior hearing loss usually occurs gradually, over time. After a while, the damage to the ears from noise results in hearing loss from harm to the vulnerable inner ear. Yet in spite of this, older adults with hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help, and more than 15 million people in the United States with hearing loss avoid seeking help altogether.

Although hearing loss is irreversible, there are ways to help effectively manage the challenge. To communicate more effectively, those with a hearing loss should do the following:

  • Position themselves to better be able to hear by facing the person to whom they are speaking
  • Minimize all background distractions
  • Ask others to speak clearly
  • Find a quiet setting for conversations
  • Consider utilizing an assistive listening device — hearing devices, such as TV-listening systems or phone-amplifying products, help improve hearing while lessening other sounds
  • Investigate devices such as flashing/vibrating clocks and phones, visible doorbell alerts, specialized smoke and burglar alarms

Friends and family can help by:

  • Understanding the signs of hearing loss and making appropriate referrals
  • Being sensitive to the effect hearing loss has on the senior and the stages of adjustment he or she may go through before acceptance
  • Modifying the home, when possible, to accommodate the special needs of those with a hearing loss
  • Seeking out support from experts in providing quality home care to seniors with hearing loss

For more information…

Unfortunately, many seniors begin to feel left out and isolated when experiencing hearing loss. The caring, fully-trained care providers at Hillendale Home Care can help reduce loneliness for seniors by providing companionship, accompaniment and transportation to appointments and events, and much more.

Visit Hillendale Home Care’s website for more information on help with hearing loss, and to learn more about joining Hillendale Home Care’s team of care experts through our CNA and HHA school.