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.

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.

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.

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…]

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…]

Improve Nutrition For Home Care Clients During Cancer Treatments

3 apples on white background

Help someone better manage cancer treatments with these dietary tips.

A proper diet is crucial for everyone, but even more so for persons going through cancer treatments. Proper nutrition can help home care clients with cancer gain the strength needed for chemotherapy treatments, protect against infections, keep body tissue from breaking down, and assist in the rebuilding of body tissue. Proper nutrition also can help clients handle the side effects of chemotherapy and may even be able to assist them in being able to handle higher doses of certain drugs. [Read more…]