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Tips for Dementia Caregivers: Overcoming Bathing Anxiety

Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Nightingale Homecare has gathered these tips for dementia caregivers in order to reduce bathing anxiety.

As any family caregiver to a loved one with dementia knows, regular bathing can be a struggle. The person with Alzheimer’s could regard bathing as scary, uncomfortable, or embarrassing, and therefore physically or verbally protest when it comes time to bathe. These protests can escalate until they become dangerous or upsetting to either the caregiver or the loved one receiving care. Luckily, there are a few tips for dementia caregivers that can make bathing a whole lot easier, and even pleasant.

Take some time to prepare the bathroom in advance. Whether the senior simply needs a reminder to bathe or assistance with the entire process, a little preparation goes a long way. Adjust the room temperature until it’s comfortable for an unclothed person, then lay out soap, shampoo, a shower stool, and large towels to provide plenty of privacy and warmth. A washcloth is particularly useful to cover the senior’s eyes to prevent stinging from soap or shampoo. And don’t forget to check the water temperature frequently; someone with dementia may have difficulty telling when the tub or shower has gotten too hot or too cold.

While every individual will prefer a different bathing routine, here’s a sample routine you can try and then modify to meet a loved one’s needs:

  • Give the individual living with dementia options. Ask if she or he wants to bathe now or in a half hour, or let your loved one choose between a shower or a bath.
  • If the senior opts for a bath, fill the tub with a few inches of warm water to let him or her test the water out with a hand or foot. If the senior complies, fill the tub all the way up once he or she is safely seated.
  • Encourage the individual to take an active role in the bathing process. Let the senior hold a sponge or a bottle of shampoo, and encourage him or her to participate in the bathing process as much as his or her abilities will allow.
  • If the senior is afraid of bathing or feeling embarrassed, consider bringing a trusted friend or family member of his or her same gender into the room. If the senior becomes agitated, try a soothing activity like listening to music or singing a song together.
  • Prioritize privacy, comfort, and dignity. Always offer your loved one a towel for warmth and for covering up during the bathing process.

There are a few other tips for dementia caregivers that might make bath time with a loved one easier. To prevent confusion, try bathing at the same time every day. Use simple verbal cues and gestures to guide the senior through the bathing process, and step in to help as needed. If bathing every day is simply not realistic, try bathing one part of the body each day, or give the individual a sponge bath when a full bath isn’t feasible.

After-bath care is just as important as bathing. Be sure to check for rashes and sores, and make sure the senior is completely patted dry. Try drying between the toes with cotton swabs, and gently apply lotion all over the body. You may also try using cornstarch or baby powder under the breasts and between folds of skin to prevent chafing.

For additional tips on caring for a loved one with dementia and to learn about the benefits of partnering with an in-home caregiver who can take the stress out of bathing, reach out to Nightingale Homecare . We offer a free in-home consultation so that families can learn more about why we’re one of the premier caregiver agencies in Phoenix AZ. Simply contact us online  or give us a call on the phone at (602) 504-1555.  For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.

Ease Parkinson’s Symptoms with This Simple Strategy

Parkinson’s Symptoms

Exercise is key to easing Parkinson’s symptoms.

Exercise for all of us is a vital component to health and wellbeing. But for someone with Parkinson’s symptoms, the effects are even more impactful. New research is showing a direct correlation between exercise and the progression of Parkinson’s disease. One particular study conducted by the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project revealed that those with Parkinson’s who exercised a minimum of just 2.5 hours each week achieved a higher degree of overall wellbeing as opposed to those who did not engage in any physical activity. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Parkinson’s symptoms develop as a result of a loss of brain cells that produce dopamine. Researchers believe that exercise helps the brain rebuild lost connections, create new ones, and ensure that existing ones remain in place. Additional information gleaned includes:

  • Gains were achieved in balance, stride length, and gait speed after treadmill exercise – surprisingly, in as little as just one session, and lasting for weeks after.
  • Coordination and motor function both increased in participants who pedaled faster on a stationary bike – and again, those results lingered for weeks after the initial gain.
  • Marked improvements in normal movement were detected in Parkinson’s patients who engaged in regular exercise programs over those who did not.

These outcomes were realized through consistent, ongoing exercise. The results have shown that the protective benefits achieved did cease when the level and intensity of the exercise was reduced, or if it was implemented for only a short duration of time. The necessary criteria for long-term results can be compared to the criteria required to aid those recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury: specificity, intensity, difficulty, and complexity.

Further research is now underway to zero in even further on the particular benefits of exercise for those with Parkinson’s disease, and the reasoning behind those benefits. In the meantime, if someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s certainly worthwhile to talk to his or her doctor for recommendations on an exercise plan.

Nightingale Homecare, the top-rated provider of both medical and non-medical home care assistance in Peoria and surrounding communities, is available to help those challenged by Parkinson’s symptoms as well, through our Journeys Parkinson’s and Movement Disorder program, along with services such as:

Contact Arizona’s most trusted in-home care specialists, Nightingale Homecare, for a free consultation in the comfort of home and to learn more about how we can help someone you love live his or her best possible life. You can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about home care assistance in Peoria and the surrounding communities.

Five Socially Distant Mother’s Day Activities for Seniors

Mother’s Day Activities for Seniors

The providers of home care in Glendale, AZ & nearby areas shares Mother’s Day activities.

Mother’s Day is approaching, and there are so many different ways to express your love for the maternal figures in your life. But all the candy and flowers in the world can’t compare to time spent together. The greatest gift you can give your loved one this Mother’s Day is the gift of quality time with together. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Mother’s Day activities for seniors to ensure that you and your loved one can bond during the holiday.

Health and safety concerns take priority when it comes to spending time with your senior loved
one, and we recommend following CDC guidelines and any local restrictions put into place during the pandemic. The following ideas will help you spend quality time with your loved one in a safe and socially distanced way this Mother’s Day.

  1. Go for a walk in a nearby park or botanical garden. If your loved one likes to get out and appreciate nature, a walk can be a great way to connect with each other and the outdoors. Look up low-impact trails or walking paths in your area and plan an outing full of trees, flowers, and pleasant conversation. And don’t forget to wear a face covering for added safety.
  2. Set up a special video call. If you’re used to texting your loved one or calling them on the phone, adding video can be an intimate touch that makes a simple call feel so much more special. Consider video-calling each other over Zoom, Facetime, or another service that’s easy to set up. Nothing compares to seeing the smile on your loved one’s face in real time.
  3. Visit a museum. Many museums are open during the pandemic with social distancing regulations and capacity caps in place, and they can be a great spot to take your loved one this Mother’s Day. A leisurely stroll through the artwork is relaxing and a great conversation starter.
  4. Prepare a family recipe. Whether or not your loved one is known for her excellent cooking, the odds are they have a favorite family recipe or dish from childhood. Start a conversation with the “mom” in your life about her favorite foods, then keep tradition alive by learning how to prepare that dish. You can drop the dish off at her house if it isn’t safe for her to receive guests, or enjoy a plate with your loved one on the porch or park bench.
  5. Read to them from a beloved book. Whether over video call or in person from a safe distance, select a book and dedicate some time to reading aloud to your loved one. Experiencing a story together is a wonderful way to bond, and lending your voice to a story puts a personal touch on the experience. Ask in advance about her favorite genres or authors; you might learn something new about your loved one!

If you’d like to learn more about socially distant Mother’s Day activities for seniors or connect with an in-home caregiver who can help make sure your loved one is engaged and active throughout the year, reach out to Nightingale Homecare. We offer both medical and non-medical homecare  provided by highly trained caregivers and medical professionals in Glendale and throughout the Phoenix area.

Contact us online or reach out to us anytime at 602-504-1555 to learn more about why we’re the premiere provider of home care in Glendale, AZ  and the surrounding areas.

Sundowning and Sleep Challenges in Alzheimer’s

Sundowning

Overcome common sleep challenges such as sundowning in Alzheimer’s with these tips.

After a busy day providing care for someone you love with dementia, a good night’s sleep is essential to recharge and prepare for the next day. This is easier said than done in many cases, however. Sundowning and changes to sleeping patterns are common in Alzheimer’s, and often the overnight hours are the most wakeful – and can be fraught with challenging emotions and behaviors, too.

Our experts in dementia home care assistance in Peoria, AZ and the surrounding areas are here to help you understand why these changes occur, and what you can do to help.

What Is Sundowning?

Simply put, sundowning is a state of enhanced agitation, confusion, and anxiety that sets in as the sun goes down and can last throughout the night. Sundowning is one of the most difficult challenges for family caregivers, who are exhausted at the end of the day. Rather than being able to relax and unwind, there’s an increased and immediate need for patience, creativity, and calming techniques.

Even if sundowning isn’t a factor, the circadian clock in those with dementia is often upset, causing the person to feel wide awake overnight and wanting to sleep throughout the day.

Although the cause for sundowning and other sleep changes isn’t fully understood, there are some contributing factors that can make the situation worse:

  • Problems distinguishing dreams from reality, which enhances disorientation
  • Shadows that can distort the senior’s visual perception and cause fear and agitation
  • Physical and/or mental exhaustion
  • A family caregiver’s own stress and agitation, which can exacerbate the senior’s own feelings and reactions

How to Prevent Sleep Difficulties

It’s often more effective to take proactive measures to try to prevent sleep challenges from occurring than to manage them in the middle of the night. Try:

  • Helping the senior stay active throughout the day
  • Limiting naps, especially later in the day
  • Sticking as closely as possible to a predictable routine of meals, activities, and bedtime
  • Spending time outside with the senior for fresh air and sunshine when weather permits
  • Preparing a larger meal at lunchtime and a lighter meal for dinner, avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Minimizing distractions and stimulation during the early evening, such as by turning off the TV and providing quiet, calming activities
  • Closing the curtains before sunset and keeping the home brightly lit

It’s also a good idea to talk to the senior’s doctor for recommendations.

What to Do When Sundowning Occurs

In the midst of sundowning, it’s very important to remain calm yourself. Use a quiet, soothing voice and try to see if there’s an underlying issue that you can help resolve, such as hunger, thirst, or the need to use the bathroom. If all of the senior’s physical needs are met, reassure him or her that everything is ok, and that it’s time for bed – but never argue with the person or use physical restraints. Pacing is common in sundowning, and perfectly acceptable within a safe area.

At Nightingale Homecare, we’re always on hand to “take the night shift” and help a senior with sundowning issues to stay engaged and safe throughout the night, so you can get the rest you need. Contact us to learn more about our Connections dementia care program and to schedule a free in-home consultation to see how we can help with the particular challenges your loved one is facing.

Understanding the Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice

Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice

Learn the differences between palliative care and hospice.

Palliative care services are on the rise in hospitals and outpatient facilities, but many individuals and families don’t understand the differences between palliative care and hospice and so they miss the opportunities palliative care can provide. Some individuals are hesitant to use palliative care, erroneously believing that it’s the same as hospice. In fact, palliative care is a great option for people who are managing chronic health conditions and can significantly improve a senior’s quality of life.

While hospice offers tailored care for those in the last six months of life, palliative care focuses on the comfort of individuals dealing with serious health issues. Anyone can utilize palliative care without forgoing curative treatment, and palliative care prioritizes not only physical wellbeing, but emotional and spiritual health as well. Palliative care experts provide guidance through difficult medical decisions, recommend medications and therapies to help ease pain, and connect individuals in their care with chaplains as needed.

While palliative care has only been an approved medical specialty since 2007, now more than 70% of hospitals offer palliative care services. Some hospitals even offer outpatient palliative care so that patients can receive treatment and guidance in the comfort of their own homes. Patients and their families have benefitted from connecting with medical professionals who prioritize comfort.

Those who utilize palliative care benefit from tailored medications, a listening ear to help them identify, name, and manage symptoms, and supportive professionals like social workers and therapists to help them navigate the treatment process. Crucially, palliative care helps patients and families weigh complex medical decisions, ensuring that they make the most informed, compassionate choices regarding care.

Palliative care also helps lessen the strain on the healthcare system and is more cost-effective. Individuals who choose palliative care have fewer emergency hospitalizations and fewer unnecessary invasive procedures. As the Affordable Care Act and Medicare shift away from a fee-for-service model, palliative care is becoming more accessible. By choosing palliative care, many seniors are becoming more empowered to make educated decisions about their own treatment and receive care in the place they are most comfortable: home.

Nightingale Homecare can help seniors with serious and chronic illnesses live more comfortably at home, offering both non-medical and medical private home care. Our hand-picked highly-trained caregivers are happy to provide a number of in-home services, including:

  • Companionship and conversation
  • Help around the house
  • Assistance with personal care
  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation to outings, social events, and doctor’s visits
  • And many other essential services to help your loved one thrive

If you’d like to learn more about our home care agency in Glendale AZ and the surrounding areas, or schedule a free in-home consultation, contact us online or give us a call at (602) 504-1555.  We look forward to offering your loved one the compassionate and professional services he or she deserves.