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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.

 

Can You Hear Me Now? Aging and Hearing Impairment

Aging and Hearing Impairment

These tips can help overcome challenges related to aging and hearing impairment.

“Can you repeat that please?”

“I wish you would speak up and stop mumbling!”

“I’m sorry; what was that you said?”

If you’re providing care for an older loved one who struggles with hearing problems, phrases like these are likely part of your daily conversations. And you’re far from alone, with as many as a third of seniors ages 65 – 74 experiencing hearing loss, and half of those over age 75. While aging and hearing impairment are a common pair, the repercussions can range from frustrating to dangerous. Missing out on conversations is hard enough, but a senior with hearing loss may not understand a doctor’s instructions, miss hearing alarms and doorbells, or be unable to hear a car horn honking an alert and be at risk for an accident.

Left untreated, many hearing problems can worsen. It’s important to check with the doctor if hearing loss is suspected, although bear in mind that a senior may become defensive or deny having a problem at all.

To gauge if a senior loved one is struggling with hearing, pay attention to the following:

  • Does the senior struggle with hearing what’s being said over the phone?
  • Is it hard for him/her to join in and follow along with conversations involving multiple people?
  • Is the TV turned up to an unusually loud volume?
  • Does the senior often ask others to repeat what has just been said?
  • Is the senior complaining of others mumbling?

The doctor can help uncover the cause for the senior’s hearing loss, and recommend options to help such as a hearing aid, assistive listening or alerting device, mobile apps, or a cochlear implant if the impairment is severe.

You can also help someone struggling with aging and hearing impairment by attempting to:

  • Minimize background noise and distractions when talking with the senior.
  • Use non-verbal cues as much as possible, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
  • Speak to the senior face-to-face while maintaining eye contact.
  • Elevate your voice slightly, while never yelling at the person.
  • Speak at a normal pace – slowing down your speech doesn’t help.
  • Use different words if the person is unable to decipher what you’ve said.
  • Maintain patience. As frustrating as it may be to engage in a conversation with someone with hearing loss, it’s even more frustrating for the senior.

Nightingale Homecare, the top-rated provider of home health in Phoenix and surrounding areas, is always here to help as well. We offer a full range of both skilled and non-medical in-home care services that address and overcome a variety of challenges for seniors and the families who care for them.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to request free resources related to aging and hearing impairment, and to schedule a complimentary consultation in the comfort of home to learn more about how we can help.

Let Go of Caregiver Stress Once and for All with These Tips

Caregiver Stress

Learn to overcome caregiver stress with a few simple tips.

Providing care for a senior you love is such a selfless endeavor. It’s incredibly rewarding to know you’re helping make life the best it can be, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Caregiver stress can arise for a variety of reasons:

  • The senior struggles with chronic health concerns
  • There are cognitive deficiencies, such as occur in dementia
  • A caregiver is dealing with the frustration of being unable to “make things better”
  • The caregiver is stretched too thin and unable to take time for self-care
  • And more

It’s crucial for family caregivers to prioritize regular, ongoing time away to reduce stress and make sure their own needs are met; but finding time to do so isn’t always easy.

At Nightingale Homecare, our aging care team is familiar with the stress family caregivers are facing. We’re here to help not just the seniors in our care, but the families who care for them. We want you to remain in the best possible health too! These recommendations can help you replace stress with peace, and achieve a healthier life balance:

  • Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing is an excellent tactic to instantly instill a sense of calm. Simply sit down in a comfortable position, breathe in through your nose while silently counting to five, and then breathe out through your nose, again for a count of five. Repeat until you feel more at peace. You can also work towards increasing the length of time of your breathing for up to a count of ten.
  • Practice intentional thinking. It’s easy to focus on the problems you are facing and to forget about the many positives that are occurring around us each day. Take time for a mental inventory of what you’re thankful for. This can help shift your perspective, even if what comes to mind seems small, such as a moment when your loved one smiled at you, the scent of the cake you’re baking, or the spring flowers beginning to peek up in the front yard.
  • Practice self-appreciation. The work you’re doing is so important. You are making a real and lasting difference in the life of someone else. Instead of reminding yourself of the mistakes you’re making along the way, acknowledge the things you’re doing right! Just as you would share your appreciation with a friend who did something kind, appreciate your own kindnesses as well.
  • Practice getting physical. Exercise produces endorphins that naturally provide a boost to your mental outlook and wellbeing. It may be hard to find time for an extensive workout, but breaking your exercise time up into smaller chunks throughout the day is still beneficial. Try choosing parking spaces that are farther from store entrances, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and hop onto a stationary bike to peddle away while talking with the senior in your care.
  • Practice partnering. Remind yourself that caregiving isn’t meant to be a solo responsibility. Partnering with a trusted home care provider, like Nightingale Homecare, is good for both you and your loved one. Our respite care services enable caregivers to have regular time away, and seniors enjoy socialization with a friendly, trained, and compassionate companion.

Contact Nightingale Homecare, the leading providers of help at home in Peoria and surrounding areas, for a free in-home consultation. We’re always here to offer the resources you need to alleviate caregiver stress and to enhance quality of life for older adults in the comfort of home.