Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming! Allow the experts at Nightingale Homecare to help.

Blog Archives

The Perfect New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

Resolutions for Family Caregivers

New Year’s resolutions for family caregivers help make self-care a priority.

The dawning of a new year brings with it hope, optimism, and a chance to start fresh. For family caregivers, the new year is an ideal time to take stock of caregiving routines, making adjustments that benefit both you and a senior you love.

While there are countless instances of joy when caring for a senior, too often family caregivers place all their focus and energy on their caregiving responsibilities, leaving no time or energy for their own needs. Since the ability to provide effective care is directly linked to maintaining your own health and wellness, the new year is a perfect time to commit to making and keeping resolutions for family caregivers.

  • Ask for help. Reach out to family or close friends and ask for assistance with caregiving responsibilities. Think about ways in which those close to you can help with tasks such as bringing over a meal one night each week, managing finances, scheduling appointments, and more. Set up a recurring schedule so that you know you can count on assistance each week, thereby freeing you up to make and keep your own medical appointments, maintain an exercise routine, or have lunch with a friend.
  • Be present. Family caregiving requires not only physical stamina, but emotional stamina, too. All too often, family caregivers can feel drained by the emotion of caring for a senior loved one. They hope a situation will change, even when they’ve seen the same outcome time and again. Whether wishing for assistance from your siblings or hoping that your dad, who has Alzheimer’s, will stop asking the same question repeatedly, it’s important (and sometimes difficult) to accept things the way they are. In doing so, and in being fully present in reality, you can focus emotional energy on positive things, while at the same time caring for your emotional health.
  • Make self-care a daily priority. Set aside short blocks of time throughout the day to focus on self-care. Start your day with stretching, meditation or prayer. Take a brief walk around the block or simply sit outside and enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes each afternoon. Connect with friends on the phone, read a book, or start streaming a new series in the evenings. Make “me time” a priority, even if it’s only for short periods of time each day.
  • Schedule routine breaks. Trying to take on all of the caregiving tasks day in and day out is a recipe for burnout. Partner with an in-home caregiver like Nightingale Homecare to schedule respite services so that you can take a break each week or plan a weekend away to indulge in some much-deserved R & R.

Let Nightingale Homecare help you keep your New Year’s resolutions by providing the trusted in-home care that families in Phoenix and the surroundings areas have turned to since 1994. In addition to respite care, our professional and highly-trained care team can customize a care plan designed especially for your loved one and can include:

  • Assisting with housekeeping and laundry
  • Planning and preparing healthy and nutritious meals
  • Providing transportation to social outings and medical or personal appointments
  • Engaging companionship to enhance socialization and reduce isolation
  • Helping with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing and using the toilet
  • A full range of skilled nursing care services
  • And so much more

Reach out to Nightingale Homecare today at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our skilled and non-medical home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas can help you and a senior you love live life to the fullest in 2021.

Fear No More! Tips to Reduce Fearfulness in Dementia

Fearfulness in Dementia

Help seniors with dementia overcome fearfulness and anxiety with these tips.

While lighthearted fear goes hand-in-hand with the Halloween season, for a senior with dementia, it’s no laughing matter. Fear and anxiety are common in dementia, and difficult for family members to help manage. Fearfulness in dementia can be the result of:

  • A recent move to a new living environment
  • Guests in the home
  • A hospitalization
  • A new caregiver
  • Simply trying to maneuver through a world that feels unfamiliar and disorienting

The dementia care experts at Nightingale Homecare offer the following helpful tips if a senior you love is feeling fearful:

  • First, talk with the senior’s primary care physician to rule out any medication side effects or other health-related reasons for heightened anxiety.
  • Ensure the home environment is as stress-free and calming as possible, following soothing routines and providing the senior with items that provide comfort (such as a favorite blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, etc.).
  • Reduce distractions, such as keeping the TV turned off or at a low volume, and avoiding news programs or other shows that may contain disturbing scenes.
  • Help the senior stay physically active through taking walks, dancing, exercising, or engaging in plenty of enjoyable activities together.
  • Listen to the senior’s concerns respectfully and without judgment. Ask for permission to help and offer reassurances; i.e., “Is it OK if I help you? I am right here with you and you are safe.”

It’s important to realize that your own expression of emotions and tone of voice can either comfort or exacerbate the anxiety the senior is feeling, so maintaining a calm, controlled voice, using slow, deliberate motions without rushing or expressing alarm, anger, or criticism can go a long way towards helping the senior relax.

It’s also a great idea to surround yourself with the support you need to provide the best care for your loved one while ensuring plenty of time for your own self-care. Find a local (or online) Alzheimer’s support group, and partner with Nightingale Homecare, the top providers of Phoenix care at home (and throughout the surrounding areas). Our dementia care team is highly skilled and experienced in effectively diffusing difficult behaviors in dementia, and are happy to provide reliable, trusted respite care that allows family caregivers the chance to step away, rest and recharge.

Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 and request a free in-home consultation to share with us the challenges and concerns your loved one is facing, and to let us share with you how we can help with professional, personalized home care services.

Senior Education: It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New!

Senior Education

Senior education and lifelong learning provide a wealth of benefits.

Remember how that first day back to school felt? Wearing a new outfit, cracking open a new textbook to Page 1, writing that first word with a perfectly sharpened new pencil? The anticipation of learning something new can – and should – resound with us for a lifetime. Maintaining a lifestyle of learning throughout aging can impact older adults in a variety of significant ways, making it worth exploring with the seniors in your life.

For one thing, finding meaning and purpose in life is crucial for us all, and especially vital in our senior years, when we need to reshape our identity after years of a fulfilling career, taking care of family, and engaging in hobbies and activities that may no longer be appealing or possible due to health conditions or the general effects of aging. It can be a helpful exercise to sit down with your senior loved ones and ask something like, “If there was one thing you wish you knew more about, what would it be?” or, “If you could have studied something different in school, what would you have wanted to learn?” With that information in hand, you can explore opportunities to make that dream a reality!

We also know that lifelong learning raises a senior’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth, while creating new opportunities for socialization – something that is imperative to overall health and wellbeing, and often a problem for older adults who feel isolated and lonely. Whether learning is in-person or online, seniors gain a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people with a similar interest, fostering the chance for friendships to blossom.

And while seniors may at first balk at the idea of becoming a student once again, believing that all of the other students will be so much younger, research shows that 40% of students in a study of ten courses were actually over the age of 56.

Once a senior is on board with the idea of pursuing educational opportunities, a simple Google search will reveal classes that are available either in your local area or online. Then, let our team of aging care specialists help!

At Nightingale Homecare, the leaders in senior home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, we’re always available to help older adults set and achieve new goals in a variety of ways:

  • Transportation to in-person classes
  • Help with setting up and accessing online learning programs
  • Companionship to offer motivation and encouragement
  • Even taking care of housework and meals so seniors can study!

Contact our senior care team at (602) 504-1555 to get started on a brighter future for a senior you love!

Activities for Seniors to Pass the Time at Home

Activities for Seniors

Try these activities for seniors this summer.

Oh, the long, hot days of summer! In Arizona, it starts early and goes late. Often, our elders remain indoors during most of the summer months, and more recently, with COVID-19 lurking, seniors with underlying conditions are stuck inside even more so than usual.

It may be a nice time to discover a new activity, or reacquaint with an old hobby! Here are some ideas to either do on your own, with a friend or neighbor, or to encourage an elder loved one to consider to allay boredom and the same old thing every day.

When you add an activity to your day or to the day of a senior you love, you might consider this approach:

  • Focus on enjoyment, not achievement.
  • Determine what time of day is best for the activity.
  • Be flexible and patient with yourself if it’s something new.
  • Minimize distractions.

If you choose an outside activity, make sure it’s early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid extreme temperatures. Outdoor activities can be relaxing and fulfilling. It’s always great to get a change of scenery and enjoy fresh air.

The following are ideas for outside activities:

  • Plant some flowers or herbs in small pots.
  • Pull old plants and weeds from the garden.
  • Take a walk and identify the flowers and plants with a book on plants along the way.
  • Check on your garden daily for new sprouts or ripe vegetables. This can also lead to other activities such as picking and preparing what has grown in the garden.
  • Put a birdbath and feeders out in the yard, so you can watch the birds out the window.
  • Have your meal or snack outside.
  • Read a book or poetry in the shade outside.
  • Play a game of horseshoes.
  • Sit on the porch noticing all the activity, colors, and scents. Wave to the neighbors!

Indoor activities:

  • Sew something for a friend.
  • Take up embroidery or knitting.
  • Call an old friend who would be surprised to hear from you, and catch up.
  • Learn how to Zoom or FaceTime, and suggest a family “gathering.”
  • Read a new book indoors in a quiet spot, with a nice cup of tea.
  • Find a poem or prayer you’d like to memorize and spend several minutes a day reciting it.
  • Pull out old music and listen and reminisce.
  • Find a new radio program or podcast you’d like to listen to.
  • Pull out your old photo albums and just reminisce, or reorganize them.
  • Gather together some paints or colored pencils and create some artwork.
  • Write a letter to an old friend or family member.
  • Make a memory book or a personal scrapbook.
  • Organize drawers or cupboards.
  • Find a new recipe and make something special.
  • Make cookies.
  • Get a handbook for dice games and play.
  • Pull out a once-loved board or card game and play…or learn a new one!
  • Watch an old musical.
  • Make apple pie or cobbler from scratch. See who can peel the longest unbroken peel!
  • Soak and massage your feet, or a friend’s. Paint your toenails if desired!
  • Plan a happy hour for yourself with music and salsa and chips and margarita mix.
  • Put up maps of the state, country and world and mark all the places you’ve been and where you’d like to go.
  • Write down your family timeline and history….births, deaths, moves, marriages,
  • Write down your favorite childhood memories, your memories as an adult and things you have learned about life.
  • Polish and shine your shoes.
  • Make birthday card collages for friends from old magazines and photos.
  • Put on some favorite, irresistible music and MOVE! (You don’t have to call it dancing!)
  • Sing favorite hymns and carols.
  • Blow up an inflatable punch ball and use it as indoor balloon volleyball.
  • Learn simple exercises you can do in a chair.
  • Experiment with aromatherapy and essential oils. Try new ones and notice what they do to your mood. Remember, don’t apply them directly to your skin. Always use in lotions or diluted in infusers, and don’t use for extended periods. Here are some ideas on essential oils to influence mood.Invigorating: Peppermint, rosemary, lemon

    Relaxing: Chamomile, marjoram, ylang-ylang

    Sedating: Lavender, juniper, sandalwood

    Mentally clarifying: Clary sage, fennel, basil

    Depression-lifting: Grapefruit, rose

    Immunity-strengthening: Bergamot, tea tree, cajuput

    Anxiety-lifting: Orange, jasmine, frankincense

For more recommendations of fun activities for seniors, call on the aging care pros at Nightingale Homecare! We’d love to provide the friendly companionship for older adults, along with plenty of creative and engaging ideas that make each day the best it can be. Call us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our experts in home care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding area can help a senior you love.

Ten Myths About Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Mesothelioma

Get the facts on mesothelioma and asbestos from Nightingale Home Care.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive disease caused by asbestos exposure. Some people ask, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” Others believe the disease is linked to smoking.

These incorrect assessments range from how people develop mesothelioma to where the disease forms within the body. Other mesothelioma myths include the demographics affected by mesothelioma, the amount of asbestos exposure needed to develop the sickness and the legality of using the substance in the United States.

Below are some common myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma and asbestos, as well as the realities of the disease:

Myth 1: Smoking Is Linked to Mesothelioma

Smoking is not linked to mesothelioma. The act does not cause or increase your risk of developing the disease. The disease forms along the mesothelium, which is a lining that covers three specific areas of your body: the lungs (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and heart (pericardium). Inhaling harmful smoke causes lung cancer specifically. While mesothelioma can spread to and affect one or both of the lungs, it does not form in the lung.

Myth 2: Mesothelioma Is a Lung Cancer

Pleural mesothelioma shares the closest resemblance to lung cancer, but even this form of mesothelioma is not lung cancer. The disease forms in the pleura, which is a protective membrane that separates the lungs from your chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma can metastasize to the lungs but does not form there, which excludes it from being considered lung cancer.

Since mesothelioma and lung cancer share similar traits — and can appear in the same areas of the body — some doctors may misdiagnose mesothelioma as lung cancer.

Myth 3: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Lungs

Mesothelioma affects much more than just the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the lining around the abdominal cavity, which includes many organs. Your diaphragm, heart, appendix, intestines, colon, pancreas, gallbladder, liver and testicles may also be at risk when mesothelioma forms.

Myth 4: Mesothelioma Is Contagious

Mesothelioma is not contagious. It cannot spread from human contact or germs. The only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma is exposure to the mineral known as asbestos. Therefore, if you are a mesothelioma patient, you do not need to worry about coughing and giving the disease to others.

Myth 5: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Elderly

Mesothelioma is not limited to a specific age — or any demographic. However, the disease does have higher incidence rates in older people. The latency period, which is the amount of time a disease takes to develop, is between 20 and 50 years for mesothelioma. Therefore, the disease doesn’t manifest until people get older.

Myth 6: You Must Work With Asbestos to Develop Mesothelioma

Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most likely way to develop mesothelioma. However, there are other avenues to ingesting or inhaling the mineral.

You could live near an asbestos mine or asbestos processing plant. These instances are known as environmental exposure.

You also could have consistent interaction with someone who worked with asbestos. Maybe you were the wife of an insulation worker and regularly washed his work clothes. Asbestos fibers can stick to shirts or pants, putting anyone who touches the clothes at risk. This is an example of secondhand exposure.

Another possibility is exposure due to using cosmetics or beauty products. Even household appliances such as hair dryers included asbestos for many years.

Myth 7: The Larger the Amount of Your Asbestos Exposure, the More Likely a Person Is to Get Mesothelioma

There is no proven correlation between the quantity of asbestos exposure and the risk of developing mesothelioma. A person who works one day in a construction or insulation job — both industries which relied on asbestos for much of the 20th century — could find out 30 or 40 years later they have the disease. The only variable is whether or not asbestos fibers entered your body, were not expelled, lodged into the mesothelium and caused cellular mutation.

Myth 8: Asbestos Is Banned in the United States

Asbestos is not banned in the United States. As of June 2019, only the state of New Jersey has banned the sale and use of asbestos in products — and the state’s government only recently passed the law. Politicians and activist groups have tried to get asbestos banned in the U.S., but the Environmental Protection Agency only has restrictions in place currently.

Myth No. 9: Mesothelioma Only Affects Men

Mesothelioma does affect men more than women, but that’s largely because men are more likely to work in jobs that include asbestos. Most people who have pleural mesothelioma are men, but the gender divide for peritoneal mesothelioma is close to a 50-50 split.

Myth 10: Mesothelioma Is Untreatable and Always Has a Poor Prognosis

Mesothelioma is treatable. The options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The recommended strategy involves a combination of two or all three, which is called a multimodal treatment approach. Surgery is the most effective treatment method as it removes most or all of the tumors from the body.

While mesothelioma is aggressive, the prognosis isn’t always discouraging. Depending on the type of the disease and stage, some patients live up to five years following their diagnosis. Early detection usually leads to a longer life expectancy — because the tumors are more likely to be removed when the cancer has yet to spread far from the point of origin.

In short, there is hope if you have mesothelioma. Treatment methods are improving, more specialists are emerging and additional information is made available with each year.

At Nightingale Home Care, we offer a variety of in home nursing care services that can be specially designed for individuals who are facing long-term health conditions like mesothelioma. Let our team of professional caregivers and nurses help you with transportation to and from medical appointments, medication reminders, planning and preparing nutritious meals, assisting with personal care needs, and so much more. Contact us today at (602) 504-1555 to set up a free consultation and to learn more about our top-rated in home nursing care in Phoenix and the surrounding communities.