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Occupational Therapy Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Scottsdale senior home care

Learn how occupational therapy can enhance the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a constantly evolving process, seemingly changing from day to day or even hour to hour. In the morning, your loved one may be perfectly content to reminisce over family photos and enjoy a walk around the neighborhood; while later in the day, the person may become highly agitated and experience difficulties with sundowning. It can be challenging to know how to most effectively manage the ups and downs of dementia and ensure the senior enjoys the highest possible quality of life.

At Nightingale Homecare, we implement a variety of personalized strategies through our Connections Dementia Care Program, right in the comfort of home, that help those with Alzheimer’s disease live life to the fullest in whatever stage of the disease they happen to be. One of our top recommendations for families is to include an in-home occupational therapist in the care team, something many families haven’t considered. Occupational therapists are trained to adapt the environment of the person with dementia to maximize safety, while focusing activities on the senior’s strengths and interests, leading to a safer and more fulfilling life.

Here are just a few of the challenges that can arise with Alzheimer’s, and how an occupational therapist can help:

Wandering. Wandering is one of the more dangerous problems in dementia, and can be difficult to overcome. An occupational therapist can develop a variety of customized activities that are engaging and enjoyable for the senior that offer the mental stimulation needed to distract and divert away from the urge to wander. Additionally, other methods can be implemented, such as posting stop signs on doors, recommending the most effective types of door locks, and utilizing a GPS monitor to ensure the senior stays safe.

Dependency. A loss of some degree of independence is inherent to Alzheimer’s disease; yet it’s extremely important to help seniors maintain as much freedom and autonomy as possible. An occupational therapist will observe the senior’s strengths and work with those strengths to create adaptations that allow the person to continue to do as much as possible independently.

Memory loss. Preserving memory helps seniors maintain an emotional connection to both those they love and their own life history. Occupational therapy services can help by providing recommendations for memory-prompting activities, particularly in focusing on long-term memory, which is often better preserved than short-term. Occupational therapists can also create strategies for managing the more difficult aspects of memory loss, such as forgetting who family members are.

We’re pleased to offer professional in-home occupational therapists for help in these areas and many others. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 any time to request an in-home evaluation or to learn more about how our full range of home health care services, including occupational therapy, can help older adults with dementia or any other condition of aging live better lives. Our Scottsdale senior home care experts are always here to help!

5 Key Factors That Can Indicate a Need for Senior Home Care

at home care scottsdale caregiver with elderly female gazing out window in wheelchairAccording to a recent study, senior citizens fear moving out of their homes and into a nursing home more than they fear death. The study, “Aging in Place in America,” also found that the adult children of seniors also fear for their parents. Specifically, they express concern about their parents entering a nursing home and suffering a decline in their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Another key finding of the study is that nearly 90% of seniors want to “age in place,” meaning to grow older without having to move from their homes. Sadly, more than half (53%) are not confident about their ability to accomplish this. Although seniors living at home are determined to maintain their independence and stay home, they report that they often do not receive the support they need from their children or other caregivers in order to accomplish this goal safely. In addition, our elder loved ones may hesitate to approach the subject of needing help, specifically because they fear losing independence and don’t want to be the cause of any stress for their adult children. For these reasons, it is important that you be on the lookout for signs, so you know the right time to provide your loved ones with a little extra attention from an agency specializing in elderly home care, like the Phoenix home care specialists at Nightingale Homecare.

If you notice any of the following signs with your loved one, it may be the time to consider home care:

  • Physical Changes. A decline in physical health can increase the risk of your loved one falling or suffering other serious injury. Look for changes, such as difficulty walking, maintaining balance and unsteadiness. If your loved one appears to be in a frail condition, it can be dangerous for him or her to do even the simplest tasks.
  • Inattention to Personal Hygiene. Those individuals who neglect personal hygiene may have a strong body odor, unkempt or unclean hair, obvious inattention to oral care or soiled clothing. While these elderly individuals would like to keep clean, it may have become too difficult to complete the daily tasks to do so. Having in-home care ensures that your loved one can safely maintain a regular hygiene schedule, which improves his or her health and wellbeing.
  • Lack of Nourishment. Your loved one may have lost the ability to regularly prepare food at mealtimes due to lack of energy or other physical conditions. Getting to the grocery store weekly to purchase fresh, healthy foods can be a challenge, meaning the refrigerator and cupboards may not be stocked or there may be many items that have passed their expiration date. Not eating properly can lead to lack of nourishment and dehydration, which causes cognitive issues, depression and other health concerns. A home care agency will provide your loved one with help grocery shopping and preparing meals as well as providing a companion to sit down with at mealtimes, which may make eating more enjoyable.
  • Inability to Manage Medications. Taking the prescribed dosage of medicine is essential to maintaining health, especially for elderly individuals, with chronic or ongoing medical issues. Many times, the elderly are prescribed a number of different medications with different dosage schedules. Prescriptions and dosages can easily become mixed up or forgotten, which can lead to missing or overdosing on medications. When this happens, severe health problems can occur. Professional home care can ensure that your loved one stays on his or her prescribed medication schedule.
  • Lack of Attention to Household Upkeep. When visiting with your loved one, look for things such as stacks of dirty dishes and laundry, overflowing trashcans, and appliances that have been left turned on. If the living spaces are dirty and more cluttered than the person would normally allow, this is a sign that he or she needs some extra help keeping up with the demands of managing a home. Home care assistance will make sure that your loved one lives in a space that is regularly cleaned and clutter-free.

For a trusted, professional partner in care to help your senior loved ones remain safe, comfortable, and healthy at home, contact Nightingale Homecare’s Phoenix home care experts any time at (602) 504-1555.

Tracking Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Increase Longevity

Phoenix home care

Learn the benefits of tracking cancer treatment side effects.

Technology continues to amaze us with new developments available seemingly on a daily basis. The latest fascinating technological advance that has caught the eye of our Phoenix home care team at Nightingale Homecare is the ability to track cancer treatment side effects, allowing patients to remain proactive in their care and enhance their overall wellness – and even live longer.

There are several new apps available, with varying levels of engagement required on the part of the user. For instance, the app Breast Cancer Ally includes questions for patients to answer related to the severity of any side effects experienced. Based on answers provided, the app offers solutions for the patient to try, or if symptoms are too severe, advises contacting the person’s doctor.

Dr. Michael Sabel, University of Michigan professor of surgical oncology, who developed the app, explains, “The goal is to intervene early and to keep these patients out of the emergency room.

Another physician, Dr. Ethan Basch, conducted research on cancer patients who either utilized an app to report their side effects or who did not, and discovered that the app users achieved an increase in longevity of as much as five months over the other patients.

A different approach was taken in another new app that requires even less participation from cancer patients to track their symptoms, utilizing a Fitbit to collect information on the patient’s behaviors, such as number of steps taken, calls and texts made, and other details. The information can then be reviewed for any patterns, and ensure steps are taken for more effective symptom management. Dr. Carissa Low, who created the study, believes that, “…there might be changes in behavior that are detectable even before the patient is aware that they’re having more fatigue. So, it might be like an early warning system.”

And the results of the study were astounding; a full 88% accuracy in determining the symptom severity level in cancer patients who simply wore the device.

With all of its amazing benefits, however, technology will never rival the one-on-one care provided by professional home health care experts, like those at Nightingale Homecare. We provide the compassionate, highly skilled, individualized care for those with cancer from diagnosis through treatment and beyond, ensuring that any concerns are addressed immediately with the patient’s physician.

Contact the Phoenix home care professionals at Nightingale Homecare any time to learn more about our specialized cancer care, or any of our other in-home care solutions, by calling (602) 504-1555. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, or to schedule a free in-home consultation at your convenience.

Top Ways to Help Seniors Enjoy the Good Ole Summertime from Nightingale’s Home Health Experts

in home care Scottsdale

The home health experts at Nightingale share summertime tips for seniors.

At Nightingale Homecare, we love to step out of the ordinary and help seniors enjoy opportunities for new and exciting endeavors; and what better time than summertime to try something new? With a professional home health caregiver on hand, there are a plethora of experiences to jump into, and memories to be made that will last a lifetime. Here are just a few of the many ideas to consider trying with your senior loved one:

Indoor Activities:

When the Arizona heat requires us to stay inside, try turning off the TV and engaging in one of these fun and interactive activities together:

  • Creative Crafts: Crafts are a wonderful way to span the generations and get everyone involved. One of our favorite ideas is creating a memory book with seniors. Visit the scrapbooking section of your local craft store to find assorted tiny mementos, ribbons, and other adornments, then settle in with your senior loved one and some photo albums. Walk through the memories in the pictures together, and select some that are especially cherished to include when creating his or her memory book. This activity has also been shown to be especially beneficial for seniors who are working through grief or loss.
  • Make It or Bake It: Another great way to bring all ages together is an afternoon of experimenting with new recipes or creating tried and true favorites. Bring out the recipe box, or browse the internet for ideas, and let everyone pitch in to help – from chopping to measuring to stirring, there’s something for all ages and ability levels to do in preparing food. The best part? Taste testing the finished product together!
  • Indoor Outings: Museums, libraries, stores, and movie theaters are all cool and comfortable in the heat of summer, and offer seniors the opportunity to get out and about without overheating.

Outdoor Activities:

There’s nothing like the beauty of nature, and when weather permits (early or late in the day, especially), try some of the following ideas – making sure there’s plenty of cold water available and that the senior is well protected from the sun:

  • Get Growing: It’s incredibly satisfying to have a hand in growing and nurturing a garden, whether flowers, fruits or vegetables, and there are plenty of ways to make it easier for seniors to participate, such as raised gardens or standalone potted plants. The benefits of fresh air, low-impact exercise, motor coordination, and feelings of accomplishment are priceless.
  • Pack and Park: There’s nothing like an old fashioned picnic in the park, watching a little league ball game or the children playing on the playground, dogs catching balls and frisbees, maybe even an outdoor movie or concert in the evening.  Encourage the senior to share memories of picnics past, enjoy cold slices of watermelon and cups of chilled lemonade, fly a kite – the sky’s the limit!
  • Uncover Buried Treasure: The thrill of a treasure hunt doesn’t wane with age, and for many seniors, taking a lightweight metal detector out in search of something hidden is tons of fun. Better yet, take several along and make a game of it with multiple family members, with awards for the biggest treasure, the smallest treasure, the first treasure found, etc.

Nightingale Homecare, the top rated providers of in home care Scottsdale seniors need, can help your senior loved ones live life to the fullest this summer and all year long! It’s our goal to ensure that older adults remain active and thriving, and we’re happy to provide transportation and accompaniment services to allow seniors to safely get out and about whenever and wherever they please. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to get started on improving quality of life for your senior loved one!

Posted in Arizona Home Care, Blog, Caregiving on August 1st, 2018 · Comments Off on Top Ways to Help Seniors Enjoy the Good Ole Summertime from Nightingale’s Home Health Experts

Surprising Benefits of Becoming a Family Caregiver

in home care paradise valley azThe results are in: a recent survey of family caregivers revealed that nearly half of all of those providing care for a senior loved one were happy in their role. Though we know there are many challenges to overcome, there are just as many – if not more – benefits to serving as a family caregiver. Take a look at just a few of the many caregiver perks below:

  • The bond with your loved one is strengthened. Devoting time to caring for someone else naturally lends itself to getting to know each other better. Opportunities arise for the senior to share stories from the past and insight into his or her thoughts, feelings, values, etc. that you may not have otherwise known.
  • You gain empathy. We’re each on our own journey towards aging, and providing care for a loved one in her elder years helps us to discover how we will wish to be treated and cared for in our later years, as well as a more in-depth understanding of what that experience entails. A family caregiver becomes well equipped through simple acts of care to relate on a more personal level with the senior, strengthening her own character in the process.
  • You have a sense of purpose. Self-worth is one of the key elements of a fulfilled life, and providing care for others allows the family caregiver the satisfaction of knowing there is true meaning behind each task, as it directly impacts the quality of life of another.
  • You’re more self-confident. Although you may feel at times as though you’re making mistakes, it is precisely these mistakes that help us to learn and grow, leading to enhanced self-confidence. It’s also worth noting the importance of forgiving yourself for things you wish you’d done differently, and focus instead on the fact that you’re doing the very best you can for your loved one.
  • You’re healthier – and may even live longer than non-caregivers. Research shows that family caregivers have better cognitive functioning, are walking more and at a faster pace, and are living longer than those who are not providing care. Caring for someone else actually helps care for you!

The key is to find a healthy balance between meeting your loved one’s needs and meeting your own. A family caregiver who is hesitant to seek help and tries to manage everything alone is at risk for a variety of serious health concerns, including caregiver burnout, depression, and more. Taking care of yourself is the single kindest task you can do for your senior loved one, as it enables you to provide a higher quality level of care when your own emotional and physical needs are met.

At Nightingale Homecare, top providers of the in home care Paradise Valley, AZ seniors need, can provide the trusted respite care to allow family members to take much-needed breaks from care while knowing their loved one is in the very best hands. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!