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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.

Supporting the Seven Dimensions of Wellness in Seniors

senior care Phoenix AZ

Nightingale Homecare shares the seven dimensions of wellness in seniors.

So often in aging, we accept the mindset that frailty and chronic illness are simply to be expected and accepted, and that the best we can do is react to the effects of those conditions. Yet there are steps we can take proactively to improve overall wellness in seniors, leading to enhanced independence, health and wellbeing.

Known as the seven dimensions of wellness in seniors, we at Nightingale Homecare, the top providers of senior care Phoenix AZ families trust, implement the following proactive measures to ensure each of these wellness elements is considered in our home care services:

  1. Mental/Emotional: Emotional wellness can be maximized through the awareness and healthy expression of feelings, and by implementing techniques for stress management, sharing of personal stories, and of course the best medicine: laughter. Our dedicated caregivers strive to improve seniors’ mental and emotional wellness through compassionate companionship and encouraging engaging activities.
  2. Cognitive: Building cognitive wellness and taking steps to reduce intellectual decline can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as memory games and puzzles, learning new skills, and engaging in the arts.
  3. Physical: Physical activity is crucial to all of us, regardless of age and ability. With physician approval, we help seniors engage in appropriate exercise programs to boost physical functioning, balance, strength and more. Nutrition is also a key part of physical wellness, and our professional caregivers can ensure the home is stocked with healthy food choices, as well as prepare nutritious meals in adherence to any dietary restrictions.
  4. Vocational: Retirement can lead to a sense of lost identity. It’s important for older adults to continue with meaningful tasks that contribute to the world around them, through volunteering, mentoring, or engaging in hobbies and interests that help them maintain their professional skills.
  5. Social: Socialization is a key component to our care services, as isolation in seniors can result in serious health concerns. We provide both one-on-one social engagement with seniors and transportation and accompaniment to activities and events in the community, family gatherings, visits with friends, and more.
  6. Spiritual: A person’s faith can provide an enormous sense of calm and meaning in life. Whatever a senior’s spiritual belief, we help foster his or her spirituality through encouraging and enabling participation in religious services and activities, mindfulness exercises, meditation, or enjoying nature.
  7. Environmental: A person’s environment should be a haven and a place of happiness and safety. Our caregivers can help create a safe, healthy home environment for senior clients, removing hazards in the home that may cause injury and reducing clutter. We also encourage seniors to participate in caring for our natural environment, which brings a sense of purpose in addition to the benefits provided to our world through activities such as gardening and involvement in recycling programs.

We’d love to partner with you in making life the best it can be for your senior loved one, through these measures and many others that can be included in an individualized plan of care. Simply contact Nightingale Homecare, providers of the best senior care Phoenix AZ has to offer, at (602) 504-1555 to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more.

What Happens When a Caregiver Has a Chronic Illness?

Phoenix home care

Learn how to care for the caregiver with chronic illness.

Chronic illness has become a major issue in the U.S. in recent years. According to the National Health Council, approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of the country, are currently affected by chronic disease, and that number is expected to grow to an estimated 157 million Americans by 2020. When it comes to caregiving, we’re often concerned with how to care for seniors who are living with chronic conditions, like diabetes, COPD, dementia, etc., but what happens when it’s the person providing the care who has the chronic illness?

Caring for a loved one is demanding and stressful, but can be even more challenging when the family caregiver has a chronic illness too. Chronic conditions like diabetes and COPD are also stressful and demanding in their own right, and family caregivers who are living will these types of conditions need to take extra measures to ensure they are caring for themselves.

The following are ways in which caregivers with chronic diseases can keep up with their loved ones’ care and their own health:

  • Practice self-care. The stress of caregiving coupled with the stress of caring for a chronic illness can take a big toll on a family caregiver’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Practicing self-care is incredibly important for caregivers with chronic illness as it helps them relax and regain balance. Small things like taking a hot bath, meditating, taking a yoga class, or sitting down for coffee with close friends can help caregivers relieve stress and feel refreshed.
  • Keep up with doctors’ appointments. Just as a caregiver strives to ensure his senior loved one is going to her doctors’ appointments, the same needs to happen for the family caregiver, especially if he suffers from a chronic illness. Keeping up with doctors’ appointments and taking prescribed medications on time and correctly are essential for the caregiver’s health and wellbeing.
  • Have a backup plan. As a senior’s care needs progress, so do the demands of the family caregiver. For example, a senior who falls and injures herself may now need lifting and transferring assistance, which can be difficult, if not impossible, for a family caregiver with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to have a backup care plan for the progressing care needs of your loved one, and for the times when you as the caregiver need to take a break for your own health needs. Respite care services, like those offered by Nightingale’s Phoenix home care professionals, can help family caregivers take time off to care for themselves while ensuring their loved ones get the care and attention they need.

While caregivers are amazing people, they aren’t super human, and it’s vital to ensure they keep their own care needs in check as well as their senior loved ones’. If you’re caring for a senior loved one and could use a helping hand, contact the professional Phoenix home caregivers at Nightingale Homecare to learn how we can be there for you.

The Six Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention

Phoenix home care

Learn key factors to minimize the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease has truly become an epidemic among seniors, with an estimated 5 million diagnoses currently, and that number expected to soar to 14 million by the year 2060. As researchers scramble for a cure or at least an effective treatment option to slow the progression of the disease, there are steps that we can all take to reduce our risk of developing the disease. Known as the six pillars of Alzheimer’s prevention, these steps include:

  1. Physical activity. Regular, ongoing exercise is beneficial to all of us in a variety of ways, and boosting our defense against Alzheimer’s disease is now another benefit to add to the list. Studies show that remaining physically active can reduce our risk of dementia by as much as 50%. The key is in exercising at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate intensity level, with a combination of strength and cardio activities as well as exercises to improve balance and coordination.
  2. Socialization. Isolation is, unfortunately, often a concern among the elderly. Maintaining social connections can be difficult for older adults who no longer drive or who are experiencing health concerns. Several suggestions for boosting socialization include becoming involved in the local senior center, making a point to visit regularly with neighbors, and volunteering in the community. The caregivers at Nightingale Home Care can help by providing accompanied transportation to outings, classes, activities, and more, as well as serve as a friendly companion to stave off loneliness.
  3. Healthy diet. Maintaining a diet low in sugar, trans fat, and refined carbs, and high in fresh fruits, vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fats (such as salmon and tuna) gives your body the defenses it needs to help prevent the inflammation and insulin resistance that can damage brain cells.
  4. Brain boosters. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of memory games in preventing dementia, but strengthening the brain through learning is shown in some research to have long-lasting effects on cognitive functioning. Any kind of new learning can help: a new language, playing an instrument, even trying to do everyday activities with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Sleep. Recently, sleeping difficulties in seniors have been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. Strive for 8 hours of sleep per night, by creating a soothing bedtime ritual, limiting caffeine and heavy meals later in the day, and avoiding napping.
  6. Calming activities. Ongoing stress has been shown to impact the area of the brain responsible for memory. Reduce stress through incorporating calming activities into each day: meditation, prayer, deep breathing, yoga, a warm bath, soft music, a good book.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the Phoenix home care experts at Nightingale Home Care are on hand to help with our specialized Connections dementia care program. Our Alzheimer’s care specialists are highly trained and skilled in effective management of the disease, and can create an individualized plan of care to ensure that those with dementia are able to live life to their fullest potential.

Contact us for additional Alzheimer’s care tips and resources, or to schedule a free in-home assessment to learn more by calling (602) 504-1555, or complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help, and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Ensure Senior Safety and Comfort at Home with These Tips

Phoenix live-in home health care When asked, most senior adults agree that they would prefer to age in their own homes and maintain as much independence as possible. And yet, most homes are not equipped to meet the needs of an older adult, leaving many unsafe. Unsafe homes lead to accidents or falls, resulting in over 2.3 million accidents involving seniors in their homes per year! Nearly one third of the senior population falls each year, with more than 70% of those occurring in their own home.

With Nightingale Homecare as your partner for Phoenix live-in home health care or other in-home care services, your home care nurse or therapist will help identify potential hazards and make recommendations to keep you safe in your home. Therapists will also provide treatments and exercises to reduce fall risk by focusing on strengthening, balance, ambulation training with or without an assistive device, and energy conservation. Training to help keep you safe while getting ready for the day by bathing and dressing is also a priority.

Here are some general home safety tips your therapist or nurse will review with you to help ensure safety:

  • Keep all your pathways clear of clutter and pets.
  • Install smoke detectors.
  • Keep emergency numbers within reach of your telephone.
  • Keep fire extinguishers serviced and throughout your home.
  • Use medications safety.
  • Make sure that loose cords, such as telephone wires, are tucked under furniture and out of the way.
  • Rearrange furniture to keep walkways clear.
  • Remove all throw rugs or secure tightly to the floor and ensure there are no edges that could be a tripping hazard.
  • Check all furniture for stability and ensure unsteady furniture is removed or repaired.
  • Don’t walk over or around cords or wires.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords and don’t place them over walkways.
  • Lift up feet when walking and walk with proper equipment as prescribed (cane, walker, crutches, gait belt).
  • Install automatic nightlights that turn on when the room is dark so that pathways are lit if you get up in the night.
  • Make sure to use chemicals according to the directions on the package, and make sure that the containers are properly sealed when not in use. Drain cleaners, bleaches and strong acids can be dangerous if mixed, causing explosions or dangerous gasses.

At Nightingale Homecare, it’s our goal to help seniors achieve their desire to remain in the comfort of home through a full range of Phoenix live-in home health care or hourly care services. We’re always happy to provide a home safety assessment to make recommendations on how to reduce the risk of falls and other accidents. Additionally, our Paces Fall Prevention Program incorporates the expertise of our professional therapists, dieticians, social workers, home health aides and others to provide a well-rounded fall prevention plan that can be implemented to enhance safety even further.

Make home the safe haven it’s intended to be with a little help from your care partners at Nightingale Homecare! Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!