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Support Without Stifling: Fostering Independence in Seniors

caregiver assisting independence in senior woman

Nightingale Homecare offers strategies for encouraging independence in seniors.

As the loved ones in your life get older, you may find yourself offering them extra care and support. However, it’s easy to get so caught up in providing for your loved ones that you forget the importance of fostering independence in seniors. A sense of independence and autonomy are essential to holistic wellbeing, especially in older adults. So how can you help the ones you love without stifling autonomy? We’ve gathered our top four tips for providing assistance while encouraging independence in seniors.

1. Communicate Early On

Planning out the kind of assistance you’ll be offering in advance with your loved one shows the senior that you value their input and respect their boundaries. Set aside some time to chat about how much help you can provide, and what sort of assistance the senior is open to receiving. This is a great time to get on the same page about the senior’s changing needs and talk honestly about future plans.

2. Pause Before Helping

It’s possible that the senior loved one in your life might only need help with a task once or twice, or may only need someone to come by the house to assist them very occasionally. Don’t assume that he or she needs intensive assistance all the time. Take a step back and observe your loved one’s needs, and consider discussing them with other members of your family. Be realistic about what the senior can still accomplish unaided in order to preserve his or her independence. Only offer assistance after you’ve taken this inventory.

3. Focus On What the Senior Can Still Do

Realistically, there’s probably still much a senior you love can accomplish by his or her self. Highlighting these skills and abilities is key to preserving independence in seniors while still offering assistance when necessary. Don’t do anything for a loved one that can be done on their own unless he or she is visibly struggling or asks for help.

4. Frame Help as Empowering

Asking for help can be intimidating for many people, especially when it’s paired with the emotional and physical challenges of getting older. Your loved one may feel a sense of embarrassment or shame around needing help, so be sure to frame your assistance in a positive light. Highlight your enthusiasm about helping the senior out, and encourage them to view accepting help as a way to further their own independence.

Nightingale Homecare can connect your family with a compassionate and highly trained caregiver, available to provide as little or as much assistance as the senior in your life requires. We carefully evaluate each senior’s needs during a free in-home assessment to ensure we’re providing just the right services. And we also provide respite care for family caregivers who find themselves in need of assistance as they care for their family member.

To learn more about partnering with a top-rated home care agency, reach out to us online or give us a call at (602) 504-1555. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and share with you why we’re the premiere provider of Phoenix care at home throughout the metropolitan area.

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.

Release 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. It’s important to find ways to release caregiver stress in order to support your own wellbeing. 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 caregivers in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, for a free in-home consultation. We’re always here to offer the resources you need to release caregiver stress and to enhance quality of life for older adults in the comfort of home.

The Holidays Look a Little Different This Year: Holidays with Seniors During the Pandemic

Holidays with Seniors

Celebrating the holidays with seniors this year requires careful planning and consideration.

Back in March, when the words “pandemic” and “COVID-19” just began to creep into our vocabulary, we had no idea that by the holiday season, we’d still be right in the thick of isolating, social distancing, and doing whatever we can to keep ourselves and each other safe. Yet here we are, and it’s important to carefully think through the risks associated with celebrating the holidays with seniors this year.

At the heart of the quandary lies the knowledge that both COVID-19 and isolation from loved ones bring serious, potentially life-threatening risks to older adults. Harvard epidemiologist Julia Marcus explains, “There’s no easy answer here, just like with everything else. It’s not about safe or unsafe. It’s about figuring out how to balance various risks and keeping risks as low as possible.”

And while we’ve learned to avoid super-spreader events, experts warn that the recent spike in infections has been attributed in large part to transmissions within home gatherings.

So how can you make the best decision for your family this holiday season? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently redefined “close contact” as it relates to the spread of infection to 15 minutes of cumulative exposure during a 24-hour period, within six feet of others (as opposed to the former 15 consecutive minute definition).
  • Although these guidelines reference maintaining social distancing of six feet, it is believed that aerosol transmission can occur at much greater distances – there’s nothing magic about the six-foot figure.
  • Family members considering air travel (or other public transportation) are, of course, at a greater risk of exposure to the virus, and can still transmit the virus to others, even if they remain asymptomatic. The safest course to follow would be to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, and then get tested – an incredibly difficult protocol to follow.

As a result of these factors, the CDC’s official holiday celebration guidelines encourage people to stay at home with those already living in the same household, which raises the issue of senior isolation and the serious emotional and physical toll it can take on older adults.

Dr. Anthony Fauci explains, “There are some families who are so frustrated with not seeing each other for so long, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take the risk. My mental health of seeing my children or grandchildren is so important to me that I’m going to take the risk.’”

If a senior you love expresses these types of feelings, and is experiencing the negative impact of isolation, you’ll need to carefully consider the risks vs. the benefits of getting together. In that case, face coverings, social distancing, and handwashing are necessary, and time spent together should be limited. Outdoor visits are also preferred.

The holiday season of 2020 may not be the Normal Rockwell celebration we’d wish for, but know that Nightingale Homecare, the leading Phoenix home health agency, is here to help make it as merry and bright as possible for the seniors you love. Contact us to learn more about how we can help alleviate isolation for seniors, coordinate the technology necessary for contactless visits with a senior loved one, and so much more.

You can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555 to discover the measures we’re taking to keep seniors safe, to find out if our services are available in your area, and to answer any questions you may have about our in-home care services.

Relieving Caregiving Stress with Gratitude

Caregiving Stress

Focusing on what we’re thankful for is a great way to relieve stress.

“There’s always, always something to be thankful for!”

This quote, attributed to Rhonda Byrne, is a popular one this time of year, as we turn our thoughts to all of our blessings in the season of Thanksgiving. And, it may just help to relive caregiving stress.

For family caregivers, a heightened level of stress can cause negativity to creep in, magnifying problems and challenges and making it difficult to shift focus to gratitude. Still, research shows that those who practice gratitude are happier, protected from depression, sleep better, have a boosted immune system, and have healthier relationships, in addition to reduced stress.

So how, in the midst of caregiving, can you begin to experience the benefits of gratefulness? We have some tips to help.

What IS Gratitude?

Actually, it’s important to know what gratitude is NOT. It’s not a matter of ignoring difficulties and denying that we have negative feelings as a result of them. It is about tuning in to the positive aspects of life that are present in the midst of the problems. It’s a matter of perspective, and realizing that as bad as things may seem to be, there are glimmers of light shining through the darkness.

Benefits of Gratitude

Choosing to pay attention to even the smallest thing for which we’re grateful actually trains our brain to improve our level of optimism. It breaks the downward spiral of negativity, which improves overall quality of life and wellness in a variety of ways – including allowing us to provide a higher level of care for the seniors we love.

How to Begin Living More Gratefully

One of the best ways to begin experiencing the benefits of gratitude is by keeping a journal – which may feel intimidating at first; who has time for journaling while caregiving? But it doesn’t have to be elaborate or wordy; a simple spiral-bound notebook and a sentence or two each day is all it takes. The key is being consistent, to create a new habit and routine of being thankful.

Designate a few minutes at a set time each day, whenever it works best for you, and simply sit down in a quiet place and think about one or two aspects of life that you’re most thankful for at that moment. It can be as simple as a beautiful sunrise, a warm bath at the end of the day, or a phone call with a friend. Write it down in your journal, or draw a quick sketch if you prefer.

Then at the end of each week, or whenever your stress level is elevated, read back through your journal entries to help shift your perspective.

Know that our experts in home care in Paradise Valley, AZ and nearby areas are always here to partner with you to ensure you have plenty of time available to rest and recharge. Our respite care services are the perfect solution to caregiving stress, allowing you to take much-needed time to yourself while knowing your senior loved one is receiving the very best care. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!