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Blog Archives

More Than a Band-Aid: Why Senior Wound Healing Can be a Challenge

Scottsdale senior home care

Wound healing is often difficult for older adults.

Remember as a child scraping your knee on the playground, when all it took was a hug from mom and a band-aid to have you back up on your feet, good as new? When older adults experience a wound, however, achieving complete healing is often a much more complicated process, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Less skin elasticity. The natural process of reduced elasticity in the skin as we grow older makes it harder for skin to heal – in fact, the U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that senior wound healing can take up to four times as long in comparison to younger people.
  • Longer inflammatory response time. Our blood vessels expand when a wound occurs, so that white blood cells and nutrients can more quickly reach the wound area. Yet this inflammatory response is markedly slower in the elderly.
  • Diabetic effects. Those with diabetes (and over 11 million seniors in the U.S. are diabetics) often experience problems with hardened arteries and narrowed blood vessels, both of which can contribute to delayed wound healing. Additionally, neuropathy can inhibit a diabetic from sensing the pain of a wound, enabling it to worsen.

Interestingly, there is one key factor that helps older adults experience enhanced wound healing: regular exercise. Ohio State University conducted a recent study among healthy seniors between the ages of 55 and 77 in which some engaged in regular physical activity, while the others did not. A small puncture wound was then given to each senior, and the healing process was monitored. Those who had participated in the exercise program healed a full ten days faster than those who did not.

At Nightingale Homecare, our Scottsdale senior home care experts are proficient in senior wound healing, and offer a specialized wound and ostomy care program to provide better management and faster healing of wounds, ostomies, and other skin problems such as:

  • Surgical wounds
  • Bed sores
  • Diabetic, arterial, or venous stasis ulcers
  • Colostomies
  • Urostomies
  • Fistulas
  • Incontinence skin concerns
  • And more

We are familiar with the best products for specific types of wounds, and incorporate additional measures to expedite healing, such as ensuring seniors are receiving proper nutrition and hydration, relieving pressure, and preventing infection.

Contact Nightingale Homecare any time for more tips and resources related to effective wound healing for seniors, or to arrange for a free in-home consultation with one of our Scottsdale senior home care professionals to find out how we can help your loved one more heal more quickly and get back to enjoying life! You can reach us at (602) 504-1555.

Fostering Freedom: How to Help Seniors Stay Independent Throughout Aging

Sun City home health care

Discover how to help seniors stay independent and safe.

It’s a common struggle among family caregivers: deciding when to step in and help, and when to step back and allow an older loved one to accomplish as much as possible independently. It requires a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, we need to ensure safety is never compromised; yet on the other hand, we never want to do anything to damage a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem.

So the question becomes, how can we help seniors stay independent, while ensuring safety? The Sun City home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare have several key recommendations:

  1. Remember: You’re a team! Changing the mindset from working for a senior to working with a senior can make a world of difference in your approach. Talk with the older adult in an open and honest way about the challenges and concerns he or she is facing, and how you can best provide needed support. Naturally, these needs will change over time; and when cognitive issues come into play, communication strategies will need to be modified as well. But we all appreciate being asked for our input, and to know that value is placed on our feelings.
  2. Allow time before jumping in to help seniors. It may seem more efficient to take care of tasks yourself, but doing so may be at the expense of your loved one’s self-image. Instead, factor in plenty of extra time for tasks, allowing the senior ample opportunities to tackle them independently whenever possible.
  3. Focus on the senior’s strengths. If certain tasks prove to be too challenging for your loved one, shift the focus to those he or she is able to manage more easily. For instance, if preparing an entire meal is too difficult, ask the senior to manage creating her special dessert recipe while you work on the main course.
  4. Remind the senior that helpful workarounds are a positive. A senior may balk at the idea of using a walker or wheelchair initially, or in having grab bars installed in the bathroom. And many times older adults are resistant to the idea of needing someone to help with everyday activities that they’ve been managing their entire lives. Providing a reminder that assistance and home modifications are empowering, allowing the senior to accomplish more independently and to remain in the comfort of home throughout aging, can be beneficial.

At Nightingale Homecare, it’s our mission to deliver the highest quality in-home care help for seniors with the respect and dignity that allow for maximum independence and autonomy at all times. Never coming in and taking over, we work together with seniors and their families to develop a plan of care that addresses all needs – including those for personal freedom. Contact our Sun City home health care team at (602) 504-1555 to request a free in-home consultation and discover how we can improve life for a senior you love.

When Is Speech Therapy Right for a Senior?

Scottsdale home care

The Scottsdale home care experts share 5 conditions that can be improved with speech therapy.

The ability to communicate effectively is crucial to our feelings of independence and self-esteem, and for older adults, there are certain diagnoses that can inhibit the ability to speak clearly. Even the most social and outgoing senior can become reclusive and refrain from joining in conversations when speech difficulties are in place.

To help seniors gain back their confidence, we at Nightingale Homecare are pleased to provide professional in-home speech therapy services, in addition to our full range of medical and non-medical Scottsdale home care services. Since May is designated as Better Hearing & Speech Month, what better time to highlight the benefits a speech therapist can provide?

Just a few of the conditions that can be improved with speech therapy include:

  • Apraxia: Often resulting from a stroke, apraxia is diagnosed in seniors who use words in an incorrect sequence. It can also cause difficulty in puckering the lips. A speech therapist will help older adults speak at a slower pace, allowing for more time to form words together correctly, and to practice repeating sounds in a particular order to master forming those sounds together into words.
  • Dysarthria: Common in Parkinson’s disease, dysarthria results from weakened or paralyzed muscles. Speech therapy helps seniors through breathing techniques, articulation exercises, and adopting a slower speech pattern.
  • Aphasia: When a senior leaves words out of sentences when speaking, it’s typically a result of one of several types of aphasia. Recovery is possible within a period of months as speech therapists help the senior with concentration exercises and to re-learn how to appropriately respond to verbal/vocal cues.
  • Dysphagia: Dysphagia results from difficulties with swallowing, which can occur commonly in seniors due to changes in aging such as reduced saliva production, breathing changes, and dental issues. The speech therapist will help with modifications to eating and drinking to overcome these challenges.
  • Dementia: With the progression of a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, communication becomes increasingly difficult. Speech therapy focuses on minimizing distractions, speaking more slowly, and utilizing nonverbal cues to maximize speaking ability to the greatest extent possible.

If a senior loved one struggles with any of these conditions, Nightingale Homecare’s speech therapists are available to provide an in-depth evaluation, create a personalized treatment plan, and work with the senior to improve functionality. Call our Scottsdale home care team at (602) 504-1555 to arrange for a free in-home consultation or to request additional resources to help improve quality of life for the older adults in your life.

What Can OT Do for Diabetes? Scottsdale Senior Home Care Experts Have the Answer!

Occupational therapy can a great addition to the care team when managing diabetes.

Those with diabetes, and those who provide care for them, know the importance of proper management of the disease: routine monitoring of blood glucose levels, carefully adhering to dietary restrictions, exercising and maintaining regular checkups with the doctor. But what might come as a surprise is the role occupational therapy can play in diabetes management.

Occupational therapists can – and should – be a vital part of a diabetic’s care team, bringing a full range of knowledge and expertise in addressing all of a patient’s needs: emotional, social, sensory and cognitive, as well as physical.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators has compiled the AADE 7TM Self-Care Behaviors, all of which can be enhanced through occupational therapy services:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Remaining active
  3. Monitoring the disease
  4. Taking medications
  5. Solving problems
  6. Healthy coping skills
  7. Reducing risks

Here are just a few of the many ways a professional occupational therapist can improve diabetes management as well as the overall health and wellbeing for the person diagnosed:

  • Provide recommendations for safe, appropriate physical activity
  • Educate on appropriate meal choices and cooking techniques
  • Assist with medication tracking and organization
  • Share tips for effective blood glucose monitoring
  • Utilize strategies and compensations for those with sensory loss
  • Help alleviate anxiety and depression through daily lifestyle changes
  • Recommend assistive devices as needed
  • And much more

Nightingale Homecare is the perfect care partner for those with diabetes, or any other chronic condition. Our Pathlink Chronic Disease Management Program empowers patients with the education, strategies, technology, and self-management skills to better manage complex care needs. Additionally, our full range of customized home health services can also include occupational therapy and many other care professionals such as physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and caregivers, right in the comfort of home.

Whether the need is simply for a little extra help with housework, meals, and personal care, or if a chronic disease calls for skilled medical care, Nightingale Homecare is on hand with the right level of care at the right time. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 for a free in-home consultation where we’ll listen to the challenges being faced and create a plan of care to address those needs, monitoring over time as needs change. Discover how our Scottsdale senior home care services can improve quality of life and make each day the very best it can be!

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 Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale and the surrounding area has to offer, at (602) 504-1555 to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more.