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When Is Speech Therapy Right for a Senior?

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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? Home Health Experts Have the Answer!

caregiver helping senior client with occupational therapy

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 home health in Phoenix and the surrounding areas can improve quality of life and make each day the very best it can be!

Supporting the Seven Dimensions of Wellness in Seniors

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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.

Tips for Managing Diabetic Wound Care

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Learn techniques for better diabetic wound care.

Putting your best foot forward takes on a whole new meaning for those with diabetes! Foot ulcers are common in diabetics, resulting from neuropathy (nerve damage that reduces the sensation of pain), circulation problems, deformities of the feet, and more. Other risk factors for developing diabetic ulcers include:

Thankfully, there are steps diabetics can take to reduce the chance of developing foot ulcers. Nightingale Homecare, the top providers of the professional in home care Phoenix AZ seniors need, encourages those with diabetes to schedule regular visits with a podiatrist and to take these preventative measures:

  • Take a close look each day at your feet for any redness, irritation, bruises, cuts, sores, cracks, blisters, etc. Pay particular attention to the areas between the toes and the soles of the feet. If any irregularities or discomfort are noted, schedule an appointment with the podiatrist as soon as possible.
  • Ask the podiatrist for recommendations on appropriate footwear, and avoid going barefoot, even when at home.
  • Make any necessary lifestyle changes to ensure your risk of developing ulcers is minimized: stop smoking, maintain a healthy diet and weight, and limit alcohol consumption.

If a foot ulcer does develop, the podiatrist will want to ensure that:

  • Blood sugar is lowered
  • The ulcer is properly debrided (dead skin/tissue is removed)
  • Any infections are treated
  • Pressure and friction of the feet are reduced
  • Proper blood flow is restored

The key to healing is early intervention and treatment of the ulcer, and then continued management of the wound until healing is achieved. The podiatrist may recommend a topical medication and dressings to keep the wound clean and free of infection. In severe cases, surgery may be required, although this is the exception rather than the rule.

Did you know that Nightingale Homecare provides highly skilled wound and ostomy care for seniors struggling with diabetic foot ulcers, as well as for pressure ulcers, surgical wounds, venous stasis ulcers, arterial ulcers, and more – right in the comfort of home?

Our home health care services make healing easier and more comfortable for seniors, with a full range of customized care provided by registered nurses, home health aides, and non-medical companions, to ensure that each individual’s particular needs are addressed and that quality of life, health and overall wellbeing are enhanced.

Contact the professional care team at Nightingale Homecare any time by calling (602) 504-1555 or by completing our simple online contact form to schedule a free in-home assessment or to allow us to answer any questions you may have.

Making Sense of Medicare Requirements for Home Care

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Receiving care in your home is often preferred over going to a facility to recover from a surgery or illness. It can not only be comforting to be in your own home while you recover, but it is also often necessary. If you have Medicare or another form of insurance, there may be questions you have about what your plan will cover. In order for Medicare or other insurance policies to cover home health care, there are generally four requirements that must be met.

  1. Care must be ordered and overseen by a physician.
  2. The individual must have been seen by a physician for the condition requiring home care no more than 90 days prior to the start of home care services or no later than 30 days after the start of home care services.
  3. The individual must be “homebound,” meaning that leaving the home to receive care is unsafe, requires the assistance of other people and/or requires considerable and taxing effort.
  4. The care needed is “skilled” and not “custodial”.

Skilled care is care that can only be delivered by a trained professional, such as the home health care professionals at Nightingale Homecare. For example, skilled care can include care for a complicated wound, or the development of a home exercise program to be implemented after a hip replacement.

Custodial care is care that can be provided by a non-professional. Generally, it is the help given to an individual to allow him or her to complete daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, eating, using the toilet, walking, etc. This type of care is not provided with the goal of helping someone heal from an illness or injury. It is provided to make sure daily activities are completed safely. While Medicare will cover custodial care given by a home health aide during the time that someone is receiving skilled care, ongoing custodial care is not paid for by Medicare.

The Arizona Department of Health Services can be a helpful resource for questions about what Medicare covers.

Many individuals require greater assistance than Medicare or other insurance providers will cover under the home health care benefit. They may need someone to be with them round-the-clock while they recover from an illness, or they may need care for a longer period of time than Medicare will cover – perhaps even until the end of life. In these cases, individuals usually utilize long-term care insurance policies to meet custodial care needs, or they pay privately for this type of care. For many seniors, the unlimited options provided by home care services is more preferable than going into the unfamiliar surroundings of an elder care community or facility.

If you’d like to explore senior care options for yourself or a loved one, the professional in-home care team at Nightingale Homecare is here to help you determine the best care solution for your specific circumstances. Providers of the highest quality home care Phoenix, AZ has to offer, Nightingale Homecare offers a full range of care – from custodial care to highly skilled nursing care and therapy services. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.