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How to Know if You Have Pre-Diabetes & What You Can Do About It

professional Phoenix caregivers If you were at risk for a serious chronic illness like diabetes, chances are you’d know it, right? Turns out, you might not. According to the CDC, one in three Americans has pre-diabetes, and most, 90% in fact, don’t even know it. Because November is National Diabetes Month, our professional Phoenix caregivers want to give you the heads up on how to know if you have pre-diabetes and what you can do about it if you do.

What is pre-diabetes?

Because it often doesn’t present with any symptoms, many people don’t know that pre-diabetes exists or how serious it is to their health. In fact, pre-diabetes frequently goes undetected for years until a person experiences a major health problem caused by elevated blood sugar levels that put the person at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So, how can you know if you’re at risk for pre-diabetes?

It’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk for pre-diabetes, but certain lifestyle and hereditary factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Having a close family member (parent or sibling) with type 2 diabetes
  • A previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian American race

What can you do now to prevent diabetes?

If you have pre-diabetes or are at risk for the disease, there is good news. The steps for prevention are basic, healthy lifestyle choices that you can start making now.

Step 1: Start exercising. A simple thirty minutes a day, five times a week of brisk walking or a similar activity is recommended to help increase your physical activity.

Step 2: Reduce your weight if you are overweight. A modest weight loss of five to seven percent can make a significant difference.

Step 3: Eat better and smarter to help lower blood sugar. Eat a variety of foods—particularly whole grains and fruits and vegetables, limit serving sizes so you don’t overeat and eat regular meals and small snacks.

Step 4: Find support. Making lifestyle changes to support your health, while important, can often feel daunting, so it’s vital to find support to help keep you on the healthy path. Nightingale’s professional Phoenix caregivers can help support your healthy lifestyle changes by shopping for and preparing nutritious meals that meet your unique dietary needs and encouraging and supporting you in exercise programs recommended by your doctor.

Additionally, our Pathlink Chronic Disease Management program is known for improving outcomes and decreasing re-hospitalizations for patients with a wide variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes, through improved health literacy, self-management skills, and more.

If you or a loved one has pre-diabetes, our dedicated Phoenix caregivers can help. Call us at (602) 504-1555, or contact us online to let us know how we can help, and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

What Happens When a Caregiver Has a Chronic Illness?

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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.

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!

Signs and Symptoms of Infection

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Learn the top signs of infection to watch for in your senior loved ones.

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. Others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.

Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.
Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms, but there are some generalized indicators that an infection may be present across the board, such as:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing

Below are some particular signs and symptoms you may see, in addition to, or instead of the ones listed above, based upon certain types of infection. Be sure to contact your senior loved one’s physician if any of these signs are noted:

WOUND/INCISION

  • Increased pain at or around the wound
  • Increased drainage from the wound site
  • Drainage with foul odor
  • Change in color of drainage, especially with yellow or green color and foul odor
  • Fever of 101 degrees or greater
  • Significant increase in redness and warmth around the wound

RESPIRATORY

  • Shaking, chills, fever (100 to 104 degrees)
  • Chest pain
  • Productive cough, with green, thick yellow/tan or blood tinged sputum
  • Dry, hacking non-productive cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • White or pale blue skin tone around the lips

URINARY

  • Pain in bladder region or lower back
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Frequency
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent voiding at night
  • Cloudy, foul smelling urine
  • Blood in urine

The best way to combat infection, however, is through prevention. Taking these precautions can help:

PREVENTION OF INFECTION

  • Thoroughly wash hands before and after contact with open body secretions or drainage
  • Wear gloves when in contact with body fluids or drainage
  • Keep all wound or drainage supplies covered and in a clean area
  • Keep young children, pets, and pests away from supplies
  • Double bag all soiled dressings or disposables that have come in contact with body fluids
  • Clean and disinfect all equipment appropriately
  • Avoid contact with those who have a respiratory or other communicable infection

Helping older adults remain healthy, safe and well is our goal at Nightingale Homecare, and we’re always on hand to partner with families to provide resources, tips, and the professional in home care Phoenix AZ seniors need. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 with questions or to schedule a free consultation, right in the comfort of home, to learn more ways we can help enhance quality of life for your senior loved one!

The Completely Normal Side of Aging

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The Phoenix senior care team at Nightingale Homecare shares details on normal aging.

Change: it’s a part of life, regardless of age, but it seems to accelerate as we grow older, leading us to wonder which changes are cause for concern, and which are just a normal part of aging. While it’s always important to consult with the doctor regarding any physical or emotional changes to rule out health problems, our Phoenix senior care team at Nightingale Homecare has broken down some of the most common types of aging-related changes that are generally considered normal:

Skin Changes:

As we grow older, our skin produces less oil, and we begin to lose some of the fatty tissue beneath the skin’s surface, leading to a drier, thinner feeling. You can protect your skin by always wearing sunscreen when going outdoors, and by getting checked for any growths or other abnormal skin changes by the doctor on a regular basis.

Heart Changes:

With increased stiffness in the arteries and blood vessels, our hearts have to work harder as we grow older. It’s important to ensure the heart remains healthy by staying physically active (getting doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise routines), eating plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and sleeping at least 7 – 8 hours each night.

Bone Changes:

Older adults often experience stiffness in the joints, the normal effect of the wearing away of cartilage, tissue and fluids. This can, however, lead to arthritis and other conditions for which treatment can be sought. Bones also become more brittle and less dense throughout aging, making seniors more susceptible to breaks. And we may actually lose an inch or two from our stature as the disks in the spine shrink, beginning as early as in our 40s. It’s crucial for older adults to maintain a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to maximize bone strength.

Vision and Hearing Changes:

Enhanced sensitivity to glare and bright light, as well as difficulty with reading or seeing objects clearly when close up, are common in aging, and can usually be overcome with annual eye exams, reading glasses, and the use of sunglasses when in bright light. Likewise, hearing often deteriorates slightly, particularly impacting sounds at high frequencies. Annual hearing exams and the use of earplugs when in especially loud environments are important.

Oral Changes:

Dry mouth and the appearance of gums pulling away from the teeth are two common occurrences in our later years. The dentist can help with determining what interventions may be needed, so regular cleanings and checkups are vital. And at any age, brushing and flossing regularly (twice daily for brushing, once daily for flossing) is the best way to prevent decay and infection to teeth and gums.

At Nightingale Homecare, our Phoenix senior care experts help keep older adults healthy and thriving throughout aging in a variety of ways! We provide a full range of in-home care services, from companionship and help around the house to highly skilled nursing care, and everything in between. We can ensure seniors are following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise and rest, offer accompanied transportation to medical and dental checkups and exams, pick up prescriptions, and keep a professional eye out for any changes in a senior’s health that may be cause for concern, so that they can be addressed immediately.

To learn more about how we can help your senior loved one remain safe, healthy and happy at home, contact us any time at (602) 504-1555.