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More Than Skin Deep: The Importance of Senior Skin Care

senior lady applying moisturizer to face

Learn the importance of senior skin care and how to help with common problems.

While a great deal of emphasis is placed on senior health, and for good reason, there is one area that’s less often stressed but equally important: senior skin care. Senior skin problems can be much more serious than simply dryness or flaking. Some of the top skin concerns for seniors, and how to prevent them, include:

Bruising

More fragile blood vessels in senior skin means a greater chance for extensive bruising, which can occur even in minor injuries or at times, when there’s been no injury at all.

You can ease the discomfort of bruises by placing a cold compress on the bruised area to reduce the inflammation and size of the bruise, and elevate the area if possible. Additionally, be aware of certain medications that can lead to more bruising, such as over the counter NSAIDs and prescribed blood thinners. Talk with the senior’s doctor if any bruising is noted while he or she is taking these medications.

Bed Sores

Pressure sores are common in seniors who are bedbound or who spend a lot of time in one position in a wheelchair, and can be extremely painful as well as enhance the risk for infection.

Prevent bed sores by repositioning a sedentary senior at least every two hours, especially relieving pressure on the senior’s heels, ankles, elbows, back, and tailbone. Foam or gel mattress toppers can also help.

Check the senior’s skin often, and if any pressure sores are noted, keep the wounds clean and dry, and talk with the doctor or a nurse from Nightingale Homecare for assistance with treatment.

Shingles

Shingles are an extremely painful and uncomfortable rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Signs of shingles include pain, numbness, tingling, or burning, along with blistering.

See the doctor immediately if shingles are suspected, as there are prescriptions medications that can help with pain and discomfort, as well as in accelerating the healing process. The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination.

Skin Cancer

Seniors are particularly at risk for three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Watch for any changes in the skin, including moles that are asymmetrical, more than one color, have irregular edges, or have changed in any way. A doctor or dermatologist can perform regular skin exams to catch and treat skin cancer early.

Note as well that senior skin problems can arise from other serious health concerns, such as heart or liver disease, diabetes, malnutrition, and more.

Nightingale Homecare, the top provider of Phoenix in-home care, as well as throughout the surrounding area, is always here to help ensure seniors stay healthy, safe, and well, including monitoring a senior’s skin for any changes or concerns. Contact us for a free in-home consultation any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our home health care services for seniors.

Tips for Dementia Caregivers: Overcoming Bathing Anxiety

Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Nightingale Homecare has gathered these tips for dementia caregivers in order to reduce bathing anxiety.

As any family caregiver to a loved one with dementia knows, regular bathing can be a struggle. The person with Alzheimer’s could regard bathing as scary, uncomfortable, or embarrassing, and therefore physically or verbally protest when it comes time to bathe. These protests can escalate until they become dangerous or upsetting to either the caregiver or the loved one receiving care. Luckily, there are a few tips for dementia caregivers that can make bathing a whole lot easier, and even pleasant.

Take some time to prepare the bathroom in advance. Whether the senior simply needs a reminder to bathe or assistance with the entire process, a little preparation goes a long way. Adjust the room temperature until it’s comfortable for an unclothed person, then lay out soap, shampoo, a shower stool, and large towels to provide plenty of privacy and warmth. A washcloth is particularly useful to cover the senior’s eyes to prevent stinging from soap or shampoo. And don’t forget to check the water temperature frequently; someone with dementia may have difficulty telling when the tub or shower has gotten too hot or too cold.

While every individual will prefer a different bathing routine, here’s a sample routine you can try and then modify to meet a loved one’s needs:

  • Give the individual living with dementia options. Ask if she or he wants to bathe now or in a half hour, or let your loved one choose between a shower or a bath.
  • If the senior opts for a bath, fill the tub with a few inches of warm water to let him or her test the water out with a hand or foot. If the senior complies, fill the tub all the way up once he or she is safely seated.
  • Encourage the individual to take an active role in the bathing process. Let the senior hold a sponge or a bottle of shampoo, and encourage him or her to participate in the bathing process as much as his or her abilities will allow.
  • If the senior is afraid of bathing or feeling embarrassed, consider bringing a trusted friend or family member of his or her same gender into the room. If the senior becomes agitated, try a soothing activity like listening to music or singing a song together.
  • Prioritize privacy, comfort, and dignity. Always offer your loved one a towel for warmth and for covering up during the bathing process.

There are a few other tips for dementia caregivers that might make bath time with a loved one easier. To prevent confusion, try bathing at the same time every day. Use simple verbal cues and gestures to guide the senior through the bathing process, and step in to help as needed. If bathing every day is simply not realistic, try bathing one part of the body each day, or give the individual a sponge bath when a full bath isn’t feasible.

After-bath care is just as important as bathing. Be sure to check for rashes and sores, and make sure the senior is completely patted dry. Try drying between the toes with cotton swabs, and gently apply lotion all over the body. You may also try using cornstarch or baby powder under the breasts and between folds of skin to prevent chafing.

For additional tips on caring for a loved one with dementia and to learn about the benefits of partnering with an in-home caregiver who can take the stress out of bathing, reach out to Nightingale Homecare . We offer a free in-home consultation so that families can learn more about why we’re one of the premier caregiver agencies in Phoenix AZ. Simply contact us online  or give us a call on the phone at (602) 504-1555.  For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.

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.

Can You Hear Me Now? Aging and Hearing Problems

Aging and Hearing Impairment

These tips can help overcome challenges related to aging and hearing problems.

“Can you repeat that please?”

“I wish you would speak up and stop mumbling!”

“I’m sorry; what was that you said?”

If you’re providing care for an older loved one who struggles with hearing problems, phrases like these are likely part of your daily conversations. And you’re far from alone, with as many as a third of seniors ages 65 – 74 experiencing hearing loss, and half of those over age 75. While aging and hearing problems are a common pair, the repercussions can range from frustrating to dangerous. Missing out on conversations is hard enough, but a senior with hearing loss may not understand a doctor’s instructions, miss hearing alarms and doorbells, or be unable to hear a car horn honking an alert and be at risk for an accident.

Left untreated, many hearing problems can worsen. It’s important to check with the doctor if hearing loss is suspected, although bear in mind that a senior may become defensive or deny having a problem at all.

To gauge if a senior loved one is struggling with hearing, pay attention to the following:

  • Does the senior struggle with hearing what’s being said over the phone?
  • Is it hard for him/her to join in and follow along with conversations involving multiple people?
  • Is the TV turned up to an unusually loud volume?
  • Does the senior often ask others to repeat what has just been said?
  • Is the senior complaining of others mumbling?

The doctor can help uncover the cause for the senior’s hearing loss, and recommend options to help such as a hearing aid, assistive listening or alerting device, mobile apps, or a cochlear implant if the impairment is severe.

You can also help someone struggling with aging and hearing impairment by attempting to:

  • Minimize background noise and distractions when talking with the senior.
  • Use non-verbal cues as much as possible, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
  • Speak to the senior face-to-face while maintaining eye contact.
  • Elevate your voice slightly, while never yelling at the person.
  • Speak at a normal pace – slowing down your speech doesn’t help.
  • Use different words if the person is unable to decipher what you’ve said.
  • Maintain patience. As frustrating as it may be to engage in a conversation with someone with hearing loss, it’s even more frustrating for the senior.

Nightingale Homecare, the top-rated provider of dementia care in Phoenix and surrounding areas, is always here to help as well. We offer a full range of both skilled and non-medical in-home care services that address and overcome a variety of challenges for seniors and the families who care for them.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to request free resources related to aging and hearing impairment, and to schedule a complimentary consultation in the comfort of home to learn more about how we can help.

The Perfect New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

Resolutions for Family Caregivers

New Year’s resolutions for family caregivers help make self-care a priority.

The dawning of a new year brings with it hope, optimism, and a chance to start fresh. For family caregivers, the new year is an ideal time to take stock of caregiving routines, making adjustments that benefit both you and a senior you love.

While there are countless instances of joy when caring for a senior, too often family caregivers place all their focus and energy on their caregiving responsibilities, leaving no time or energy for their own needs. Since the ability to provide effective care is directly linked to maintaining your own health and wellness, the new year is a perfect time to commit to making and keeping resolutions for family caregivers.

  • Ask for help. Reach out to family or close friends and ask for assistance with caregiving responsibilities. Think about ways in which those close to you can help with tasks such as bringing over a meal one night each week, managing finances, scheduling appointments, and more. Set up a recurring schedule so that you know you can count on assistance each week, thereby freeing you up to make and keep your own medical appointments, maintain an exercise routine, or have lunch with a friend.
  • Be present. Family caregiving requires not only physical stamina, but emotional stamina, too. All too often, family caregivers can feel drained by the emotion of caring for a senior loved one. They hope a situation will change, even when they’ve seen the same outcome time and again. Whether wishing for assistance from your siblings or hoping that your dad, who has Alzheimer’s, will stop asking the same question repeatedly, it’s important (and sometimes difficult) to accept things the way they are. In doing so, and in being fully present in reality, you can focus emotional energy on positive things, while at the same time caring for your emotional health.
  • Make self-care a daily priority. Set aside short blocks of time throughout the day to focus on self-care. Start your day with stretching, meditation or prayer. Take a brief walk around the block or simply sit outside and enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes each afternoon. Connect with friends on the phone, read a book, or start streaming a new series in the evenings. Make “me time” a priority, even if it’s only for short periods of time each day.
  • Schedule routine breaks. Trying to take on all of the caregiving tasks day in and day out is a recipe for burnout. Partner with an in-home caregiver like Nightingale Homecare to schedule respite services so that you can take a break each week or plan a weekend away to indulge in some much-deserved R & R.

Let Nightingale Homecare help you keep your New Year’s resolutions by providing the trusted in-home care that families in Phoenix and the surroundings areas have turned to since 1994. In addition to respite care, our professional and highly-trained care team can customize a care plan designed especially for your loved one and can include:

  • Assisting with housekeeping and laundry
  • Planning and preparing healthy and nutritious meals
  • Providing transportation to social outings and medical or personal appointments
  • Engaging companionship to enhance socialization and reduce isolation
  • Helping with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing and using the toilet
  • A full range of skilled nursing care services
  • And so much more

Reach out to Nightingale Homecare today at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our skilled and non-medical home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas can help you and a senior you love live life to the fullest in 2021.