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Blog Archives

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.

Take Steps to Better Senior Health: Exercises for Any Ability Level

Portrait of a smiling senior woman lifting dumbbells during a workout session in her living room at home

One of the keys to senior health is staying physically active.

It’s one of the most common New Year’s resolutions for good reason: exercising more has numerous benefits for all of us, regardless of age or ability level. As one of the leading caregiver agencies in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding areas, we at Nightingale Homecare encourage all of the seniors in our care (with doctors’ approval, of course) to stay as physically active as possible and to achieve maximum health and wellbeing. Just some of the many ways exercise is good for senior health include:

  • Improved blood pressure
  • Better blood sugar management
  • Lower levels of lipids in the blood
  • Enhanced joint and bone health
  • Preserved cognitive functioning
  • A healthier immune system
  • A boost in metabolism and better GI functioning
  • More confidence
  • The release of endorphins that help improve mood
  • And so much more

Many older adults, however, experience a decline in physical activity throughout aging, and while it’s true that some exercises may not be realistic or safe for some seniors to engage in, there are plenty of modifications that can be made and alternative activities with equal health benefits.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Aerobics:

Cardio exercise is extremely important for heart and lung health. The typical recommendation is 30 minutes per day, but it’s perfectly fine to break this 30-minute period into smaller chunks throughout the day. Water exercises are low-impact and a great choice for many seniors; check with the local YMCA or senior center for classes specifically geared toward older adults.

Strength/Resistance:

Strength and resistance training help strengthen the bones and improve balance, which can prevent falls. These types of exercises can be done two or three times each week for maximum benefit, and can include simple, repetitive motions with small weights or resistance bands. Even a bottle of water or can of soup lifted up and down with each arm for two or three sets of ten can help build endurance.

Stretching:

Warming up and cooling down with stretching exercises helps prevent any stiffness or soreness in muscles after exercising, and also helps seniors maintain flexibility. Yoga and Pilates exercises are great ways to isolate different muscle groups to focus on and to develop a strong core, leading to better balance and posture. The YMCA or senior center can again be helpful, offering these types of classes specifically for older adults.

Our aging care experts love nothing more than helping the seniors in our care enjoy life to the fullest and to remain as healthy, safe, and independent as possible. One of the many ways we can help is by providing the motivation, encouragement, and support to enjoy staying physically active. We’ll even exercise right along with your senior loved one – it’s always more fun with a friend!

We’re also on hand to provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes, to prepare healthy meals, run errands, and so much more that leads to an overall better quality of life.

Contact us and ask for your free in-home consultation to find out more about our customized in-home care services for seniors. You can reach us any time at (602) 505-1555.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Startling Link Between Dementia and Nutrition

Dementia and Nutrition

It’s important to understand the link between dementia and nutrition.

We are what we eat, as the saying goes, and that’s shown to be the case with certain types of foods and an increased risk for dementia – and with others that may actually improve cognitive functioning. While many of us are resolving to live a healthier lifestyle in 2021, we can also help the seniors in our care maximize wellness by understanding the link between dementia and nutrition, and adjusting dietary habits accordingly.

Why It Matters

A diet high in processed foods, carbs, and sugar produces toxins in our bodies that cause inflammation and plaque buildup in the brain. A senior who consumes too many of these types of foods while limiting fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins may be experiencing impaired cognitive functioning as a result, as the brain isn’t receiving the right type of fuel it needs.

Foods to Avoid

Many popular go-to food choices, unfortunately, are on the list of those linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including:

  • White sugar, rice, bread, cakes, and pasta, which increase insulin levels and send toxins to the brain
  • Processed meats and cheeses: bacon, smoked meats, mozzarella sticks, American cheese, etc. which build up the proteins linked to Alzheimer’s
  • Beer, which contains the nitrites that are also linked to Alzheimer’s
  • Microwavable popcorn, which contains a chemical, diacetyl, that is linked to an increased level of amyloid plaques in the brain

Foods to Enjoy

It’s not easy to create and stick to new dietary habits, but replacing the foods above with the recommendations below will lead to better health outcomes for the seniors you love – and for yourself. All of the following are linked to improved memory and overall cognitive functioning:

  • Cold-water fish, such as salmon
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Dark-skinned fruits and berries
  • Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate

If the thought of overhauling a senior loved one’s diet is overwhelming, let us help! As one of the top-rated caregiver agencies in Phoenix, AZ and the surrounding areas, the aging care experts at Nightingale Homecare are trained, experienced, and skilled in planning and preparing meals that are both nutritious and delicious, in accordance with any dietary restrictions or recommendations.

Not only that, but our caregivers are adept in creative Alzheimer’s care techniques, understanding and effectively managing some of the more challenging aspects of the disease, while helping seniors engage in meaningful, enjoyable pastimes and activities to make each day the very best it can be.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our customized Phoenix area in home care services or care for the surrounding areas, and to request a free in-home consultation to let us get to know you and the challenges you’re facing. We’ll be happy to create an ideal solution for your particular circumstances – from just a little support for a few hours each week, up through and including full-time, live-in care.

Reduce Anxiety and Build Cognitive Functioning with These Fun Activities for Seniors

Activities for Seniors

These activities for seniors help improve wellbeing in a variety of ways.

During the pandemic, as we’ve all had to find more at-home activities to enjoy, the benefits of crafts have become more apparent. In fact, activities for seniors such as crafting have been shown to improve social, cognitive, and motor skills, while reducing anxiety and stress. Not only that, but they bring enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment, meaning, and purpose, especially when created to share with someone else.

Our experts in home health in Phoenix and the surrounding areas have compiled some great activities to try:

Cookies in a Jar

Who doesn’t love homemade cookies? Get the whole family together and enjoy putting together these mason jar cookie mixes to share with friends and neighbors. Gather together a 1-quart canning jar for each mix, and then layer in the following ingredients, in the order they’re listed:

  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking soda, and ½ tsp. salt

Then create a label for each jar with the following instructions for the recipient to use in baking the cookies:

  • Empty cookie mix into large mixing bowl, blending together with your hands.
  • Soften 1 ½ sticks of butter and add to the bowl, along with 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls, and placed 2” apart on sprayed baking sheet.
  • Bake for 11 – 13 minutes at 350 degrees and enjoy!

Memory Quilts

For senior sewers, there’s nothing more precious than a memory quilt, created from pieces of clothing that tell a story. For instance, a quilt could be prepared for someone who has always loved sports, made with pieces of jerseys from their favorite teams, or from teams they played on themselves over the years. Wash, iron, cut, and stitch the fabric together according to the more detailed instructions provided here.

Tin Can Lanterns

These are a lovely way to repurpose all of those used cans that were destined for the recycle bin, and make fun and unique gifts for kids and adults alike. Here’s all you need to get started:

  • Empty cans of any size (coffee cans work great)
  • A permanent marker
  • Hammer and nails of varying sizes, OR, a cordless drill
  • Wire for hanging, and wire-cutter pliers
  • Tea light candles (battery-operated candles if desired for safety)

Then follow these instructions:

  • Determine the design you want to place on the can, and draw it in dots with the permanent marker.
  • Hammer nails one by one over the marker dots, or, use the cordless drill
  • Be sure to include two holes on opposite sides at the top of the can, and then hook a piece of wire through each hole to make a hanger.
  • Add a tea light candle to the finished can, turn off the lights, and enjoy!

At Nightingale Homecare, the experts in home health care servces, we love helping the older adults enjoy life to the fullest, and are always here with more creative ideas and activities for seniors. We’d be happy to spend an afternoon creating crafts such as these with a senior you love! If you are researching caregiver agencies in Phoenix, AZ, contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to get started!

Senior Isolation: How to Stay Safe While Staying Connected

Senior Isolation

Help loved ones overcome senior isolation with these tips.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been paramount to seniors’ physical health to stay isolated; yet we know that senior isolation carries with it a number of serious health concerns as well. The challenge has been balancing both the physical and emotional needs of older adults, and for many, the answer has been found in technology, allowing for social interactions during a time of quarantine.

Yet technology brings with it a challenge in and of itself. As many as one in three seniors have never used and do not have access to the internet at home; and for those who do, half need assistance with setting up and utilizing a new app or device.

Our aging care professionals offer the following tech tips to help the seniors you love stay connected in order to prevent senior isolation:

  • Ensure seniors are equipped with the tools they need. Many older desktop computers lack cameras, speakers, and necessary software to access programs like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime. Decide if your loved one would be most comfortable with a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, and find a version without all the bells and whistles, making it more user-friendly.
  • Download apps according to interests. The sheer number of options available in the great worldwide web can be overwhelming. It’s helpful to select a handful of apps or sites that the senior will especially enjoy to play games, stream movies and music, learn a new skill or hobby, and to contact family and friends.
  • Instruct the senior and maintain a patient attitude. Remember how it felt when you first learned to drive, or speak another language, or solve an algebraic equation? Keep those feelings in mind as you teach an older loved one how to get around on a new digital device. It will be especially challenging trying to remotely provide instruction over the phone, so stay calm and patient and allow as much time as needed for the senior to grow comfortable with his or her new technology.
  • Explain the risk of scams. Senior scams are rampant, and scammers are extremely savvy in what they do, making it difficult for many to detect until it’s too late. Talk with your loved one about setting boundaries, such as never giving out credit card or other personal information over the internet (unless it’s through a known and trusted site).
  • Partner with Nightingale Homecare! Our team of senior care experts are always available to help the older adults we serve learn new technology, connect virtually with loved ones, and recommend appropriate and engaging activities seniors can do online with our home care assistance in Peoria and surrounding areas.

Nightingale Homecare, the leaders in home care assistance in Peoria and the surrounding areas in Arizona, helps prevent senior isolation for older adults in our community each and every day. We offer friendly companionship to engage in a variety of activities at home, such as conversations, games and cards, exercise programs, arts and crafts, and so much more, according to each person’s interests and always in adherence to safety guidelines. We also provide a full range of home health care services to meet the medical and non-medical needs of seniors, right at home.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!