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Posts Tagged “Aging Issues”

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.

Fear No More! Tips to Reduce Fearfulness in Dementia

Fearfulness in Dementia

Help seniors with dementia overcome fearfulness and anxiety with these tips.

While lighthearted fear goes hand-in-hand with the Halloween season, for a senior with dementia, it’s no laughing matter. Fear and anxiety are common in dementia, and difficult for family members to help manage. Fearfulness in dementia can be the result of:

  • A recent move to a new living environment
  • Guests in the home
  • A hospitalization
  • A new caregiver
  • Simply trying to maneuver through a world that feels unfamiliar and disorienting

The dementia care experts at Nightingale Homecare offer the following helpful tips if a senior you love is feeling fearful:

  • First, talk with the senior’s primary care physician to rule out any medication side effects or other health-related reasons for heightened anxiety.
  • Ensure the home environment is as stress-free and calming as possible, following soothing routines and providing the senior with items that provide comfort (such as a favorite blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, etc.).
  • Reduce distractions, such as keeping the TV turned off or at a low volume, and avoiding news programs or other shows that may contain disturbing scenes.
  • Help the senior stay physically active through taking walks, dancing, exercising, or engaging in plenty of enjoyable activities together.
  • Listen to the senior’s concerns respectfully and without judgment. Ask for permission to help and offer reassurances; i.e., “Is it OK if I help you? I am right here with you and you are safe.”

It’s important to realize that your own expression of emotions and tone of voice can either comfort or exacerbate the anxiety the senior is feeling, so maintaining a calm, controlled voice, using slow, deliberate motions without rushing or expressing alarm, anger, or criticism can go a long way towards helping the senior relax.

It’s also a great idea to surround yourself with the support you need to provide the best care for your loved one while ensuring plenty of time for your own self-care. Find a local (or online) Alzheimer’s support group, and partner with Nightingale Homecare, the top providers of Phoenix care at home (and throughout the surrounding areas). Our dementia care team is highly skilled and experienced in effectively diffusing difficult behaviors in dementia, and are happy to provide reliable, trusted respite care that allows family caregivers the chance to step away, rest and recharge.

Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 and request a free in-home consultation to share with us the challenges and concerns your loved one is facing, and to let us share with you how we can help with professional, personalized home care services.

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.

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!

Coping with Chronic Stress from COVID-19

Chronic Stress

Find help for dealing with chronic stress in seniors related to COVID-19.

The arrival of COVID-19 has forced our country to face a major crisis.

Although Americans of all ages are experiencing the stress associated with the outbreak, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) estimates that nearly 28 percent, or 14 million older Americans, live alone and are especially vulnerable to stress. NIA studies have shown that isolation and loneliness can increase existing physical and mental conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. During the pandemic, the effects of those conditions increase for seniors due to even higher levels of isolation and loneliness, as well as the fear of severe illness if they do contract the virus.

Unlike a stressful event that has an identifiable beginning and end, the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing and often changing event that has the potential to cause chronic stress in an individual. Chronic stress related to the pandemic can disturb all the major systems in the body. The body reacts to chronic stress differently, with the individual maintaining a constant state of alertness, despite there being no imminent danger.

Caregivers and family members can help support elder loved ones by understanding chronic stress and its effects on seniors, and then help loved ones engage in self-care activities that promote a sense of safety and security.

Things to Watch For

Monitoring for signs of chronic stress is critical in ensuring that you or your loved one gets help when needed. According to the CDC, stress during an outbreak such as COVID-19 can result in:

  • Fear and worry about a person’s own health and/or the health of loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of alcoholtobacco, or other drugs

What You Can Do

Reassure yourself and/or your loved one that although we cannot control the virus, we can take steps necessary to control our emotional and physical reaction to it. Below are some tips for you and/or your loved one if experiencing the stress of social isolation and fear related to the pandemic.

Take Up A New Hobby or Re-Activate an Old One: This helps to create a sense of purpose. It can be something like growing a garden, cooking, sewing, reading, scrapbooking, completing puzzles, or other activities.

Stay Active: The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for seniors. Getting outdoors and walking or participating in an age-appropriate workout are examples of moderate activities. Due to the sometimes extreme temperatures experienced in Arizona, be sure and plan outdoor activities for the coolest parts of the day. Wear a cloth face mask and practice social distancing while outdoors, and be sure and check with a health care provider before starting any exercise program. Physical activity will help physical and mental well-being.

Take Breaks from the Media: Reading, watching and listening to news about the pandemic can increase anxiety. It is important to stay informed, but limit the amount of time spent watching the news and stick to credible news sources.

Eat Well: Plan meals to ensure the proper number of calories and nutrients. The USDA website is a great source of information for planning healthy meals. Click on this link to explore recommendations.

Stay Connected to Your Community: Religious organizations, libraries, senior groups and families are finding creative ways that people can stay connected. Look into Skype, Zoom, and virtual services online and make some calls to find out about what is going on.

Get Rest: There are loads of recommendations for getting the sleep you need, but you need to put those tips into practice…and that takes practice! Check out the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s recommendations by clicking on this link.

Maintain a Routine: Routines help improve sleeping, eating and emotional and physical health.

Manage Medications and Self-Monitor: It is important that medications and chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are well managed during isolation, especially during the pandemic. Health care providers should be consulted for any challenges with managing medications or illnesses. Many doctors can now conduct telehealth visits, allowing seniors to get care without ever leaving home.

Meditate: Deep breathing, stretching and meditating can help calm the spirit. Mindful Magazine offers an excellent online guide to meditation. Click on this link to explore. Another exceptional provider of meditation and mindfulness is HeadSpace. Check them out by clicking this link.

Managing Your Mental Health

If you and/or your loved one already have mental health or substance abuse issues, you may find it more difficult to cope with those struggles during the pandemic. Don’t be surprised if you experience some depression during this time. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t a sign of weakness, and there is success in treatment. Look for these signs that you may be experiencing depression:

  • Sadness or feelings of despair
  • Unexplained or aggravated aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in socializing or hobbies
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Fixation on death; thoughts of suicide
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed movement or speech
  • Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, oversleeping, or daytime sleepiness)
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Worries about being a burden, feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing
  • Neglecting personal care (skipping meals, forgetting meds, neglecting personal hygiene)
  • Worsening pain, such as arthritis, headaches

Many support groups are holding online meetings to help provide support. Check out these online support groups:

If you feel you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else:

    • Toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
    • The OnlineChatSuicidePreventionHotline is free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
    • Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224 

If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety:

    • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

If you need to find treatment or mental health providers in your area:

If you notice your own or your loved one’s stress reactions are interfering with life for longer than a week, call your health care provider. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, or feel like you could harm yourself or others, call 911.

Remember, Nightingale caregivers are always available to support our vulnerable elders with any home care need. We’re proud to be rated as the top provider of senior care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding areas. Call us to arrange for your customized home care at 602-504-1555.

Ten Myths About Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Mesothelioma

Get the facts on mesothelioma and asbestos from Nightingale Home Care.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive disease caused by asbestos exposure. Some people ask, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” Others believe the disease is linked to smoking.

These incorrect assessments range from how people develop mesothelioma to where the disease forms within the body. Other mesothelioma myths include the demographics affected by mesothelioma, the amount of asbestos exposure needed to develop the sickness and the legality of using the substance in the United States.

Below are some common myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma and asbestos, as well as the realities of the disease:

Myth 1: Smoking Is Linked to Mesothelioma

Smoking is not linked to mesothelioma. The act does not cause or increase your risk of developing the disease. The disease forms along the mesothelium, which is a lining that covers three specific areas of your body: the lungs (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and heart (pericardium). Inhaling harmful smoke causes lung cancer specifically. While mesothelioma can spread to and affect one or both of the lungs, it does not form in the lung.

Myth 2: Mesothelioma Is a Lung Cancer

Pleural mesothelioma shares the closest resemblance to lung cancer, but even this form of mesothelioma is not lung cancer. The disease forms in the pleura, which is a protective membrane that separates the lungs from your chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma can metastasize to the lungs but does not form there, which excludes it from being considered lung cancer.

Since mesothelioma and lung cancer share similar traits — and can appear in the same areas of the body — some doctors may misdiagnose mesothelioma as lung cancer.

Myth 3: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Lungs

Mesothelioma affects much more than just the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the lining around the abdominal cavity, which includes many organs. Your diaphragm, heart, appendix, intestines, colon, pancreas, gallbladder, liver and testicles may also be at risk when mesothelioma forms.

Myth 4: Mesothelioma Is Contagious

Mesothelioma is not contagious. It cannot spread from human contact or germs. The only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma is exposure to the mineral known as asbestos. Therefore, if you are a mesothelioma patient, you do not need to worry about coughing and giving the disease to others.

Myth 5: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Elderly

Mesothelioma is not limited to a specific age — or any demographic. However, the disease does have higher incidence rates in older people. The latency period, which is the amount of time a disease takes to develop, is between 20 and 50 years for mesothelioma. Therefore, the disease doesn’t manifest until people get older.

Myth 6: You Must Work With Asbestos to Develop Mesothelioma

Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most likely way to develop mesothelioma. However, there are other avenues to ingesting or inhaling the mineral.

You could live near an asbestos mine or asbestos processing plant. These instances are known as environmental exposure.

You also could have consistent interaction with someone who worked with asbestos. Maybe you were the wife of an insulation worker and regularly washed his work clothes. Asbestos fibers can stick to shirts or pants, putting anyone who touches the clothes at risk. This is an example of secondhand exposure.

Another possibility is exposure due to using cosmetics or beauty products. Even household appliances such as hair dryers included asbestos for many years.

Myth 7: The Larger the Amount of Your Asbestos Exposure, the More Likely a Person Is to Get Mesothelioma

There is no proven correlation between the quantity of asbestos exposure and the risk of developing mesothelioma. A person who works one day in a construction or insulation job — both industries which relied on asbestos for much of the 20th century — could find out 30 or 40 years later they have the disease. The only variable is whether or not asbestos fibers entered your body, were not expelled, lodged into the mesothelium and caused cellular mutation.

Myth 8: Asbestos Is Banned in the United States

Asbestos is not banned in the United States. As of June 2019, only the state of New Jersey has banned the sale and use of asbestos in products — and the state’s government only recently passed the law. Politicians and activist groups have tried to get asbestos banned in the U.S., but the Environmental Protection Agency only has restrictions in place currently.

Myth No. 9: Mesothelioma Only Affects Men

Mesothelioma does affect men more than women, but that’s largely because men are more likely to work in jobs that include asbestos. Most people who have pleural mesothelioma are men, but the gender divide for peritoneal mesothelioma is close to a 50-50 split.

Myth 10: Mesothelioma Is Untreatable and Always Has a Poor Prognosis

Mesothelioma is treatable. The options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The recommended strategy involves a combination of two or all three, which is called a multimodal treatment approach. Surgery is the most effective treatment method as it removes most or all of the tumors from the body.

While mesothelioma is aggressive, the prognosis isn’t always discouraging. Depending on the type of the disease and stage, some patients live up to five years following their diagnosis. Early detection usually leads to a longer life expectancy — because the tumors are more likely to be removed when the cancer has yet to spread far from the point of origin.

In short, there is hope if you have mesothelioma. Treatment methods are improving, more specialists are emerging and additional information is made available with each year.

At Nightingale Home Care, we offer a variety of in home nursing care services that can be specially designed for individuals who are facing long-term health conditions like mesothelioma. Let our team of professional caregivers and nurses help you with transportation to and from medical appointments, medication reminders, planning and preparing nutritious meals, assisting with personal care needs, and so much more. Contact us today at (602) 504-1555 to set up a free consultation and to learn more about our top-rated in home nursing care in Phoenix and the surrounding communities.