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Are You at Risk for Postural Hypotension?

Postural Hypotension

Postural hypotension can lead to falls and other health concerns.

Postural hypotension — also called “orthostatic hypotension”— is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down. “Postural” means change with standing and “hypotension” means low blood pressure.

With postural hypotension, your blood pressure drops too low when you stand up. Postural hypotension can make you feel nauseated, dizzy or lightheaded, and maybe even cause you to faint.

It may be mild and last for less than a few seconds to minutes. However, long-lasting postural hypotension can signal more-serious problems, so it’s important to see a doctor if you frequently feel lightheaded when standing up.

Occasional (acute) postural hypotension is usually caused by something obvious, such as dehydration or lengthy bed rest, and is easily treated. Chronic postural hypotension is usually a sign of another health problem, so treatment will vary.

It is important to follow up with your physician if this condition is experienced, because a drop in blood pressure when you stand up can affect how much blood  gets to the brain. It can disturb your balance and make you feel dizzy and fatigued. It can also cause you to fall and get hurt.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is lightheadedness or dizziness when you stand up after sitting or lying down.

Some people do not feel dizziness, so you may not even realize it’s a problem unless you are checked for it. Symptoms usually last less than a few minutes.

Postural hypotension signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy after standing up
  • Blurry vision
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting

Diagnosis includes:

  • Your nurse or therapist will check your blood pressure 2 ways: after lying quietly for five minutes, and again after you stand up.
  • If the top number of the blood pressure drops more than 20 points or is less than 90 when you stand up, then you have some postural hypotension.

Management of the condition can include: 

  • Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day (unless your physician has restricted your fluids).
  • Get up slowly; clench your fists and flex your calves and ankles 10 times before getting up. This helps raise your blood pressure a little before you get up.
  • Sit at the edge of the bed for several minutes taking deep, slow breaths while flexing your calves/ankles before getting up to walk.
  • Have an assistive device, such as a cane or walker handy.
  • Discuss your medications with your physician and home health care team to determine if you are on a medication that may be causing the problem. Your health care team can determine if any medications can be adjusted.
  • Wear compression stockings.

Those experiencing postural hypotension can enhance safety and independence by engaging the services of a professional home health caregiver, such as those provided by Nightingale Homecare’s Phoenix live-in home health care team. We can help with safe ambulation and transfers, provide necessary assistance when sitting or standing up to prevent falls, help monitor medications to ensure they’re taken exactly as prescribed, perform blood pressure checks and other vital sign monitoring, and so much more. Contact our top-rated Phoenix live-in home health care agency at (602) 504-1555 to request a free in-home consultation to learn more.

Phoenix Senior Care Experts Share the Best Assistive Devices to Ease Life at Home

Assistive Devices

Assistive devices help seniors enhance quality of life at home.

As we age, physical and self-care abilities may gradually decline, often making simple tasks and activities challenging. Tasks such as getting out of a chair, walking across the room, or buttoning a shirt can be difficult. There are a wide range of assistive devices that can make these tasks easier, while providing the added benefit of increasing independence and improving confidence, mobility and safety.

Assistive devices are specifically designed to aid people who have difficulty performing activities of daily living, including mobility, dressing, feeding, toileting, bathing and grooming. Our experts in home care in Phoenix, AZ have compiled a list of recommended assistive devices that can help the seniors you love enjoy a higher quality of life in the comfort of home.

Walker: Walkers are used by individuals who can bear weight but need support on both sides. The walker top frame should be even with the person’s hips. The walker should be directly in front of the individual, as he or she places both hands on the handgrips, stands erect, and slightly flexes the elbows, walking normally and looking ahead.

Walking Cane: Canes are used by a person who needs assistance with balance, but is able to walk without much difficulty. The top of the cane should be even with the person’s hip bone, and held with the hand opposite the weak leg, standing erect with elbows slightly flexed. A caregiver should be positioned on the person’s weaker side.

Wheelchair or Electric Buggy: For people whose symptoms greatly limit or eliminate walking for any distance, a wheelchair or electric buggy can provide quality of life, allowing the person to go out to do some shopping, go to appointments or visit friends and family.

Wheelchair Ramp: A wheelchair ramp makes it easy to get into and out of the home, either on a wheelchair or while walking to limit negotiating stairs.

Stair Lift: Stairways in the home can present a risk for people who are vulnerable to slips and falls. Not only are stairs difficult to maneuver for people with restricted mobility, but the severity of an injury suffered is much greater than one that would result from a fall on a level surface. Stair lifts offer a means of getting safely up and down stairs independently.

Grab Bars: Grab bars are invaluable in helping seniors maintain balance, and should be placed in hallways, near the person’s bedside, along stairwells, in bathrooms, etc. Grab bars are relatively straightforward to fit and can be made reasonably unobtrusive, but they can make a major difference in a senior’s ability to get around the home. 

Raised Toilet Seat: A raised toilet seat will make it easier to sit down, get up, and maintain balance while using the toilet.

Commode: A commode placed next to the senior’s bed or chair will limit the distance from bed or chair to the toilet and reduce the possibility of a fall. 

Shower Bench or Board: A shower bench or board will allow the person to sit while showering and avoid falling in the shower. Consider a hand-held shower head, too.

Shower Caddy: A shower caddy, placed at an appropriate height, will reduce the risk of accidents in the shower as a person reaches to get shampoo and soaps.

Long-Handled Sponge: A long-handled sponge in the shower enables a person to reach difficult places, helping to maintain balance and prevent injury.

Walk-in Shower: If a person’s mobility is limited, a conventional bath or shower presents a major challenge along with the risk of serious injury from any resulting fall. Installing a walk-in shower in the existing bathroom is a wonderful option that will improve safety.

Hip Protectors: Hip protectors are padded accessories which can be worn as a belt or incorporated into underwear. The idea is to protect or the person’s hip bones from some of the impact of a fall. 

Reaching Aids: There are a range of assistive devices on the market which help a person who is unsteady on his or her feet to reach for an item safely, without stretching or over-balancing.

Nightlights: Place nightlights in bathrooms, bedrooms and dark hallways to prevent falls.

Seat Lift: If your loved one struggles with standing up from a chair, a seat lift will eliminate that struggle and will reduce the risk of a fall. A seat lift raises the person from a sitting position, gradually and steadily, up to a standing position

Video Doorbell: A video doorbell allows the senior to see and communicate with people at the door before getting up.

Fall Detector: A fall detector is essential to have access to immediate assistance in the event of a fall.

Power Failure Alarm: This type of alarm will alert the senior when power is lost and provide emergency lighting.

Automatic Swing Door Opener: This type of door opener is extremely helpful, enabling the individual to open doors hands-free.

Voice-Activated Lights: These lights can be turned on and off without getting up.

Mattress Lift:  A mattress lift helps seniors get in and out of bed with ease.

Sound Amplifier: For those with hearing difficulties, a sound amplifier will help the person to hear conversations or the television.

Dressing Stick: This device helps eliminate reaching and bending, which can cause falls, while allowing increased independence in dressing.

Stocking Aid, Long-Handle Shoehorn, Zipper Pulls and Button Hooks: These are wonderful for people with impaired limb function, allowing for maximum independence in dressing.

Contact the professionals in home care in Phoenix, AZ at Nightingale Homecare for help with obtaining these or other assistive devices, and for in-home care services to enhance safety, socialization, comfort, and engagement in life for a senior you love!

Fostering Freedom: How to Help Seniors Stay Independent Throughout Aging

Sun City home health care

Discover how to help seniors stay independent and safe.

It’s a common struggle among family caregivers: deciding when to step in and help, and when to step back and allow an older loved one to accomplish as much as possible independently. It requires a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, we need to ensure safety is never compromised; yet on the other hand, we never want to do anything to damage a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem.

So the question becomes, how can we help seniors stay independent, while ensuring safety? The Sun City home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare have several key recommendations:

  1. Remember: You’re a team! Changing the mindset from working for a senior to working with a senior can make a world of difference in your approach. Talk with the older adult in an open and honest way about the challenges and concerns he or she is facing, and how you can best provide needed support. Naturally, these needs will change over time; and when cognitive issues come into play, communication strategies will need to be modified as well. But we all appreciate being asked for our input, and to know that value is placed on our feelings.
  2. Allow time before jumping in to help seniors. It may seem more efficient to take care of tasks yourself, but doing so may be at the expense of your loved one’s self-image. Instead, factor in plenty of extra time for tasks, allowing the senior ample opportunities to tackle them independently whenever possible.
  3. Focus on the senior’s strengths. If certain tasks prove to be too challenging for your loved one, shift the focus to those he or she is able to manage more easily. For instance, if preparing an entire meal is too difficult, ask the senior to manage creating her special dessert recipe while you work on the main course.
  4. Remind the senior that helpful workarounds are a positive. A senior may balk at the idea of using a walker or wheelchair initially, or in having grab bars installed in the bathroom. And many times older adults are resistant to the idea of needing someone to help with everyday activities that they’ve been managing their entire lives. Providing a reminder that assistance and home modifications are empowering, allowing the senior to accomplish more independently and to remain in the comfort of home throughout aging, can be beneficial.

At Nightingale Homecare, it’s our mission to deliver the highest quality in-home care help for seniors with the respect and dignity that allow for maximum independence and autonomy at all times. Never coming in and taking over, we work together with seniors and their families to develop a plan of care that addresses all needs – including those for personal freedom. Contact our Sun City home health care team at (602) 504-1555 to request a free in-home consultation and discover how we can improve life for a senior you love.

Best Therapy Activities for Dementia Patients

There are many activities for dementia patients who receive in home care, that can help to deal with some of the more difficult symptoms of the disease, such as: restlessness, wandering, anger, and frustration. Many home care agencies offer dementia care in Scottsdale that may include training their care providers in guiding helpful, therapeutic activities.

Get Some Exercise on a Regular Basis

Being active can do wonders for a dementia patient. Walking and light exercise like stretching can be a wonderful addition to the dementia patient’s day, and as a result, improve the in home caregiver’s day as well! Some home care agencies incorporate this kind of training for their staff. They know how to make a bit of physical activity a fun activity, rather than a chore.

Music or Arts and Crafts

Music and crafts are another good therapeutic, interactive activity for those with in home care help. Focusing on a craft can improve attention span. Staff of home care agencies often have a variety of craft ideas. Playing or listening to music can also be a relaxing activity for dementia patients. With just a few questions, an in home care provider can find out what would appeal most to their patient, so they not only engage in these activities, but they truly enjoy doing them.  Ask a Nightingale Homecare representative about our Connections Program, and how our uniquely-trained clinicians and caregivers have been successful in redirecting the most challenging behaviors associated with Dementia with our “Life Story” all while we connect our patients to their favorite music, arts and activities!

The Great Outdoors

Research shows that being outdoors provides multiple benefits for a dementia patient, and those receiving in home care can allow enough flexibility in their schedule go outside often. It is recommended, no mater the weather, that dementia patients go outside with supervision to prevent wandering and exposure.  Temperature and weather conditions will often limit the length of time spent outdoors, but it is an invigorating experience for everyone.  Access to nature has shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.  Those who receive dementia care in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Paradise Valley and surrounding areas, are blessed with good weather most of the year and dementia patients in the Valley of the Sun are fortunate enough to have beautiful scenery right at their doorsteps. Staff members of home care agencies enjoy this activity as well. Care Managers should make sure going outside is not only an option, but that it’s made a priority.

Staff that work in dementia care in Scottsdale and surrounding Phoenix areas, for home care agencies recognize the importance of routine in the life of a dementia patient. Insomnia is a frequent complaint of dementia patients. Being outdoors can help regulate circadian rhythms. In home care providers can help the patient enjoy life, engage in fun activities that help them stay focused and happy, and to go outside regularly to walk, garden, or simply sit and absorb some Arizona vitamin D!

Nightingale Homecare is Arizona’s leader for dementia care in Phoenix, AZ by providing complete, compassionate dementia home care. Our dementia care plan, called Connections, provides gentle, creative, effective dementia home care for individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Our dementia care plan is based on a keen understanding of how the disease process affects the brain and an understanding that the best way to reach the dementia sufferer is to enter their world. This is the nationally recognized approach as seen with the Alzheimer’s Whisperer®.

The staff members of Nightingale Homecare are qualified as Alzheimer’s Whisperers®. Caregivers, nurses, therapists, social workers and managers have all been trained in this unique approach by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson, a national expert in dementia home care. This training has led to highly-developed expertise throughout our agency in managing even the most challenging behaviors associated with a dementia diagnosis. Behaviors that Nightingale Homecare can help with include wandering, repetition, uncooperative behavior, sexual acting-out, bathing and dressing difficulties, eating difficulties, nutritional concerns, swallowing problems, sun-downing and others.  Contact us to find out more! Or give us a call: 24 hours 7 days a week, (602) 504-1555

 

Posted in Blog on December 5th, 2014 · Comments Off on Best Therapy Activities for Dementia Patients

How To Explain the Complexities of Dementia/Alzheimer’s to Children and Other Family Members

There’s no doubt that dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are difficult conditions for not only the patient who is diagnosed, but for the family as well. While we are fortunate to have excellent home care options in Arizona, and dementia care in Phoenix is particularly good, the disease is stressful to family members. At some point, life-altering family discussions are inevitable. Home care agencies find that open and regular communication among family members living with a loved one who is receiving dementia care in Phoenix, or anywhere, is essential to coping with this  loss .

Clear Communication with Children

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be especially confusing to children, who suddenly see their loved one doing unfamiliar behaviors. If children are too young for a scientific explanation of the condition, relate the behavior to something familiar, like the two year old next door. Home care agencies in Arizona and elsewhere understand the importance of routine in a dementia patient’s life. Include children involved int the patient;s life  in this routine, when possible. Giving the child a small tasks to do where they can connect and involve the elder helps everyone stay connected. If your loved one has dementia care from a home care agency, ask the care provider how best to explain and involve the chidl. Those receiving care for dementia in Phoenix can find outdoor activities enjoyable.  Taking your Phoenix dementia care patient to the park with the child can be a positive experience for everyone.

Children may not understand why things have changed with grandma or grandpa, but it’s more confusing and difficult if nobody talks to them about the changes. As long as the child knows that it’s not just them noticing the changes, and they are able to discuss these changes with a responsible adult, they have a much easier time coping. If they don’t have direction from their other adult family members, they’ll be confused and worry that it’s a fault of theirs that their older family member is acting differently. Remind them that their adult family member with memory loss, the same person, just a bit changed.  Find out from Nightingale Homecare and our Connections program how little family members can connect and learn more!

With older family members don’t be afraid to talk about it. Be realistic about the progressive nature of the disease. Alzheimer’s is a process, and the family’s understanding of dementia will be too. Talk to family members about all stages of the disease. Remember that the burden is not entirely on the family—home care in Arizona is a viable option with excellent home care agencies to choose from.

Nightingale Homecare is Arizona’s leader for dementia care in Phoenix, Arizona, and the surrounding metro area, by providing complete, compassionate dementia home care. Our dementia care plan, called Connections, provides gentle, creative, effective dementia home care for individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Our dementia care plan is based on a keen understanding of how the disease process affects the brain and an understanding that the best way to reach the dementia sufferer is to enter their world. This is the nationally recognized approach as seen with the Alzheimer’s Whisperer®. –

See more at by clicking here to connect to Connections!

Or just call to find out more!

602-504-1555

Posted in Blog on October 24th, 2014 · Comments Off on How To Explain the Complexities of Dementia/Alzheimer’s to Children and Other Family Members