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Posts Tagged “Home Care in Arizona”

Long-Distance Caregiving: How to Continue to Help After the Holidays

Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance caregiving is easier with these tips.

During holiday visiting, families often uncover concerns with a senior loved one that hadn’t been apparent through shorter visits or over the phone. And for family members who live at a distance, it can be quite a challenge to head back home, feeling helpless to know exactly how to help.

If this describes your situation, Nightingale Homecare, your trusted Phoenix home care agency has some helpful suggestions to provide you with peace of mind, and your loved one with the help he or she needs.

Planning

When it’s not possible to simply drive across town to help an older loved one, it’s helpful to hold family meetings regarding the potential “what ifs” that might arise, such as:

  • Living preferences according to who may be able to help in the event of an injury or illness. Roleplay some scenarios, such as if the senior experienced a broken hip following a fall and needed rehabilitative care.
  • Determining factors that will indicate that it’s time to consider care options. What might that look like?
  • Finances and other resources required and available for caregiving, including how much time family members can afford to miss from work for caregiving tasks.
  • Advance directives and wills: it is important that all paperwork is in order, and that family members impacted maintain a copy.

Monitoring

Living at a distance from a senior loved one makes it easy to put off the uncomfortable task of assessing the older adult’s health and wellbeing; yet, it is important to ensure these things are evaluated on a regular basis.

  • Obtain the name and contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician, and stay in touch with the office.
  • Ensure that there is a signed HIPAA Release of Information Form filed at each of your loved one’s doctors’ offices so you can communicate freely with each physician (and keep a copy for yourself).
  • Call your loved one regularly to check in and offer help with resolving or preventing any problems.
  • Maintain a list of other potential resources in your loved one’s neighborhood: neighbors, friends from church, other local family members who can be part of the support network. Make sure these contacts know that you are part of the long-distance caregiving team and have your contact information.

Traveling

Difficult issues are bound to occur, and often at a moment’s notice. It may not be feasible to travel home for each issue, so determine in advance when you will travel and when to call on other resources for help.

  • Determine if a situation is a true medical or care crisis. In your decision-making process, consult with your loved one’s doctor, social worker, or nurse for details and to get their opinions on whether you should be there.
  • Is there someone locally available who can help resolve the problem, or check in on the situation?
  • It’s perfectly fine if you prefer to visit just to put your mind at rest. If staying at home will cause you to worry, then it may be best to go.

Nightingale Homecare Can Help

Engaging the services of Nightingale Homecare, the top-rated Phoenix home care agency, is the perfect solution for long-distance caregiving needs. Providing as much or as little assistance as needed, and offering a full range of both medical and non-medical care, families know they can trust our care professionals to pay close attention to their loved ones’ needs, and to catch any concerns immediately, allowing them to be addressed before they become a more serious problem. Call us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

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.

Postural hypotension 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. 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 home care agency at (602) 504-1555 to request a free in-home consultation to learn more.

ALS 101: What to Expect in Each Stage, and How Phoenix Senior Care Can Help

ALS

Know what to expect throughout the progression of ALS.

A diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) brings with it numerous questions and concerns: for the person receiving the diagnosis, as well as his or her loved ones. What caused this disease? What symptoms should be expected now, and how will they change as the disease progresses? Where can we find the help and support we’ll need?

As many as 30,000 Americans are currently battling the effects of ALS, and another nearly 6,000 new diagnoses are made each year. And while the actual cause of the disease is still unclear, some research is pointing to complicated risk factors. For instance, veterans who were in service during the Gulf War have been diagnosed twice as often as others.

While each individual can be impacted by ALS uniquely, the way the disease tends to progress often follows a path of three main stages. Learning about each of these stages can help those with ALS and those who provide care for them implement the most appropriate plan of care. Nightingale Homecare, the Phoenix senior care experts, shares the key points you need to know:

Beginning Stages

In the early stages of ALS…

  • The most pronounced symptoms are often noticed in only one certain area of the body
  • More mild symptoms can affect more than that one particular area
  • For some ALS patients, the first muscles to be impacted are those required for speaking, swallowing and/or breathing

Potential Symptoms:

  • Balance problems
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • A weaker grip
  • Stumbling

Mid Stages

In the middle stages of ALS…

  • Certain muscles may experience paralysis, while others are either weakened or completely unaffected
  • Symptoms of the disease become more widespread
  • Twitching may become apparent

 Potential Symptoms:

  • Problems with standing up independently
  • Problems with eating and swallowing, with a heightened possibility of choking
  • Problems with breathing, in particular when lying down
  • Uncontrolled and inappropriate crying or laughter, known as the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)

Advanced Stages

In the final stages of ALS…

  • The ALS patient now requires full assistance to care for his/her needs
  • The ability to speak is often lost
  • The person can no longer eat or drink by mouth

Possible Symptoms:

  • The majority of voluntary muscles are paralyzed
  • Breathing becomes extremely difficult, leading to fatigue, confusion, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
  • Mobility is now significantly impacted

There is help for those with ALS and the families who love them! Contact Nightingale Homecare’s Phoenix senior care team for both skilled and non-medical assistance, right in the comfort of home. Just a few of the many services that make life more comfortable for ALS patients include:

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 for a free in-home consultation to talk with us about the challenges you’re facing, and to discover how we can help.

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 Phoenix senior care experts 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 Phoenix senior care professionals 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!

Take a Deep Breath and Ensure Healthy Lungs in Seniors with These Tips

Healthy Lungs

Help the seniors you love maintain healthy lungs.

It’s Healthy Lung Month, and the Scottsdale respite care experts at Nightingale Homecare want to make sure older adults maintain healthy lungs throughout aging! As we grow older, changes to all of the organs that impact breathing – lungs, muscles, and bones – can cause decline in lung function. These additional aging-related lung changes can affect seniors:

  • A weakened diaphragm, which can make it harder to inhale and exhale when exercising
  • Less sensitivity to foreign particles that can enter the airways, which means seniors may not have the urge to cough, allowing these particles to damage the lungs
  • The bones in the ribcage are thinner and altered in shape, making it more difficult for the lungs to expand and contract
  • Alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs) may lose their shape
  • The immune system is weaker, making older adults more susceptible to infections that can lead to pneumonia

Changes such as these can lead to shortness of breath and fatigue; but there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to protect the lungs:

  1. Quit smoking – or never start. Smoking causes significant damage to the lungs, and it’s crucial for older adults (and all of us!) to refrain from engaging in this dangerous habit. The American Lung Association offers help for those who want to quit.
  2. Stay active. Engage in regular physical activity to strengthen both the lungs and chest muscles. It’s also important to avoid spending too much time lying in bed, which causes fluids and mucous to settle in the lungs.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess body fat causes strain on the diaphragm, making it more difficult for the lungs to fully expand.
  4. Get vaccinated. All seniors should receive an annual flu shot, and ensure they’re up to date on pneumonia vaccinations.
  5. Avoid air pollutants. Healthy lungs can quickly deteriorate into damaged ones by breathing secondhand smoke, chemicals, and outdoor air pollution.
  6. Get routine checkups. Even when a senior is in the best of health, annual doctor visits (or as often as recommended by the physician) are crucial to maintaining good health, and to catching conditions such as lung disease early.

Let Nightingale Homecare’s home health care team help keep the seniors you love healthy and well! We offer a full range of skilled nursing, professional non-medical, in-home therapy, and many other home health care services that can address current needs and proactively plan for any potential concerns in the years to come.

Call us at (602) 504-1555 and request a complimentary in-home consultation. One of our registered nurses will perform an assessment to determine how to help seniors maintain healthy lungs and an overall healthier quality of life, while continuing to live safely and comfortably at home.