Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming! Allow the experts at Nightingale Homecare to help.

Posts Tagged “Home Care”

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.

Flu Season: Time for Seniors to Get Up-to-Date on Immunizations

Flu ShotYou may already be seeing the signs around you: more people clutching tissues in hand, stifling coughs, and filling their shopping carts with orange juice and chicken soup. The change of seasons from summer to fall inevitably brings with it an increase in illnesses, and while many are viruses that simply need to run their course, others can be extremely dangerous, particularly for the elderly.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) strongly urges seniors to receive immunizations for the following illnesses that can be serious – even life-threatening – for seniors:

  • Influenza: The medical community has been especially vocal about the need for flu shots for people of all ages, but particularly urges those 65 and older to be immunized. With symptoms of fever, sore throat, chills, coughing, aching muscles, nasal congestion and fatigue, the flu can quickly escalate in the elderly. The recommended immunization timeframe is September through mid-November, before flu season kicks into full gear.
  • Pneumococcal Disease: A quite serious bacterial disease, this often presents in the lungs as pneumonia, but can also affect the brain’s lining, resulting in meningitis, or the bloodstream as bacteremia. The vaccination can be administered in conjunction with the flu vaccine, and is typically needed only once in a lifetime.
  • Tetanus and Diphtheria: This combination vaccine protects against the bacteria found in soil, manure and dust that can enter the bloodstream through a wound and cause muscle stiffness and spasms, fever, headaches, fever and trouble swallowing (tetanus) and the more serious diphtheria, which can cause symptoms in the nose, throat or skin, perhaps even leading to paralysis, heart failure, swollen lymph nodes and death.
  • Chickenpox (Varicella): Typically much more serious in adults than children, chickenpox can cause extreme sickness, including fever, aches, fatigue, sore throat and an itchy rash. The vaccine is recommended for those who have never had chickenpox; those who’ve been infected with varicella at some point in their lives have the natural immunity to protect them from suffering from it again.
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella: Although most adults born in 1957 or later should have received the vaccine, a second dose is recommended for those working in health care or who travel outside of the country, and an initial dose is needed for those born in 1956 or earlier.

Nightingale Homecare provides a full range of Phoenix senior home care services, both medical and non-medical, always supervised by registered nurses. We also can transport and accompany your senior loved one to get those all-important immunizations, and even stop by the store on the way home to make sure all the essentials are on hand if he or she should contract an illness.

Contact the Arizona elderly care company with the best senior caregivers any time to learn more at 602-504-1555!

Music and Alzheimer’s: A Miraculous Transformation

Alzheimer's careMusic…it can soothe a fussy baby, bring even the most shy wallflower onto the dance floor, ignite feelings of love, grief, anger, betrayal, joy, and everything in between. And we’ve all experienced the jolt a familiar old song can bring as it instantly evokes memories of a previously-forgotten past.

It’s not surprising that music is now being acclaimed as a tool to connect with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. From calming agitated feelings and behaviors, to allowing for cooperation and participation in activities, and perhaps even restoring lost memories – the power of music is only beginning to be tapped, with exciting results.

Music is stored differently in the brain than short-term memories, which are located only in the hippocampus. Since music’s imprint is spread throughout the brain, it’s possible for it to be accessible by those with Alzheimer’s, even those who are unable to recall short-term memories. According to Dr. Verna Benner Carson, creator of the Alzheimer’s Whisperer® program, “Even when they have lost the ability to speak, many can still sing!”

A popular YouTube video on the effects of music and Alzheimer’s disease documents one man’s incredible reaction to hearing music from his era: from mute and unresponsive behaviors to instantly alert and conversational, even singing word for word his favorite remembered tunes, the powerful effect of music is astounding.

Dr. Carson recommends that music, with its ability to not only bring joy to those with Alzheimer’s, but to allow for meaningful interaction with loved ones and caregivers, be a routine part of care. Ideas for incorporating music into the daily routine include singing while assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, and implementing as a tool for distraction and comfort during procedures that may be distressing or agitating, like dressing a wound or drawing blood.

Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix, AZ is proud to be certified as an Alzheimer’s Whisperer®, a program recognized by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association as a best practice in dementia care. Our specially trained caregivers use a compassionate, flexible approach to difficult behaviors in Alzheimer’s, such as:

  • Wandering
  • Repetition
  • Uncooperative behavior
  • Agitation
  • Sundowning
  • Depression
  • Safety issues
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • And more

Providing in-home care services in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and Maricopa County, AZ for over 20 years, owned and operated by registered nurses, certified by Medicare and licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, we know how overwhelming caring for a loved one with dementia can be. Allow us to share the journey with you and relieve some of the stress and pressure from your family by assisting your loved one with meals, housekeeping, and personal care, or with skilled nursing services such as infusions, ventilator management, oxygen therapy, wound care, blood draws, and more. Contact us online or call us at 602-504-1555 to take the first step towards improving the quality of life for your loved one.

Posted in Alzheimer's Care, Blog on March 4th, 2015 · Comments Off on Music and Alzheimer’s: A Miraculous Transformation