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Posts Tagged “In Home Senior Care”

It’s a Balancing Act: What You Need to Know About Senior Balance

senior balance - phoenix senior home care

Mature couple in warrior yoga position. Side view. Horizontal.

Most people take good balance for granted and don’t even think twice about activities such as walking from a sidewalk onto the grass, leaning over to tie their shoes, or getting out of bed in the middle of the night.

However, for people who have poor balance, normal activities can be extremely challenging and often dangerous. Symptoms that accompany impaired balance can include dizziness, vertigo, visual problems, hearing problems, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty with concentration and memory. And balance problems often become prevalent in older adults, for a variety of reasons – medication side effects, chronic health conditions, ambulation problems, and more.

Balance is the ability to maintain your body’s center of mass over its base of support.  A properly functioning balance system allows us to see clearly while moving, determine direction and speed of movement, and make necessary adjustments to maintain stability and posture during different conditions and activities without conscious thought.

Balance relies on a complex set of body’s systems, including the following sensory input: 

  • Eyes

Our eyes help us adjust our body’s position and movement, so we can move around obstacles in our path.

  • Vestibular system

Nerve receptors in the inner ear are sensitive to movements and help control motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation.

  • Proprioception or touch

Receptors called “proprioceptors” in the skin, joints, ligaments, and muscles receive signals indicating the position and movement of your body.

All three of these information sources send signals to the brain. The signals sent to the brain are then sorted and integrated with learned motions. For example, we know how to navigate an icy sidewalk and adjust our movements due to our learned memory.

You need sensory input, integration of that input, motor control, and muscle strength to maintain stability, during both purposeful movements, such as lifting yourself out of a chair, and reflexive ones, such as recovery from a trip over a curb. Injury, disease, neurological disorders, certain medications, and advancing age can affect all the systems involved in balance.

Nightingale’s Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is designed to help patients with imbalance, vertigo, dizziness, or movement sensitivity related to many different conditions. The inner ear, or vestibular system, plays an integral role in the control of posture and balance.  Deficits in the vestibular system may result in decreased independence, loss of balance, the inability to perform activities of daily living, in addition to increasing the patient’s fall risk.

Contact Nightingale Homecare, Phoenix senior home care professionals, to find out how we can help you or a senior loved one improve balance and enjoy the highest possible quality of life! Call us at (602) 504-1555 to request resources specific to the challenges you’re facing with senior balance, or to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.

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.

5 Key Factors That Can Indicate a Need for Senior Home Care

at home care scottsdale caregiver with elderly female gazing out window in wheelchairAccording to a recent study, senior citizens fear moving out of their homes and into a nursing home more than they fear death. The study, “Aging in Place in America,” also found that the adult children of seniors also fear for their parents. Specifically, they express concern about their parents entering a nursing home and suffering a decline in their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Another key finding of the study is that nearly 90% of seniors want to “age in place,” meaning to grow older without having to move from their homes. Sadly, more than half (53%) are not confident about their ability to accomplish this. Although seniors living at home are determined to maintain their independence and stay home, they report that they often do not receive the support they need from their children or other caregivers in order to accomplish this goal safely. In addition, our elder loved ones may hesitate to approach the subject of needing help, specifically because they fear losing independence and don’t want to be the cause of any stress for their adult children. For these reasons, it is important that you be on the lookout for signs, so you know the right time to provide your loved ones with a little extra attention from an agency specializing in elderly home care, like the Phoenix home care specialists at Nightingale Homecare.

If you notice any of the following signs with your loved one, it may be the time to consider home care:

  • Changes in physical condition. Declining physical health can heighten the possibility of a senior experiencing a fall or suffering another type of injury. Watch for changes, including problems with walking, unsteadiness, or maintaining balance. If the older adult seems to be in a more fragile condition, it can become risky for him/her to perform even the most straightforward tasks.
  • Decline in personal hygiene. Older adults who are inattentive to personal hygiene can display an unpleasant body odor, unclean or unkempt hair, oral care neglect or dirty clothes. Although the senior likely wants to be clean, it might be too challenging to take care of the tasks necessary. Engaging the services of a professional caregiver will help a senior safely stick to a routine hygiene schedule, and thus improve his/her overall health and wellbeing.
  • Nutrition deficits. Your older loved one may be unable to prepare food because of reduced energy levels or other concerns. Going to the grocery store each week to buy fresh, healthy foods may also be difficult, so the refrigerator and pantry may not be stocked or there might be a number of items that are beyond their expiration date. This can result in a lack of nourishment as well as dehydration, which can then lead to cognitive deficits, depression, and other health problems. A professional in-home care agency can assist seniors with grocery shopping as well as meal preparation, along with a companion to share mealtimes with, making eating more pleasant.
  • Medication mismanagement. Taking medications exactly as prescribed is vital for seniors to maintain health, especially when chronic or ongoing medical concerns are in place. Often, seniors are prescribed a variety of different meds with varying dose schedules. Prescriptions and doses can  become confusing, which can result in missing or taking too much or too little medications. If this happens, dire health issues can result. Professional caregivers help seniors stays on track with following a prescribed medication schedule.
  • Inattention to home management. Watch for red flags like piles of dirty dishes and laundry, trashcans that are overflowing, or appliances that have been left on. If the home environment is dirty and contains more clutter than the senior would typically allow, this points to the need for some extra help with managing the home. Home care professionals will ensure your loved one’s home is cleaned regularly and free of clutter.

For a trusted, professional partner in care to help your senior loved ones remain safe, comfortable, and healthy at home, contact Nightingale Homecare, providers of senior home care Phoenix and the surrounding areas trust, any time at (602) 504-1555.

Start the New Year on a Positive Note!

senior sadness - respite care sun city azAfter all the holiday visiting subsides, the gifts are unwrapped and put away, and the New Year has been rung in, for many older adults, the return to everyday life can bring with it feelings of isolation, depression or sadness in seniors. However, there are some simple steps we can take to help senior loved ones experience renewed joy. Try these tips from the Sun City home health care team at Nightingale Homecare:

  • Maintain connections. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can settle in when family members, who may have spent additional time with a senior over the holidays, fade away into their own busy lives once again. Help your senior loved one stay connected when frequent in-person visits aren’t possible. Teach the senior to use social-enhancing technology such as Skype and emailing, or assist with writing letters and cards. Joining in on activities, classes and groups or volunteering within the community is also a great way to form new friendships and stay active and engaged. Check out the local community college, senior center, fitness center, place of worship, or a charitable organization as a good starting point.
  • Watch the diet. Holiday eating can have an unhealthy impact on all of us! Resolving to implement a healthier pattern of eating at the onset of the New Year will help seniors not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Certain foods have been shown to enhance mood, such as those containing vitamin B and zinc (such as bananas) and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are great examples. It’s also a good idea for seniors to take the opportunity to kick bad habits such as smoking cigarettes or abusing alcohol, which can also affect our mood.
  • Get moving. Physical health has been linked to mental health, and for seniors who are less able to stay active due to chronic illness, frailty, or struggles with mobility, it can be challenging to stay physically fit. There are, however, a variety of solutions, from chair exercises to water aerobics to even just a simple, slow-paced walk outdoors. Check with the senior’s doctor for an appropriate exercise regimen to help strengthen the heart and muscles, and the older adult will reap the added benefit of an emotional boost as well.

Nightingale Homecare’s Arizona home health care professionals are also on hand to enhance quality of life and overall wellbeing for seniors. We can provide friendly companionship to brighten each day, transportation to activities and exercise programs, healthy meal preparation, and a full range of skilled nursing care services to ensure older adults are living life to the fullest!

Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our customized senior care and respite care Sun City, AZ and the surrounding areas depend on.

Homecare 101: Non-Medical Service Basics

When you recognize the need for in home senior care for a loved one, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Everyone’s life changes and you may not always understand what’s being proposed to you in these new circumstances. This article examines the basics of home care in Phoenix so you can choose the right home health care worker and agency for your needs.

Signs In Home Senior Care Is Needed:

  • Stacks of overdue bills
  • Forgetting medications and appointments
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Personal hygiene issues
  • Lack of socializing
  • Depression
  • Dirty, chaotic home
  • Absence of fresh food/Presence of rotting food

Four Elements of Non-Medical Service:

  • Everyday Activities – bathing, toileting, medication reminders, help getting around
  • Household Chores – light housekeeping, cooking, laundry
  • Transportation – errands, medical appointments, groceries
  • Companionship – pastimes, social activities, hobbies

While it is often family members and friends who provide primary or subsidiary home care, it is also provided in one of two ways:

1. Independent Home Healthcare Workers – These individuals operate as independent caregivers in Phoenix, and are not associated with a homecare organization and work independently with no professional oversight. One obvious benefit may be lowered cost, but the drawbacks are many and may lead to greater cost down the road. Additional drawbacks may be: uncertainty about quality of training and experience, absence of insurance, no authority to contact if problems arise (theft, abuse, etc.), and no source for alternative help if the caregiver gets sick or does not show up for work. Learn more about the hazards of hiring a privately paid caregiver.

2. Home Care Agencies – These organizations may screen and train their employees, and may offer peace of mind through workers compensation and liability insurance, 24/7 services, and access to a team of qualified backup caregivers.. Be sure and ask to ensure that the agency is qualified, as Arizona is not a state that requires home care agencies to be licensed by the State Department of Health Services, and more often than not, agencies have only a business license, not requiring them to uphold the standards of the AZDHS.

Choosing an In Home Senior Care Agency
A qualified agency will provide ample information, but important questions to ask include:
1. Is the agency licensed and certified?
2. How long has the agency been in operation?
3. Does the agency provide care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays and weekends?
4. How does the agency assure continuity of care?
5. Will the caregiver be an employee of the agency or an employee of the client?
6. Will the same caregiver be assigned all the time?
7. What is the agency’s process for checking the background and competency of the caregivers it hires?
8. Are references from previous or current clients available?
9. Does the agency carry liability insurance?
10. Who determines how much care is needed and what type of care is safe and appropriate?
11. What type of supervision is provided to the caregiver?
12. Does the agency have written policies relating to description of services, hours of operation, eligibility requirements, fees, patient rights, confidentiality, complaint procedures, and emergency arrangements?

– See more at: http://www.ngcare.com/resources/how-to-choose/#sthash.Dkm0NWxu.dpuf

Once you’ve chosen an agency, the next phase is interviewing the agency representatives and selecting the best fit for your loved one. At Nightingale Homecare, you can rest assured that your loved one’s caregiver professional and highly trained, but also individually selected for your loved one based on his or her requests and needs. All Nightingale staff are supervised by a Registered Nurse Case Manager and professional nurses are available 24/7 including holidays. . Our caregivers in Phoenix go beyond the basics to truly connect with your family members and provide support that promotes independence, stability, and fulfillment. Call (602) 504-1555 or Contact Us to learn more about our innovative and compassionate services.

Posted in Blog on December 13th, 2013 · Comments Off on Homecare 101: Non-Medical Service Basics