Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

On the Front Line of COPD Management

Elderly woman on wheelchairChronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to two lung diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In essence, patients’ breathing is severely compromised by an obstruction to airflow. Common symptoms include an excessively wet cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. [Read more…]

Improving Life for Parkinson’s Disease Clients Through Exercise

Healthy Senior Man in GYM

Discover how quality of life can be enhanced for those with Parkinson’s through exercise.

The particular results of exercising throughout aging are incredible; however, for individuals with Parkinson’s, it could truly be a game-changer regarding the progression of the disease. Several studies are revealing direct links between physical activity and Parkinson’s, like the largest clinical study to date, in which patients who exercised a minimum of 2½ hours each week realized a higher total wellbeing than those who refrained from physical activity. And that is only the start.

The onset of Parkinson’s symptoms happens following the loss of the brain cells that create dopamine. Researchers think that exercise allows the mind to restore lost connections, form new ones, and continue maintaining those that are in place. Additional studies also show:

  • Gains were realized in stride length, gait speed and balance after treadmill exercise – after as little as only one session, and lasting for many weeks afterwards.
  • Motor function and coordination were enhanced in people who pedaled at a quicker rate on a stationary bike – again, with results lasting for weeks after the study finished.
  • Recognizable improvements regarding the normalcy of movement were discovered in persons with Parkinson’s who engaged in a routine exercise regime compared to people who did not.

It’s important to note that the outcomes achieved were reliant upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The scientific tests revealed that any protective benefits realized were discontinued if the amount and intensity of physical activity was reduced or was implemented for only a short span of time. The necessary criteria for sustainable results seem to be exactly like those needed to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty and complexity.

Additional research is underway to hone in further on the benefits of exercising in those with Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. For the time being, if the person you are caring for has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s certainly beneficial to recommend that family members talk with their loved one’s primary care physician for a recommended exercise regimen, and then assist in implementing the approved activities.

For more tips on providing care for someone with Parkinson’s disease, or to learn more about joining Hillendale Homecare’s professional care team, contact our CNA and HHA School through our online contact form.

How to Help a Client With Kidney Disease Management Through Proper Food Choices

healthy colorful vegetables

Help clients make better dietary choices for kidney disease management with these tips.

As the saying goes, we are what we eat, and for those with kidney disease, it is crucial that a proper dietary plan is followed to reduce symptoms like an upset stomach, pain, swelling and more. Plus, adhering to a kidney-healthy diet might even slow down the progression of the disease. As a professional caregiver, it’s important to know the best and worst dietary choices for someone with kidney disease:

Sodium

High levels of sodium in the diet can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, and can cause the heart to work harder. Sodium should be restricted to no more than 2 grams per day for those with kidney disease. One way to help is to avoid serving foods that contain large concentrations of salt, such as:

  • Canned foods
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Chips, pretzels, and crackers
  • Nuts
  • Pickled foods
  • Condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce

NOTE: Pay close attention to salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, many of which are high in potassium.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral, and is found in almost all types of food. Our bodies need potassium in order for our muscles to work, but when someone is undergoing dialysis, potassium levels must be monitored very closely. Getting too much or too little potassium can lead to muscle cramps, erratic heartbeat and weakness of the muscles. The physician or dietitian can identify how much potassium is ideal for the specific person.

Protein

Although protein is a vital nutrient, when the kidneys are not performing correctly, excess protein can build up in the blood. Those with kidney disease should consume no more protein than what is needed by the body. When treatment begins early, a diet low in protein along with essential amino acids at appropriate amounts during each meal has been found to prevent the need for, or at least push back the need for dialysis and in fact could even reverse some kidney problems.

Vitamins and Minerals

People with kidney disease may require additional supplements of vitamins to reduce some of the typical side effects of kidney failure, including bone disease or anemia, but they should only be taken if directed by the doctor.

For more resources on caring for someone with kidney disease, or to inquire about joining Hillendale Home Care’s professional care team[D2] , contact our CNA and HHA School by completing our online contact form.

The Link Between Heart Attacks and Depression, and the Warning Signs You Need to Know

Learn the warning signs of depression after a client’s heart attack

Anyone who has experienced a heart attack or stroke knows that it’s truly life-changing. Although many of the changes that follow such an incident can be positive ones – like maintaining a healthier diet and lifestyle – they can also be extremely challenging. Suddenly, the person is forced to give up favorite comfort foods, smoking, and other unhealthy habits, in addition to a recovery period that is necessary after the heart attack or stroke itself, all of which can result in feelings of frustration or even clinical depression.

Hillendale Homecare suggests keeping a close eye on the person in your care if he or she is recovering from a heart attack or stroke, and let your supervisor know immediately if any of these warning signs are observed:

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in activities that he or she once enjoyed
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Changes in sleep, such as insomnia, waking in the early morning hours, or oversleeping
  • Feeling anxious and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down
  • Feeling worthless, or expressing harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes
  • Trouble with staying focused, making decisions, or with memory

Recovering from a heart attack or stroke can be challenging not only for the individual, but for his or her family caregivers as well. As a caregiver, you are a vital link to the overall wellbeing of both the heart attack or stroke survivor, and the family members who desperately need time away to take care of their own personal needs and lives.

Whether care tasks include planning and preparing meals and/or assistance with feeding, helping with housework and laundry, personal care tasks, running errands, offering transportation, providing companionship, or any other services, know that you are making a difference in more ways than you can imagine.

If you are not yet part of the Hillendale Homecare team and would like to consider joining us as a CNA or HHA, we invite you to get in touch with our CNA and HHA School through our online contact form, and discover the many benefits of making a real and lasting difference in the lives of those in our community!

Hillendale Senior Care Tips: Better Lighting to Assist Vision

Walnut Creek Home Care

Learn how the proper lighting can assist seniors with vision impairment.

Dim lights and shadows can make it problematic for people with reduced vision to make out distinct objects. They may bump into objects that didn’t seem to be as close as they truly were, or fall over something they didn’t notice at all.

This can lead to accidents in the home, which can result in a decline in a senior’s overall health. Dim lighting can take away enjoyment too – if the light isn’t bright enough to read, for example, the simple pleasure of reading may be lost. But there are things you can do as a CNA or Home Health Aid to help reduce these risks, one of which is ensuring that the lighting in your senior loved one’s home is adequate, reducing the shadows and making objects stand out more visibly.

For example, did you know that cutting the distance between a light source and the task in half by bringing the light closer to the work will make the brightness of the light approximately four times greater? Here are some other lighting tips to help a senior with low vision:

  • A “task lamp” with a flexible arm or gooseneck can focus light closely and directly on a working area, ensuring better light for reading, cooking, using the telephone, or doing crafts.
  • If one eye has better vision, position the lamp on that side of the body, slightly to the side. Take caution in placement however, so that the light is not reflecting from the page into the eyes of the reader.
  • To reduce glare, which can make it harder to see, make sure all light bulbs are covered with some sort of shade.
  • To reduce the heat of a higher-wattage bulb, use a lamp with an internal reflector (a double shade). This significantly reduces the heat, and allows the lamp to be closer to the face than with a single shade, especially one made of metal.
  • Install extra lighting in places where it may be difficult to move around, such as hallways and stairs.
  • Install dimmer switches for controlling the amount of light in the room.
  • Install under-cabinet lighting for tasks in the kitchen or work areas.

These lighting changes can help a senior in your care more easily adapt to low vision. If you are interested in joining our CNA and HHA training school or joining the experienced caregiving team at Hillendale, contact us today at 925-933-8181.

What Differently-Abled Adults Wish You Knew

Walnut Creek senior caregiving

Learn how to better serve adults with disabilities in this article from the senior care experts at Hillendale Home Care.

Although the mental and/or physical challenges encountered by individuals with a disability may be apparent, many of us fail to fully comprehend the social struggles that often go hand in hand. As a result, we may tend to “talk down” to or make incorrect assumptions about the person.

Below are some suggestions to help you better and more respectfully communicate with disabled individuals in your life:

  • Never judge or assume anything about an individual’s disability. Just because a person is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean the person is paralyzed, and just because someone has a speech impediment doesn’t mean that person is intellectually impaired.
  • Talk directly to the individual and look him or her in the eyes when speaking.
  • If you can’t understand what the person is saying, never pretend that you do. It’s perfectly fine to ask again for clarification.
  • Respect personal boundaries and avoid leaning on the person’s wheelchair or walker, or touching a service animal unless you have been given permission to do so.
  • Never patronize.
  • Maintain patience.
  • It’s acceptable to offer assistance, but never insist or be offended if your offer is not welcomed.
  • Never assume the individual is unable to participate in an activity. Always give the person the benefit of the doubt. You may be surprised!

One great way to boost the independence of differently-abled adults is through technology. If the person is willing, suggest trying one or more of the following:

  • Digital Voice Recorder: These devices come in handy for those with cognitive impairments to provide reminders for things like phone numbers and medication instructions, or daily routine details such as when a favorite show comes on.
  • Motorized Chair Lifts: For people in wheelchairs as well as those with other mobility disorders, a motorized chair lift is a wonderful way to allow for getting up and down stairs safely.
  • Vibrating Alarm Clocks/Strobing Smoke Alarms: For someone who is deaf or struggles with hearing issues, alarm clocks and smoke alarms that only make noise are of little help. A vibrating alarm clock uses a sensor that can be placed under the bedsheets which vibrates when the alarm goes off, allowing the person to feel the alarm instead. In the same way, a smoke alarm equipped with a strobe light allows the hearing impaired person to see the alarm and get to safety.

If you’d like to learn more about joining the Hillendale team as a CNA and improve quality of life for a senior or differently-abled adult in our California community, contact our CNA and HHA School by completing this simple form!

Try These Breathing Exercises to Reduce COPD Symptoms

Concord home care

Read step-by-step instructions on exercise to reduce COPD symptoms in this article.

COPD can turn everyday life into a struggle. The good news is there are breathing exercises that can help ease the symptoms and improve quality of life. These exercises help make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger, so people with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.

Practice these techniques for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Learn these simple exercises so you’ll be ready to use them any time you have a client who feels short of breath:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or firm bed with your knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows.
  2. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of three. Use your hands to check that your belly rises while your chest stays still.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to a count of six. Check that your chest remains still.
  5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes as tolerated.

Controlled Coughing

This technique can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Get a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Lean your head slightly forward. Place your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Put one hand on your belly under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward your diaphragm while you cough once. This should help move the mucus up into your throat. Cough again to clear the mucus from your throat.
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue.
  5. Rest for a moment or two and repeat as needed. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you’re finished.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this method so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity such as climbing stairs or lifting groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with your mouth closed.
  3. Purse your lips as if you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds is too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable.

Interested in becoming a trained in-home caregiver with Hillendale Home Care? Call 925-933-8181 to learn more about our experienced Concord home care team and review our Service Area to see the full list of cities that we service.

Tips to Best Help a Person Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Help those recovering from a traumatic brain injury with these tips

Providing care for someone who’s struggling with the effects of a traumatic brain injury can be more manageable with compassion combined with education. The following tips can help reduce stress and frustration for both the person for whom you’re providing care, as well as for yourself as a caregiver.

  • Allow Plenty of Time for Recovery: Recovery for someone with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) very often can take years. Although the person may seem to be recovered on the outside, there will naturally be some days that are better than others, and pushing the person too hard can lead to setbacks. Remain patient and refrain from negativity.
  • View Things Differently: Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the person with the TBI, and view the situation through his or her eyes and abilities.
  • Focus on Structure: A structured day is often crucial to the person’s recovery. It can help the individual retrain his or her brain and know better what to expect during the course of the day.
  • Patience Is Key: Allowing the person to manage tasks at his or her own pace will help the individual regain independence. Offer plenty of patience in listening, enabling the person to finish what he or she wants to say without interruption, even if it takes some time to find the correct words. This will help him or her to relearn important language skills.
  • Help, But Don’t Do Everything: If the person appears to be “stuck” in a task or is repeating actions, he or she could just require a little assistance with processing information. Refrain from taking over the task, and instead offer simple suggestions. Often, people with brain injuries will find that they need to finish a task in a very set order as the brain is being retrained.
  • Rest Is Best: A person with a TBI requires more rest than usual, and this is not a condition of laziness. It causes fatigue for the person to process and organize thoughts, particularly if already tired.
  • Remain Alert in Social Settings: Parties and crowds can be particularly challenging, with various conversations and loud noises occurring all at once. Be mindful that it may be too much for the person to process and a break can be beneficial.
  • Never Treat the Individual like a Child: Be sure you never talk down to the TBI survivor. Although you may be trying to help, it can appear to be belittling.
  • Behavior Management: It’s vital to figure out what triggered a challenging behavior. Was the person tired? Was there too much noise or chaos that resulted in anxiety? Was a particular routine broken? If at all possible, avoid those triggers to help prevent the problematic behaviors.
  • Be Prepared for Strong Emotions: Understand that the person may become more irritated or frustrated, or could be more sensitive than before the TBI. Keep in mind that many things which could formerly be done without a second thought now require a great deal of effort to accomplish.
  • Provide Hope and Encouragement: Celebrate each accomplishment with the individual. Each moment of progress, regardless of how small, is a victory. New discoveries and stories of healing are happening each and every day. No one individual’s recovery is exactly like another.

Be sure to note any changes in condition in someone with a traumatic brain injury so they can be relayed to the person’s doctor immediately.

If you’d like to learn more about joining the Hillendale team as a CNA, contact our CNA and HHA School by completing this simple form!

Top Tips for Reducing the Risk of Pressure Sores for Seniors

home care Pleasant Hill

Reduce the risk of pressure sores in seniors with these tips.

Reduced ability to move or walk, chronic conditions such as diabetes, and thinner, more delicate skin are all issues that leave older adults at risk for a very serious issue – pressure sores. Also referred to as bedsores, pressure sores aren’t merely painful; they can also lead to infections that can be life-threatening.
For seniors who have limited movement or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, staving off pressure sores can seem like a never-ending battle for their caregivers. Pressure sores arise from a lack of blood flow that occurs when someone is in one position for too long. It is vital for caregivers to learn how to prevent pressure sores, and at Hillendale, providers of dedicated home care Pleasant Hill seniors need, we provide the training and education caregivers need to aid in preventative care.

Follow these tips to help protect the seniors in your care from these dangerous sores:

Repositioning

  • Hourly if wheelchair-bound, every two hours if bedbound
  • Make use of lifting instruments whenever possible to prevent friction during repositioning

Support

  • Use supportive cushions and pads:
    • Between knees and ankles
    • Under calves to protect heels
    • To lie at an angle, protecting hips

Skin Care

  • Use mild bath soap and warm – never hot – water and apply lotion
  • For those who have very moist skin, use talcum powder
  • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to promote circulation

Promote Healthy Nutrition and Activity

  • Consult the senior’s health care provider for dietary and supplement guidelines for optimum skin health
  • Ensure adequate hydration
  • Encourage the senior to refrain from smoking
  • Assist with daily exercise (as appropriate and per doctor’s recommendations)

If the senior does develop a pressure sore, it could progress through the following four stages:

  • Stage 1:A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch appears on the skin which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and feel itchy or create a burning sensation.
  • Stage 2:An open sore develops on the bruise, resembling a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and soreness are often also present during this stage.
  • Stage 3:As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin becomes darker and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4:During this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a serious infection of the bone) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can occur.

Pressure sores are serious and must be treated by the senior’s physician early in order to promote healing. When caring for a senior, if a pressure sore is noticed, contact the senior’s health care provider for proper treatment. At Hillendale Home Care, we provide the high quality home care Pleasant Hill families need to ensure their loved ones are safe and healthy. For more information on how you can become a CNA with Hillendale, contact our CNA and HHA School today!

Fact or Fiction: Uncovering the Truth Behind Flu Vaccine Myths

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Uncover the truth behind flu vaccine myths from Hillendale, the demntia care experts.

For most healthy people, the flu is just another illness that might use up a few sick days at work. For older adults and those with compromised immune systems, though, the flu can be deadly. That’s why it is vital to encourage seniors and those who are in close contact with seniors to get a flu vaccine each year. However, with all the false information flying around about the flu vaccine, many people choose not to get vaccinated even when they should.

Help seniors and their families uncover the truth for better health with the following flu vaccine myth busters:

Myth: The flu shot will give me the flu.
Truth: The flu shot is made from a dead virus that is not capable of causing the disease. It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot. The nasal spray version of the vaccine, however, is a live but weakened virus and is not recommended for adults over 50.

Myth: Flu shots don’t work. I once got the flu after taking the shot.
Truth: While the flu vaccine is your best shot at preventing the virus, it is not 100% effective in preventing flu. However, people usually get a milder case of the flu than they otherwise would get if they have taken the vaccine. The risk of hospitalization and death from complications of influenza is also greatly reduced.

Myth: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
Truth: The flu virus changes each year, which means last year’s shot may not protect against this year’s virus. Getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.

Myth: Healthy people don’t need to get the flu vaccine.
Truth: While it’s especially important for seniors and those who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, healthy people should also get the vaccine to help prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Understanding how the flu vaccine works can often ease fears that many people have about taking it. Helping seniors maintain optimum health is one of our highest goals. To learn more about how we can help keep seniors safe and well at home, or to learn how to become an in home caregiver through our CNA and HHA programcontact us today.