Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

How to Handle Memory Loss for Better Dementia Care | San Jose, CA

July 12th, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease can alter someone’s mind so that recollections regarding current happenings are forgotten or mixed up while those from the more remote past often stay intact. The memory loss of more current events can also cause earlier times to make more sense to an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. A person’s alternate reality can be his/her strategy of making sense of the present through past memories.

Older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s may have problems expressing themselves, and in some cases their alternate reality has more to do with a need or a specific feeling they are attempting to express than it has to do with the things they are saying.

For instance:

  • “When is my wife going to be home?” This question could possibly be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home cooked meal than it could be about wanting to see his wife, who died a number of years ago. The right answer to learn more might be, “Why do you want to see her?”
  • “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Though these casseroles don’t exist, the words may indicate a need for intention in daily life or desiring to be engaged in an activity. An appropriate answer to discover more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for your friends?”

Maintaining a record of these kinds of happenings could help you see trends in needs. The more you listen and pay close attention, the easier it will be to understand the reasoning behind the alternate reality and how to best react.

Should You Play Along?

Provided that the scenario is not going to be dangerous or inappropriate, it is fine to play along with the older person’s alternate reality. Doing so will not make the dementia worse. Remember, your loved one’s reality is true to the person and going along with it can make your loved one feel better.

If the scenario is inappropriate or may cause danger to the senior, try to react to the perceived need while redirecting the individual to something less harmful or more appropriate.

Keep in mind these 3 steps:

  1. Reassure the individual.
  2. Respond to his/her need.
  3. Redirect if required.

Also, call on the expert in-home care services of Visiting Angels for dementia care in San Jose, California. Our caregivers are experts in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and can provide respite care services for family caregivers who need some time to refresh and recharge. Contact us online or call us at 408-610-9996.

3 Helpful Home Care Products to Make Life at Home Easier

June 8th, 2017

As your loved one ages, adaptive home care products can aid in making everyday life around the home simpler and less dangerous. There are scores of home care products obtainable today that can make older adults’ lives safer and more secure. At Visiting Angels, we wish to provide you with some expert recommendations for purchasing and using just a few of the most widely used pieces of home care equipment.

Commodes

A commode can replace both a raised toilet seat and a toilet safety framework and offers the additional advantage of being movable, so can be utilized individually at a bedside as well.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Search for one with non-removable armrests and rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels, and check for sturdiness.
  • Look for a commode that includes both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet).

Rollators

A rollator is a four-wheeled walker that contains a brake system, a seat, and a basket. They work effectively both indoors and outdoors, provide a seat when the user needs to rest, and the basket allows users to carry objects with them, keeping their hands free to work the rollator.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Bigger wheels are preferred, as they roll easier on uneven ground and are generally more sturdy.
  • Look for a light-weight, foldable version so that it can fit in the trunk of a vehicle.
  • Test out the hand brakes before purchase to make sure that they are not stiff or difficult to use.
  • Search for a rollator with a cushioned seat for comfort.
  • Versions that allow easy accessibility to the basket while in the normal walking position are preferable.

Shower bench vs. shower board

A shower bench is beneficial for older adults who feel insecure when lifting their legs over the side of the tub and greatly minimizes the chance of slips when getting into and out of the bathtub.

The primary benefits of shower benches over shower boards are that they have backrests and are height adaptable. Having a taller surface makes getting up from a seated position less difficult and backrests provide more support to seniors who tire more easily. Shower boards can also be difficult to fit securely to a tub.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Search for a shower bench with a handle and backrest that can be adjusted to accommodate different bathtubs.
  • Make sure to also invest in a quality hand held sprayer that connects to the faucet and is simple to use.

For additional tips and information on home care products, feel free to contact the Fremont home health care professionals at Visiting Angels online or call us at 510-284-0000.

Do You Know the Warning Signs that Indicate Extra Care Is Needed?

May 30th, 2016

Warning Signs Home Care Is NeededSometimes in life we get hit hard and all at once. A fall, a sudden surgery, or an illness can strike, and there is no denying that extra help is necessary. Sometimes, however, the signs are small – a missed bill or a lack of food in the refrigerator, for instance – but extra care is still needed. When the signs are small, it is easy to overlook the problem. And if you don’t live near your senior loved ones, it’s even harder to determine when there is a problem if you cannot see for yourself how things are going.

The first step in the process is to take notice of warning signs. Here are some of the most common signs which could indicate a need for extra help at home:

  • Messy house, clutter, pots and pans piling up
  • Confusing or missing doses of medications
  • Difficulty with balance and mobility
  • Confusion over once-familiar tasks
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Loss of weight
  • Signs of depression, loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities

When the signs of senior care needs start to appear, it is important to keep an open mind and not make assumptions as to why your parent or loved one might be experiencing difficulties. The discussion is often the most difficult part of the process, but if one approach does not work, give it some time and then try another approach.

What services can a senior obtain from home care? Home care agencies such as Visiting Angels in California help with any activities and assistance that a person needs throughout the day. Services can include:

  • Hygiene Assistance
  • Transportation
  • Live-in, Overnight, or Hourly Services
  • Assistance with Mobility
  • Bathing Assistance
  • Incontinence
  • Medication Reminders
  • Attend Religious Services
  • Respite for Family Caregivers
  • Beds & Linen Care
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Meal Preparation
  • Exercise Routines
  • Joyful Companionship

Transitioning to in home care can be hard, but we are here to make it easier. Contact our Sunnyvale or Fremont office today to learn more about how our in home caregivers can make living at home easier and safer.

5 Conversation Starters to Make Home Care Discussions Easier

May 16th, 2016

home care assistance in CaliforniaLife is full of tough conversations, and exploring the idea with a senior in your life about the need for some extra help at home can be one of them. The idea of losing independence is hard to accept, and occasionally seniors flat out refuse to talk about it. In order to help prepare for this conversation, we have broken down some of the most common reasons for care needs and have come up with language to help you more easily approach those conversations. If you try one approach and it is unsuccessful, give it some time and try another; this process can take time.

Trouble with Getting Around the House

“Mom, I have some extra money. What do you say we find someone to help you with some of the bigger cleaning jobs at home like vacuuming and changing the sheets? It would make me feel good to treat you.”

Trouble with Medications

“I don’t know how you manage to keep all of those medications straight. I’ve heard about these medication dispensers that tell you when to take which medicines and even dispense the correct dosage. Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those? I know someone who can help us with that.”

Clutter

“Lately I’ve noticed that it seems hard for you to keep up with the housework the way I know you like it. Can we talk about why this is happening?”

Losing Weight

“Since Dad passed away, I noticed you are losing weight. For a little while at least, I think it might help to keep your nutrition up if we have someone help you with meal planning and preparation.”

For even more conversation starters, click here. To learn more about whether personalized home care assistance in California is right for you, contact Visiting Angels at our Fremont office: 510-284-0000 or at our Sunnyvale office: 408-735-0977. We provide senior care services throughout Santa Clara County as well as Fremont, Union City, Hayward, Newark, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Alameda.

What to Expect when Transitioning to Home Care in Fremont, CA

May 12th, 2016

Sunnyvale Senior CAreIt’s never easy to accept we need extra help. Many people resist the idea of assisted living, because the idea of losing their independence is saddening and even frightening. Home care in Fremont, CA is a wonderful choice for those hesitant about receiving extra care. It allows for seniors to remain in their own homes, but still get the help they need. Every new phase in life requires transition, which can be hard and exhausting. However, with the help of an experienced in-homecare provider such as Visiting Angels, you can experience a smooth transition to home care.

Here are just a few of the ways that Visiting Angels can make the transition to home care an enjoyable experience:

  • A representative from Visiting Angels will meet with the senior and his or her family before care begins to introduce the ways the agency can assist and help everyone become more familiar with the process to ease fears.
  • Together with you, we will create an individualized program for your senior loved one’s specific needs and then match him or her with one of our exceptional caregivers.
  • Visiting Angels will introduce the caregiver to the senior before care begins, so the caregiver is not a stranger. You might also consider having a family member in the home for a short time with the caregiver until the senior begins to feel comfortable with the caregiver.
  • We continue our communication with you after the caregiver has been placed in your senior loved one’s home through phone calls and home visits.

Call on Visiting Angels to make this transition as smooth as possible. With offices in Fremont and Sunnyvale, we service all of Santa Clara county and portions of Alameda County, including Fremont, Union City, Hayward, Newark, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Alameda. From helping to start the conversation, to sitting down with you and your family, to implementing the best care plan, we are here for you. To read more about our services, click here.

Contact our Fremont office at 510-284-0000 or our Sunnyvale office at 408-735-0977 today to learn more!

Did You Know…? Learn About the Link Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease

March 23rd, 2016

senior home careDiabetes is the #1 cause of kidney failure. In fact, approximately 40 percent of people with diabetes will develop chronic kidney disease.

What is the connection between diabetes and kidney disease?

Besides balancing chemicals in your body, controlling blood pressure and keeping bones healthy, your kidneys clean waste and extra fluid from your blood. The filters in your kidneys are full of tiny blood vessels (called glomeruli) and high blood sugar can harm these glomeruli, which causes diabetic kidney disease. Once the kidneys are harmed like this, they cannot be fixed, and if not treated early, can lead to kidney failure.

Can you notice if your kidneys are being damaged?

Unfortunately, noticeable symptoms do not appear until after kidney disease has already progressed, so you will not be able to feel if diabetes has harmed your kidneys. The only way to know is to be tested, and be sure to test regularly because early detection can slow the progression of the disease. Your doctor can perform these simple tests to check how well your kidneys are functioning.

How can I protect my kidneys?

The good news is that diabetic kidney disease does not happen quickly, which means you can take steps to protect your kidneys! Even if your kidneys are already damaged, you can control your diabetes to help keep them from getting worse.

The steps to prevent diabetic kidney disease are the same steps needed to slow diabetic kidney disease.

  • Control your blood sugar: Because high blood sugar can damage the kidneys, it is important to monitor your blood sugar regularly and work with your diabetes care team to keep your blood sugars within your blood glucose goal range.
  • Control your blood pressure: Right behind diabetes, high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Having both diabetes and high blood pressure increases your risk of kidney disease.
  • Control your cholesterol: High cholesterol speeds up the progression of kidney disease.
  • Be physically active: Daily physical activity and exercise help control blood pressure and lower blood sugar.
  • Avoid tobacco: Smoking reduces blood flow to the kidneys; therefore, kidneys cannot function at their best. Smoking also tends to raise blood sugar and makes it harder for your body to use insulin.
  • Follow a proper diabetic diet and keep a healthy weight: Picking healthy foods, eating smaller meals and eating more often can help control diabetes and prevent problems. Work with a dietician to plan meals and learn what is right for you.
  • Use pain medications with caution: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen reduce blood flow to the kidneys and regular use can trigger kidney damage. Seek the advice of your physician, as regular use of these medications should be monitored.

For help managing the many aspects of diabetes, kidney disease, or both, turn to Visiting Angels of California for certified senior care you can trust. We begin with a personalized plan of care that encompasses a full range of the senior’s individual needs and wishes, and then monitor and update the plan as these needs change. You can reach us any time at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.

How Santa Clara County In-Home Care Improves Life for Kidney Disease Patients

March 16th, 2016

Santa Clara home careFor seniors who prefer to remain at home as they age – and, who doesn’t? – in-home care serves as a lifeline, providing assistance with activities that become difficult with aging and allowing for comfort, security and independence. But what happens when a senior struggles with a chronic disease, such as kidney disease?

Not only is home care for seniors possible for those with kidney disease, but it’s preferred. Consider some of these ways that a professional in-home caregiving team, such as Visiting Angels provides, can assist those at risk for or diagnosed with kidney disease:

  • Providing education on kidney disease management. Caregivers work closely with the client’s doctor to ensure the client is well-versed on his or her condition and how to manage it.
  • Assisting with medication reminders. Adhering to a medication plan is vital for optimal health. In-home caregivers can provide reminders so that each medication is taken in the right amount at the right time.
  • Providing reminders and an escort for doctors’ appointments.
  • Helping clients avoid hospital readmissions by recognizing and reporting the first signs of complications, and helping the clients seek immediate treatment.
  • Preparing healthy, nutritious and diet-specific meals. Caregivers work with physicians and nutritionists to ensure meals meet the specific requirements for each client’s condition.

To learn more about how our trusted California senior care services can help your senior loved one not just survive but thrive through in-home care, call us at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.

 

We can surround your loved one with the support and encouragement needed to stay motivated to eat healthy, maintain an exercise regimen, and comply with doctors’ orders for medications, appointments, treatments, and surgical procedures as needed.

 

See what some of our senior care clients have to say about our services, and then contact us to let us know how we can be of service to you!

The Ultimate Diet for Those with Kidney Disease

March 9th, 2016

home care kidney disease helpYou are what you eat, as the saying goes, and for those with kidney disease, it’s even more vital that a proper dietary plan be followed to minimize symptoms, such as pain, nausea, swelling and others, and to perhaps even slow the progression of the disease. Visiting Angels recommends the following dietary considerations (once approved by the physician):

Sodium/Salt

Excessive amounts of sodium in the diet can cause the body to retain fluids, raise blood pressure and make the heart work harder. Sodium consumption should be limited to 2 grams per day. Avoid foods that contain large amounts of salt such as:

  • Canned food
  • Processed meat and smoked meat
  • Chips, crackers or pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Pickled foods like olives and pickles
  • High-sodium condiments like soy sauce, BBQ sauce or ketchup

NOTE: Be careful with salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, as many salt substitutes are high in potassium.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral found in almost all foods. The body requires some potassium to make the muscles work, but during dialysis, potassium levels must be very closely monitored. Having too much or too little potassium can cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness. A dietitian can help determine how much potassium is best for an individual.

Protein

Although protein is a necessary nutrient, when the kidneys are not functioning properly, excess protein starts to build up in the blood. People with kidney disease should consume no more protein than is needed by the body. When treatment is started early, a low protein diet and a balanced formula of essential amino acids at each meal has shown to delay the time to dialysis and even reverse some kidney problems.

Vitamins and Minerals

People with kidney disease may require vitamin supplements to help avoid some common side effects of kidney failure like bone disease or anemia, but these should be taken only as directed by a doctor.

At Visiting Angels, we’re helping seniors throughout Santa Clara and Alameda counties to manage kidney disease, through our in-home care services which include careful meal planning and preparation services, assistance with following doctors’ orders, and providing the cheerful companionship that lifts up spirits and brings warmth and joy into the home. Contact us to learn more at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.

5 Tips for Better Kidney Disease Management

March 2nd, 2016

Sunnyvale Home Care Kidney DiseaseHiccups. Loss of appetite. Itching. Trouble sleeping. These are just some of the many seemingly innocuous symptoms that could potentially indicate kidney disease. And with as many as 20 million Americans battling the disease, and many more undiagnosed, it’s important to bring any concerning symptoms to the doctor’s attention.

If kidney disease is the culprit, these tips from the National Kidney Center can help you or your loved one adapt and thrive:

  • Be informed. Knowledge is power, and learning as much as you can about the disease will go a long way towards successfully managing it.
  • Be in control. It’s ultimately up to the person with kidney disease, or his or her family caregiver, to stay on top of symptoms, keep track of test results and treatments, and take charge of the management of the disease and lifestyle choices.
  • Be healthy. Following a kidney-friendly dietary plan, engaging in doctor-approved exercise programs, and taking medications as prescribed are all crucial for maintaining optimum health.
  • Be productive. Physical and mental wellbeing are positively impacted when we have meaningful work to do that affects the lives of others. Working or volunteering with a cause of interest can improve overall wellbeing.
  • Be proactive. Create a plan for the future to include treatment options to consider if the condition were to change or worsen.

Most of all, it’s important for those with kidney disease – and any other disease – to remain socially engaged with friends and family who can uplift and encourage them. Visiting Angels of California can provide additional companionship, along with a full range of professional in-home care services, including:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Personal care and hygiene assistance
  • Transportation to doctors’ appointments/medical procedures
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Exercise routines
  • And so much more, customized to each person’s individual needs and wishes

You can reach us any time at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont, to ask us any questions you may have about our CAHSAH-certified senior care. We look forward to improving and enhancing quality of life for your senior loved one!

Vising Angels Presents Questions to Ask Professional In-Home Healthcare Service Providers

January 27th, 2016

San Francisco home careNow that you’ve made the decision to hire in-home healthcare services, and maybe you’ve narrowed down the agencies you’re interested in using, it’s time to look at the actual care and services that your loved one is going to need and how they’ll be provided. As with making many major decisions in life, comparing what options are available will help you select the best San Francisco area home care possible. Here is a checklist of questions that we’ve put together to help you in this process:

Services

  • Service listing. Does the home care agency offer services specific to your loved one’s required needs? Is someone available to provide information on all services, eligibility requirements and funding sources? Is that information available online or can they send it to you?
  • Training and supervision. What formal training programs and certifications does the home care agency require of its direct care providers? What level of professional is responsible for supervising care? How often and how do the supervisors oversee the caregivers on location to ensure proper care is being provided?

Direct Care Providers

  • Length of visits. How often does the care provider visit, and how long does she stay during each visit? Does the home care agency provide care on weekends and evenings? Does the visit allow for time to talk and get to know the patient?
  • Rotation of care. Is care provided consistently by the same caregiver, or is care rotated among different people? If rotated, how often? Does the family receive advance notice when a change is being made?
  • Accessibility. Do the agency office staff and the direct care provider stay in regular contact with the family? Do they keep you informed of any changes in the patient’s health or plan of care?

Fees

  • Funding and billing. Are services covered by Medicare or MediCal? Does the home care agency supply written statements detailing costs? How often is the care invoiced?
  • Special fees. Are there fees for special or extended services? Who is responsible for them? Are payment plans available for any out-of-pocket services? Is there someone at the agency who can assist in exploring all options to pay for care?

We here at Visiting Angels can answer these questions and many more. If your loved one lives in Santa Clara or Alameda County and needs care, including specialized nursing care or respite care, call us at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont, or use our web form. Let us help you!