Whether it’s your aging parent or grandparent, or even a senior citizen in your neighborhood – we all want the best for this, often-times, vulnerable population.
Unfortunately, the older a person gets, the higher the chances are that physical safety becomes an issue.
Problems with eyesight, hearing, loss of sensation, decreased strength, balance issues, cognitive changes – all of these things compromise your aging loved ones’ safety.
Throughout the last 20 years, I have practiced Occupational Therapy. The majority of my patients have been the elderly, and most of my treatment with patients has taken place in their homes.
Part of my plan of care, when working with a patient in their home, has always been to evaluate their surroundings for safety, so I can recommend home modifications and the use of adaptive devices and/or medical equipment to help improve the patient’s safety.
Currently, along with writing this blog with my sister, Pam, I also work, part-time, specifically assessing client’s homes for safety with a program called Community First Choice, here in Maryland.
So, I decided I’d like to share my knowledge with our readers about what can be done to increase the level of safety for your aging loved ones.
My goal, with my patients, is always to facilitate an environment that will assure their optimal safety AND their highest level of independence.
In this post, I am going to focus on adaptive devices and durable medical equipment that I often recommend, and that I have had good experience with. These 6 devices are listed in no particular order, and I have hand-picked them because of the specific features that each of them have. Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Please be assured, however, that these are sincere recommendations that I would suggest to my own family members! Thank you!
The above graphic contains pictures of the items listed below. The numbers correspond with the numbers below. Click on the highlighted name of each item to get all of the information about the item, customer reviews and price on Amazon.
- 3-in-1 Commode
- may be used 3 ways – as an elevated toilet seat; as a bedside commode; as a shower chair
- when used as an elevated toilet seat, it makes it much easier and safer to go from sit to stand from the toilet because it’s elevated, and because it has arms to push up with
- using it as a bedside commode is important for people who have to toilet during the night; this is a time that many falls occur, so to have a toilet right next to you prevents you from rushing while walking to the bathroom (for men, using a portable urinal works too!)
- this is a must-have for anybody who has limited mobility
- it’s foldable (take it with you anywhere)
- the legs are adjustable so that you’re able to tailor it to the appropriate height for the user
- it includes a splash guard for times that you use it as an elevated toilet seat
- this can be used to pick things up off the floor, or to reach for things that are a little out of reach – this prevents falls!
- only to be used to pick up light-weight objects
- lightweight and not so long that it’s unmanageable
- magnet on tip to easily pick up things like paper clips, coins, etc.
- there is a “pulling lug” (kind of like a peg) on the end of the reacher that I’ve instructed patients to use to slide between their socks and their feet, in order to push their socks off (then they use the “grabber” part of the reacher to pick up the socks)
- for people who have been evaluated by a physical therapist with the recommendation to use a rolling walker
- this is great for people who have impaired endurance (i.e. someone who gets short of breath easily) because it allows them to walk at their own pace, with a built-in seat for rest breaks
- easily controlled with hand brakes
- foldable, so easy to transport
- adjustable handle height (when patient is standing with arms down to their sides, the handles of the rollator should be at the same height as the patient’s wrists)
- has a basket to store items in (i.e. tissues, snacks, cordless or cell phone so that patient is not having to rush to answer phone)
- deluxe loop-locks to ensure rollator will not slip when seated
- this particular bedrail is portable and easily placed underneath the mattress
- it’s adjustable so you’re able to tailor it to the person using it
- this may be used for assisting with going from lying down to sitting up on the edge of the bed AND for going from sitting on the edge of the bed to standing up
- I like this one because it allows for easily getting into and out of bed, but also provides a tactile cue to help prevent a patient from rolling out of bed
- Tub Transfer Bench
- I prefer this type vs the padded seat type because, in my opinion, it’s less risk of sliding or slipping while sitting on it
- this bench is perfect for the person who has difficulty getting into the shower due to problems with raising their legs up over the tub wall
- people who have challenges with standing tolerance, standing balance or even simple endurance benefit from using this bench – it improves their safety, allows them to be more independent and allows them to enjoy their shower longer
- this bench is completely adjustable – the height, the back rest, and the arm rest to fit the tub/shower and the person properly
- use with a handheld shower for optimal convenience, independence and safety
- Shower Chair
- I love the fact that this shower chair has arms and a back – both will increase safety
- great for walk-in showers, or tub/showers if the person using it is mobile and safe enough to raise legs up over tub wall
I will be writing future posts with my recommendations for home modifications for safety, as well as posts with my recommendations for adaptive equipment to increase your loved one’s independence in all areas of daily living.
Please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post if you have any questions regarding this important topic!