Choosing a Walking Cane

 

Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Walking Cane

 

 

 

 

Canes are among the most common mobility aids on the market. They are readily available and relatively cheap, making them the first solution many people turn to for their mobility issues.

Unfortunately, that $20 round-handled cane from the local drugstore may cause you more problems than it solves. The wrong cane handle can put stress on your wrist, and if your cane is too short or too tall, it will only make things worse.

 

 

 

 

When choosing a cane, you will want to consider several factors to help you find the walking aid that is right for you.

 

 

 

Grip

 

As your main point of contact with your cane, the comfort of the grip is of singular importance. You’ll want to consider material, shape, and design.

 

  • Standard round canes can provide a smooth and classic look, but can be difficult to hold.
  • Contoured grips provide a solution, and can be made from a wide range of materials.
  • Try a long-wearing foam grip or an ergonomic gel grip to get the best possible fit for your needs.

 

 

 

Handle

 

  • The shape of the handle can mean the difference between the cane you carry with you at all times and the one you leave in the umbrella stand.
  • If you have trouble holding a standard hook-shaped tourist cane, try a Derby or Fritz handle instead, which have been designed to accommodate users with dexterity issues.

 

 

 

 

  • If you need more stability, try an offset handle meant to distribute your weight along the cane.

 

 

 

Walking Cane Tip 

 

Cane tips receive a lot of wear and tear over the course of the day. Some canes do not have any reinforcement on the tips at all, which may be fine for light use. Others come with a reinforced rubber or plastic grip for added stability.

If balance and stability is a concern for you, definitely look for these high density rubber-tipped canes or consider upgrading to a quad cane tip.

 

 

Suggested:

 

HurryCane – The All-Terrain Cane

 

HurryCane - The All-Terrain Cane; Freedom Edition

 

 

 

Height Adjustable Aluminum Small Base Quad Cane with Gel Grip

Height Adjustable Aluminum Small Base Quad Cane with Gel Grip - Red Crackle

 

 

 

 

Height 

 

A cane that is too short or too tall can be painful to use, and it can cause balance issues for the user

The best way to determine what size of cane you need is to have a friend or family member measure you.

Wearing your normal walking shoes, stand as straight as possible with your arms falling naturally at your sides. The proper height of a cane should be the same as the distance from your wrist to the ground.

Adjustable canes allow for the best possible match with a user’s height.

 

 

Suggested:

 

 

 

Walking Cane Color

 

Style, design, and color are as important in a cane as they are in any accessory. There’s no need to carry a plain grey cane when there is a vast array of designs and materials out there for you to choose from!

Find one that fits your style, and the cane becomes a fun accessory rather than a necessary burden.

 

 

 

Standard Canes Vs Quad Walking Canes

 

 

 

One of the first things to consider when choosing a cane is just what type of cane you would like to use. 

Standard canes, or single-tip canes, are those with only one cane tip that touches the ground.

Quad canes, also called quad-point canes, broad based canes, or four legged canes, are built to be sturdier and feature four cane tips. Think about why you need a cane, and what will best assist you in your daily activities.

 

 

 

Walking Cane Stability 

 

If you are recovering from an injury to your leg, ankle, or foot, you are looking for a cane to give you added stability on your course to recovery.

The most stable cane available is the quad cane, which can have a large base or a small base. The large base quad cane is the most sturdy, stable cane available, while the small base quad cane is smaller and more mobile.

 

 

 

Weight

 

Quad canes are the most stable, but they are inevitably heavier than standard canes. For those with limited upper body strength or weak wrists, this can be a big problem.

If the weight of the cane is a consideration, you will want to consider a standard cane as your mobility aid, or upgrading to the ultra-light 8.5 oz. Carbon Fiber Quad Cane.

 

 

Suggested:

 

 

 

 

Agility

 

In some cases a large base quad cane is simply not viable. Staircases may not have enough space to support all four cane tips, making it dangerous to use. Narrow hallways may not allow for the maneuverability a large base quad cane requires. If these are considerations for you, a small base quad cane or standard single-tip cane may be your best choice.

Also consider that many single base canes  can fold down to a much smaller size, making them convenient to carry with you when not immediately needed.

 

 

Walking Cane Prices

 

Canes are among the cheapest mobility aids available! Even the most advanced canes are less than half the price of any rollator walker.  However, quad canes do tend to run a little more expensive than standard canes. For those on a tight budget, a small base quad cane may be the ideal balance of safety and economy.

 

 

Folding Seat Walking Canes

 

 

Folding Seat Canes are becoming wildly popular and for good reason – they are one of the most practical mobility devices you can get.

What is a seat cane you may ask? Well, it is just what it sounds like – a cane that can be transformed into a seat! Great for ball games and long lines, you never have to worry about standing for long periods of time.

 

 

 

 

Folding Seat canes come in two main styles – tripod seats and sling seats.

For a tripod seat cane, a handle allows two additional legs to unfold and support a sitting platform. The user sits with the cane handle between their legs. Be careful not to sit backwards, or the seat may tip over!

 

 

 

 

For a tripod seat cane, a handle allows two additional legs to unfold and support a sitting platform. The user sits with the cane handle between their legs. Be careful not to sit backwards, or the seat may tip over!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a more ladylike solution, there are sling seat canes.   This type of seat cane allows you to walk with a two pronged base.

When ready, you release the two folded legs and plant all four on the ground. A fabric sling is then strung between the two sides to create a comfortable seat.

 

 

 

 

 

When choosing between tripod and sling seat canes, here are a few considerations:

 

  • Are you using it primarily as a seat? If so, you want a comfortable seat such as a sling seat cane.
  • Does the overall weight matter? Tripod seat canes weigh less than sling seat canes.
  • Do you like to cross your legs? With tripod canes, the handle goes between your legs.

 

How to Use a  Walking Cane

 

If you’ve just bought your first cane, then you may be asking yourself, “How exactly am I supposed to use this thing?”

Canes are meant to take the weight off of one leg and provide relief to the muscles, so using your cane the proper way is vital.

Place the cane on the correct side. If you are using a cane to take the weight off an injured leg or foot, make sure to hold it in the hand opposite the injury. If your right leg can’t hold weight, the cane goes in your left hand. If your left leg needs the support, hold the cane in your right hand. If you are simply using the cane for added stability, then hold it in whichever hand is most preferable.

Step forward with the cane and the injured leg. Grasp the handle firmly. Placing all your weight on the stronger leg, move your injured leg and your cane one step forward, keeping them even. Place them down together.

Step forward with your strong leg. Let the cane handle take most of your weight as you lift your strong leg, move it forward one step, and place it on the ground. Shift your weight to your strong leg.

Repeat.

 

 

 

With a little practice, using your cane will become second nature to you. You will develop a quick gait which allows you to move easily without straining a weak or injured leg.

 

Taking Stairs With Your Cane

 

 

 

Place the cane on the correct side. If you are using a cane to take the weight off an injured leg or foot, make sure to hold it in the hand opposite the injury.

If your right leg can’t hold weight, the cane goes in your left hand. If your left leg needs the support, hold the cane in your right hand. If you are simply using the cane for added stability, then hold it in whichever hand is most preferable.

 

 

Hold the railing or banister. Whenever possible, hold onto a fixed support with your free hand when going up or down steps. This will stabilize you and take some of the weight off your injured leg.

Going up steps, lead with your strong leg. Lift and place your strong leg on the first step. Transfer your weight to it, hold the banister, and only then lift your weak foot. Move the cane evenly with your weak leg, placing them down together on the same step. Support yourself with the banister and cane as much as possible.

 

 


 

Going down steps, lead with your weak leg. Place the cane tip and your weak leg on the first step and bend the knee of your strong leg to lower yourself. Hold the banister for further support, and bring your strong leg on to the same step.

With practice, taking the stairs with your cane will become second nature.

 

 

Whichever cane you choose, be sure to consider every aspect of how you will use it and why you need it. Then you can be certain you’ve made the right choice to keep you safe and mobile.

The right cane can make your life a lot easier. As long as you consider all the necessary factors, you are sure to enjoy your new walking aid!

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Older Adult Safe This Winter

 

Keep Your Older Adult Safe This Winter

 

 

 

Winter is a special time for celebration. It should also be a time for added caution if you or someone in your family is an older adult. It is the season for falls, slips on icy streets and other dangers that can be especially harmful for older adults.

 

 

“Something as simple as a fall can be devastating for older men and women,” says Dr. Evelyn Granieri, Chief of Geriatric Medicine and Aging at NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “Before the cold weather arrives, it is important to prepare.”

 

Dr. Granieri addresses some of the most pressing concerns mature adults have about their health and safety during the winter:

 

 

 

 

The Flu

 

 

Influenza is a serious illness that can be fatal in older adults, who often have chronic medical conditions. The vaccine offers some, if not complete, protection against the flu and its consequences and can be administered as early as September. The flu season begins in mid-October and runs through March. 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about the vaccines you need, see the Adult Immunization Vaccine Finder  at vaccines.gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to receive personalized vaccine recommendations based on your age, health status, location and other factors.You can also review the Adult Immunization Schedule  to see which vaccines you may need.

Don’t forget if you are traveling, you may need additional vaccines. See the travelers’ health page.

Talk to your healthcare professional about making sure you have all the vaccines you need to protect your health.

 

 

 

Hypothermia

 

 

Keep your thermostat set to at least 65 degrees to prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia kills about 600 Americans every year, half of whom are 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, keeping the temperature at 65 or higher, even when you are not at home, will help prevent pipes from freezing. 

 

 

When you think about being cold, you probably think of shivering. That is one way the body stays warm when it gets cold. But, shivering alone does not mean you have hypothermia.  How do you know if someone has hypothermia? Look for the “umbles”—stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles—these show that the cold is a problem.

 

Check for:

  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Change in behavior or in the way a person looks
  • A lot of shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions

 

 

Remember that some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm. These include problems with your body’s hormone system such as low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), health problems that keep blood from flowing normally (like diabetes), and some skin problems where your body loses more heat than normal.

 

Some health problems may make it hard for you to put on more clothes, use a blanket, or get out of the cold.

 

For example:

  • Severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or other illnesses that make it tough to move around
  • Stroke or other illnesses that can leave you paralyzed and may make clear thinking more difficult
  • Memory loss
  • A fall or other injury

 

 

 

 

Icy Streets

 

 

When the winter air is crisp and the ground is covered with snow, there’s nothing like taking a walk to enjoy the beauty of the season — and walking is one of the best ways to keep fit.

On the other hand, winter can be a challenging time of year to get out and about. Freezing rain, icy surfaces and piles of hard-packed snow pose a hazard for the innocent pedestrian.

 

 

A few simple measures can make it safer to walk outdoors in the winter. Removing snow and ice, putting sand or salt on areas where people walk, and wearing the right footwear all make a big difference.

Just one bad fall on ice can have long-term consequences. These include: chronic pain in the affected area; a disabling injury that may mean loss of independence; or fear of another fall, which discourages a healthy, active lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some practical suggestions for safe winter mobility:

 

 

As winter approaches, outfit yourself for safe walking:

 

Choose a good pair of winter boots. For warmth and stability look for these features: well-insulated, waterproof, thick non-slip tread sole made of natural rubber, wide low heels, light-weight.

 

Ice grippers on footwear can help you walk on hard packed snow and ice. But be careful! Grippers become dangerously slippery and must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic.

 

 

 

Use a cane, or even a pair of walking poles to help with balance. Make sure they’re the right height for you. When your cane is held upside down, the end should be at wrist level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If using a cane, attach a retractable ice pick to the end. Cane picks will be slippery on hard surfaces so be sure to flip it back as you get indoors.

 

If you need further support, use a walker. The cost might be defrayed by government programs; talk with your doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wear a hip protector (a lightweight belt or pant with shields to guard the hips). It can help protect the hips against fractures and give added confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help other road users see you by wearing bright colors or adding reflective material to clothing. 

 

These adhesive reflective strips are perfect for affixing to shoes or other clothing items to increase visibility.  They have high intensity reflectivity and a sticker backing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prevent heat loss by wearing a warm hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves.

 

Dressing in layers may also keep you warmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the snow and ice arrive, make sure your walking surfaces are safe:

 

Keep entranceways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow. Report hazards on sidewalks or pathways to your landlord or the City.

 

Contact your local home support agency or other community services for help with snow removal, transportation and grocery bus services.

 

 

Carry a small bag of grit, sand or non clumping cat litter in your jacket pocket or handbag, to sprinkle when you are confronted with icy sidewalks, steps, bus stops, etc.

 

Ask a passer-by to help you cross an icy surface.

 

 

 

Walking on Ice

 

 

Facing an icy surface can be a paralyzing experience. Not everyone has grippers and other safety aids. So, what should you do if it’s impossible to avoid an icy patch? Believe it or not, body movements can increase your stability on an icy surface.

Slow down and think about your next move. Keeping your body as loose as possible, spread your feet to more than a foot apart to provide a base of support. This will help stabilize you as you walk.

Keep your knees loose — let them bend a bit. This will keep your center of gravity lower to the ground, which further stabilizes the body.

Now you are ready to take a step. Make the step small, placing your whole foot down at once. Then shift your weight very slowly to this foot and bring your other foot to meet it the same way. Keep a wide base of support.

Some people prefer to drag their feet or shuffle them. If this feels better to you, then do so. Just remember to place your whole foot on the ice at once and keep your base of support approximately one foot wide.

Of course, it’s always better to avoid tricky situations by being prepared and planning a safe route for your walk.

 

 

House Fires

 

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. You should also have working carbon monoxide alarms.

 

 

 

 

 

Falling In The Home

 

Winter means fewer hours of daylight. Older people often need brighter lights in the home. You may also have difficulty adjusting to changes in light, and different levels of lighting may increase the risk of slips and falls. Make sure there are no great lighting contrasts from one room to another. Also, use night lights, especially in the bathroom, and don’t have loose extension cords lying around—tape them to the floor. Make sure rugs are not wrinkled or torn in a way that can trip you as you walk.

 

 

 

 

Strenuous Activities

 

Try to avoid strenuous activities like shoveling snow. You should ask your doctor if this level of activity is advisable. If you must shovel, warm up your body with a few stretching exercises before you begin and be sure to take frequent breaks throughout.

 

 

 

Dehydration

 

Drink at least four or five glasses of fluid every day. This should not change just because it is winter. You may not feel as thirsty as you do in the summer months, but as you get older, your body can dehydrate more quickly, putting you at greater risk for complications from a number of illnesses and also changing how your body responds to some medications.

 

 

U-Lactin Dry Skin Lotion - 16 oz.Winter Itch

 

This usually occurs because of dry skin. Wear more protective creams and lotions to prevent the dry and itchy skin commonly experienced in the colder months when humidity levels are lower. You should apply them after bathing and then daily. 

 

For winter, I like U-Lactin Dry Skin Lotion; its a non greasy, fragrance free lotion, made with 10% urea, a humectant, and 2% lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy-acid.

 

 

 

Home Emergencies

 

 

For older persons living alone, it is a good idea to have a way to communicate quickly with other persons or medical personnel. If you have a cell phone, keep it handy.

 

Another option is a personal emergency response system—a device worn around the neck or on a bracelet that can summon help if needed. Always have a fully-stocked home emergency First Aid kit on hand, as well.

 

 

 

 

If you are a caregiver, please remember to check on your loved one frequently. Offer to shop for her or him and check on medications when the weather is very cold and snowy. And remind any person who interacts with her/him to get a flu shot.

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Easy Home First Aid Kit

Choosing the Right Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Caregivers Must Prepare for Emergencies – Here’s How

Organize Your Senior’s Home for Winter

Choosing The Right Walker

Choosing The Right Walking Cane

Blue Emu and Australian Dream – Which One is Better?

Best Digital Thermometers – Full Reviews

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Review

FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

Finding Safe, Practical Shoes For The Elderly

Air Purifiers for COPD

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In With You

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

 

Book Review of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

 

A Caregiving Memoir You’ll Really Identify With

 

 

 

Roz Chast is a professional cartoonist and illustrator who captured her personal story about caring for her parents as they grew older and sicker. It’s titled Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and was one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2014.

 

Chast was an only child, living in Connecticut, but cared for her parents who lived in Brooklyn. Her journey started in 2001 and ends with her mother’s death in 2009. Her father passed away in 2007.

Why this book is different

 

There are many books written by former caregivers and they’re each wonderful in their own way. What makes Roz Chast’s memoir stand out are her cartoon-style drawings.

They transmit her feelings so well, we can feel her annoyance when her father’s incessant chatter drives her up the wall. The pictures bring her anxiety-filled childhood to life and explains her (still) complicated relationship with her overbearing mother.

She perfectly captures the funny and crazy moments

 

While there is sadness, this book is far from depressing. It’s a real-life view of Chast’s caregiving journey. She remembers the funny things and crazy stories and captures them all in hilarious drawings.

 

roz chast

Image: The New Yorker

My favorite caregiving scenarios from the book

 

Chast is an excellent storyteller and entertains us with scenes that we’re all too familiar with:

 

  • Living an hour or two away, having her own children and husband, and just really not wanting to deal with her parents and their increasing needs.
  • Hating the ever-worsening grime and clutter in their apartment.
  • Trying to convince them (unsuccessfully) that they need more help in the house.
  • That first horrific episode of incontinence (the really messy kind)!
  • Those middle of the night phone calls when something happens…

 


I love this book and recommend it to any current or former caregiver as well as any family members. It doesn’t matter if you’re caring for a parent, spouse, relative, or friend, this book is beautifully illustrated, well-written, and a lighter way to get acquainted with caregiving and aging.

Check out the customer reviews of Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? at Amazon

Excerpts From Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

 

 

 

Check out the customer reviews of Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? at Amazon.

 

You may also be interested in:

A Hospice Reflection

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Transport Chair

Choosing a Walking Cane

The Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Convincing Your Parents to Transition to Assisted Living

Help for Anxiety in the Elderly

Assisted Living Questions and Answers

All About Hiring In-Home Help

Getting the Right Testing for Dementia

Be Aware of Bone Diseases in the Elderly

FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

Elder Abuse Questions and Answers

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

My Review of LifeStation Medical Alert System

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

The No. 1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip 

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How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

 

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

 

 

Elevated toilet seats are great for improving safety and ease for the elderly when getting onto and off of the toilet.

For some reason, toilets are generally made quite low.  As with any surface, getting onto and off of a lower height is more difficult than when a surface is higher.

When you throw being elderly and having more trouble with strength and flexibility into the mix, then low toilets can be a real problem.

Elevated toilet seats simply raise the height of the toilet seat to make this easier. They come in many shapes and sizes so it’s important to choose one that will fit your toilet.

It is also important they are a good fit for your elderly loved one.  If elevated toilet seats are too low or high, they can actually not be helpful or even increase the risk of falls.

This article is written to provide you with all the details you’ll need to find the right elevated toilet seat for your elderly parent.

 

 

 

Elevated toilet seats are designed for anyone with decreased strength, endurance and balance. Seniors fit into this category. Installing a raised toilet seat is an excellent way to reduce the risk of falls. Elderly with extreme balance problems, however, or who need an extremely sturdy surface might consider a commode with no wheels instead. 

 

 

Elevated Toilet Seat Recommended Features

 

 

The most important feature of a raised toilet seat is that it fits your toilet properly.

 

 

 

The things to consider for fit are:

 

  • Height: See “How to Fit” section below for details of how to choose the proper height
  • Shape: There are SO many different shaped toilets, you have to make sure your elevated toilet seat is the right shape for the toilet
  • Closure Type: Some come with no closure (and this is ok on some toilets), others have a front securing mechanism or side tighteners to secure the elevated toilet seat on better
  • Peri-area fit: One common complaint  about raised toilet seats is that the male genitals do not fit properly in some of the toilet seats. For more portly gentleman or those with difficulties with swollen prostate, consider a large sloped opening at the front of the elevated toilet seat.
  • Cleaning: Consider which type would be easiest to clean

 

 

 

Warning: Raised Toilet Seats with Arms 

 

If a person has poor strength and difficulty with balance, they sometimes will put too much weight on one of the arms and flip the elevated seat off. This, of course, is opposite to the point of an elevated toilet seat – which is to improve safety.  For this reason, keep in mind that a raised toilet seat with arms is best for someone who’s balance is reasonable unimpaired.

If you feel arms are needed but you’re not sure your elderly loved one has the strength and balance to manage a raised toilet seat with arms, consider toilet safety rails or a commode over the toilet.

 

 

 

 

 

Raised Toilet Seat Accessories

 

Raised seats come in many shapes and sizes (just like toilets):

 

  • Different heights: 2″, 3″, 4″
  • Different openings
    • Some are built for petite elderly or women
    • Some are built with men in mind with a larger sloped front opening
  • Different style closures: front tighteners, side tighteners
  • Different shapes: round, oblong, etc. to fit on different shaped toilets
  • Padded
  • Arms: some elevated seats come with arms, these are not always a safe feature
  • Metal fastening system: some come with a metal fastening system on the bottom. These can be more cumbersome, difficult to fit and harder to clean

How to Fit the Raised Toilet Seat

 

Make sure it will fit – it is surprising how many different designs of toilets there are. The only true way of knowing is through trial and error but keeping this in mind while shopping can help:

 

 

Seat Height:

Make sure the raised toilet seat doesn’t make the total seat height too high (for all users). This is difficult if the users are significantly different heights such as 5 foot compared to 6 foot.

You want the top of the raised toilet seat to be at least to the crease of the users knee and not too tall that they cannot touch the floor when sitting down.

They come in different heights such as 2″, 3″, 3.5″ and 4″.

A good rule of thumb is to have them sit on a surface where their knees are just above 90 degrees with their feet flat on the floor.

Measure this height and then subtract the height of the toilet seat without the toilet seat cover. That is approximately the right height for your elderly parent’s elevated seat.

 

 

How it Fastens:

Make sure elevated seats fasten securely. The last thing you want is a tipsy unstable elevated seat.

Some raised seats have no securing tighteners. These still work on some toilets for some people.

They are not suitable for people with very poor balance and a tendency to “plop” down when sitting as the seat will sometimes slide slightly in place and can cause a fall.

I prefer the designs that secure to the inside of the bowl rather than try to grip the outside of the bowl. They are more secure and have less tendency to loosen over time.

 

 

Weight Capacity:

Most elevated seats come with a weight capacity. Check it will properly support your loved one.

 

 

 

How to Use a Raised Toilet Seat

 

Once you have found the right fit and the elevated seat is secure, your elderly parent can start using it right away.

 

  • They approach it like any sitting surface by backing up until they feel the toilet at the back of their legs.
  • Then they take off their pants and sit down, trying to spread equal weight as they sit.
  • Getting up is the same.

 

If extra support is needed, you can consider toilet safety rails or a bathroom grab bar beside the toilet to go with the elevated toilet seat. Or an alternative is a portable commode.

 

 

Recommended:  Essential Medical Supply Elevated Toilet Seat with Padded Removable Arms

Locking Raised Toilet Seat solves your needs for a riser that fits most commercially available toilets. 5″ rise make it easier to get on and off toilet. The elevated toilet seat is designed for users who cannot get all the way down to their existing toilets especially users with hip and knee replacements.

Molded construction supports up to 300lbs and features padded removable arms for travel or easy transfer. Seat will lock securely on bowl with out the use of tools and the need to remove the existing toilet seat. It allows for and allows for easy tool free removal for privacy. Large 10″ x 9″ hole allows for easy use.  No latex.

 

View raised toilet seat choices at Amazon.

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Help Your Older Adult Move From the Wheelchair to the Toilet

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Best Hemorrhoid Treatment Product Reviews

Modifying Your Bathroom For Safety

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

Tips for Managing Foot Drop

 

Tips for Managing Foot Drop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foot drop is a muscular weakness or paralysis that makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes.

It’s also sometimes called drop foot, and can cause you to drag your foot on the ground when you walk.

Foot drop is a sign of an underlying problem rather than a condition itself. This could be muscular, caused by nerve damage in the leg, or the result of a brain or spinal injury.

Foot drop usually only affects one foot, but both feet may be affected, depending on the cause. It can be temporary or permanent.

 

 

Causes of Foot Drop

 

Foot drop is the result of weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the front part of your foot. This can be caused by a number of underlying problems:

 

 

Muscular Weakness

Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited genetic conditions that cause gradual muscle weakness and can sometimes lead to foot drop.

Foot drop can also be caused by other muscle wasting conditions, such as spinal muscular atrophy or motor neurone disease.

 

 

Peripheral Nerve Problems or Neuropathy

Foot drop is often caused by compression (squashing) of the nerve that controls the muscles that lift the foot.

Sometimes, nerves around the knee or lower spine can become trapped. The nerves in the leg can also be injured or damaged during hip replacement or knee replacement surgery.

Foot drop can sometimes be caused by nerve damage linked to diabetes (known as a neuropathy).

Inherited conditions that cause peripheral nerve damage and muscle weakness, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, can also sometimes lead to foot drop.

 

 

Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders

Foot drop can be caused by conditions that affect the brain or spinal cord, such as:

  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • multiple sclerosis

 

 

Diagnosing Foot Drop

Foot drop is often diagnosed during a physical examination. Your GP will look at the way you walk and examine your leg muscles.

In some cases, imaging tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound scan or computerized tomography (CT) scan, may be required.

Nerve conduction tests may be recommended to help locate where the affected nerve is damaged.

Electromyography, where electrodes are inserted into the muscle fibers to record the muscles’ electrical activity, may also be carried out at the same time.

 

 

Managing Foot Drop

 

If you have foot drop, you’ll find it difficult to lift the front part of your foot off the ground. This means you’ll have a tendency to scuff your toes along the ground, increasing your risk of falls. To prevent this, you may lift your foot higher than usual when walking.

Recovery depends on the cause of foot drop and how long you’ve had it. In some cases it can be permanent.

Making small changes in your home, such as removing clutter and using non-slip rugs and mats, can help prevent falls. There are also measures you can take to help stabilize your foot and improve your walking ability.

 

These measures include:

  • physiotherapy – to strengthen your foot, ankle and lower leg muscles
  • wearing an ankle-foot orthosis – to hold your foot in a normal position
  • electrical nerve stimulation – in certain cases it can help lift the foot
  • surgery – an operation to fuse the ankle or foot bones may be possible in severe or long-term cases

 

 

Ankle-Foot Orthosis for Drop Foot

 

An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) is worn on the lower part of the leg to help control the ankle and foot. It holds your foot and ankle in a straightened position to improve your walking.

If your GP thinks an AFO will help, they’ll refer you for an assessment with an orthotist (a specialist who measures and prescribes orthoses).

Wearing a close-fitting sock between your skin and the AFO will ensure comfort and help prevent rubbing. Your footwear should be fitted around the orthosis.

Lace-up shoes or those with Velcro fastenings are recommended for use with AFOs because they’re easy to adjust. Shoes with a removable inlay are also useful because they provide extra room. High-heeled shoes should be avoided.

It’s important to break your orthosis in slowly. Once broken in, wear it as much as possible while walking because it will help you walk more efficiently and keep you stable.

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Drop Foot

 

In some cases, an electrical stimulation device, also known as a TENS machine, can be used to improve walking ability. It can help you walk faster, with less effort and more confidence.

Two self-adhesive electrode patches are placed on the skin. One is placed close to the nerve supplying the muscle and the other over the center of the muscle. Leads connect the electrodes to a battery-operated stimulator, which is the size of a pack of cards and is worn on a belt or kept in a pocket.

The TENS stimulator produces electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves to contract (shorten) the affected muscles. The stimulator is triggered by a sensor in the shoe and is activated every time your heel leaves the ground as you walk.

For long-term use, it may be possible to have an operation to implant the electrodes under your skin. The procedure involves positioning the electrodes over the affected nerve while you’re under general anesthetic.

 

 

Recommended:   The TEC.BEAN Rechargeable TENS Unit

 

 

TEC.BEAN Rechargeable Tens EMS Unit with 16 Modes and 8 Pads Pulse Impulse Pain Relief Massager

 

 

Video:  See Foot Drop Treatment Using a TENS Device

 

 

 

Surgery For Drop Foot

 

Surgery may be an option in severe or long-term cases of foot drop that have caused permanent movement loss from muscle paralysis.

The procedure usually involves transferring a tendon from the stronger leg muscles to the muscle that should be pulling your ankle upwards.

Another type of surgery involves fusing the foot or ankle bones to help stabilize the ankle.

Speak to your GP or orthopedic foot and ankle specialist if you’re thinking about having surgery for foot drop. They’ll be able to give you more information about the available procedures and any associated pros and cons.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

What Caregivers Should Know About Sciatica Pain

Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviewed

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Hands Free Shoes That Make Dressing Easier

10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

10 Simply Fabulous Arthritis Aids

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

 

 

The toilet seat should not be overlooked as a way to help a loved one stay independent as long as possible. It also can be a location of great concern for those prone to falling or for caregivers who must help transfer their loved ones in order for them to use the toilet.

 

It may not be the household item that catches a person’s eye or thoughts while looking for hazards, but toilet seats have options available today that many caregivers are unaware of.

 

From extra padding to extra height, these specialized seats make it easier for elderly loved ones to get on and off the toilet. The industry, however, is bringing innovation one step forward with power-lift toilet seats.

 

 

Types of Power-Lift Toilet Seats

 

Spring-Powered Option Lift Toilet Seat

 

There are two main types of power-lift seats on the market. The first is a spring-powered option. It is already in an upright position when a loved one approaches it, not like the usual toilet seat. It hinges on the front and meets a person’s rear while they are standing. When a loved begins to sit back, the spring and hydraulic piston slowly lowers them to a seated position.

 

With this option, the device takes about 80 percent of the weight off the person using it. When a loved one is finished, he or she stands up independently, with the weight again being minimized by the hydraulics in the system.

 

Motorized Lift Toilet Seat

 

The second option is completely motorized, assuming 100 percent of a person’s weight. This is a great option for someone who needs full assistance.

 

It installs on the toilet and includes a hand controller for raising and lowering the seat. The controls help the seat meet a loved one in their standing position; then, with a small lean back, lowers them directly onto the toilet. When the person is finished, the controller again is available to lift a loved one to a complete standing position. For larger people, a dual-motor option can be bought for additional support.

 

A power-lift toilet seat is available in either a free-standing or wall-mounted product. The free-standing seats are able to be used bedside, which some people may prefer for flexibility.

 

Check With Your Medical Insurance Company Regarding a Lift Toilet Seat

 

The good news, if you are considering a purchase, is that if a physical deems this kind of support medically necessary, many insurance companies will help cover the cost. A caregiver can do some easy research to find out their loved ones’ benefits.

 

 

 

Would a Power-Lift Toilet Seat Be A Good Option For You?

 

Time in a bathroom is typically a very personal thing. Many loved ones may feel embarrassment needing assistance, especially if they still are very mentally aware and simply experiencing the standard bending/reaching issues that often come with age. With more progressive needs, an aide still must assist the person in getting on and off a toilet.

 

From another point of view, a power-lift toilet seat is an ideal option for someone in recovery from a surgery or illness. It helps people return home and stay home longer. From knee issues to back concerns, a long list can be made of times when a power-lift seat is beneficial. Toileting is one thing that no person can ignore, and a little help can go a long way for someone who just needs a boost.

 

Safety is of utmost importance to all those involved in caregiving. All power-lift toilet seats come with weight recommendations, but most are between 250 to 500 pounds. There are also bariatric versions available. The power-lift toilet seats help caregivers and loved ones alike, by promoting independence and dignity, while preventing injuries.

 

Falls are a big safety risk for people with uneven gait, or wobbly knees. Elderly people are especially at risk, as any caregiver will attest. A power-lift toilet seat tremendously minimizes that danger.

 

While these products were designed originally for hospitals and other care facilities, they are now available for the consumer. Caregivers are thankful for fewer falls and trips to the emergency room, and loved ones are grateful for regaining a sense of self-worth and respect.

 

 

The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems)

 

 

 

EZ-ACCESS Tilt Toilet Lift

I recommend the TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems) as the best solution to help prevent falls in the bathroom while using the toilet.

This device lowers users to and from the commode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift provides comfort and safety along with the functionality of a heavy duty commode lift chair. This lift is compatible with both standard and elongated toilet seats.This toilet lift accommodates users 5’2” to 6’4” and bowl heights from 14” to 21”, and has a weight capacity of 325 lbs.

 

 

 

Tilt Down Seat Up

 

 

 

 

The TILT™ is equipped with Companion Control to allow the user or caregiver to easily operate the seat with the push of a button.The TILT™ is designed for easy installation and comes with a 2-year warranty.  The TILT™ is made in the USA.

 

 

 

 

Features of the TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems) :

 

  • The unit is lightweight, yet strong and durable.
  • Easy installation – typically less than 15minutes.  The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift is compatible with both standard and elongated toilet seats.
  • The TILT™ offers great stability, as the TILT attaches directly to the bowl, rather than pushing the unit over the commode.
  • The TILT™ moves the user 7-1/2” forward, which is ideal for clearing obstructions and rising from the bowl. This also positions the user’s shoulders over their feet for optimal balance and positioning.
  • Arms remain at a constant positioning angle, which keeps the elbow of the user slightly bent to maximize their ideal strength position in order to exit the seat. The low angle of the unit allows for easier lateral transfers from mobile devices, chairs, transport chairs, and bath seats.
  • In the down position, the arms are lower than the seat for a slideboard transfer. The hand grips feature non-slip covers.
  • The assembly is protected by a plastic shield, which can easily be removed for cleaning.
  • Unit accommodates users 5’2” to 6’4” and bowl heights from 14” to 21”.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Help Your Older Adult Move From the Wheelchair to the Toilet

How to Buy a Power Lift Recliner Chair

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Best Hemorrhoid Treatment Product Reviews

Modifying Your Bathroom For Safety

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

 

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Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. In fact, one out of every three seniors falls every year.

 

 

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Last year alone, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, but you can drastically reduce the chances of this happening to your loved one.

 

 

Why are Seniors at a High Risk of Falling?

 

Several factors contribute to the fact that seniors fall so much more frequently than younger people:

 

 

Lack of Physical Activity
Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance, and reduced flexibility.

 

 

Impaired Vision


This includes age-related vision diseases, as well as not wearing glasses that have been prescribed. 

Further reading: Help For Low Vision

 

 

Medications


Sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs, plus taking multiple medications are all implicated in increasing risk of falling.

 

 

Diseases


Health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis cause weakness in the extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.

 

 

Surgeries


Hip replacements and other surgeries leave an elderly person weak, in pain and discomfort and less mobile than they were before the surgery.

 

 

Environmental Hazards


One third of all falls in the elderly population involve hazards at home. Factors include: poor lighting, loose carpets and lack of safety equipment.

However, falls are not an inevitable part of growing older. Many falls can be prevented, by making the home safer and using products that help keep seniors more stable and less likely to fall.

 

 

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Preventing Falls in an Elderly Person’s Home

 

(Don’t Procrastinate – Follow These Tips Today!)

 

 

 

 

Caregivers can do several things to make the home safer for their senior mom or dad, and avoid those emergency room visits.

 

  • Install safety bars, grab bars or handrails in the shower or bath.

 

 

 

  • Install at least one stairway handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps.

 

  • Make sure stairs are sturdy with strong hand railings.

 

 

  • Make sure rugs, including those on stairs, are tacked to the floor.

 

  • Remove loose throw rugs.

 

  • Avoid clutter. Remove any furniture that is not needed. All remaining furniture should be stable and without sharp corners, to minimize the effects of a fall.

 

  • Change the location of furniture, so that your elderly parent can hold on to something as they move around the house.

 

  • Do not have electrical cords trailing across the floor. Have additional base plugs installed so long cords are not necessary.

 

  • Have your parent wear non-slip shoes or slippers, rather than walking around in stocking feet.

 

I like these slip resistant self adhesive shoe sole pads, which work on men or women’s shoes or slippers.

 

 

 

  • Keep frequently used items in easy-to-reach cabinets.

 

  • Keep the water heater thermostat set at 120 degrees F, or lower, to avoid scalding and burns.

 

  • Wipe up spills and remove broken glass immediately.

 

  • Use a grasping tool to get at out-of-reach items, rather than a chair or stepladder.

 

 

 

 

 

Tools and Equipment to Increase Safety

 

 

Monitors and Sensor Pads

 

 

Sensors work well for the bed, chair, or toilet. The pads electronically detect the absence of pressure, which in turn sends an electronic signal to the monitor setting off an alarm.

Used on a bed, the pressure pads can be under or on top of the mattress. They are very thin, so they do not disturb sleeping and are plugged into the monitor via a telephone type line. Chair and toilet sensors work in the same way.

 

 

 

 

There are also pad monitors, like this Floor Pressure Sensor Mat, that detect and sound an alarm if a person steps on the pad (detects pressure).

This type of pad can be used beside the bed, in a hallway or in front of a chair while the person is seated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Mats

 

 

 

Fall mats are used in areas where a person could be injured from a fall on a hard floor such as the side of a bed, by a toilet or in front of a chair.

They are cushioned floor mats of various sizes 1-inch or 2-inches thick with beveled edges. They cushion the fall and prevent injuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab Bars

 

Grab bars provide extra stability and assistance during transfers. They are typically installed in areas where a senior may need something to hold on to for added balance. Bathrooms are a common location for grab bars, since they can help seniors sit down and get up from the toilet and enter and exit the bathtub or shower safely.

 

Further reading and examples:

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

 

 

 

Use a Shower Chair and/or Transfer Bench

 

 

 

When getting in and out of the tub, transfer benches provide stability and help the caregiver get the elderly seniors in and out of the tub safely, without injuring the elderly person or the caregiver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When getting in and out of the tub, transfer benches provide stability and help the caregiver get the elderly seniors in and out of the tub safely, without injuring the elderly person or the caregiver.

 

Further reading:

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Buying Guide

 

 

 

 

Anti-Slip Mats

 

Install anti-slip mats on the bath tub or shower floor. The hard rubber material prevents the elderly person from slipping and provides stability.

 

 This Gorilla Grip Bath and Shower Mat features excellent gripping and fits any size bathtub.

 

You can also throw in your washing machine!  Wash on cold with gentle detergent (no bleach), and air dry.

 

 

Note that while the Gorilla Grip mat features hundreds of suction cups, textured and tiled floors do not allow for the suction cup to properly adhere to your surface, so this mat is recommend for smooth surfaces only. 

 

 

 

 

 

For showers, I recommend this Jobar Fast-Drying Bath/Shower Rug. 

It adheres really well to tile and textured shower flooring, and customers have washed it successfully in the washing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canes and Walkers

 

 

 

Canes and walkers help seniors feel steady on their feet. Make sure the mobility device you choose is the correct height for your elderly parent, and has rubber tip or other traction on the bottom, for safety.

Further reading:

How to Choose the Right Walking Cane

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socks, Shoes and Slippers

 

 

 

Wearing properly fitted, low-heeled, non-slip footwear for walking and transferring provides traction and is much safer than going barefoot or wearing normal socks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many socks and shoes are available with non-skid treads on the bottom to reduce slipping accidents. These Unisex Hospital and Homecare Socks pictured above are a good choice.  You also can find a wide variety of non-slip socks on Amazon.

 

For more safe shoe and slipper tips, read:  

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift Slings and Patient Body Lifts

 

 

 

 

Lift slings are used in conjunction with several caregivers or a body lift to move an elderly person who is unable to move themselves from bed to a wheelchair or chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 3 common reasons that caregivers may need a lift: if the elderly parent is too heavy to be transferred without assistance; to prevent injury to the caregiver; and to prevent the elderly person from injury or falling. 

 

Further Reading:

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Reading:

How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris, 3rd Edition

 

 

How to Care for Aging Parents, a One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial Housing, and Emotional Issues, is considered “the bible of eldercare”.  It is a clear, comforting source of advice for those who care for an elderly parent, relative, or friend.

This book is in it’s third edition, and fully updated with the most recent medical findings and recommendations. 

Read reviews.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Buying Guide

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Should You Install Bed Rails?

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

Caregivers Can Reduce the Risks from Heavy Lifting

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

How to Choose the Right Walking Cane

Help For Low Vision

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

Studies Prove Blackcurrant Seed Oil Helps Arthritis

10 Simply Fabulous Arthritis Aids

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

Modifying Your Bathroom for Critical Illness

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As my mom’s liver cirrhosis progressed, she became increasingly weak and unbalanced. 

 

 

 

 

 

If she felt well enough to leave her bed, her time was spent on the couch in the family room.  She began to use a walker to avoid falls, and of course my dad was always around to make sure she was moving safely.  When it came time to shower, mom was nervous about losing balance, but wanted to maintain her privacy, so she would bathe with the door unlocked and my dad sitting on the bed just outside the ensuite bathroom.

 

Eventually, they decided to make some modifications to the bathroom in order for mom to feel safer and maintain her independence with personal grooming.  The company he called helped my Dad decide to make some changes to the shower and add a seat and some grab bars.  While they were at it, my Dad had the bathroom counters and sinks changed to update the whole look. When it was finished, the bathroom was lovely and fresh (not like a hospital, just modern and safe).

 

Unfortunately, mom spent a lot of time in the hospital after the renovations, so she was not able to make as much use of the upgrades as my dad had anticipated and hoped.  Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do at the time, and it made a difference in my mom’s quality of life when she was home.

 

In this post, I want to cover some considerations and options for modifying your bathroom to accommodate someone has chronic balance and/or mobility issues.  If you or a loved are feeling unsafe using the bathroom, it is important to assess and minimize your risks.  Sometimes, even something as simple as installing a grab bar can make the difference between a safe shower and falling hazard.

          

Aspects to Consider

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Independence in the bathroom is one of the most challenging tasks for accessibility and safety in the home.  No matter the disability, the bathroom is almost always one of the most challenging rooms to maneuver in. It is difficult to feel at home, let alone safe, if you don’t have secure access to your own bathroom. Achieving safety and independence with bathroom modifications is not only possible, but also customizable and can be attractive.

 

Modifying a bathroom is, by definition, a very personal project. It includes making alterations to a living space to meet the needs of physical limitations that people may be living with so that they can live a much more independent life.  A customized bathroom space will depend on an individual’s needs, preferences, and space available.  Also, a modified bathroom doesn’t have to look start or institutional; it can be as luxurious as you imagine it to be (and your budget allows).  You can install beautiful tile, stylish sinks and modern fixtures.  The look of your bathroom doesn’t have to suffer in order to accommodate accessibility, independence, and safety.

 

When modifying the bathroom, keep your focus on altering spaces for safe movement and creating a safe flow.

 

 Grab Bars

           

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Whether it’s for a person with a disability or the elderly, grab bars are one of the simplest ways to provide support and balance. They can be useful almost anywhere in the bathroom:

 

  • for getting on and off the toilet
  • for in and out of the tub
  • for stability in the shower or at the sink
  • as handrails for navigation about the space

 

You can choose from:

 

  • standard wall mounted grab bars
  • swing up grab bars
  • Super poles
  • handrails

 

Balance is a tremendous challenge for the seriously ill, disabled and the elderly.  It can be a simple adaptation that can save lives and provide a sense of security when navigating through the bathroom.

 

               

Barrier Free Showers

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Barrier-free showers are showers without a curb that are designed for easier entrance and exit. The floor of a barrier-free shower is level with the rest of the bathroom floor in order to eliminate the step or climb into the shower that can be difficult to navigate for anyone with a mobility issue.

 

Selected for its barrier-free design, ease of installation, structural base and integrated wood backing, this roll-in shower is ideal for residential use. The design minimizes the chances of being installed in a non-barrier free manner, having grab bars installed without proper backing, and also reduces installation costs by installing directly on floor joists, sub-flooring and concrete surface.

 

                   

Doored Bathtubs

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Doored bathtubs allow users to enter the bathtub without having to climb in. When the doors are swung open, an entryway a few inches above the floor is created. Once properly seated in the tub, water temperature adjustments are made easy with oversized faucet controls. Doored bathtubs may include hand-held showerheads, stationary showerheads or Jacuzzi water jets.

 

Doored bathtubs often have a low threshold door to enable easy entry and exit. They can be ordered with or without the upper surround wall. A bather can sit comfortably in a slightly reclined position or shower while standing or sitting. They are carefully designed to accommodate the user without sacrificing installation space and look polished in homes and institutions.  They are also available with a removable lift access cover or full front and side panels that can be installed either against a wall or in a corner.

 

Bathing can be incredibly challenging for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. Doored bathtubs are often designed with contoured seats for a safer transfer from wheelchair to bath and vice versa. Doored bathtub users can take a seated bath or use the seat as leverage and balance.

           

Water Containment Solutions

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Keeping water inside a shower/bath increases the safety factor of the whole bathroom.  You can find many options by contacting a company that specializes in bathroom modifications.

 

Collapsible Water Dam – Selected as a high quality option to control water spillage in barrier-free and roll-in showers, the collapsible dam is 1” high with strong self-adhesive bottom.

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Features:

  • Provides for water retention yet collapses when rolled over by a walker or wheelchair
  • Helps reduce maintenance in barrier-free showers

 

 

Corner Setting Half Height Bi-fold Shower Door – Half height design allows a caregiver to assist the user in showering, while controlling water and keeping caregiver dry.

 

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Once closed, the doors create a water barrier, ensuring that no water runs out of the shower, and controlling water splash. When opened, the doors allow full access to roll-in showers, walk-in showers and full barrier-free showers. These types of units are available in different sizes.

 

 Remember that if you or a loved one are unsteady, safety hazards in your bathroom deserve the highest consideration.  The bathroom is the site of many accidents and falls. 

 

Have you modified your bathroom for safety and accessibility or are you considering doing so?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

You may also be interested in:

Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Help Your Older Adult Move From the Wheelchair to the Toilet

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Buying a Stairlift

Guide to a Residential Elevator in Your Home

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Keep Your Elder Safe in Hot Weather


Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping your loved one staying safe and comfortable while enjoying the warm weather.

 

Elderly people (people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:

  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

It is critically important that adults particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses know how to safeguard against problems. Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body.

Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are forms of hyperthermia … older adults are at risk for these conditions, and this risk can increase with the combination of higher temperature, individual lifestyle and general health.

Lifestyle factors can include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions.

Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler spaces on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries.

Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

See Portable Air Conditioners – What to Consider

 

Factors that increase the risk of hyperthermia may include:

 

  • Dehydration.
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
  • Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
  • Alcohol use.

 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

 

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Skin: may be cool and moist
  • Pulse rate: fast and weak
  • Breathing: fast and shallow

 

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

 

Recommended: Lethmik Women’s Wide Brim Summer Hat, available in 11 color combinations!

Warm Weather Suggestion

On a hot summer’s day, a misting fan can be your loved one’s best friend, and provide insurance against heat risks. It works on the same principle of a humidifier, and its a great, inexpensive option for when and where you don’t have air conditioning.  Even in air-conditioned conditions, the misting fan helps to keep the moisture balance in the air, making it more comfortable and less irritating to the throat and eyes.

 

A misting fan blows a fine mist of water into the air and if the air isn’t humid, the mist evaporates, taking heat from the air with it. This allows the misting fan to work like an air cooler. In a dry climate, a misting fan can work very well outdoors.

I recommend the Designer Aire Indoor/Outdoor Misting Fan

 

 

  • Its beautiful styling to accent any indoor or outdoor living space
  • It is safe to leave outdoors: ETL “Wet Listed” safety rating with GFCI
  • The weight painted bases provide stability for windy conditions
  • The telescoping neck piece is height-adjustable

 

What You Can Do to Help Protect Elderly Relatives and Neighbors

If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help them protect themselves from heat-related stress:

Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level.

Warning: If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.

Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.

 

What You Can Do for Someone With Heat Stress

If you see any signs of severe heat stress, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency.

Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the affected person.

Do the following:

  • Get the person to a shady area.
  • Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the person with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101°–102°F
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

 

You May Also Be Interested In:

Important Tips to Keep Your Senior Hydrated

Plan Summer Outings With Your Senior

Portable Air Conditioners – What to Consider

Stroke – What You Need to Know

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Choosing a Transport Chair

Choosing a Walking Cane

Choosing a Medical Walker

Allergy Medications – Know All the Options

Easy Home First Aid Kit

Get Your Barbecue Ready For The Season

Healthy Ideas for the Grill and Barbecue

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

 

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

 

 

 

It’s not really news anymore – Americans as a rule are overweight. In fact, more than half of the population struggles with weight or is considered obese.

Yet, despite campaigns to bring awareness to the problem and the increased number of options for individuals to work through these issues, obesity continues to increase.

 

Individuals who are morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40) present even greater challenges for healthcare professionals and caregivers. Bariatric medicine is associated with the challenges and treatment of individuals who are obese.

 

While on the surface it may appear simple – losing weight equates to improved health – individuals who struggle with morbid obesity find that it is difficult to manage from day-to-day.

 

Caregivers face special challenges when helping their loved ones who are morbidly obese. There are emotional considerations for both themselves and their loved ones, physical challenges involving lifting, transferring, and transporting; and social stigma of obesity to name a few. Caregivers who find themselves in this position are in need of supportive care in order to overcome these obstacles.

 



 

Health Concerns and Obesity:

 

The list of health concerns related to obesity is quite lengthy. One of the most common issues is diabetes. Diabetes can be caused by either too little insulin being produced, a resistance to insulin the body does produce or even both. The American Diabetes Association states that the likelihood of developing diabetes is higher in persons who are obese.

 

Coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also related to obesity. In fact, individuals who are obese is considered a major risk factor for CHD and it could lead to heart attack.

 

The American Heart Association states, “Obesity harms more than just the heart and blood vessel system. It’s a major cause of gallstones and can worsen degenerative joint disease.” The risk of stroke is also increased when blood vessels or arteries that supply blood to the brain are damaged or blocked by a blood clot.

 

Cancer is also more prevalent in people who are obese. Men and women with higher BMI have increased incidences of cancers in the colon, esophagus, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and kidney. The Nurses’ Health Study even points increases of more than 20 pounds between age 18 to midlife can result in doubling the risk of women developing breast cancer.

 

Finally, mental health issues are also prevalent with obesity. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that individuals who are obese are 25% more likely to suffer from depression and mood disorders. Mood disorders encompass major depression, bipolar disorder and even panic disorders.

 

 

Healthcare Stigma:

 

With the health complications associated with obesity, it may be surprising to learn that healthcare professionals often hold negative attitudes or stereotypes of people who are obese.

 

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has been involved in researching subjects related to weight stigma in the healthcare industry. According to some of their studies, even those who are directly involved in the treatment of obese patients have negative biases of obese individuals.

 

Facing negative stereotypes may lead to less effective care and increased stigma, especially if the weight condition is perceived to be caused by a controllable situation (overeating vs. a medical condition such as thyroid disease).

 

Caregivers who come in contact with these biases need to learn positive ways to counteract them in a way that can gain access to care for their loved ones.

 

One of the best methods to overcome negative stereotypes is through education. The caregiver and the patient can research obesity, ways to overcome negative stereotypes, and join advocacy groups that can provide support.

 

Mutual support groups may be found through advocacy groups like Obesity Action (www.obesityaction.org) or through bariatric clinics in the community. Support groups are available for both the patient and the caregiver.

 

Another way to help overcome the associated stigma of obesity is to work with a cohesive team of healthcare professionals who are treating the patient. These could include a number of specialties including bariatric physicians and nurses, psychiatric specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, and possibly a respiratory therapist. By developing a solid cross-functional team, the patient and caregiver can provide consistent communication to each specialty and achieve a balance of care that may not be possible when physicians and other healthcare professionals are not coordinated in care provision.

 

 

Safety Concerns in the Home:

When considering the challenges of transporting, transferring, and caring for the morbidly obese patient, the caregiver needs to be especially aware of physical safety.

 

There is special medical equipment for bariatric patients that can help with these areas. Finding the one that works best may need some research – as well as trial and error.

 

Home health care options should be investigated in order to help provide patient care in the home in a safe manner. Some home health companies may be less willing to provide care, especially given the safety concerns. Others may be able to work with the family, but provide fewer services than the patient requires. For example, bathing and helping someone who is morbidly obese with activities of daily living may require the assistance of at least two persons.

 

Insurance companies, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, however, are not likely to pay for the costs of two home health workers in the home. The patient’s family may need to provide some assistance or work with the company to find ways to pay for the cost of an additional worker in the home.

 

 

Bariatric Home Equipment Options:

 

Bariatric walkers, wheelchairs, bedside commodes and patient lifts are available to help with patient care at home. The caregiver should research the various durable medical equipment (DME) companies that provide bariatric equipment and then investigate their options. Some equipment may be more helpful than others, and the home may need to be modified in order to use some of them.

 

Patient comfort is a consideration when choosing equipment to use in the home. If the device is safe, yet the patient does not feel comfortable using it, the caregiver may encounter resistance to its use. For example, the wheelchairs need to have adjustable widths and heights to provide stability and overall ease of use.
           
In addition, the caregiver needs to learn how to safely use the equipment. The supplier should provide training in how to use the product or suggest ways to obtain this training through the manufacturer.

Until the caregiver has become familiar with using the equipment, he or she should refrain from using it as it could lead to other safety or health issues.
           
Durability is also another area to consider when choosing equipment. The caregiver may want to consider:

 

  • Is it reliable?
  • Is it constructed of durable products that can support the patient’s weight?
  •  Can it be delivered immediately?
  •  What is the warranty available on the product?
  •  If the patient’s weight increases, will the equipment still be safe to use?
  •  Is assembly of the product required at home? If so, is the DME supplier prepared to  assist with this?

 

Sleep apnea is another associated health risk that could require special medical equipment in the home. Sleep apnea occurs when the patient stops breathing for short periods of time during the evening. Persons who are obese are especially at risk of developing sleep apnea.

 

A continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine is often used to treat sleep apnea at home. These machines are prescribed by a doctor and work to provide a constant flow of air to hold the patient’s airway open in order to provide uninterrupted breathing while the patient sleeps. Additional CPAP supplies can be found in medical supply stores and online. There are a variety of these machines available on the market, and while they are similar, some may pose challenges in using if the caregiver or patient is not familiar with the device. 

 

In-Patient or Nursing Home Care Considerations:
           
In some cases the patient is not able to rehabilitate or continue to live at home. Various challenges that exist at home such as proper diet, supervision, and continued health problems may necessitate either short-term or long-term placement in an in-patient or nursing home environment. When this happens, caregivers should consider special accommodations for the patient who is morbidly obese.
           
Some of the same alternatives at home should be taken into consideration in an in-patient environment.

 

These may include:

 

  •  Is the facility willing to accept a morbidly obese patient? Some are not willing to risk caregiver safety given the special challenges in lifting, moving, and transferring a morbidly obese patient.
  •  Will the physician team provide care in the facility or will there be new physicians to coordinate the care plan? Some facilities allow outside physicians while others use in-house or on-call physicians to provide care.
  •  What level of rehabilitation care is provided?
  •  How long will insurance(s) cover the cost of in-patient care?

 

There are many issues to consider when looking for a quality in-patient or nursing home facility. While the larger issues of inpatient care should be considered, caregivers need to ask specific questions that pertain to care of a morbidly obese person and the facility’s ability to respond to those issues.
           

Clearly it is a challenge to provide care both at home and in a facility setting for someone who is morbidly obese. Some individuals may thrive in this type of care and their health may improve. Other caregivers may find that they need more supportive services in the community or from the healthcare system in order to be successful.

 

It is important to keep active communication about these types of issues since the health ramifications of obesity are often chronic and lead to serious complications.

 

Please share your thoughts and experience in the comment section below.

 

You may also be interested in:

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Find the Best Bathroom Scale for Your Needs

Your Guide to Diabetes

Dealing With Diabetes Complications

Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

Compression Therapy for Lymphedema

Stasis Dermatitis Leg and Foot Condition

How to Choose a Walking Cane

Finding the Right Power Wheelchair

High Blood Pressure – Take Control

What To Do About Sleep Apnea

Stroke – What You Need to Know

Hiring In-Home Help

Coping With Incontinence

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

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