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.

 

 

Examples:

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

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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?

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

The No. 1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip 

About Me

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Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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”.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you with some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

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

Tips For Easier Senior Car Travel

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

 

 

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.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Choosing a Medical Walker

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Create Your Own Blog

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.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

Incontinence Care Products at Northshore Care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exercising With Parkinson’s Disease

Exercising With Parkinson’s Disease

 

Image result for parkinson's exercise

 

A Guide to Being Physically Active With Parkinson’s

 

 

Research has shown that regular exercise benefits people with Parkinson’s disease

Exercise:

  • reduces stiffness
  • improves mobility, posture, balance and gait

Aerobic exercise increases oxygen delivery and neurotransmitters to keep our heart, lungs, and nervous system healthy. General exercise may also reduce depression. Learning-based memory exercises can also help keep our memory sharp.

 

 

Best Exercise Options for People with Parkinson’s Disease

 

There is increasing evidence that aerobic and learning-based exercises could be neuroprotective in aging individuals and those with neurodegenerative disease.  

Facilitating exercise programs that challenge our heart and lungs as well as promote good biomechanics, good posture, trunk rotation and normal rhythmic, symmetric movements are the best.  Dancing to music may be particularly good for decreasing stiffness.

Although research on this subject is ongoing, it does appear that beyond aerobic activities performed with healthy movement patterns, exercises challenging the individual to change tempo, activity, or direction (what is referred to as “random practice” exercise) benefits people with Parkinson’s disease. 

It is also important to keep variety in exercise activities, because individuals with Parkinson’s disease often have difficulty in shifting from one activity to another or in performing two activities at the same time. Exercises that require balance and preparatory adjustment of the body are also important along with rhythmic activities such as dancing, skipping and cycling can maintain the ability to perform reciprocal movements.   Finally, exercises that promote attention and learning are beneficial.

 

Types of exercises that do this:

  • Walking outside or in a mall
  • Dancing
  • Yoga classes
  • Tai Chi classes
  • Stepping over obstacles
  • Marching to music with big arm swings
  • Sports (ping pong, golf, tennis, volleyball)
  • Aerobic/Jazzercise classes  

 

Types of exercises that promote cardiopulmonary fitness:

  • Paced walking (treadmill walking at different speeds and different inclines)
  • Hiking using walking sticks
  • Swimming with different strokes with the eyes open and closed not only challenge motor learning but also increase heart rate and provide good cardiopulmonary conditioning.

 

Types of exercise that do NOT challenge motor planning:

  • Riding a stationary bicycle without doing other activities
  • Weight lifting
  • Treadmill walking at a slow speed
  • Lap swimming can be very habitual and also automatic.  

 

These exercises for cardiovascular, endurance and strengthening could be enriched by performing simultaneous activities such as reading, writing, problem solving, singing, watching the news or a movie or throwing and catching balls. Exercises that demand attention, repetition, progression of difficulty with spaced practice over time are the best exercise routines to promote learning.

A note on bicycling: Parkinson’s disease impairs balance and reaction time. Traditional bicycles may pose a safety risk for some patients. Stationary, tandem and three-wheeled bikes are safe alternatives.

 

Example: Sunny Health Recumbent Bike (300 lb capacity)

 

 

Parkinson’s Study Shows a Specific Type of Treadmill Exercise Improves Walking in Patients With Parkinson’s

 

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that Parkinson’s patients who walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed for a longer duration—what’s considered a low-intensity exercise— improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline, a high-intensity exercise. They also found benefits for stretching and resistance exercises.

“Our study showed that low-intensity exercise performed for 50 minutes three times a week was the most beneficial in terms of helping participants improve their mobility,” says Lisa Shulman, MD, principal investigator and professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Walking difficulty is the major cause of disability in Parkinson’s disease. These results show that exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease can make a difference in their function. Exercise may, in fact, delay disability and help to preserve independence.

“Many patients ask us what kind of exercise they should be doing. Now we can tell them that this research shows that low-intensity walking, which most people with Parkinson’s can do, combined with stretching and resistance training may be the best option,” adds Dr. Shulman, who is also co-director of the Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The study compared 67 people with Parkinson’s disease who were randomly assigned to one of three exercise groups: walking on a treadmill at low intensity for 50 minutes, higher-intensity treadmill training to improve cardiovascular fitness for 30 minutes, and using weights (leg presses, extensions and curls) and stretching exercises to improve muscle strength and range of motion. Participants exercised three times a week for three months under the supervision of exercise physiologists at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. “We saw positive effects with all three types of exercise, but the low-intensity training showed the most consistent improvement in gait and mobility,” says Dr. Shulman.

“To maintain the best possible quality of life, people with Parkinson’s disease need practical, evidence-based advice about what kind of exercise will most benefit them over the long term. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has aimed to answer this question in its exercise funding to investigators such as Dr. Lisa Shulman and her team,” says Todd Sherer, PhD, chief program officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The Maryland research team measured participants’ cardiovascular fitness before and after training, and found cardiovascular improvement in both the low- and high-intensity groups. Other measurements included the distance covered in a six-minute walk and timed tests of walking short distances, such as 50 feet.

“The results of this study provide practical information to people with Parkinson’s disease to make decisions about managing their health and well-being. Our University of Maryland faculty members are committed to testing new approaches, such as exercise, to help patients,” says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, and dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

 

This Exerpeutic F2000 Recovery Fitness Walking Treadmill with Full Length Hand Rails is specifically designed for seniors and people in recovery.

 

 

Avoid Strength Training

Weight lifting is NOT the best choice of an exercise program for the person with Parkinson’s disease, particularly if it is the only exercise activity.  Individuals need to be careful how they perform strengthening exercises to minimize increasing stiffness and rigidity. When performed properly, strengthening exercises do have some value.

As one ages, more exercise must be performed to maintain muscle mass.  Muscle mass and strength allow an individual to complete daily chores and to maintain balance.  Additionally, strengthening postural muscles may help to maintain a more upright posture. Integrative, functional exercises other than weight-training may strengthen muscles in ways that are more beneficial to individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

 

Examples of alternative exercises to weight lifting:

  • Activities in a standing position strengthen legs
  • Pushing up to rise on the toes
  • Modified squats
  • Repetitively rising and sitting from a chair
  • Wearing ankle and wrist weights around the house or out on a walk
  • Push-ups or wall push-ups for arms

 

Light weights are just as effective as heavy weights in maintaining muscle tone and do not increase stiffness as much.  Walking with ankle weights and wrist weights can help strengthen while encouraging increased awareness of arm swinging and high stepping.

Example: These Nordic Lifting 5 lb Ankle/Wrist Weights are fully adjustable to fit anyone, and can be used on either the ankles or wrists.

 

Moderation is the best word for strength training without other forms of exercise. However, integrating strengthening and flexibility exercises into aerobic, rhythmic and learning-based exercise routines that are fun, engaging, progressing in difficulty and rewarding are the best.

 

Swimming is a Good Second Choice Activity

Swimming provides good cardiopulmonary training and maintains muscle strength.  However, lap swimming does not challenge balance or stimulate variety of movements.  Therefore, lap swimming is a second choice activity. However, since the arms, legs and head may be doing different things, it may increase coordination.  The resistance of the water increases stiffness in some people and decreases it in others.

 

Activities to try:

  • Adding resistance with paddles and trunk support – provides more opportunity for reciprocal movements and circling movements of the arms and the legs
  • Rolling and somersaults – in the pool are good for those who are particularly comfortable in the water

 

A Caution About Swimming

For individuals with Parkinson’s disease who have difficulty in breathing, swimming may not be a comfortable aerobic activity. Thus, swimming may be an appropriate choice of exercise for individuals who have enjoyed it in the past and are comfortable with the techniques and those with musculoskeletal conditions particularly of the knee and back. Swimming using certain strokes can also help increase shoulder range of motion.

 

Decreasing Muscle Stiffness With Specific Exercises

Exercises that require large, rhythmical movements through a full range of motion have been shown to decrease rigidity.  For example, in a program of aerobic exercise using music, there was a reduction in rigidity in 9 out of 10 participants immediately after the exercise program.

 

Exercises to decrease stiffness:

  • Large, rhythmical movements
  • Rotating the trunk
  • Vibration, rocking and swinging

 

Other considerations to decrease stiffness:

  • Avoiding tremors (e.g. touching the limb that is shaking to quiet the movement) can also decrease tension 
  • Decreasing stress in ones life – having fun, thinking positively about planning and carrying out challenging, socially engaging and learning-based activities
  • Cooling or warming the tense extremity can sometimes be helpful.

 

The Effect of Medication on Exercise

The best time to exercise is when mobility is best. For individuals who take medications for Parkinson’s disease, the best level of function often occurs about 1 hour after a dose of medications.  The answer to this question varies by individual. The individual reaction to the medication is also important.

 

Frequency of Exercise

The guidelines for people with Parkinson’s disease are no different from those without the disease (i.e. 4-5 times a week for at least 30-40 minutes).  This assumes that your heart is beating at 70 to 80% of maximum (220 – your age times 70 or 80%).

 

Make Exercise Fun:

Engage in group exercise, movement or dancing classes.  For many, participating in activities with other people, can be more stimulating and increase compliance.

 

Stay active and integrate exercise into your usual day:

  • Walk whenever possible instead of driving
  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • Take regular 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes (lifting the arms up over your head, performing wall glides, breathing diaphragmatically, getting up to get a glass of water, or putting theraband exercise bands on chairs to work on some strengthening)
  • Avoid long periods of time watching TV and or using a computer

 

Example: These exercise bands are a great way to gently work muscles at home.

 

They come in 5 strengths, and can be used for a variety of exercises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Down After Exercise

A “cool-down period” is important.  After exercise, allow yourself a longer time for a cool-down than others would need (Individuals who exercised before developing Parkinson’s disease typically double their cool-down time).  

 

A cool-down period accomplishes 2 goals:

1)      Promotes a slow decrease in heart rate

2)      Allows the muscles time to cool down gradually so they do not become stiff.  

A cool-down period consists of the same exercise activity but at a progressively slower pace.  During the cool-down, all muscles need to go through a slow, full range of motion.  If you feel exhausted and want to fall asleep immediately after exercise, then you are not cooling down slowly enough.

 

Daily Learning

If you listen to the news, talk to someone about it.  Listen to educational programs and discuss what you learned.  Do crossword puzzles or participate in memory training programs on the web or from a CD.

 

Getting Out Regularly

If you are retired, consider volunteering your time to help others ( e.g. Red Cross, Meals on Wheels).  Move about in the community and learn the tricks of keeping your eyes on a target to improve stability. Carry a cane to let people know that it would be best not to bump you.

See Choosing a Walking Cane

 

Practice Writing

Learn to hold your pen lightly and write with big cursive type movements. Consider making the surface of your pen rough or sticky. This will help decrease the force of your squeezing the pen. Write by moving the whole arm, not just the fingers.  Practice writing to music and even say the words out loud as you write. Circle making big movements.

 

Your Voice Needs Exercise, Too

Talk slowly, clearly and loudly with a lot of expression of your eyes and your face. Have everyone speak loudly and slowly. If you find you continue to talk softly and quickly and people are having difficulty understanding you, then ask a friend to read and record some passages from a book. Then you put the head set on and hear your friends voice as you read the same passages.  This may strengthen the learning.

 

 

Helpful Walking Techniques

Often individuals with Parkinson’s disease have problems with abruptly halting or “freezing,” when walking.

 

To help decrease freezing, try:

  • Reciprocal arm swinging
  • High long steps
  • Scanning the environment and using visual fixation on an object in the distance or auditory cues (listening to music, singing to yourself, counting)
  • Thinking about making big steps to clear obstacles on the floor or marching (high steps)
  • Walking hand-in-hand, swinging the arms with a friend or family member
  • Having someone place their foot in front of you as a cue to step high and over
  • One person found that throwing pennies and stepping over them was helpful (“But,” he added, “don’t bend down to pick them up.”). 
  • Loud rhythmical clapping
  • Paced walking with high stepping. 
  • Using walking sticks (using them for sensory feedback and sense of stability may be more important than using a cane. Of course, using a cane or a walker can be helpful if there is a lot of weakness and stiffness.) 

Pushing one’s self to stay active should be the goal.

 

See Choosing the Right Medical Walker

 

 

Getting Out of Bed

For some people with Parkinson’s disease, getting out of bed may become difficult. First, you might practice rolling on your bed. Roll back and forth and get a rhythm. Then with some momentum, roll to your side and come to sitting. You might have a dresser near the side of your bed so you could touch the dresser for stability if you need to.

When specifically trying to come to sitting from lying in bed, roll over on your side. Push on your elbow and let your feet come over the edge of the bed and then sit up at the edge.  Sit there for a minute to adjust and then rise to stand and then walk. This technique is not only easier but better for your back.

 

This Stander Bed Cane can provide much needed support for getting out of bed.

 

 

Techniques to make it easier to move around in bed:

  • Wear satin pajamas or use satin sheets (but not both). 
  • Practice standing up and sitting down quickly from a chair without using your hands, to improve your transitional movement skills
  • Practice getting up quickly from a chair and taking a few big steps and then turn around and go sit back down. 
  • Practice safe skills by climbing and descending stairs.  

If you are seeing a physical therapist, the last three bullets are some of the activities that should be practiced.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Exercise is a vital part of daily life for all people who want to stay fit and healthy. For people with Parkinson’s disease, however, it is more than just about staying healthy. For them, the right exercises can improve vital aspects of daily living, such as mobility and maintaining balance. Those with Parkinson’s Disease should speak with their doctor or an advisory group to work out a specific program to help them start or maintain an exercise program.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Modifying Your Bathroom for Critical Illness

https://www.angieslist.com/files/prevent%20falls%20aging%20in%20place.jpg

 

 

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

http://retirementforseniors.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/modifying-a-home-for-a-seni.jpg

 

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

 

 

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

 

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You can help stop this from happening!

 

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.

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.  See 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.

 

 

Preventing Falls in an Elderly Person’s Home

 

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(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

 

 

Consider 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lay Down Some 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.

 

 

 

 

Install 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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some practical ideas for preventing seniors falls.  I also recommend reading the posts linked below on the right lighting and practical shoes for the elderly.

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

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

Practical Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Buying Guide

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Choosing the Right Personal Medical Alert System

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

 

 

 

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

 

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