Choosing a Medical Walker

 

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

 

 

 

If your loved one is feeling weak and unsteady, it may be time to consider a walking aid. 

My mother became quite weak and unbalanced as a result of extended periods of being bedridden and muscle wasting.  She first began to use a walker when it was provided in the hospital for her to use to get to the bathroom and to walk in the hallway if she was able.

It can be difficult to see someone you knew as able bodied suddenly using (and needing) a walking aid because it is a stark reminder of their illness and disability.  This was early enough in the disease that Mom was having some periods of stability; so when she was discharged from the hospital, it was necessary to look into purchasing her own walker.

 

My parents purchased a terrific walker with a basket and a seat, and Mom found it very useful for when she was able to go out for short walks and visits, and for attending medical appointments.  Her walker was a “rollator” type, meaning it had wheels on it.  Hers was a four-wheel walker which allowed her to place weight on the walker as she  moved.

Later on, when Mom was back in the hospital, she brought her own walker with her, and was glad to have it with her, as it was the proper size and she was used to it.

 

 


Good Example:  The Drive Medical Adjustable Height Rollator with 6″ Wheels  includes an adjustable seat and handlebar height and offers great comfort and support.

 

The rollator frame’s height can be adjusted from 18in. to 22in. in 1in. increments and the height of handles adjusts from 29.5in. to 38in. This aluminum frame rollator comes with deluxe loop brakes for added security and features removable, padded backrest and padded seat with zippered pouch. It requires only simple, tool-free assembly.  You can see more details on the Drive Rollator here.

 

 

 

 

Considerations for Choosing Your Medical Walker

 

 

Will you be using it outdoors as well as indoors?

If using it outdoors you should consider looking at a rollator with larger wheels on it as they will be more stable outside. Wider wheels also track better over rougher surfaces.

 

 

Will you be lifting onto a bus, up stairs, or into a vehicle? 

Lighter weight walkers are better if you are lifting the walker. You also want to look at whether you have to remove the basket before it can be folded and if so how easy is it to remove.

 

 

Do you have limited space for storing it?

If you have a small home you should look at walkers that fold up smaller and can stand on their own when folded so they can easily be stored in a closet or hallway.

 

 

Note that basic walkers (without wheels) are also an option.  They are called “standard walkers,” and are designed  for people for whom stability is a significant concern.

 

 

Recommended Basic Walker – The Invacare I-Class Dual-Release Lightweight Folding Walker comes with a deep, wide frame with a large number of height adjustments. The walker features a lower side brace for added stability and is easy to lift and maneuver. It has anti-rattle silencers that provide quieter operation and PVC handgrips for comfort and long-lasting wear. 

 

The drawback with standard walkers is that you must pick up and move it as you walk.  Most people end up choosing between two-wheel and four-wheel walkers.

 

 

 

Fitting Your Walker

 

The walker should be adusted so that it fits your arms comfortably. This will reduce stress on your shoulders and back as you use the walker. To tell if your walker is the correct height, step inside your walker and:

 

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  • Check your elbow bend. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, place your hands on the grips. Your elbows should bend at a comfortable angle of about 15 degrees.

 

  • Check your wrist height. Stand inside the walker and relax your arms at your sides. The top of your walker should line up with the crease on the inside of your wrist.

 

 

Other Fitting Considerations

 

Walkers have adjustable arms that allow you to raise or lower the push handles.

 

  • The height of the seat will vary from person to person and depend on leg strength; tall people with good leg strength sometimes prefer a lower seat, even though they might be measured for a higher one.

 

  • Shorter individuals might be measured for a low seat, but prefer a taller one because they have bad knees or poor leg strength. For them, the less they have to bend, the better. Generally, however, when sitting on the seat, your feet should be flat on the floor.

 

A good rule of thumb for knowing if your walker fits you is to stand in front of your it in a relaxed but upright position. You don’t want to strain to point that you are creating discomfort while standing, but you do want to get better at remaining aware of your posture and striving to improve it. Standing straight, allow your arms to fall loosely at your sides. The top of the push handle should meet at the approximate location of your wrist. If the push handle is closer to your fingertips, the walker is too short and needs to be adjusted. If the push handles are closer to your elbow, the walker is too high. In both cases, you will need to adjust your walker so that it fits your properly (If you have already adjusted it and there is no adjustability left, you might need a new walker).

 

View medical walkers on Amazon.

 

Keep in mind that walkers are not meant to be pushed in front of you like a shopping cart. Otherwise if you stumble the walker can push forward and you could fall. When you walk with your walker you should be standing in next to the seat.

 

Often people feel like the handles on their walker are too low but when you stand properly next to it you’ll find those handles are higher than you thought. Try standing next to the walker with arms at your side and to look for the handles to be at wrist-watch height. If they line up with your watch you should be good to go!

 

 

Walker Accessories

 

Accessories can make it easier to use your walker.

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Trays can help you carry food, drinks and other items to a table. A pouch attached to the side can carry books or magazines. Some walkers can also be fitted with seats or baskets.

 

 

Some Ideas –

The Nova Ortho-Med Tray  is a convenient way to transport food and other personal items. The tray features a cup holder that prevents drinks from spilling. This is easy to installs with 4 attachable clamps. This tray can fit to 4080 and 4090 series folding walkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EZ-ACCESS ories Walker Carryon, Front Mount, 2.25 Pounds
 

 

EZ Access Walker Carry-On – Durable, lightweight, water-resistant nylon design and three deep pockets make this front mounted bag a necessity for every walker! Allows hands-free transportation of personal items. Custom designed detachable beverage holder.

Drive Medical Walker Basket, White

 

 

The Drive Medical Walker Basket  features a cup holder and a plastic tray. This basket can complement any 1″ folding walkers to make transporting personal goods easy.

Be sure not to overload your walker.

 

 

 

Remember that whichever walker you choose, make sure you maintain it. Worn-out or loose rubber caps or grips and loose or excessively tight brakes may increase your risk of falling while using a walker.

 

If you think it might be time for a walker, take some time to think about your physical needs, and how and where you will be using it.  Walkers come in a variety of configurations these days, most fold for storage and transporting and all help keep people who are unsteady on their feet stay safe while walking and standing by providing a stable device to put their weight on. Where they will differ is in their design.

 

View medical walkers on Amazon.

 

I’d love to hear from you if you have had experience shopping for or using a walker.

 

You may also be interested in:

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Choosing a Transport Chair

Best Power Wheelchairs

Plan Some Summer Outings With Your Senior

Keep Your Elder Safe in Hot Weather

Important Tips to Keep Your Senior Hydrated

Best Digital Thermometers – Full Reviews

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

 

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

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Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

 

 

Hip replacement is a life-changing step to end chronic pain and restore your quality of life. However, this is a major surgical procedure with an intense recovery period. It is wise to be as prepared as possible. Here are some things to consider.

 

 

Preparing Yourself For the Surgery

You want to face surgery with the strongest and healthiest body possible. Your surgeon will likely recommend attention to the following items in the weeks before surgery:

 

 

Nutrition 

 

Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. However, the time just before surgery is not the time to diet or to add any new over-the-counter herbs, supplements or medications. Eat healthy foods and drink adequate water in the time leading up to surgery. Protein in particular will help your bones and muscles recover from surgery.

 

 

 

Medications

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Make a careful list of all medications you take, including prescription drugs and any over-the-counter items you might purchase at the supermarket or drug store. Include vitamins, herbs and other supplements. You will need to show this list to your physician and other caretakers before surgery. Your doctor may recommend tapering off and stopping certain medications before your surgery date, as they can impact bleeding during the operation or interact with anesthesia or other medications you will be given during and after the surgery.

 

 

 

Stop smoking 

 

Smoking impacts your blood vessels and lungs, and can slow your recovery from surgery.

 

See What Are the Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids?

 

 

 

Exercise

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Ask your doctor about any exercises you should do before surgery. Exercises to strengthen your upper body will help you get around with crutches or a walker after surgery.

 

 

Video:  Hip Exercises for Before Your Surgery

 

 

 

Certain exercises can help maintain the strength of your leg and hip muscles.  You can practice them now to help prepare for your post-surgery rehabilitation.

 

 

Video:  A Guide to Recovering After Hip Replacement Surgery

 

 

 

 

 

Rest 

Get adequate sleep in the period before your surgery. You will want to be as rested as possible to face the impact of a major surgery.

 

Attitude 

Undergoing joint replacement surgery is a very big undertaking. For awhile after surgery, you will be more disabled than you were before and will need help from others just to perform basic tasks. You will also have to deal with pain after joint replacement surgery. You’ll want to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for these realities, gathering your inner strength and focusing on the ultimate outcome of better mobility. You might consider acquainting yourself with meditation techniques or use CDs or downloaded guided meditations that can ease your anxiety about surgery and focus your mind on the positive.

 

 

Blood Donations 

Major surgery almost always involves some blood loss. Talk to your doctor about the option of donating your own blood ahead of surgery, to be used if you need a transfusion. These donations must be completed well in advance of your surgery date.

 

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Get a Disabled Parking Permit

 

You can get a temporary (6 month) disabled parking placard from the DMV to use while you recover from surgery. Be sure to get the forms, have your doctor sign them, and get the placard from DMV before your surgery.

 

 

 

Preparing Your Home For the Upcoming Surgery

 

When you return home from surgery, you will be dealing with post-surgical pain and will be less mobile than before while your joint heals. Your doctor and hospital staff will give you guidelines for preparing your home.

 

 

 

These guidelines may include the following:

 

  • Assess the number of stairs, doorsills and other impediments to get in and out of your home and to get around inside your home. Your physical therapists in the hospital will train you in handling stairs.

 

  • If you live in a two-story home, you should create a sleeping space downstairs for the first weeks following surgery.

 

  • Measure the width of your doors and hallways. You should have at a minimum 30 inches of clearance in all areas you must navigate at home during the first few weeks. Remember that you will be using a walker and need to be able to turn around with the walker.

 

  • Remove all throw rugs, cords and other obstructions to allow a wide path through the rooms of your home. You must avoid falling or slipping while your joint is healing.

 

  • Make sure you have a chair with sturdy arms that you can use to help stand up and sit down.  Consider a power lift chair.

 

See this Guide to Power Lift Chairs

 

  • Measure your chair and/or couch and acquire cushions or firm pillows you can sit on to ensure your knees are always slightly lower than your hips. While you recover, you will not be able to bend your hip joint any tighter (closer to your body) than a 90 degree angle. You will also need a special, higher seat for the toilet and a shower or bath seat.

 

  • Place objects you will need frequently – clothing, cooking utensils, etc – in new locations so you can reach them without bending down or reaching up.

 

  • Look into assistive devices. You will need certain assistive devices to help you use the toilet, bathe, dress yourself, pick up items, and get in and out of chairs and your bed.  Equipment most often used includes walker, shower chair, raised toilet seat, sock aid, and a reacher.

 

See Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

See Choosing the Right Medical Walker

See 10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

 

Recommended Equipment

 

 

 

 

Preparing Your Caregivers and Loved Ones for the Surgery

 

When you first leave the hospital, you will need the help of others to perform basic activities like bathing, dressing and managing household chores like cooking and cleaning. Arrange for a family member or friend to be available to stay with you for the first week or two.

 

If you live alone or have no one who can fill this role, consider going to a specialized rehabilitation facility after discharge from the hospital. Your hospital should have a list of these facilities. You may want to arrange a visit ahead of time. Admission to a facility may be dependent on your insurance policy. Please review your insurance policy coverage beforehand.

 

 

Pain After Hip Replacement Surgery

 

Pain after joint replacement surgery is undoubtedly one of the things people fear most about the procedure. This is understandable, but pain after surgery can and should be managed. Pain control maximizes your ability to participate in therapy and recover as quickly as possible. Throughout your recovery, doctors, nurses and therapists will ask about your pain level, and it’s essential that you provide as much detail and honesty as possible.

 

 

Pain at the Hospital (Before and After Surgery)

 

While you’re still at the hospital, you should discuss your pain control options with your nurses and doctors.

 

  • Let your healthcare providers know as soon as you begin having pain.
  • Take your pain medication at regular times. Most pain medication taken by mouth needs at least 20-30 minutes to take effect.
  • Rate your pain using the 1-10 pain scale. (Reporting your pain as a number helps the doctors and nurses know how well your treatment is working and whether or not to make any changes.)

 

A number of pain control options are available, including:

 

  • Patient controlled analgesia (delivered through your IV)
  • Oral medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Pain pumps inserted at or near the surgical site during surgery
  • Temporary nerve blocks administered prior to surgery by your anesthesiologist
  • Ice, heat and other no-medicine options.

 

 

Common Questions about Pain after Surgery

 

 

Q. Could I become addicted to the pain medication?

 

A. It is rare to become addicted to medicine used for pain control. Addiction means a person is taking a medicine to satisfy emotional or psychological needs rather than for medical reasons. Addiction is often confused with “physical dependence”. Physical dependence occurs after you have been using a narcotic for prolonged periods of time. It is a chemical change in your body causing withdrawal symptoms when the medicine is abruptly stopped. This can be avoided by gradually reducing the dosage over several days. Physical dependence is not addiction.

 

 

Q. Could I build up a tolerance to the pain medication so it stops working?

 

A. For some medicines, after a person takes the same amount for a long period of time, the body doesn’t respond as well to the same amount. Larger or more frequent doses of medicine are needed to obtain the same effect. This is called “tolerance” and it sometimes happens in people who take narcotics for pain control over a long period of time. Following your surgery expect to take pain medication for a short period of time.

 

 

Q. What if I have side effects from the pain medication?

 

A. All drugs have potential side effects. Not everyone who takes a medicine will experience side effects. Some common side effects of narcotic medications are drowsiness, constipation, and nausea. Always discuss any side effects with your healthcare provider.

 

 

Q. What if I don’t take my pain medication?

 

A. You may not recover as quickly. Pain medication allows you to stay mobile and helps you get the most out of your exercises. Pain causes increased fatigue, which also slows recovery. Pain adds stress to yourself and your caregivers.

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Choosing the Right Transport Chair

Caregivers Need Sleep – Here’s How to Get it

How to Give a Sponge Bath in Bed

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Guide

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

Prevent Bed Sores

Caregivers – How to Reduce the Risks from Heavy Lifting

Help for Painkiller-Induced Constipation (OIC)

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids

Adjustable Beds Guide and Reviews

Should You Get a Hospital Bed for Home Use?

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

Choosing a Transport Chair

 

 

Choosing the Right Transport Chair For Your Needs

 

 

 

 

A transport chair is specifically designed to be pushed by a caretaker, or a person other than the wheelchair user.

Transport or travel chairs are the type most commonly found in healthcare facilities such as retirement homes.

A caregiver can propel the elderly user in the chair, which makes their daily living much easier.

It is usually a light wheelchair that easily folds to fit in your car trunk and is not as bulky as a standard wheelchair.

 

 

 

The Difference Between Transport Chairs and Manual Wheelchairs

 

The most obvious components of a transport chair are the four small wheels that are standard with all transport chairs. Sometimes the rear wheels are a little larger, but not on the scale of a manual wheelchair.

 

Usually a manual wheelchair will have 2 small wheels in the front to allow a good turning radius, and large wheels on the back to allow the user to propel on their own. With transport wheelchairs, large rear wheels are not necessary because at all times the chair will be pushed by an individual other than the person in the chair.

 

Transport chairs also tend to be a whole lot lighter than their manual counterpart. This is because it is made to be compact and does not need all the extra “fluff” accessories that tend to weigh down manual chairs.

They are also usually a lot narrower in width than most manual chairs. This is to allow the user to fit through narrow hallways or doorways when traveling indoors.

Since transport chairs are designed to be very lightweight, they are very easy to push for caregivers, without exerting too much energy.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Example Left:

The Karman S-115 Ergo Transport Wheelchair features an ergonomic “S” shaped seat that provides the perfect shape to fit the human body to relieve pressure, increase stabilization, weight distribution and lower the risk of pressure sores and scoliosis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Factors in Choosing the Right Transport Chair

 

 

Weight

Since this is supposed to be an easily transportable item, weight is important, especially if you are going to more than one location throughout the day. The lower cost more basic transport chairs are typically made of steel, so will be heavier. Aluminum transport chairs are lighter and cost more but are more popular. Rule of thumb, as the chair weight goes down the cost typically increases.

 

 

Transport Chair Seat Size 

Comfort is a key criterion, so choosing the proper size chair is important. The most common seat width is 19”, but they are also available for smaller people at 17” or larger people up to 22”. It’s best to consult with a therapist, health professional or provider when making this choice. As well, the majority of transport chairs come with foot rests that are adjustable in length, swing out of the way and are removable for convenience when storing or putting in the car. It’s a good idea to make sure that is the case with the chair you’re considering.

 

 

 

 

Brakes

The brakes are used to lock the chair in place when stationary, and are an important safety item when getting in and out of the chair. They are usually located on the rear wheels.

Not all braking systems are equal.  Typically the lower cost transport chairs have a more basic breaking system. In many cases this is sufficient; however, if this is a concern you should take a look at the higher end transport chairs, as you will find that the mechanism is better quality and they brake better.

As well, some transport chairs come with hand brakes, this can be convenient if you’re dealing with hilly surfaces or a heavier person.

 

 

 

Wheels

The better quality chairs usually have larger and softer wheels providing a better ride.

 

 

Handles

Some of the better transport chairs have ergonomically designed handles. Again for some this may be helpful while for others unimportant due to infrequent use.

 

 

Flip back and removable arms

Some transport chairs come with flip back and removable arms. The arm rest can flip all the way back if needed. This is important for those who have limited mobility and require lateral transfers from their chairs, cars or any other area.

 

 

 

Fly Weight Transport Chair 1 Fly Weight Transport Chair 2
 

 

 

 


The Drive Medical Deluxe Fly-Weight Aluminum Transport Chair (pictured above and below) is lighter than the traditional transport chairs. This chair features a deluxe back release that folds down the back and the lightweight aluminum frame makes this chair easy and convenient to store and transport.

 

 

The Drive Medical Deluxe also features composite, 8″ caster wheels in front and rear with rear wheel locks to offer a smooth ride over most surfaces. It includes a soft, plush upholstery, a seat belt for additional safety and a carry pocket on backrest for easy and convenient transportation of personal items.

 

 

 

  • Read consumer reviews of the Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Chair

 

 

 

 


 

Transport Chair/Rollator

 

The Transport Chair/Rollator is simply a Rollator medical walker that converts and allows someone to sit facing forward on the seat with a back support and foot rests.  This can provide a convenient two in one option.

 

 

Example:

The Graham Field Lumex Hybrid LX Rollator Transport Chair combines the function of a transport chair and a wheeled walker into one lightweight design.

This HybridLX features a comfortable and wide seat and backrest, secure handgrips and can be converted from a rollator to a transport chair effortlessly.

 

 

 

 

The Graham Field Lumex Hybrid LX Rollator Transport Chair Titanium combines the function of a transport chair and a wheeled walker into one lightweight design.

This HybridLX features a comfortable and wide seat and backrest, secure handgrips and can be converted from a rollator to a transport chair effortlessly.

 

 

 

 

 

My mother had this Lumex hybrid rollator, which she mostly used for walking when she was in the hospital and hospice, and recently, my father found it useful as he recovered from a hernia operation.  This has been a very useful piece of mobility equipment in our family, and we have found the quality to be excellent.

 

 

Note that rollator/transport chair combos are not particularly comfortable for long periods of sitting, but their versatility can be very convenient.   For periods of longer sitting, my mother used a transport chair (see below for my recommendation). 

 

 

 

Recommended Transport Wheelchair

 

While everyone has different priorities, I believe that the one chair with the most features for the best value is the TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair by Drive.

According to medical supply store owners that I have spoken to, this chair offers the highest level of comfort and specialization available in a lightweight transport chair.

 

 

The TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair by Drive

TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 1TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 2TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 3

 

Comfort

The TranSport chair was designed and built with comfort as a top priority. The foldable seat is stronger and better supported than the seats of most other transport chairs. It is rigid rather than loose, and both the seat and back have a layer of relaxing padding to ease long periods of use.

 

Customizable

This chair is also fully customizable to fit your preferences. The footrests are easy to adjust, requiring no tools, and they are even completely removable. The padded armrests flip up to provide a wider area of use if preferred, and they are also easy to remove.

 

Well-Engineered

The Drive TranSport is also extremely well-engineered. It folds down to only 8.2″, small enough to fit in the trunk of even a compact car. Magnets built into the frame keep it securely closed, so it is easy to deal with and easy to store.

 

Super Lightweight

At 14.4 pounds, this transport chair is one of the lightest on the market! The compact frame and light build don’t impact its stability, though- the TranSport chair still has the 250 pound weight capacity of most other standard transport wheelchairs.

 

Drive Transport Bottom Line

For comfort, convenience, and strength, the Drive TranSport is definitely the best transport wheelchair that I have come across. This chair has many features not found in any other model, and is still a lightweight, easy-to-use chair that is comfortable for both the user and the caregiver. If you are looking for a high-quality transport wheelchair, this one is worth your attention.

 

 

Choosing a transport chair is a big decision, and you want to be certain you will enjoy all the benefits of a chair without any problems. Be sure to look for a lightweight chair with large wheels, comfortable design, and a width that will let you use it without problems.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

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 …

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How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

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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:

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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 …

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Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Planning Ahead for Parkinson’s Needs

 

 

 

Planning Ahead for Parkinson’s Needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease at home can be like sailing a ship through uncharted waters. Currents, wind shifts and changing weather patterns all influence the ship’s course on a daily basis.

The effects of Parkinson’s disease also present an unpredictable course and caregivers must continually seek solutions and a positive direction for the care they provide.

 

 

 

Barbara has been caring for her husband for over 10 years.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and she has remained steadfast with his care at home.

Through the years, she has been creative in developing practical ideas that save time, require less energy and reduce stress.

 

 

Most importantly, employment of these concepts has enabled her to maintain the dignity and independence of her husband.

 

 

 

Start Planning in the Early Stages

 

In the early stages of her husband’s disease, Barbara made an appointment for occupational and physical therapy consultations along with a home environment assessment.

This decision helped her to begin planning for the physical care and necessary home modifications to support her husband’s needs.

She offers these additional ideas for caregivers to customize their caregiving procedures as needs arise:

 

 

Mobility Aids/Furniture:

 

Wheelchairs — consider two separate chairs; one to use for indoor mobility and at the kitchen table (can be locked in place), and one to use for outings to the mall or family gatherings.

 

 

 

 

Walker — the best investment has been a four-wheeled walker with balloon tires, hand brakes and a padded seat. It glides over the ground and uneven surfaces and was paid for by Medicare and a co-insurance policy.

 

 

 

Recliner — add a wooden base to the chair to raise the height six to 10 inches. This makes it easier for the care receiver to get in and out of the chair alone.

 

 

Electric or Power lift chairs are another option and may be partially paid for by Medicare.

 

http://amzn.to/1LvAcH8

 

 

 

Bathroom Safety:

 

Install grab bars in several wall locations and a safety handle on the edge of the bathtub. Be sure to drill the bars into a wall stud for maximum hold and safety.

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the toilet seat and place a commode frame with arm rests over the toilet or purchase an elevated toilet seat with raised arms.

 

 

For sanitary purposes, keep flushable wet wipes available for use after toileting. Wipes can also be used to clean bathroom fixtures.

 

 

 

Add a non-skid bath mat, a bath bench and a handheld shower head to allow the care receiver to assist with their own shower.

 

 

 

For grooming, use an electric razor and an electric toothbrush to encourage self-care.

 

 

 

 

 

Incontinence Products:

 

Use incontinent pads and adult briefs in layers as needed for full protection against wetting through.

 

See:

 

 

 

 

Clothes or furniture:

 

Washable sheet protectors and chair pads can be used to save on constant laundering. For full protection, layer several pads on the bed or chair.

 

 

 

 

 

Floor Safety:

 

Use a Swiffer-type dry and wet mop on the floors for easier cleaning.

Do not use throw rugs, but if the floor surface is slippery, use a short-napped rug with a rubber backing.

 

 

Personal Safety:

 

 

Purchase a whistle and place it around the care receiver’s neck. This can be used to call for help, especially if the caregiver has a hearing deficit.

Place another whistle near the bed or toilet if needed.

 

 

 

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) like GreatCall can be rented monthly to summon help when the caregiver is out of the home.

 

 

Alarm systems can be installed at exit doors and on wheelchairs to prevent wandering or falling.

 

 

Transfer or gait belts can be used to keep the care receiver secure in the chair when the caregiver has to leave the room.

It can also be used to assist in safely helping the care receiver out of bed or a chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mealtime Options:

 

Canvas aprons can be purchased at craft stores. Cut the ties off and replace with elastic on the top to enable the care receiver to put it on without help. Vinyl or quilted bibs/aprons can also be purchased from medical supply companies. Place the bottom half of the apron underneath the plate for neater mealtimes.

Use cups or glasses with lids and straw holes to prevent spilling. A two-handled cup with a spouted lid can also be kept by the bedside.

If the care receiver has tremors, buy shallow soup bowls and edge guards for plates to keep the food contained.

Purchase utensils with weighted, built-up or angled handles to help hands remain steady.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Ideas:

 

Car seats made of leather are easier to access and to clean.

Consider purchasing a swivel seat cushion to ease car transfers.

Purchase a handicapped vehicle parking permit  through the driver’s license bureau and have it authorized by the physician. Use the permit at any handicapped parking zone or at any meter in the city.

Pack a car tote bag. Include a package of wet wipes, bibs, a change of clothing, incontinent pads, plastic garbage bags, and water.

Eat in the car and park near a scenic area to enjoy the meal and the view if dining in a restaurant becomes too difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedroom Solutions:

 

Consider the need for an electric hospital bed with a trapeze for movement and increased independence. This can be rented monthly through Medicare and a co-insurance policy.

Try nylon or silk pajamas for ease in turning in bed.  Use a bed guardrail for safety and support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dressing for Success:

 

Velcro Hush Puppy shoes are easier for the care receiver to put on and take off. Turn a lace-up shoe into a slip-on shoe with elastic shoelaces.

Purchase pull on boots with zippers for winter.

Use a long-handled shoe horn with a spring hinge.

The care receiver will have warmer feet and avoid falling by wearing slipper socks with rubber treads over regular socks. Thin stockings vs. cushioned sole socks are better on carpeted surfaces.

Sport pants and elastic waistbands ease dressing woes for the caregiver and care receiver.

 

 

 

 

 

Visual Cues:

 

Magnifying sheets, magnifying glasses, large wall clocks, talking watches and natural spectrum lamps help those with impaired vision and encourage independence.

Enriching Activities:

Review photo albums and old greeting cards.

Read the comics.

Listen to music and books on tape.

Enjoy walks in the park when able.

Create a memory box filled with past treasures or items that encourage reminiscence.

Display things around the home that bring joy such as family photos, children’s art work, and holiday decorations. This display also helps with time or seasonal orientation.

Consider attending a Parkinson’s disease support group together.

 

 

 

 

As one can see, revising care procedures and modifying your home can promote successful caregiving. In addition, these ideas will uphold the dignity and independence of the care receiver. Learn from others who have walked in your shoes and set your sails for a new direction in providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

Based on an article by Kristine Dwyer and Barbara Churchill

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Finding the Right Power Wheelchair

Choosing the Right Transport Chair

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

Detailed Guide for Finding the Right Power Lift Chair

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat – A Detailed Guide

Detailed Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

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The Angry Dementia Patient

The Angry Dementia Patient

 

 

 

Seniors With Dementia are Easily Frustrated and Stressed

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it seems like seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia get angry at the drop of a hat. What’s most likely happening is that they suddenly reach a breaking point because of frustrations that build up.  Here are some ways to make everyday life easier and less stressful for seniors with dementia.

 

 

Why Dementia Patients Get Angry

 

When someone has dementia, their ability to function well in the world declines.

Tasks that we consider simple, like brushing teeth, are actually quite complex. To a person with dementia, it can be difficult to remember all the steps and sequence them properly.

 

 

For example, these are the major steps they need to take to brush their teeth:

 

  1. Enter the correct bathroom (the one with their toothbrush)
  2. Find switch and turn on light
  3. Locate correct toothbrush (theirs)
  4. Locate toothpaste
  5. Take cap off toothpaste
  6. Put an appropriate amount of toothpaste on toothbrush
  7. Put toothbrush (with toothpaste still on) in mouth and gently brush every tooth surface
  8. Spit out toothpaste
  9. Rinse mouth thoroughly with water – spit, don’t swallow

 

Once we break it down, brushing our teeth is far less simple than we might think. And, someone with dementia may also have trouble with the smaller steps that make up many of these major steps.

 

 

When even the most basic parts of the day are so difficult and overwhelming, it’s easy for the frustration to build up. When they’re expected to do yet another “simple” thing, they may erupt in anger.

For example, when you’ve had an extremely stressful day, someone coming to you with even a simple request can cause you to lose your temper – it’s the last straw, right?

That’s often what’s happening to seniors with dementia. Because their world is becoming more confusing and difficult to navigate, it doesn’t take much for them to reach that “last straw” feeling and react with anger.

 

 

Taking Steps to Reduce Anger in Dementia Patients

 

 

Accept Their Limitations

Avoid pushing seniors with dementia beyond their limits by expecting them to do things they’ve been struggling with. They aren’t refusing to do things because they’re lazy or refuse to remember.

Their brains are failing and they’re losing the knowledge and abilities they need to accomplish those once-easy tasks. Accept where they are now and work with the skills they have today.

 

 

Reduce Complex Decisions

Making choices about every part of their day isn’t necessary, but there are some decisions your older adult may still want to make.

The goal isn’t to take away their right to choose, but to simplify so making choices is easier – too many options are confusing and overwhelming.

For example, when changing, lay out all the clothes they need, but offer a choice between two shirts – the red shirt or the blue shirt? That way, they are still participating in the process. But they won’t have to find and select all the other clothing items they need.

Similarly, for lunch you could offer a choice between two entrees you know they enjoy – a ham sandwich or split pea soup? That decision is much easier to deal with than a broad question like “What do you want for lunch?”

 

 

Slow Down

We’re used to moving at a “normal” pace, but that’s because our brains are fully functional and can quickly process information and thoughts.

When someone has dementia, those cognitive processes slow down significantly. That’s why your older adult needs more time when thinking, speaking, or taking action.

To reduce stress and allow them to feel successful, don’t rush them through daily life. Take the pressure off and let them move at their own pace – even if it seems really slow.

 

 

Keep the Environment Calm and Quiet

Being in a noisy, bustling environment can overwhelm the senses and make it hard to think, especially when someone has dementia.

Have you noticed that we all need calm and quiet when we’re trying to think? For example, if you’re driving to an unfamiliar location, you automatically turn down the radio so you can concentrate. And, most students seek out quiet places like libraries when they need to learn complex new concepts.

For someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, everyday tasks have become difficult and require extra thought and concentration. When you add loud noise or lots of people, it’s natural for them to feel frustrated and stressed.

 

 

Treat Them With Respect

Everyone, no matter their age or abilities, wants to be treated with respect. Seniors with dementia are no different. Even if they struggle with decisions or everyday tasks, there are many ways to make things easier while still showing respect.

A good way to do this is to offer simplified choices, like with the red or blue shirt mentioned above. That way, you’re not giving orders and expecting them to follow. You’re helping your older adult make decisions in a way that suits their current abilities.

 

 

Rely on Routine

Routines reduce the amount of thinking and number of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. We don’t have to remember what time to eat breakfast because we always eat around 9am, after getting up and brushing our teeth.

Routines are especially helpful for seniors with dementia because they reduce the number of things they need to remember or think about.

Having a steady, constant routine is comforting and far less stressful than if each day was unpredictable and they had to go hunting for their toothbrush every time they needed it. Putting objects in the same places and doing the same activities at the same time of day means they know where things are and what will be happening.

 

 

Speak Simply

Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the brain’s ability to process and retrieve information. Short, direct sentences with only one thought per sentence are easier for your senior to understand.

The goal is to give your older adult less to think about and less to remember. If you’re giving instructions, make it one step. If you’re sharing information, keep it to one thought.

Using fewer words and a warm and positive tone will be far less frustrating for your senior.

 

Recommended:

The Validation Breakthrough – Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

 

 

 

Avoid Fatigue

Getting overtired isn’t good for anyone’s mood, but it can put even more pressure on an already frazzled senior with dementia.

 

 

Just like you’re more likely to snap when you’re exhausted, someone with dementia is more likely to have an angry outburst when they’re fatigued.

 

 

 

 

 

Modify Tasks to Help Them be Successful

When a task is too difficult, it’s frustrating and stressful. The answer isn’t to have your older adult stop doing things for themselves. That will only make them feel worse. Instead, find ways to modify activities so they will be successful.

For example, if they’re having trouble cutting meat at dinner, consider serving more foods where the meat is already in smaller pieces or getting a specialized knife that’s easier to use (like this one).

Or, if your older adult struggles to zip their pants, consider switching to elastic waist athletic-style pants or specialized pants with velcro fastening in place of a zipper (like these). Another idea is to switch to easy, slip-on shoes if they have trouble tying their shoes.

 

For further information, see

 

Bathing is another good example. Similar to brushing teeth, there are many steps involved in taking a bath or shower. It’s much easier to be successful if you help by laying out a towel, comb, and fresh clothes. Then, turn on a heater in the bathroom and start the water running at a comfortable temperature. Now there are less steps for your older adult to manage and bathing will be easier.

 

 

Recommended: The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

 

 

 

Proper shoes for the elderly can reduce their falls risk, which is one of the leading causes of injury for older people.

A fall can cause an injury such as a hip or pelvis fracture which means months of rehabilitation therapy. It can even have long term affects to the senior’s mobility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we age our feet go through changes that make us more likely to fall. It is important to understand what changes to expect to avoid falls.

Falls can be very dangerous for seniors and can lead to cuts, bruises, broken bones and even serious head injuries.

 

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

 

Footwear Can Prevent Falls

 

Recent research has found that good footwear can reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.

Researchers followed study participants for an average of 27.5 months. Almost 52 percent of participants who said they experienced a fall during that period were either barefoot (18 percent), wearing socks with no shoes (7 percent), or wearing slippers (27 percent) at the time.

Those individuals also suffered more serious consequences from their fall, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, or torn muscles.

A good pair of shoes for the elderly are not only comfortable but safer.

Wearing the right shoes can be helpful in the prevention of falls so seniors should know what to look for when choosing their shoes.

In this article, I will share some tips for seniors about how to choose the right shoes to help avoid falls.

 

As people age it is common for seniors to begin to lose feeling in their feet which can cause them to feel less balanced when walking.

Our feet can also change shape and begin to flatten out or develop bunions or curled toes which can be very painful and can also cause balance problems and make seniors have trouble walking.

 

 

 

 

Choosing sensible shoes is the best way to manage these changes and keep seniors safe while walking.

The first thing that seniors should do when choosing their shoes is to have their feet measured.

As the feet change it is possible for them to change size as well which can be problematic if seniors continue to buy the same shoe size without measuring their feet. Shoes that are too small can cause pain in the feet that can lead to accidents and shoes that are too big can slide on and off the feet while seniors are walking and cause falls as well.

Family caregivers should make sure that their loved ones have their feet measured when shopping for shoes or assist them in measuring their feet at home if they are going to shop for shoes online. Seniors should make sure that they have their feet measured each time they buy shoes just to make sure that they are always getting shoes that will fit properly.

The next thing that seniors should do when shopping for shoes is look for shoes that are sensible and comfortable. High heeled shoes or shoes with slick soles might look nice but they are not very sensible for seniors because they can easily cause falls. Flat and sturdy shoes with nonskid soles are best for seniors because they can help seniors stay balanced to avoid falls.

 

ExtraWide for Swelling and Edema

 

Shoes should also be comfortable to help seniors avoid pain in their feet when walking, especially if there is swelling.
 
Wide shoes are often best for seniors as they help prevent bunions on the feet and give seniors a better sense of balance because of the extra width. Women who are having trouble finding shoes that are wide enough can try looking at men’s shoes because shoes for men are often designed to be wider.

 

 

Orthotics and Shoe Inserts

Seniors that are still having trouble finding comfortable shoes can try orthotic shoes or inserts. Custom made orthotics and orthotic shoes but the prefabricated orthotic inserts often work very well at a fraction of the price.

Orthotic inserts are designed to stabilize the feet and redistribute pressure so that seniors will have more feeling in their feet and be less likely to stumble and get hurt.

 

 

Recommended: Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts

Maximum cushioning, full support with built-in met pad. Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts feature built-in metatarsal support to spread and cushion the metatarsal heads to help alleviate pain.

Ideal for morton’s neuroma and metatarsalgia, the pinnacle plus provides the perfect blend of foot control, flexibility and cushioning. The encapsulated design with a firm but flexible support shell, built-in arch support and heel cradle offers stability and motion control. Plush cushioning with vct technology increases stability and comfort in casual, athletic and work shoes.

Ideal as metatarsalgia orthotics, Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts prevent and alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis, metatarsal pain, heel or arch pain and discomfort, mild to moderate pronation, sore/aching feet and other common foot conditions.

 

 


 

 

Shoelaces

 

Many people overlook shoelaces when selecting a pair of shoes, but seniors and family caregivers should take them into consideration when making a purchase. Having shoelaces come untied can be very problematic for seniors as it can cause them to trip and fall. Seniors that do want to purchase shoes with laces should keep a close eye out to make sure that their laces do not come untied while they are walking.

Seniors that are unable to bend down easily to tie their laces should consider shoes with fabric fasteners. Fabric fasteners can be secured in place when the shoe is put on and will not come undone until they are pulled on. There are several shoes with fabric fasteners available for seniors and they can be very beneficial for seniors to purchase because they can prevent falls and help keep seniors from having to constantly check and re-tie their shoelaces.

Another great option is No-Tie Shoelaces.

 

Recommended:

  • Reflective laces provide great nighttime visibility. The reflective elastic no tie shoelaces and fastening system fits any style and size of shoes with shoelaces.
  • Package includes: 5 sets of elastic shoelaces. Each set come with 2 lock pieces, 2 cord clips and 2 laces suitable for lace up 1 pair of shoes.
  • Time saver – more comfortable than regular shoelaces, elastic cords distribute pressure of laces evenly over your feet. Very convenient and easy to use for the elderly or those with reduced mobility.
  • QUALITY GUARANTEED – Satisfaction or get your money back.

 

 

 

Following these tips is a good way to prevent seniors from falling. Family caregivers can help their loved ones by assisting them when choosing shoes so that they can purchase shoes that are comfortable and safe.

Seniors might be reluctant to give up their former shoes but they will be much safer and less likely to fall in the long run so family caregivers should try to do everything that they can to help their loved ones choose shoes that are safe and that they feel comfortable wearing.

 

 

Practical Tips and Suggestions

 

What Makes a Shoe Safe?

There are certain features you should look for in a shoe that makes it “safe” – reduces falls risk.

These include:

  • Heel (upper) – A firm heel collar to provide stability
  • Laces – Laces to ensure the shoe holds onto the foot while walking
  • Heel (bottom) – A bevelled heel to prevent slipping and a broad flared heel to maximize contact with the ground
  • Sole – A textured sole to prevent slipping
  • Midsole – A thin firm midsole so the wearer can feel the ground underneath

 

What Makes a Shoe Unsafe?

There are certain features that make shoes for the elderly unsafe and increase the risk of falling.

These include:

  • Heel (upper) – Soft or stretched uppers make the foot slide around in the shoe
  • High heels (women’s shoes) – High heels should be avoided as they impair stability when walking
  • Narrow heels (women’s shoes) – Narrow heels make the foot unstable and can cause ankle sprains
  • No Laces – Lack of laces could mean the foot can slide out of the shoe
  • Sole – Slippery or worn soles are a balance hazard, particularly in wet weather.

 

Good shoes for the elderly provide:

  • Firm base
  • Cushioning
  • A Non Slip Sole
  • Ankle Support

 

Footwear Can Prevent Falls

Recent research has found that good footwear can reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.

Researchers followed study participants for an average of 27.5 months. Almost 52 percent of participants who said they experienced a fall during that period were either barefoot (18 percent), wearing socks with no shoes (7 percent), or wearing slippers (27 percent) at the time.

Those individuals also suffered more serious consequences from their fall, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, or torn muscles.

 

A good pair of shoes for the elderly are not only comfortable but safer.

 

 

 

 

Shopping for

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

If you are heading out to buy shoes, remember to bring:

  • Orthotics (if you use them)
  • Socks that you normally wear
  • Old shoes so the salesperson can look at the wear pattern (ex. worn on one side of shoe).

 

When To Shop:

  • Buy footwear in the afternoon when your foot is the largest

 

Sizing:

  • Shoes should fit snugly without being to tight
  • If your feet are different sizes, buy the size that fits the larger foot
  • There should be about 1/2 inch of room between your big toe and the end of the shoe when you are standing
  • Try shoes of different widths to get the correct fit

 

 

Shoe Features to look for

  • Toe – A wide deep toe are gives space for toes. Not enough space can lead to bunions, hammer toes, corns and calluses.
  • Heel (upper) – Should be firm enough so that you cannot squeeze it between thumb and fingers
  • Sole – This is the most important part of the shoe to reduce falls risk. Shoes with a greater contact area with the ground are more stable and provide more grip. Soles should be non slip but not sticky. They should not be too thick as it is difficult to feel the ground which can cause falls on uneven terrain.
  • Heel – A low slightly beveled heel is preferred
  • Fastening – Shoes with velcro or lace are preferred and they improve stability and hold the shoe to the foot.
  • Lining – Lining will stretch to fit the shape of the foot. Lining should have few seams, especially over bony areas of the foot as these can cause irritation.
  • Material – A leather shoe will stretch over the foot and form to its shape. Leather can also be shaped to accommodate bunions or hammer toes.
  • Arch Support – There should be enough arch support for your type of foot to make it comfortable.
  • Tongue – Should be padded and easy to get the shoe on and off.

Walk around the store for 5-10 minutes to test the shoe’s fit. Is there any rubbing or slipping? Are there any red areas on your feet when you take them off? This can be a sign of a poor fit.

 

 

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Please share your tips and experience with shoes for the elderly in the comment section below.

 

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