There is a lot of disability equipment available to assist elderly or disabled people in everyday life. Having the right equipment is a huge part of setting up the home and making it safe, so it is important that you get it right. There are magazines and online sites that recommend all sorts of things from cooking aids to electric scooters.
However, you do have to be careful when looking for and choosing the right equipment for those you’re caring for. A lot of equipment should only be used once assessed by an occupational therapist or recommended by a GP, who can show you how to adjust and use it.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the many aids out there and waste money on things that aren’t needed. Some may be useless to the family member or friend you’re caring for, and could even be putting them at risk.
Let us guide you, room by room, on the right equipment to assist elderly people.
Hospital beds with an air mattress can be recommended if your loved one spends a lot of there time in bed. The air mattress will help to prevent bedsores through raising up and down assisting the person in and out of bed. As well as allowing others space to help assist someone in and out of bed. Not only this, but these beds have raised sides which can be helpful for a person to lean on when adjusting positions.
On a normal bed, grab rails and supports can be fitted under the mattress to assist with sitting up and getting out of bed. However, you must be careful how you approach having full night guards and sides up on a bed as this can restrict a persons movement and freedom. A person could be hurt trying to pull themselves over these barriers in order to get out of bed. If they are prone to falling out of bed, a fall mat can be put at each side.
A small lamp on the wall or beside the bed is very useful for elderly people. In this position, it is easily reachable and stops them from making sudden moves in the dark. A touch lamp or sensor would be further beneficial as it keeps cables out of the way.
A good doorstop is key, as it prevents doors from closing shut when a person is unable to open them again. A commode is also good to keep beside an elderly person’s bed. As embarrassing as this may seem, the majority of falls occur when trying to reach a toilet at night. Commodes can be bought in all different disguises, shapes and colours with plenty to choose from.
A recliner chair with hand controls is a great addition to an elderly person’s lounge. This will give them a comfy seat which can raise to aid them standing. An air cushion can also be put on if the person is sitting for long periods of time.
A tea trolley next to their seat where they can place essentials is also a good idea. So they don’t have to unnecessarily bend or stretch to reach essentials. Grab sticks are also useful for grabbing nearby items without having to get up and down.
Again, a commode can be useful here, particularly if the only bathroom is upstairs making it harder and longer to reach.
In the kitchen, a hot water dispenser is best placed instead of a kettle which requires lifting and pouring. Comfort grip cutlery, non-breakable plates and cups are also useful for those with weak grips or arthritis.
Perching stools are useful when preparing food, so no long periods of standing have to be endured. Non-slip mats should be used under these to ensure complete safety.
Raised toilet seats are available alongside handles and supports on either side to help people on and off the toilet. A task which can become increasingly difficult with age yet embarrassing to ask for help with. With this equipment, they can keep their independence whilst easing their struggle.
Bath aids, cushions and seats can be used to raise and lower elderly people into the bath. These should be used alongside non-slip mats, shower chairs and waterproof protectors for covering wounds.
Grab rails are perfect for all kinds of hallways as well as all over the home! It is essential to talk through the fitting of these with the family member or friend you’re caring for. This will ensure they are fitted at the correct height and angle for them.
Covering steps with slopes in order to enter the house can make a huge difference in aiding the mobility of an elderly person. As well as covering steps with non-slip strips or paint.
Equipment for every space
Walking Sticks and Frames
There is plenty to choose with walking sticks in order to add some personality. Such as different handles which provide different types of support and style. Some sticks and frames can fold up, come with wheels, baskets, brakes or no brakes!
Wheelchairs can come in various shapes and sizes. They can be hired for those in need for short periods of time, or purchased outright. There are electric, manual, heavy or lightweight wheelchairs available depending on a person’s needs.
These lifting aids should be recommended by an occupational therapist for assisting those who are part or non-mobile. For a non-mobile person, it is likely a manual hoist with a sling will be suggested, this needs two people to operate.
Slings and hoists need to be checked and serviced on a regular basis and have batteries which need to be charged. Slings need to be fitted to the right size of the user. There are also ceiling hoists available where tracks are fixed to the ceiling and a sling is used.
These hoists require a sling which is put around a person and attached to the hoist, pulling them to their feet. This is operated by a battery and can be wheeled about.
This piece of equipment allows a person to stand on it and hold the handle which is turned from a bed then to a chair. The elderly user must be weight-bearing and able to stand and support themselves with one person assisting.
This equipment allows a person to pull themselves up whilst a folding support seat will support them from behind. This can be used with only one or two people assisting, but the elderly user must be weight-bearing.
For Further Information on Disability Equipment for the Elderly
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