As a person ages, they begin to resemble their newborn selves more and more with each passing year. They slowly lose the ability to look after themselves, and have to once again rely on others to help them with basic everyday tasks. However, you can’t always be home looking after an elderly loved one. And even if you were, you would tire extremely quickly if you had to assist them every step of the way.
Fortunately, the market today is full to the brim with specialized tools to help the elderly help themselves while there’s no one around. This basic and simple to use tools allow senior citizens to be able to carry out common everyday activities by themselves, without having to call in someone for assistance and also while greatly reducing the chances of accidentally hurting themselves. These tools can range anywhere from items that help the elderly walk around more easily, to tools that help them use the bathroom while greatly reducing the risk of an accident. Let’s discuss the broader categories of these tools, and also link you to lists of these tools that you can get for yourself right now.
Reach Extending Grabbers
If an elderly loved one you are looking after has trouble trying to grab something, be it due to not being able to reach out too far or being unable to bend too much, you might want to consider buying them a reach extending grabber. This simple contraption is easy to use while also being a lifesaver for many. What this is, is basically a pole with a grabbing claw on one end and a controller on the other.
The elderly people using this just have to grab it by the end with the control, and maneuver it so that the claw is positioned around whichever object they fancy grabbing. Then, simply close the claw and you’ve got the object that you needed without having had to get up. This is especially helpful for older people who need to grab multiple items from a shelf every day – like medication, books, or the TV remote – but have difficulty getting up or bending over. For advice on what to look out for when buying a grabber, or which models on the market are good purchases, refer to our guide for the best grabbers for patients and elderly people.
What happens if the elderly person you’re caring for gets into a problem when you’re not home? You probably have this worry at the back of your mind whenever you leave the house, and always feel relieved when you get home and see them perfectly okay. To give yourself peace of mind, and especially to keep an elderly loved one safe at all costs, you should invest in a quality panic button.
A panic button does exactly what it sounds like it does; it’s a button that an elderly person can press in case of an emergency to summon help anytime they really require. For example, say that an elderly person that cannot walk falls off their bed, or they start having a serious health problem and no one is home to care for them at that moment. What do they do in such a scenario? Simple; they press the panic button and wait. Panic buttons can be configured to do whatever you desire; e.g. calling you, calling 911, or setting off alarms in the house in case you are there but too far away to hear your loved one calling out to you. It’s a simple little thing that manages to accomplish a lot, and is definitely worth considering buying.
You may also read our Guide to Selecting an Emergency Nurse Call System for more tips and recommendations.
Grab Bars for Bathrooms
Falling down is a serious concern for elderly people and their caretakers. Older people don’t have the balance and strength they once used to have, and are always at risk of a bad fall. One of the places elderly people often face difficulty staying upright is the bathroom, specifically, the shower area. The wet floor greatly reduces friction between their feet and the floor. And if they shower by themselves without any help from their caretakers, a grab bar on the wall next to the shower might be a sound investment.
Grab bars are just that; bars that are installed on the wall. Elderly people can grab these for balance when showering, but the main purpose of these grab bars is to reduce the impact that can result in a fall. By reaching out and grabbing the bar during a fall, elderly people ensure their bodies wouldn’t have to endure the brunt of the fall. This is incredibly important, as one bad fall could immobilize an elderly person for the rest of their lives. Look here for advice on good grab bars you can buy.
You may read our Guide to Selecting Grab Bars for Showers and Bathrooms for advice on good grab bars you can buy.
Fall Safety Floor Mats
Continuing on about falling down and the severe risks it carries with it, the bathroom isn’t the only place you can modify to reduce the chances of a bad fall. Elderly people too weak to properly control their bodily movements are also at risk of falling off of their beds when trying to get up or even toss and turn during their sleep. For the prevention of these kinds of falls, investing in fall safety floor mats is a very good idea.
Fall safety floor mats and specially padded and especially designed to absorb as much force as they can from a falling person. A good fall safety floor mat could end up being the deciding factor between a fractured hip or a fall the elderly person can walk away from with just pain to accompany them. We’ve got a post on some of the best fall safety floor mats in case you’re interested.
In addition to fall safety floor mats, you may also choose to install bed rails to prevent them from falling as they sleep. You can get the best tips and recommendations from our Guide to Selecting Bed Rails.
Body Gait and Transfer Belts
If an elderly person you’re caring for has trouble walking even with a cane and frequently calls on you to help them move around, a body gait belt made for making transferring elderly people easier might just be what you’re looking for. These belts are worn around the waist and are used to help you better lift up an elderly person as they make their way across the house.
These belts not only reduce the amount of physical effort required on your part, but also reliably help move an elderly person without the risk of them falling down. These belts are quite easy to use; all you really need to do is snugly fit the belt on the person you wish to move, and then insert your fingers between the belt and the body of said person so you can lift them up by pulling on the belt. If you want to learn more about these belts, or want to browse through the belts we recommend, check out our post on the best body gait and transfer belts.
Those are some of the really helpful tools you can use to keep elderly people safe and reduce the risk of injury. Be sure to check our ‘Fall Prevention’ and ‘Mobility Aids’ sections for more such recommendations. Also, if you’re looking after an elderly person at home, you might be interested in some of the tips and advice we provide in our article about caring for the elderly at home.