Aging can be frustrating. Our bodies begin to weaken and break down and the wonderful independence that we once held so dear becomes more and more difficult to grasp.
Fortunately, there are many options on the market to make it simpler for senior citizens to find better ways to stay independent. The ability to move freely is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to being free. You’ll find that many elderly patients in residential care homes are frustrated with the lack of ability to do things on their own, including going to the toilet on their own, or even getting around the house without trouble.
Finding the right aids is essential when it comes to helping the elderly.
If an elderly person is having difficulties getting up and down the stairs, there are a couple of options. First, you can install an elevator, to take them from one floor to the next. These are costly to install, but can provide more value to the home when it becomes time to sell. The elevator is nice and easy to use and many people choose this option.
However, if you are on a budget, a better choice might be a stair lift. This is where you simply install a railing along the side of the stairs and the person can sit in a chair that will follow the rail to the next floor. These are designed to be automatic and are managed with a remote. The chair may sit at the top or bottom of the stairs and some models even fold up to allow for maximum space on the stairs. The rails can be securely mounted, so there is no worry about a mishap.
A stair lift helps reduce falls, which can be deadly if they occur on the stairs, and allows the aging person to access both levels of their home safely. It can also be used to move laundry or other items from one floor to the next, making it simpler to stay on top of household chores, even when the individual is no longer able to carry heavy loads up and down stairs.
These comfortable alternatives to climbing the stairs are ideal for elderly people living on their own or with others. They’ll be able to get up and down the stairs without worry and can still maintain their ability to use the entire house.
Bath Lifts Make Life Simpler
While bath lifts are not meant for individual use and do require a nurse or caregiver to be present, they can make bath time a little more comfortable for your patients. They are an easier way to lift the elderly person and move them into the shower for a bath. Even heavier patients will find it easier to bathe with this option.
A bath lift may be installed in the bathroom, or it can be a standalone item, depending on the design of the bathroom and the apparatus. The hoist uses a sling that is quite comfortable for the patient and makes it a simple exercise to swing them from the chair to the bath.
While a bath lift is not completely independent, it can help the elderly patient feel more independent because they are not reliant on someone lifting them into the bathtub. It’s often empowering to have a lift that can be used instead.
Look for a lift that is designed for the weight of the person using it. If you have a heavier patient, they may need a heavier duty bath lift. It’s best not to mention that this is what you’re looking for, because it could embarrass them, but the lift must correspond to the person’s weight or it may break.
Use Grab Bars to Make Bathroom Use Safer
Being able to use the toilet without help isn’t always possible for older people, because they become unstable on their feet and may lose their balance. The bathroom is a terrible place to fall, as it is all hard surfaces and can result in some serious damage.
The grab bars make it much easier for anyone with balance issues to safely use the room. They can hold onto the bars for stability and sit and get up without outside assistance. The small amount of privacy can do wonders for morale. While toileting, this is particularly useful, but the bars may also be installed in the shower to give a little extra security for those prone to falls. If they start to slip, it can be useful to have something to grab onto. It is also helpful to add non-slip patches to the floor of the shower in order to avoid slipping in the first place, leaving the bars for stability only.
It’s important that grab bars are installed at the proper heights and angles to make it simple for everyone to hold onto. You can also use them outside of the bathroom and make sure that there is always something to hold when a senior citizen finds themselves struggling to maintain some semblance of independence. Ideally, an expert will install the bars, to ensure they are placed just so.
Grab bars should be cleaned regularly, particularly when in the bathroom, as they can become hotbeds of bacteria. Wiping them down with a cleanser every day is a good idea. Be sure to dry them, too, in case someone is about to use the grab bars.
Walking Aids Make All the Difference
When even walking around the house becomes a chore, it may seem like the only option is to have a senior citizen placed in a residential home. This can be devastating, but it may be possible to wait a little longer by introducing walking aids that can help them move around a little faster and remain stable while doing so.
Walking Sticks: The first step in mobility aids is the walking stick. It’s a single stick, though it may have stabilisers on the bottom and allows for a little extra balance. While the walking stick won’t prevent falls, it is definitely something that will help those who have a bit of a wobble in their walk.
Walking Frames: Once someone has reached the point where a walking stick is no longer the best option due to stability or balance issues, you will probably need to move to a walking frame. This has four legs that are set on the ground. The back two may have wheels for easy use. The elderly person stands inside the frame, lifts it and moves it forward, then walks forward themselves. They have two hands on the walker and that makes it much more stable than just a walking stick.
Wheelchairs: Finally, if someone is no longer able to walk safely, they may need a wheelchair to help them get around. An electric wheelchair is the easiest for those with arthritic hands, but it’s also possible to find easily moved manual wheelchairs, too. Make sure the wheelchair fits properly and is comfortable to sit in.
It’s also important for elderly individuals to get out and walk around a little. They should not sit in the wheelchair all the time. Moving around and staying active whenever possible will help with balance issues and ensure that muscles don’t atrophy. A physical therapist may be useful for this stage, if the person is mainly confined to a wheelchair and unable to stand on their own or get around easily.
Eventually, it may become necessary to have permanent help for an elderly person or to set them up in a residential home. However, you can take quite a few measures to ensure they have some independence before that. You’ll find that senior citizens who are able to stay independent longer are more likely to live happy and fulfilled lives. Many of this age will enjoy living on their own still and can manage quite well with just a little help from stair lifts and such.
Are you looking to outfit an elderly person’s home with mobility aids and lifts? Here at Euro Lifts, we can help you right now. Just contact us today.