Providing Assistance to the Elderly with the use of Assistive DevicesWith the rapid improvement of modern technology, assistive devices come in numerous and differing types. Assistive devices are highly useful in helping an elder live independently. For a week, my grandpa, who fell due to an accident at home, had to use a wheelchair and now, a cane to assist him while walking. We then decided to install more forms of assistance for him around the house to prevent the same incident from occurring again. Always remember that we should treat our elders with love and care, and to provide them with a safe, functional, and healthy living environment which can be as simple as the provision of support and assistance through the use of assistive devices.
What Type of Assistive Device is Suitable for my Loved One?The market for assistive devices has grown tremendously, with many offering a wide range of products. Choosing the right one can be very confusing. Worry no more as I will walk you through the types of assistive devices to use, depending on your needs. When choosing the right device, you have to observe the elder’s day-to-day tasks or needs. You may be enticed to buy a product that looks good but does not actually meet your senior’s needs. The key to finding the right device is to choose the simplest product to satisfy their need. They are often less expensive as compared to the other offerings, and easier to use and repair. For example, a simple weekly pill organizer would easily solve the problem of medication compliance than an automated pill dispenser equipped with alarms. If you are confused or still unable to determine what assistive device will best fit your seniors, it is best to consult your healthcare provider. Always remember that it is crucial to first try the device before buying, to test if it will meet your senior’s need. His or her opinion about the device is very important as he or she would be its main user. It has to be comfortable, easy to use and attractive. When we chose the wheelchair for grandpa, we decided to go for an electronic wheelchair that will help him get around with ease. It is dependent on their needs but it is important to understand that the person using this is not as agile but rather fragile and would focus on comfort rather than aesthetics.
Most seniors use some form of assistive device in their daily activity.The safety of seniors is of utmost importance and the correct and safe use of the device would also ensure the safety of others around. It is important to use the device properly and maximize the senior’s independence in an enjoyable manner. When using these assistive devices, it is important to follow strictly all the written manuals to avoid any incident.
Mobility AidsMobility aids are devices designed to help people with problems moving around, enjoy greater freedom and independence. A majority of those with disabilities or injuries, or senior adults who are at increased risk of falling, choose to use mobility aids. These devices provide several benefits to users, including greater independence, reduced pain, and increased confidence and self-esteem. A range of mobility devices is available to meet people’s needs – from canes and walking frames to wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Canes/Walking SticksA walking stick or cane can greatly help with balance when walking, particularly when recovering from an injury or compensating a disability. It is the most convenient support for seniors who are able to walk but may require some assistance in maintaining their balance or for those who lack adequate support in their knees.
Straight cane with single tipIf the cane is only required to improve balance, a standard straight cane with a single tip will suffice. [vc_row][vc_column]
Offset CaneOffset canes are designed to provide balance with comfort, especially for the elderly with wrist injuries.
Quad CaneQuad canes are similar to offset canes but provide more stability support. Walking canes can also be a form of fashion for the elders, as there are many different designer canes out there. Canes can come in foldable forms for better portability. They can come with a LED torchlight attached for better visibility at night or in a form of an umbrella. However, it should be noted that umbrella types of walking sticks are better designed as an umbrella than as a walking stick. They offer the least support and most designs do not allow both the umbrella and the walking stick feature to be used at the same time, hence, if the elderly is using it as an umbrella, it cannot concurrently be used as a walking stick.
Walkers/Walking FramesWalkers are another type of assistive devices that offer greater stability. Generally, they are prescribed to keep a patient stable when walking. Walkers can greatly reduce the risk of falls when used properly. The Standard walker is the most stable type of walker. They are ideal for seniors who are unstable even with the use of a cane and cannot control a wheeled walker. The Rolling Walker has two front wheels and two backsliders. They offer a more normal walking pattern and are recommended for elderlies who have better stability want greater stability in their movement and are easy to maneuver.
Standard WalkerStandard walkers tend to provide greater support and stability. It is characterized by its use of platforms at the bottom of each leg, rather than wheels. [vc_row][vc_column]
Rolling WalkerRolling Walkers or “Wheeled Walkers” comprise of a frame and wheels. It is great for travelling; many models also feature an attachable bag or a built-in seat. [vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]
WheelchairAnyone, young or old facing an issue with mobility, can use an electric wheelchair. Do take note that there are different types of wheelchairs catered to different needs. An electric wheelchair meant for an adult should not be used by a child. As mentioned, my grandpa suffered from a fall. Since then, he has been having trouble walking from time to time. He cannot walk for more than five minutes without wincing in pain, which has not only hindered his movement but has made it hard for him to do his house chores and going around outside. When we decided to get a wheelchair for him, we went for the PW-1000XL FoldaWheel. [vc_row][vc_column]
[/vc_column][/vc_row] To ensure the safety of the user of the mobility device, it is important that the device is fully or adequately charged before leaving for the destination, to prevent the risk of a dead battery in the middle of the journey. Do note the range of the wheelchair and plan the journey well to prevent any mishaps. Always ensure the seatbelt is fastened when using the electric wheelchair to ensure personal safety against accidents and serious injury. The user’s center of gravity should be aligned and within the frame of the wheelchair to prevent it from tipping over. By keeping one’s hands and legs within the frame, it will help stabilize the chair. Daily activities such as bending or reaching to retrieve items may be daunting to those in wheelchairs. The additional movement may shift their center of gravity away, resulting in them tipping over. For a start, the user can practice the required actions in the presence of someone responsible so that he or she can assist if required. It is also important for the user to learn the proper way of handling and managing themselves before attempting any action independently in the future. Mobility is an important aspect of independence and electric wheelchairs offer users the freedom and independence they need to move about and carry out day-to-day tasks efficiently and effectively. Check out other range of wheelchairs and motorised wheelchairs that we carry.