Caring for Seniors and the Elderly
Caring for a loved one can be challenging. At HelpAndWellness, we want to be your trusted source for information on how to care for the children with special needs, elderly and seniors.
We cover everything related to elderly wellness. You will find information about assistive devices, in-depth reviews of modifications to help age in place and adaptive equipment for seniors and children with special needs.
Whether you need help lifting a child, helping an elderly family member navigate their home, or are looking for help choosing other adaptive equipment – we have you covered.
HelpAndWellness offers general information on how different types of equipment operate. We help you choose from the myriad adaptive technologies.
We also provide detailed product reviews and comparisons, so that you can make an informed decision when you decide to purchase something to make the lives of your loved ones a little better.
When you have loved ones with mobility issues, it is critical for their safety – and yours – that you have the right equipment to move them around your home. Thankfully there are many patient lift solutions available to help in a variety of lifting scenarios, including lifting from bed to chair and chair to bath.
If the mobility issues are temporary, a mobile Hoyer-style lift might be the perfect solution. There are also track lifts that are mounted on posts that can be setup and taken down without requiring permanent attachment to ceilings.
And for long-term scenarios, there are ceiling mounted lifts that can even span doorways allowing you to lift and move patients from one room to another. And with those lifts are a variety of slings that help safely transport patients of all shapes and sizes.
Another type of lift is the in-home wheelchair lift. When family members who rely on a wheelchair for mobility need to move between floors, a wheelchair lift can give them the freedom to move up and down safely. Although these often require remodeling work done to the house, they can significantly expand the usefulness of entire floors of your residence.
For people who can walk but have problems navigating stairs, a chair lift may be just the right piece of equipment. There have been some very creative design innovations over the past few years that have made stairlifts work on many different staircase configurations. These are great for helping elderly patients continue to use multiple floors in their homes.
Our society has made great strides towards making most businesses and public buildings wheelchair accessible. And with that progress has come great strides in making wheelchairs that are both functional and affordable. Indeed, the variety of wheelchairs available today is amazing, so there is really no reason why people with mobility problems cannot find a wheelchair to meet their needs.
If you need to get a wheelchair, the first question to answer is how to choose a wheelchair?
There are both manual and electric wheelchairs for adults and children. Even younger kids can find mobility strollers that will help their parents or caretakers move them easily. And wheelchairs are not limited to basic mobility. There are special-use wheelchairs (check out our reviews of best lightweight transport wheelchairs and best power wheelchairs for outdoor use) as well as custom wheelchairs designed for participating in racing and other sports.
Another class of device is the electric scooter (or mobility scooter). These electric scooters are popular with the elderly who can stand and sit on their own but are not able to walk long distances.
An electric scooter can open up the neighborhood to a home-bound senior, and also allow them the freedom to do their own shopping.
And if you have a wheelchair or scooter and want to travel, you will need a wheelchair carrier to take your mobility device on the road with you. And to navigate steps with your chair or scooter, check out our review of portable mobility ramps.
Walkers and Crutches
Wheelchairs are not the only class of mobility equipment – crutches and walkers also help people who have difficulty walking. And for those who need to temporarily keep their weight off a foot or ankle, using one of a knee scooter can be a great alternative to crutches.
Rollator walkers help people get around easily. You do not need to lift a walker to move, you can easily push it. There are different rollator walkers for different situations.
An upright walker can help you walk erect while providing support. A bariatric rollator walker can help heavier users move about easily whereas a tall rollator walker is ideal for people above 6 feet in height.
Bath time can be a challenge for those with mobility issues. Getting a disabled person down into and back up out of the tub can be difficult to manage. Thankfully there is a range of adaptive bath equipment that can help with the task.
There are mesh chairs that can help one stay upright in the tub. Or you can use shower chairs designed to make it easier to bathe yourself. You also have the option of using a wall-mounted folding shower seat that you will not have to carry in and out of the bath. Heavier users can use bariatric shower chairs to have a bath with relative comfort.
There are lifts specifically designed to raise and lower patients into and out of a tub also available in the market. And there are also wheelchairs that are designed to go in and out of the shower without being affected by getting wet. Grab bars and hand-held showerheads also can make bath time much easier for those with mobility challenges.
The toilet can also pose a challenge for those with mobility issues. Many people recovering from injury or surgery need a temporary solution, and a bedside commode can be just the thing. Another option for people with mobility challenges is a wheelchair with a commode.
Toilet seat risers can also help assist people who have difficulty sitting and standing to and from the toilet. Many elderly prefer padded toilet seats to ease the pressure on their skins. Increasingly, people are moving away from toilet paper and installing bidet toilet seats for better hygiene.
Another need for those with mobility problems is specialized furniture. For the elderly and the infirm, getting down into and back up out of a recliner or couch can be difficult. For many, the solution to that problem is a lift chair recliner. These chairs can rise up to meet the user, and safely bring them down into a sitting position. When they are ready to get up the chair can gently move them back up to where they can take their feet.
Sometimes due to illness or injury, a special bed is necessary. In those cases having a hospital bed in your home can allow for comfort and recovery, while easing the demands on caretakers. There are a variety of models available, along with complementary devices like overbed tables and carts.
Bedridden patients tend to develop pressure ulcers or bed sores due to being in the same position for long periods of time. Alternating pressure mattresses or low air loss mattresses might be a good idea for them. You can read our comparison of alternating pressure and low air loss mattresses. There also equipment that can be used for turning patients in bed.
For those who are seated for long periods of time, coccyx cushions can help alleviate tailbone pain. If you are wheelchair-bound, you should consider getting a cushion for your wheelchair. Roho cushions are also useful for people who have to be seated for a large part of the day. For people driving long distances, car seat cushions for sciatica is a great option.
Children with special needs often have problems with standard beds. In those cases, there are many different types of enclosed beds that can keep them comfortable and safe. We’re not talking about cribs – there are enclosed bed solutions that include twin and queen-sized mattresses. And there are even portable models that help special needs kids sleep safely on the road.
Arthritis, Sciatica and Back Problems
It is estimated that between 65 and 85 percent of those over the age of 65 suffer some kind of musculoskeletal pain1. With constant pain in the joints, it becomes exceedingly difficult to perform common household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, eating etc.
People suffering from arthritis or back pain can go for lightweight vacuum cleaners. Arthritis patients can also benefit from adaptive utensils. For those with advanced arthritis, a power wheelchair for rheumatoid arthritis can be a good transportation option.
Sleeping with lower back pain can be a challenge. A pillow between legs can help you sleep if you suffer from lower back pain2. You can also consider getting a knee pillow, especially if you have had a knee replacement surgery. While on the topic of pillows, you can also get pillows for hemorrhoids.
For those suffering from sciatic pain, getting a massager for sciatica is a good option. You can also get a heating pad for sciatica. For the gamers amongst us, a gaming chair for sciatica can make playing computer games and videogames a pleasure again.
Massage and Posture
Everyone loves a good massage. The elderly, who suffer from chronic pains, more so. While you can go to a spa every once in a while, having a massager handy for various parts of your body will save you both time and money.
A massage chair can be a great option for the elderly. But if it is too expensive, a shiatsu massage chair pad can help give an awesome and relaxing massage to the tired back.
If you are an athlete or like your run, you can consider getting a percussion massager for athletes. A percussion massager helps relax the muscles after an intense workout.
Cold massage roller balls can also come handy if you are considering cryotherapy.
Stooping is a common problem as people age. But if you are vigilant about your posture, it is possible to prevent stooping in old age. Posture correctors are also helpful if you are looking for help in maintaining a good posture as you go about your daily activities.
Footwear for the Elderly and Differently Abled
The elderly and the differently-abled need specific footwear. If you are athletically inclined but suffer from pain in the knees, you might want to get yourself running shoes for bad knees. Or you might want to consider running shoes for seniors and older runners.
Often, as we age, we have issues maintaining balance. In such a case, shoes for elderly with balance problems can come handy.
Another aspect of advancing years is looking good, at the same time wearing footwear that is comfortable. To help our elderly readers, we also cover shoes for aging feet.
Our body finds it difficult to regulate our internal temperature with age. Our extremities tend to cool off faster as blood circulation there is the poorest. We cover winter boots for men and women in great detail.
Slip and fall in the shower is one big concern for the elderly. But the good news is that it is possible to reduce the chances of slipping in the bath if you use non slip shower shoes.
People suffering from spinal stenosis can do well with special footwear. For that reason, we have an article dedicated to shoes for spinal stenosis.
Many people will have one form of serious injury to their feet or another in their lifetimes. Broken toes are one of the most common foot injuries. If your toe is broken, we have you covered – you can read our article on shoes for a broken toe.
Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) is a brace for the foot and lower leg that limits the motion of the ankle thereby providing it additional support. It is especially useful in the case of foot drop – a condition when you find it difficult to lift the front part of the foot. If you are suffering from this condition, you can read about both, shoes and AFO for foot drop.
Exercise and the Elderly
While everyone can benefit from regular exercise, it is especially beneficial for the elderly. Unfortunately, as the body ages, it is often seen that the motivation to get a nice workout comes down.
We have covered many products and strategies that will keep the elderly (and pretty much anyone) motivated to follow a regular exercise regime.
For the elderly who like working out with a coach but are homebound, workout DVDs for seniors can be a great option. They are great to help you step through new exercise regimes to keep your workouts fresh.
If you are a yoga aficionado, a yoga mat with alignment lines is what you need. This will help you maintain the right posture when you are practicing Yoga. People who like resistance training can make use of resistance bands to help them continue working out at home if going out is not an option.
Another device that is extremely useful for work out at home is the treadmill. We have reviewed the best treadmills for seniors so that you can choose the correct treadmill for you or your loved one, from among the thousands of options available.
While there are thousands of wellness products that help seniors age more comfortably, some of the more common ones are hearing amplifiers. They cost a fraction of the cost of customized hearing aids and serve nearly the same purpose. Whatever you or your family’s needs – we have you covered.
We love hearing from our readers. If you have any input for us, please feel free to contact us.