What are Aids to Daily Living Products?
The ability to hold a fork or a spoon and eat by yourself is something that people take for granted. If you have mobility issues, it can be difficult to lift and control eating utensils. Luckily, there are products that are specifically designed to make eating and drinking independently easier. Weighted utensils may sound counter intuitive, but by adding resistance of movement to the weighted extra large handles, Therafin has lessened the effect of hand tremors while the no slip grip helps people with limited hand dexterity hold on to the utensil. There are also universal feeding cuffs that securely hold your own utensils with a velcro strap that wraps around the palm of your hand and helps secure eating utensils. Another product that can help increase confidence while eating independently is a specially designed adult bib. Not having to worry about drips or spills can increase confidence and bring more peace of mind. This is a product that makes caregiving easier because it saves time cleaning. For drinking independently, there are cups that are designed for adults that are spill proof and can also use extra long straws to make drinking require less movement. Double handle cups help with mobility concerns by increasing the cup stability while making the cup easier to bring from the table to your mouth.
Being able to button your shirt by yourself or put on your shoes can help you increase your level of privacy while dressing. Being more independent and dressing yourself can help make leaving the house easier. Anything that can make your day to day tasks less stressful will make you and your caregiver or volunteer experience less caregiver stress. There are tools to daily living that can help you achieve small steps toward dressing yourself. There are button aids if you struggle with manipulating small buttons on shirts or pants. You can also use a button aid to help pull up zippers. If it is difficult to raise your arm because of mobility or injury, you can use a 27" long dressing stick to help arrange your clothing, even if you don't have full range of motion. Long handled shoe horns are a great way to get your foot securely inside your shoe without having to bend over and reach. Sometimes lifting your foot and arranging your shoe can be difficult, long handled shoe horns can help you accomplish the task. Using tools to help you dress more independently will help you and your caregiver optimize your day to day schedule together.
Transfer Boards and Gait Belts
If you are a caregiver, you know how much lifting you are required to do on a daily basis. Transferring your patient or loved one from their wheelchair to their bed or from the chair to the toilet, can be challenging. Caregivers run the risk of injury due to improper lifting and the people being transferred risk injury due to falls. Safe transfers are important for everyone. In order to safely transfer your loved one to another location you will need a transfer board designed for that scenario. BeasyTrans plastic transfer board system with a built in swivel seat that allows the user to slide down the board easily. The swivel seat turns a full 360 degrees which allows for free movement to help achieve transfers with less physical effort. Beasytrans makes longer boards for car transfers, shorter boards for small spaces like bathrooms, and a medium board for general transfers. There are also standard transfer boards that come with a no-slip grip surface like those offered by Accessible Designs. You can also choose super-slide transfer boards like the ones made by Therafin, their boards make sliding across the surface easier for smoother transfers. If you or the person you are caring for is mobile and able to walk but is still a risk for falls, consider a gait belt. A gait belt is worn around the person's waist and comes equipped with handles. These handles can be held onto by the caregiver to steady the patient or to provide a little extra balance. Gait belts can also be used to help prevent falls.
One of the most important things to remember about being a caregiver who is employed or a family caregiver who is volunteering is taking time for yourself. Caring for others takes energy, mental alertness, and continuing compassion. In order to best serve others you have to meet your own emotional, mental, and physical needs to avoid caregiver stress. Hopefully these products will help you and the person you are caring for get through the day a little easier.