I recently talked with a man in a hardware store who was moving his in-laws from their long-time home. They were approaching their nineties and needed assistance but refused to move into a senior living home. Because there was no family in the area to care for them, the children decided that the best decision was to move their parents closer. This story may sound familiar to you. Every day, families across the country are faced with similar difficult decisions concerning their parents and grandparents.
A recent study conducted by AARP shows that 3 out of 4 adults age 50 and older want to stay in their homes as they age. Although 76% of those surveyed preferred to stay in their own homes, only 46% anticipated that they would be able to do so. Many factors contribute to the low confidence level in aging in place at home. This man in the hardware store expressed his concern that he had been unable to find a home that had the necessary modifications for independent living. Even though in-laws would be living closer, he was concerned they would be unable to perform critical daily tasks without completing expensive modifications to their new home.
Complete home modifications can be beneficial, but they are not always necessary. In many cases, less-expensive assistive devices can provide equal assistance while allowing your home to stay just the way it is. Here are our favorite assistive devices for each room in your home that can save you money and peace of mind.
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The bathroom is commonly known as the most dangerous place in the home. More elderly falls occur in the bathroom than anywhere else. Tight quarters, hard and slippery surfaces, and sharp edges all contribute to the dangerous nature of the bathroom for elderly adults. The traditional solutions for bathroom falls are wall-mounted grab bars placed in and around the shower or bathtub, with toilet seat risers or toilet frames used around the commode. Wall-mounted grab bars leave holes and scuff marks on your walls, and the compilation of these individual products can become costly. So what if we told you there was one “do-it-all” solution for the bathroom?
Our Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar is the most versatile tool for fall prevention. It is commonly used in the bathroom but can be used anywhere in the home! Because of its tension-mounted design, the pole can be installed on any flat ceiling from seven to 10 feet tall. (If you are looking for something to be used on a vaulted or 10 to 12-foot ceiling, check out our premium transfer pole.) The Security Pole is mounted with tension created between the floor and ceiling, which means no drilling holes and no annoying scuff marks. It’s a great temporary solution, allowing the user to easily remove it whenever is needed. With its slim footprint, it can be installed in tight quarters, such as in between the shower and toilet. It even comes with a swiveling grab bar that rotates 360°! This allows the user to get out of the bathtub and then swivel the grab bar and have a handle for assistance when getting off the toilet.
The bedroom is often overlooked when it comes to fall prevention safety. The reality is many factors that are common with aging make it difficult to get in and out of bed or lead to nighttime falls out of bed. You, or someone you love, may suffer from any of these ailments:
- REM behavior disorder can cause falling out of bed
- Recovering from surgery can make it difficult to move around in bed
- Traumatic events, such as a heart attach or stroke, can limit mobility
- Medications can cause drowsiness or disorientation
- Incontinence can lead to the need of rushing to the bathroom during the night
- Changes in environment, such as a new bed, can lead to sleep deprivation
There are ways we as caregivers can help to tame these ailments and prevent our loved ones from falling out of bed. In many cases, beds are either too low or too high, making it dangerous to climb in and out of it. Beds can be a costly expense, and do not always overcome additional factors leading to nighttime falls. Bed rails can be excellent ways provide both protection against falling while asleep and assistance while getting in and out of bed.
Our favorite bed rail, and our best-seller for almost a decade, is the EZ Adjust Bed Rail. Why has the EZ Adjust Bed Rail been our best seller for almost 20 years? The answer is simple: it’s the only bed rail in the world that does what it does! There are two main features of the EZ Adjust Bed Rail that make it truly unique.
1 – The rail extends in length after being installed
Most bed rails are as long as they. If you purchase a 30-inch bed rail, your bed rail remains 30 inches long for the rest of forever. Full guard rails, traditionally 30 inches or longer, are great to prevent falling out of bed. However they can make it difficult to move around while getting in and out of bed. The EZ Adjust Bed Rail rests at 26 inches in length but can be extended at any time to 34 inches or even 42 inches long. This enables the rail to offer full nighttime fall protection while the user is sleeping without impeding their ability to get in and out of bed.
2 – The rail pivots down 180° to allow access to the bed
With the pull of two pins, anyone can easily pivot the rail and drop it down to lay flat against the side of the bed. Even though bed rails are great tools for fall prevention, they can be obtrusive for users and caregivers alike. The ability to drop the rail allows caregivers greater access to their loved ones, enables someone to transfer a patient in and out of bed, and creates space when changing linens or making the bed.
The bathroom may be the dangerous room in the house, but the living room is where we spend the most of our time. Many overlooked factors in the living room, such as wires and cords draped across the floor, narrow walkways between furniture, and chairs that are too low can contribute to falls. Many seniors spend hours in their favorite chairs, making getting up and down from their chair one of the most difficult tasks of the day. As we seat and stand, we are accustomed to using the armrests to stabilize ourselves, but this is not always a good idea. Armrests naturally wear over time, and some armrests are too cushioned to provide adequate support to begin with! A solid handle is needed to provide the optimal leverage when sitting and standing from a chair.
The Omni Tray is one of many standing aids from Stander that can be used with a couch, chair, or recliner. It’s a popular option amongst caregivers because of its strong ergonomic grip and non-discrete design. With the living room being front and center in a home, many older adults don’t want their house to give off the appearance of being institutional or hospital-like. The Omni Tray blends in with the home like another piece of furniture in the living room.
This isn’t the only reason people love the Omni Tray however. As indicated in the name, the Omni Tray isn’t just a support handle, but also a TV tray. Just like the old-fashioned dinner trays of the past, the Omni Tray provides a large surface to eat meals, work on a laptop, craft, or simply store snacks and beverages next to the chair. The tray even swivels 360° to not be in the way when getting out of the chair.
Mobility is of utmost importance to aging adults. Getting from place-to-place, or room-to-room for that matter, can be a chore in and of itself. Many physicians prescribe walking aids for seniors to assist them while running errands, visiting family, and even just walking around the house. There are thousands of walkers and rollators to choose from, and it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. If you need help understand which mobility device is best for your loved one, check out our guide on how to choose the correct walker or rollator.
Although there may be thousands of choices, there is only one rollator in the world that touts a compact folding footprint. The EZ Fold-N-Go Rollator is the premiere rollator for those who value convenience and portability. Folding like an umbrella stroller, the EZ Fold-N-Go Rollator folds three-times smaller than the average rollator. Its folding capabilities make it perfect to take on a bus, keep out of the way at a restaurant, or even store in the overhead bin of an airplane. It is perfect for the aging adult who is determined to live an active lifestyle.
While going out may have been put on a pause for awhile due to current world affairs, the EZ Fold-N-Go Rollator is still great for use in and around the house with its compact footprint.
It may not be a comprehensive list of fall protection solutions, but a combination of assistive devices as laid out above can be a highly effective and less-expensive alternative to full home modification. We suggest paying a visit to your local Home Medical Equipment store where you can visit with an accredited care manager and get advice on the best assistive devices for your loved one. If you would like to find out where your closest HME store is located, use our Locator Tool here.