5 SOLUTIONS EVERY NEW CAREGIVER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
Life is full of twists, which means we don’t always know what will happen next. The same reason that makes life exciting and adventurous can also make us feel scared, uncomfortable, and alone. The world of caregiving is no different. For many of us, caregiving is something in which we haven’t put much thought. We are thrusted into becoming a caregiver at moment’s notice, with limited knowledge and experience. You may be sympathetic to this because it well describes your experience or the experience of someone you know.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, approximately 53 million caregivers have provided care for a loved one in the past 12 months. This is an increase of more than 16% in the last five years, compelling evidence that millions of Americans are becoming first-time caregivers each year. As a first-time caregiver, it is easy to become overwhelmed with questions and uncertainty. That is why any veteran caregiver would advocate doing research, learning quickly, and finding the right solutions for your loved ones.
Although it may seem lonely at times, being a caregiver doesn’t mean being alone. There is a myriad of resources to connect you with caretakers who have experience and are ready to answer questions. There are also thousands of mobility and safety solutions that exist to make life easier. However, it can be overwhelming sifting through the options that are available and deciding what is best for your loved one. For that reason we have compiled five of our favorite solutions that every new caregiver should know about.
The Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar
Caregivers provide care for many reasons: old age, dementia, injury or surgery recovery, and physical or mental disabilities to just name a few. Whatever the reason might be, one common concern for any caregiver is a loss of mobility. Performing daily tasks like getting out of bed or stepping out of the shower can become difficult and dangerous, especially with an increase in age. Dangerous falls result in serious, life-threatening injuries like broken hips and brain trauma. In fact, if you are caring for an aging adult, falling at home is the number one cause for death for ages over 65.
Fall prevention should be at the top of every caregiver’s to-do list. Occupational Therapist (OT’s) are excellent resources to help make a fall prevention plan. A fall prevention plan can go as far as modifying a home or simply adding assistive devices around the house. One of our favorite assistive devices is the Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar.
The Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar is one of the most versatile tools for fall prevention that exists. Unlike traditional grab bars that are mounted to a wall, the Security Pole is a transfer pole that is mounted with tension between the floor and ceiling making it possible to position it anywhere in a room. The curved grab bar swivels 360 degrees making it useful from multiple angles and positions. Best of all, the grab bar is shaped like a ladder to easily allow someone to pull themselves up to their feet.
Poles can be used in the bathroom between a toilet and a shower or bathtub; in the bedroom to help get out of bed; and even in the living room next to a favorite chair or recliner. With over 600 reviews and an average star rating of 4.8, the Security Pole has become a caregiver favorite to use anywhere in the home.
As a caregiver, one of your most important jobs is to ensure comfort and happiness, and that is exactly where the Assist-A-Tray shines! Combining a functional standing aid with the convenience of a TV tray, the Assist-A-Tray has been one of Stander’s best-selling mobility aids to caregivers for 20 years.
The living room is where most falls occur in the home. Considering a loss of mobility and an increase in age usually leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, this really should come as no surprise to any of us. Performing a task like getting off the couch or reaching for a TV remote are things that once came easy but become difficult and dangerous. Lift chairs are great tools that can greatly reduce the chance of falling while standing from a chair but can also come at a high price. The Assist-A-Tray has a built-in handle that allows someone to scoot themselves to the edge of the chair and then pull themselves up to their feet.
Not to be outdone by its standing handle counterpart, the included tray table is equally as important and functional. Resurrecting the 1950’s TV tray with a modern look, the bamboo tray table makes it easy to enjoy a meal from the couch or surf the web on a laptop. The tray swivels 360 degrees to be moved out of the way or to be used a side table. With a built-in cup holder and utensil tray, it also makes it safe to store a remote or drink next to the chair without over-reaching to a side table or coffee table. Designed by a caregiver for caregivers, the Assist-A-Tray provides real safety assistance with a little something extra.
The EZ Fold-N-Go Walker and Rollator
Not to get lost in home fall prevention planning is what to do when you leave the house. The most common mobility device for caregivers to provide their loved ones to use outside of the home is a walker or rollator. Walkers and rollators serve a great purpose in promoting enhanced but safer mobility. As a new caregiver, your sense of a walker might be the traditional gray tri-fold walker we so commonly see. The truth is that the world of walkers and rollators are diverse and it is important to find the right fit for your loved one. For help determining which walker or rollator is right for you, check out this blog post.
When selecting a rollator or walker, pay special attention to the details. How big is it? How light is it? How easily will it be to fold? If you are planning on adventures outside the home, we recommend the EZ Fold-N-Go Walker or Rollator. These are the world’s most lightweight and portable walking aids in the world! With just the lift of a finger they fold three and four times smaller than the average rollator and walker, making it oh so easy to take with you in the car.
When planning as a caretaker, not only should you keep comfort and safety for your loved one in mind, but you also need to think about yourself. As a caretaker, you will be supplying much of the man-power and hard work. With so many of the walkers and rollators being heavy, bulky, and oddly shaped, caregivers love just how easy it is to fold, store, and travel with the EZ Fold-N-Go Walker and Rollator.
While on the topic of being out-and-about, let’s talk about automobile safety. While putting together a fall prevention plan, it’s easy to overlook a task like getting in and out of car. This task is so important that many seniors reduce the amount they go out because it becomes too difficult to get into a vehicle. We believe that a loss of mobility shouldn’t stop someone from having adventures, which was the inspiration behind the HandyBar. The HandyBar is a simple solution that makes it easy to get in and out of any vehicle. This automobile grab bar fits into the car door striker and acts as a sturdy helping handle when getting into a car. When standing up from a lower seat, the HandyBar provides much needed leverage to push yourself up onto your feet.
The HandyBar also comes with other important emergency safety tools that you may never need but help to bring peace of mind. Included on the HandyBar is a seat belt cutter and window breaker tool to use in emergency situations. Unlike other imitation car bars that are made of plastic, the Original HandyBar is made out of steel and has a weight capacity of up to 350 pounds, ensuring safety and peace of mind. With over 4000 positive reviews on Amazon, the HandyBar is one of those purchases that make you ask yourself, “How did we ever live without it?”
The EZ Adjust Bed Rail
No list of useful fall prevention solutions would be complete without the EZ Adjust Bed Rail. When making a fall prevention plan, it’s important not to forget planning for the bedroom, which is an often-overlooked part of the home. Falls out of bed account for nearly one-quarter (23%) of all falls at home and can happen for various reasons. When we think of falling out of bed, we tend to think of falls that occur while sleeping. While this is true, just as many falls occur while reaching to a nightstand or while attempting to stand up from the bed.
The EZ Adjust Bed Rail is able to mitigate all three of these falling hazards. The bed rail extends from 26 inches to 34 inches and again to 42 inches in length to provide protection against rolling out of bed during the night. The rail can then be returned to its resting position where it can be used as a support handle to stand up from the bed. Lastly, the EZ Adjust Bed Rail comes with an organizer pouch with pockets to store things like remotes, phones, or medications to eliminate the need of dangerously reaching out of bed.
Its fall prevention prowess isn’t the only reason caregivers love the EZ Adjust Bed Rail. Working around a bed rail is one thing caretakers may not think about until they do it. Making a bed, changing the linens, and even caring for a loved one while in bed can all be difficult with a bed rail in the way. The EZ Adjust Bed Rail provides relief to caretakers by pivoting down 180 degrees to lay flat against the side of the mattress thus making it easier to care for someone who is in bed.
Becoming a first-time caregiver can be a frightening and overwhelming feeling. With so much to learn and so many decisions to make, it’s important to know that there are people, resources, and solutions available to make things easier. Whether you are caring for a spouse, parent, child, or grandparent, our goal at Stander is to provide functional and easy-to-use fall prevention solutions that keep your loved one safe and offers you peace of mind. For more information about creating a fall prevention plan for your home, sign up to receive our Home Safety Evaluation Checklist. Our comprehensive checklist will take you through every room of your home to help identify risks and hazards while providing helpful recommendations to mitigate such risk. You don’t have to approach caretaking alone, and Stander hopes to be there every step of the way.