Think of the many tools you make use of every single day – your phone, toothbrush, hairbrush – simple things, but ones you cannot picture living without. For many, there are basic assistive devices for seniors available that could mean the difference between living at home and moving to assisted living. However, almost 1/2 of older adults living at home are not using these handy tools – despite the fact that prices are minimal.
A recent National Health and Aging Trends Study estimated the ability of seniors to execute tasks such as rising unassisted from a seated position and walking, and found that a great many of the participants could significantly benefit from assistive devices.
Not just that, but the risk of senior falls due to the lack of simple assistive devices is increased, contributing to hospitalizations, serious injury, and disability which could easily have been prevented. In fact, once these devices were made available to older adults, according to research, disability rates for seniors dropped by 50%, combined with a decrease in pain levels and an increase in the ability to perform activities of daily living independently.
According to study author Dr. Kenneth Lam, “It’s a technical problem which, unlike so much of aging, is actually solvable. In the hospital, I can order an M.R.I. and charge the system thousands of dollars. But down the road, that won’t help patients not fall. What happens when they get home?”
A program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore is looking to change this by introducing inexpensive assistive tools to seniors. Through a few in-home visits by an occupational therapist, repair specialist and nurse, needs are identified and resolved. That may mean installing grab bars in the bathroom, removing fall hazards, or adding a raised toilet seat or shower chair. Small changes such as these may make a substantial difference in a senior’s capacity to safely and independently manage activities of daily living.
At CareWorks Health Services, providers of award-winning Laguna Woods elder care, we are pleased to offer in-home evaluations to recommend improvements to the home environment that enhance safety and help older adults remain independent as well as in control. We are able to also help enhance seniors’ safety, comfort, and independence through services such as:
- Providing accompanied transportation for medical appointments, errands, and fun outings
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring sufficient hydration for older adults
- Providing help and support as necessary with personal care needs for safe bathing/showering, getting dressed, etc.
- Maintaining an organized and tidy home
- And more