Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten Helpful Eldercare Items

These ten items are listed in no particular order.  These are items that we've found to be very helpful for our particular situation. 

1.  Heat Sensitive Thinking Putty

       This is an amazing fidget.  When Boo begins to get anxious, he rubs his leg or arm to help calm himself.  Once he actually rubbed a sore on his leg---in one night at the hospital.  Now, I know to hand him something to keep his hands occupied.  He really likes this Thinking Putty.  It's just the right size and texture to keep him happy for quite a while.  Boo's favorite, when he can see it, is the Heat Sensitive Sunburst Thinking Putty.  I like that it comes in reusable individual tins.  I keep one in my purse, one in our emergency bag and one in a basket on our dresser.  Timberdoodle has a large selection of Thinking Putties in a rainbow of colors to suit everyone.

2,  Medline Ultralight Rollator

Boo's rolling walker is an absolute must when he's walking outside or when we're away from home.  He has a more natural gait when he uses a rolling walker and is less likely to fall.  Immediately after his last two strokes, he simply couldn't manage a traditional walker and fell several times attempting to use one.  His rolling walker enabled him to get up and move with ease.  Another major benefit is that he has a seat when he tires of walking which happens frequently.

3.  Uniden Walkie Talkie

This is the particular model that we have, but there are others that are simpler to use.  These are just the first ones I tried and they still work.  I put a bright sticker on the TALK button for Boo and that's the only button he touches...hopefully.  With these little wonders, Boo can talk to me whenever he needs reassurance and I can check the mail, weed the flower bed, cook dinner, etc.  Technically, we could use a cell phone to accomplish the same goal.  Boo can't figure out how to use a cell phone on his own anymore, even with a voice activated dialing system. 

4.  Stainless Steel Travel Mug

These can be obtained in any department or discount store.  So, I didn't provide a link for this.  These travel mugs are ideal for anyone who's shaky.  Boo uses a cane to walk inside our home and likes to carry his drink with him.  Lidded travel mugs prevent spills.  They are appropriate for hot or cold drinks and aren't "babyish"---a plus when dealing with an independent adult.

5.  Elastic Waist Pants
Many times Boo cannot remember how to button, snap and zip.  On those days, elastic waist pants enable him to be more independent.  We've found good quality fleece pants with an elastic waist and hemmed cuffs at Old Navy and Kohl's.  Jeans are problematic.  We've tried several mail order jeans designed for those with disabilities and haven't found any that fit properly.  A few were so poorly made that even had they fit I would have returned them.

Land's End Jersey Knit Pants

These are great summer weight pants.  I bought one pair for Boo two years ago and cringed at the price.  After two years and LOTS of use, they look brand new.  It's definitely time to buy more.  They're well worth the price.  They're a little dressier than most athletic pants which we like.

6.  Folding Exercise Peddler
Drive Medical Deluxe Folding Exercise Peddler with Electronic Display
One of Boo's physical therapists brought a similar item to our home when it was too wet for Boo to walk outside.  Boo enjoyed using it and it can be used for upper body exercise as well.  Put it on a sturdy table, place your hands in the pedals and away you go.  Boo uses this about four times a week.  This peddler is a lightweight model and it folds.  I'm not sure how it would hold up with heavy use.

7.  Standard Gait Belt
Gait Belt Standard White 60"L 2"W  1/EA

This isn't an item we use every day.  In fact, we don't use it often, BUT it is an essential item.  When Boo is unsteady, we use his gait belt as a precaution.  It is easier to steady him and much easier to lower him safely to a chair or bed with a gait belt.  The soft sturdy cotton twill doesn't cut into Boo's skin like a regular belt does.  I keep one in a basket on the dresser, one in the bathroom and one in my purse.  At one point I bought a cheap gait belt online that was so flimsy I was afraid to use it.  This one is sturdy and I suspect would hold up to daily use well.

8.  Dr Bonner's Castile Soaps

OK, I've been a fan of Dr. Bonner's soaps for over thirty years.  Once Boo was taking seventeen different prescription drugs daily and his skin became sensitive to everything.  The bar soap he'd used for years suddenly turned his skin bright red.  I grabbed my lavender Dr. Bonner's liquid soap...and success!  If Boo is sick and staying in bed more than usual, I bathe him with Dr. Bonner's peppermint soap to gently stimulate his skin.  Usually, Boo uses the lavender soap.  I keep a 2 oz container of lavender soap in my purse in a Ziploc bag to use away from home.  I usually buy the 32 oz bottle for us and it lasts just over six months.  A little goes a long way.

9.  Dr. Scholl's Diabetic Socks

We've tried several different brands of diabetic socks and found that, for Boo at least, the brand definitely made a difference,  Dr. Scholl's fit him much better and lasted significantly longer than any other brand we tried.  The last four pair of these socks I bought at Wal-Mart.  They had nonslip soles.  I wasn't impressed at first, but have come to like them.  Boo can easily put these on himself because he can feel the nonslip dots. 

10.  Aylio Resistance Bands

These resistance bands have been very durable for two and a half years.  Boo uses them four to five times a week usually.  I like the door attachment because it increases the number of exercises he can do.  The light band is indeed light and offers little resistance.  The moderate band is the one that Boo uses most often.

Teach Me Tuesday, Working It Mondays, Titus 2sdays.

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