Health

Top 3 Products to Have on Hand When Caring for the Elderly

As a caregiver myself, I’ve given a lot of thought to the products that are most necessary when you’re caring for an elderly family member in the home. Making sure their lives run as smoothly as possible while keeping their dignity intact can be a challenge, but there are few things in life that you will do that are more important or more kind.

You may be unsung heroes, but you are definitely heroes!

With that said, let’s take a look at a few things that will help you with this journey.

Incontinence Aids

We’ve come a long way since classic film star June Allyson came out and become a spokesperson for adult incontinence. Until then, the subject was strictly hush-hush and considered an unfortunate, life-changing event that came with aging,

June Allyson saw her mother, who had been super social and outgoing, withdraw and become a homebody. According to the Hartford Courant, Allyson said, “But once she learned that her incontinence could be managed, she really got her life back and never missed another party…the more we bring the issue out into the open, the fewer people will suffer the way she did.”

Since then, we’ve seen some wonderful products that allow people to manage incontinence without being obvious.

For instance, these fabulous incontinence products for men look like ordinary underwear. They’re one of my top recommendations for maintaining participation in life while maintaining dignity.

Make sure to check out the swimwear option, too. Swimming is one of the best ways to engage in a low-impact sport that just about anyone can do. Even if they’re only walking back and forth across the shallow end, the resistance is wonderful for seniors looking to maintain strength and the buoyancy helps them keep on their feet.

Appropriate Footwear

When you have someone who is unsteady on their feet, falling is a constant worry. You get creative fast trying to prevent disaster. One bad fall can snowball into serious health problems, including broken hips and low quality of life.

If you’re like me, you’ll invest in a good walker, a physical therapist, and a bike helmet they can wear around the house. Yes, a bike helmet–because a head injury can change everything. You’ll find when they’re out and about, they’ll tend to use a walker religiously. Around the house, people tend to slack off and make a quick sandwich or go to the bathroom without the needed walker, especially if the caregiver isn’t paying attention. So a bike helmet makes a great backup. Pick something that looks normal, like a baseball cap style.

Surprisingly, one of the items that helped the most was switching from slippery slippers to tennis shoes. Soft, non-supportive footwear caused more accidents than they prevented, even with non-slip bottoms.

My disabled sister wears sneakers all the time now, but the trick was getting a shoe she could slide in and out of easily like her favorite old slippers.

Kizik shoes work perfectly. They have a stretchy back so your loved one can easily push their feet into them without bending over, but then they stay put and fit snugly. These tennis shoes are secure enough to help her keep her balance, but so easy to put on she gladly does so whenever she gets up.

Technology and Social Contact

With so many products out there to help the elderly, you may be surprised about my last choice.

Did you know that loneliness is a big cause of disease, including Alzheimer’s, and can be fatal for our seniors?

According to the National Institute of Aging, “research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.”

You may think that your loved one has you, but you can’t provide all the interaction they need. Even if you could, you would soon suffer burnout and gain some health issues of your own.

Volunteering for a cause near and dear to their heart is a wonderful way for the elderly to remain active and meet new people who share common interests, but many of them have a hard time with health issues that prohibit their activity.

According to Parent Giving, happier, healthier seniors are making up for the lack of daily contact by “emailing, texting, Googling, and even using social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And it is having a positive impact on their lives. Aging parents are communicating more with their family, reconnecting with old friends, keeping up with community developments, and even managing their health issues.”

Technology is a lifesaver for seniors, but you will have to find a way to teach them the basics if they’re not tech-savvy. However, it will be worth it. Even if you have to leave Facebook up all the time so they have easy access, it will help.

So the third product? An easy-to-operate home computer or tablet is essential. Even if they are active in their community, this extra lifeline will help them avoid the disastrous effects of loneliness.

Good luck, caregivers! You’ve got this.

 

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