A Reaching Aid Can Assist Daily Senior Independence

A Reaching Aid Can Assist Daily Senior Independence

By The WellNest Company

Reaching aids are simple tools that are designed to provide an assistive device as an aid for the elderly and those with a disability. This allows the ability to enjoy independent living in their own home

Many times the smallest items, which can be the hardest to pick up, are made of metal. So some manufacturers wisely added a magnetic tip at the end the claws to make picking up small metal objects like coins, keys, and jewelry incredibly easy. Rather than attempting to pinch the object with the grabber claw, users only need to hover the built-in magnet over the item to pick it up. A magnetic tip is a very useful feature that should be considered when shopping for a reaching aid.

How heavy a reaching tool is plays a large part in its functionality. Steel and other heavy-duty materials may bolster durability, but they detract from its usability. Most seniors need a well-made, but lightweight, grabber tool that doesn’t require substantial arm strength to hold and operate. Aluminum and plastic are the ideal materials because they can be both durable and lightweight.

Most reaching tools have a two-finger pull trigger at the handle that operates the claw. The problem with a two-finger pull trigger is that it effectively splits the user’s hand in a way that reduces grip strength. It is very important that the grabber tool have a larger pull trigger that seniors can squeeze with their full hands. A full-hand pull trigger maximizes the hand strength, making the grabber tool more effective and ergonomic.

How this can help seniors:

As range of motion, balance, dexterity, vision, and muscle tone decline with age, maintaining a neat and tidy house is overwhelming to accomplish without some help. Too many tasks are simply outside of the abilities of those trying to age in place: lugging around a heavy vacuum, stretching arms to reach a light bulb, reaching under a table, etc.

Reaching aids can improve the quality of life for people with arthritis, hip, joint, or bone pain, or simply those people who find using a reaching device is easier, safer, and less strenuous, than bending over to pick something up.

Seniors may have difficulty reaching items in cabinets or that have fallen to the floor without the increased risk of injury. A reaching aid provides them with a tool to retrieve items at a greatly reduced risk of injury. Things that may not have been be unavailable to them previously.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Eat healthy food regularly. A good diet is critical to long-term health. This includes having an emphasis on fruit and vegetables, along with whole grains.

Tip #2 – Stay active. Exercise is an important aspect of being healthy. Not only can it keep your weight in check, but it also helps to improve flexibility, reduce disease risk and help prevent falls.

Tip #3 – Have a lockbox. A lockbox is a way to store a spare key outside of your house. These use a combination lock, which you can give to people that you trust. 

Tip #4 – Keep lists of personal information and medications handy. The best place to do this is in your wallet or purse. The information is critical in any medical crisis, especially if you can’t communicate.

Check out the next article to find out about the importance of senior hydration.

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The Importance of Senior Hydration

The Importance of Senior Hydration

For many, the early warning signs of dehydration can be difficult to detect in seniors. For one, elderly adults don’t feel thirst as strongly as other adults, and thirst is a common early warning sign for mild dehydration.

Drinking enough water is important for everyone, but especially for older adults who are at greater risk for dehydration. A UCLA study has found that 40% of seniors may be chronically under hydrated. That can easily lead to dehydration and cause a variety of serious health problems, including urinary tract infections, falls, kidney stones, and more.

There are a number of reasons elderly adults face a greater risk of developing dehydration. First, total body water decreases with age (from 60 percent to 52 percent in men, and from 52 to 46 percent in women). Therefore, an adult over 60 years old has less water to lose before becoming dehydrated. Chronic diseases, neurologic conditions and some prescription medications can all exacerbate dehydration quickly.

There are several risk factors that you should recognize which can heighten the risk of developing dehydration. Recognizing and understanding these risk factors can lower the risk for dehydration. Factors include: swallowing disorders, obesity, being bedridden, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, those over 85 years old, having 5 or more chronic diseases, and taking more than 5 prescription medications.

How this can help seniors:

Preventing dehydration is important because it is a common cause of hospitalization in people over age 65. Encourage your senior loved ones to drink small amounts of fluids throughout the day, rather than drinking large amounts all at once.

Seniors should avoid coffee, alcohol and high-protein drinks, especially in large quantities, because they have a diuretic effect. This leads to a greater loss of body water, which can cause or exacerbate dehydration.

You and anyone living or caring for a senior should recognize the early warning signs of dehydration. Warning signs include fatigue, dizziness, thirst, dark urine, headaches, dry mouth/nose, dry skin and cramping.

 Fear of incontinence can diminish a patient’s urge to drink voluntarily. Therefore, encourage patients to drink more during the day and limit drinking before bed. Additionally, drinking small amounts of water throughout the day may help.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Invest in a grabber tool. A grabber tool provides aid to seniors who may have limited mobility. It can help to grab things that are otherwise out of reach without risk of falls or injury.

Tip #2 – Install motion-activated lights. Motion-activated lights help spot suspicious activity and stop it in its tracks. This helps prevent break-ins and ensures that an attempted burglary can be spotted.

Tip #3 – Check in often. Seniors who live alone should check in often with friends and family members. This allows the support system to recognize and help with any potential issues.

Tip #4 – Keep home in good repair. A home with preventable hazards such as slippery stairs or exposed cords is dangerous for seniors. Keep the home clean and in good repair to prevent dangerous hazards that can cause harm.

Follow the link for more info about Senior Transportation Services.

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How Handrails Can Improve Senior Safety in the Home

How Handrails Can Improve Senior Safety in the Home

By The WellNest Company

Handrails can save your independence. Remember, a fall to an elderly person can mean much more than an injury. A broken hip or shoulder can mean months of recuperation and rehab, and it may mean the end of their independence. If your senior parent is already prone to falling, it’s a good idea to talk to them about measures to ensure their safety. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to have to rush to the emergency room with an injured senior.

If you, as a senior, or your senior parents live independently, it is of vital importance to install handrails in the bathrooms they use. Their lives may depend on it. In fact, tubs should have two handrails – one that can be reached from a sitting position and another for when they’re standing. It is also a good idea to have a third handrail or grip outside the tub that they can use while getting in and out.

Replace cabinet knobs with handles. Arthritis and stiff joints make grabbing small round knobs on cabinet drawers and doors difficult too. Replace these small knobs with C- or D-shaped pulls, which let you tuck your fingers around them, making it easier to open the door or drawer. Adding new pulls and handles is a quick, inexpensive way to update a kitchen while making it more comfortable, safe and convenient to use.

I installed one of these rails for my elderly neighbor who had previously taken a fall. She had no rails on her walls, and I was afraid she would fall again if she accidentally tripped or stumbled. The rail was very easy to install. I followed the directions and took me less than an hour. Very strong and sturdy. I am ordering another one for her since she wants one on the other side of the step.

How this can help seniors:

There are many ways to prevent people from falling in your home. Installing handrails on stairs is one of them. The more handrails you have, the lower your risk of falling and being injured will be.

The handrails for exterior stairs typically end at the bottom step. But stepping off the bottom step (or preparing to step up on it) is actually when someone is the most off balance and likely to fall. Simple Rail handrail kits make it easy for to build an extended handrail that fits any stairway.

Sometimes people are reluctant to add grab bars because they think it will make their home look institutional. But you can find stylish and sturdy grab bars in many shapes, sizes and finishes, and some serve double duty as towel racks, toilet paper holders, corner shelves and more. The peace of mind that it is there when needed is worth the investment alone.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Build a close friends circle. Senior isolation is one of the single most dangerous things for seniors who live alone. Isolation and loneliness go hand-in-hand for many seniors, and it’s a potentially life-threatening mixture.

Tip #2 – Develop a disaster kit. Ideal for tending to one’s own needs while help arrives, this simple little disaster kit can make severe weather or rolling blackouts easier for a senior to endure on their own.

Tip #3 – Install a peephole in the door. Seniors are often targeted by scammers and thieves. It’s smart for all seniors to install peepholes so they can keep tabs on who is knocking before deciding to open the door.

Tip #4 – Develop a list of emergency contacts. To ensure safety in the event of an accident, all seniors should develop a list of emergency contacts kept by the phone. It should include their medical professionals, family, and friends.

A chair in the shower can help prevent slips and falls. Want to know more about shower chair assistance? Read the next article!

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Senior Transportation Services

Senior Transportation Services

Senior Transportation Services provide the opportunity to maintain connection with friends, family, church and community. Safe and reliable transportation gives peace of mind that you or your loved one will get to the destinations they need reach so they may do the things they love and require to maintain health and happiness.

Dial-A-Ride is an ADA paratransit service that provides accessible door-to-door transportation to eligible people with disabilities. The service is available whenever fixed-route service is operating. Dial-A-Ride is public shared ride transportation. Drivers can provide assistance to the vehicle from the front door of the origin and to the front door of the destination but do not enter private businesses or residences.

A personal care attendant may accompany a passenger free of charge if your eligibility determination states that you need one. A companion may accompany a passenger and ride at the same fare as the passenger, provided that the attendant or companion is picked up and dropped off at the same point as the passenger, and there is room on the van. Please notify Dial-A-Ride at the time the trip is scheduled that an attendant or companion will accompany you.

Subscription reservations are available on a limited basis for trips that recur at the same time on the same days over a period of time to and from the same addresses. Typical subscription trips include those for school, jobs, hemodialysis, chemotherapy, and other medical treatments. If space is not available for a subscription trip, you may ask to be placed on a waiting list, which is reviewed regularly. It is important to remember that standing reservations are NOT guaranteed, and may be capped at not more than 50% of all rides in any given time period. If you are unable to secure a standing ride trip, you may still call the day before, or up to seven days before, for each individual trip.

Passengers using mobility aids will be accommodated whenever safely possible.  A passenger who uses a mobility aid may be required to attend an in-person assessment at the LAVTA offices (at no cost to the passenger).

A mobility aid, when occupied by a user that exceeds the specified maximum weight capacity of the lift/ramp on a Dial-A-Ride vehicle may not be accommodated.  Occupied mobility aids exceeding the weight capacity of the ramp/lift will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Mobility aids will be accommodated on paratransit vehicles as long as the mobility aid and user do not exceed the size of the mobility aid securement area on the vehicle.  As a safety requirement, mobility aids cannot block the aisle and cannot present a physical threat to other passengers.

Mobility Aid Securements and Passenger Restraints
Wheelchairs and other mobility aids must be secured to the Dial-A-Ride vehicles, ideally via a four-point tie-down system, and passengers must use the appropriate personal restraints. Passengers refusing the securements and/or restraints will be asked to deboard the vehicle.

To meet the demands for energy conservation, we have built our homes to keep fresh air out.
As we increase our homeʼs efficiency, we also become more efficient at trapping contaminants.
That means the air inside our homes — the air we breathe every day — is likely to be more
polluted than the air outdoors. Up to 50 times more.

How this can help seniors:

Maintain independence
Transportation is a large obstacle for seniors wishing to be independent.  Without groceries, rides to medical appointments, or the ability to attend a local event, seniors are less likely to be able to remain in their home.

Trust & Dependability
Alternatives to senior transportation services can be unreliable or make seniors feel uneasy. You might not feel comfortable with taxi drivers, or find that the services provided by your local church just aren’t available when needed. Reliable and qualified senior transportation services will be there you need it and are run by people who know how to make seniors feel safe and secure.

Improved Emotional Health
Senior transportation services give seniors the opportunity to participate in their favorite hobbies and events, experience life outside of their home, and spend more time with friends and family. All of these activities boost the emotional well-being of seniors, keeping them happier and healthier than if they were stuck at home with nothing to do, ultimately improving quality of life.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Avoid cross contamination in the kitchen. Separate raw from cooked foods during transportation and cooking. Wash knives and cutting surfaces when cutting or preparing raw foods.

Tip #2 – Invest in a stair lift. If you have trouble going up and down the stairs, a lift can aid by slowly and safely lifting you into  standing and seated positions.

Tip #3 – Consider replacing your purse with a fanny pack. It’s more accessible to you, easier on the body, and harder to reach by any potential thieves.

Tip #4 – Use non-slip mats in your shower or tub and around the house. Aging eyes tend to work harder in low light or bright white light. Darker areas in the home make it difficult for seniors to maintain balance and orientation. 

Handrails assist moving in and out of the tub, getting on and off the toilet, and are there to grab in case of a slip. To learn more, read the next article.

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