The time has come. Your elderly loved one is ready to go home from the hospital. Or maybe there was no hospitalization, but he or she is getting more and more unstable when walking and having trouble seeing at night.
After all, things change, and usually they change slowly, unless something happens to speed up the process, like a stroke or a heart attack.
Whatever the reasons for your safety concerns, there are easy things you can do to make your home, or their home (or both) safer and easier to manage without major structural changes. (For your convenience and for my bank account — I don’t get paid for this — highlighted text links to reviews of products sold on Amazon.)
Essential Equipment for Caregiving at Home
If caregiving is new to you, whether you are caring in your own home or in the home of the care recipient, you will probably need to get some equipment to make things safer for the person cared for and easier for you.
One of the things new caregivers and care recipients often have to contend with is using the bathroom. There are various reasons for this. Some people need help to go to the bathroom, and for some, the issue is safety.
A commode chair can often help in both those situations.
If the person you care for is now disabled and needs your help to get to the bathroom and transfer onto the toilet, there are two (probably more) ways a commode chair can help.
First of all, if you place it by the bed at night, it eliminates going all the way to the bathroom and back when you would rather be sleeping. You can get bags to place in the commode bucket to gel the liquid and deal with odor, so YOU don’t have to deal with the contents of the commode until later.
The other way it can help is that the back of the commode chair can easily be removed, and the bucket removed, and it can be placed over the toilet during the day. That makes the seat a little higher, and it provides rails for the person to hold onto to help them on and off giving a feeling of security and stability.
For the person who is mobile, but not safe walking around at night, a commode chair can be placed by their bed as well, so they don’t really have to go anywhere to use the bathroom. During the day, placing the commode over the toilet gives them rails to hold onto for safety and help getting up and down. The raised seat is usually helpful too.
The Invacare All-In-One Aluminum Commode works perfectly for the uses I just described.
Another common problem is getting in and out of the bathtub/shower. For some, it is impossible to step over the side of the tub, and for others, though they can do it, it is dangerous.
For that problem, a Tub Transfer Bench is a good solution.
As you can see in the photo, the Medline Aluminum Frame Tub Transfer Bench is longer than just a shower chair. The reason for that is, that then the person can sit down on the end of the seat and put his/her legs over the side of the tub. That sure beats trying to hang on and balance on one leg and then not slip in the tub!
Once your loved one is in the shower, another piece of essential equipment comes into play: The hand held shower head. After all, it doesn’t do much good to get into the shower if you can’t reach the water!
Getting Good Sleep When You Can
One last item that will help you get needed sleep is an audio monitor. You know how it is hard to sleep when you are afraid you won’t hear your loved one in another room? This monitor will give you the confidence that you will hear. It even has a vibrate function to get your attention if you are a sound sleeper. A little sound sleep would be nice, right?
Of course there are more pieces of equipment that can be helpful depending on the needs of the person you care for and your needs, but these four are easy to put in place and often are the right things to get off to a good start in home caregiving.