Think about the various tools you utilize each day – your phone, hairbrush, toothbrush – simple items, but ones you can’t imagine living without. For many seniors, there are basic adaptive devices available that could mean the difference between living at home and facing a move to assisted living. However nearly 50% of older adults living at home are not utilizing these handy tools – despite the fact that prices are minimal.
A newly released National Health and Aging Trends Study estimated the ability of seniors to accomplish tasks such as rising unassisted from a sitting position and walking, and found that a large number of the participants could benefit from assistive devices.
Not only that, but the danger of senior falls from the lack of simple assistive devices is increased, resulting in hospitalizations, serious injury, and disability that could easily have been prevented. In fact, once these devices were made available to older adults, based on research, disability rates for older adults dropped by 50 percent, along with a decrease in pain levels and an increase in the ability to independently perform activities of daily living.
Dr. Kenneth Lam, author of the study, explained, “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?”
Johns Hopkins in Baltimore has recently launched a program looking to change this by introducing inexpensive assistive tools to seniors. Through several in-home visits with an occupational therapist, nurse, and repair specialist, needs are identified and resolved. That may mean installing grab bars in the bathroom, removing fall hazards, or adding a shower chair or raised toilet seat. Small changes such as these can make a substantial difference in an older adult’s capacity to safely and independently manage activities of daily living.
At Responsive Home Care, we are pleased to offer in-home evaluations to recommend modifications to the home environment that enhance safety and help seniors remain independent and in control. We can also help improve senior’s comfort, safety, and independence through services such as:
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring adequate hydration for seniors
- Providing assistance as necessary with personal care needs for safe showering/bathing, getting dressed, etc.
- Maintaining a clean and organized home
- And more