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4 Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors

It starts with a little less flexibility in the hips, maybe a slight pain when you bend in a certain way. Sooner rather than later, you’re suddenly dizzy when you bend over to retrieve a dropped bar of soap. People age. It’s just the nature of the world. With so many of the modern conveniences around us developed for the younger crowd, it falls to seniors to be vigilant and supplement their households with further conveniences that facilitate the use of existing conveniences in the coming years. In the case of the bathroom, this includes proper positioning of bathing paraphernalia, the possible addition of a bath bench, and extra steps taken to prevent falls.

Bath Benches by Roll Mobility
Bath Benches by Roll Mobility

1: Keep all bathing supplies at eye level.

As we age, the tiny hairs that regulate balance in our inner ears become more and more finicky, resulting in periodic swoons of dizziness when bending over for whatever reason. Try to minimize this in the shower, where all around you is hard porcelain or enamel, by keeping all of your toiletries at eye level.

2: Get a bath mat.

Bath mats provide welcome areas of high friction in the middle of an otherwise slippery shower. Bathers of any age who take showers rather than baths should invest in a bath mat.

3: Stop buying bar soap.

Insurance analysts work in threes. That is, if a large number of individuals carry a set of three behavioral traits and end up being an insurance liability, then that set of three behaviors becomes a way to charge more for insurance. A classic example is the triad of being overweight, not using a bath mat, and using bar soap, a combination referred to in the film The Darwin Awards. Consider the combination of effects. The soap is dropped, the owner bends over to pick it up, and slips because of the lack of a bathmat. Switch to a liquid variant that can be kept at eye level.

4: Invest in a bath bench.

For some, it is simply impossible to make the shape of your bathtub work with the features that need to be installed to ensure safety. Essentially a rustproof metal and plastic chair, a bath bench allows for the easy way out when faced with such a quandary: sitting. By simply sitting down and bathing at your leisure, you effectively remove the risk of falling.

Prevent falls in the bath or shower by sitting instead of standing. Use a bath bench to make bathing safer and more comfortable. View our selection of bath benches to find the right style for you. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.!

Wheelchairs: Finding your Perfect Fit

Sometimes we dream about the perfect game, the perfect day, or the perfect activity. Whether its a no-hitter, a lazy afternoon in the sun, or explorling a small town, some things should be a perfect fit. Your wheelchair should be no different. With so many different options when buying wheelchairs, how do you know when you find the perfect fit? Wheelchairs can be fickle, but we’re here to make it simple. Here are some things to consider if you’re looking to find the perfect chair for you!

Wheelchairs

GT Aluminum Wheelchair 18”

Seat

To measure the seat width, measure the person’s hips from one end to the other. Once measured, add two inches. You want to make sure that there is some breathing room but not too much space. To measure the depth, measure from the back of the hips to the back of knee. Then subtract one inch. This will allow you to sit comfortably without the seat always hitting the back of your knees.

Arms

There are two arm lengths for wheelchairs: full-length and desk length. Full-length allows for more stability with people who constantly rise and sit. Desk length provides more comfort for those who will be sitting at a desk for an extended period of time. Arm chair height can be determined while seated by measuring from the elbow to the seat of the chair. It’s always best to have height adjustable arms in case preferences change.

Footrest

Elevated leg rests are suggested for people with edema, injuries or swelling. Leg rests on most wheelchairs lock to prevent excessive movement. The correct fit can be found by measuring from the back of the knee to the heel of the foot.

Backrest

Backrests can be subjective. Depending on your height, your back rest should reach to your collarbone. There are back rests that are shorter for those desiring more movement. There are also higher backed chairs that for people that need additional back support.

Weight

Different wheelchairs are rated for weight capacity. Make sure you know the person’s weight when you select a wheel chair. Remember that certain people are more mobile than others. Choosing a lighter weight chair that suits their upper body strength is important.

Wheelchairs

If you’re looking for wheelchairs, look no further. We would be happy to assist you!  Roll Mobility offers a selection of transport wheelchairs, standard wheelchairs, and lightweight wheelchairs by Drive Medical, Medline, and Invacare. Free Shipping on all products to the lower 48 states.

How to Choose and Use a Walking Cane

If you have trouble getting around, weak knees, or other walking related problems, investing in a walking cane may be your best solution. Walkers and wheelchairs can be cumbersome and are meant for more immobile people. A walking cane will greatly increase your mobility and provide the necessary support to keep you going. Here are a few tips for choosing and using the best walking cane for you:
 

Walking Cane

Quad Cane by Drive

Choosing

  • Cane: Every cane is different. There are a wide variety of handles and shafts. The basic “rule of thumb” is to choose a handle that is most comfortable to you and a shaft that will adequately support you. Some people feel unstable with the rigidness of a straight cane. There are bent shaft canes that position the weight directly on the shaft instead of off to the side. Having the weight over the shaft allows for better support and prolonged comfort.
  • Quad Cane: Quad canes provide more support than single tip walking canes. These canes are often heavier because of having a larger base for weight distribution and stability.

Using

  • Walking: No matter the cane, the walking technique is the same. Position your cane in the arm of the same side as the affected leg. Move your cane and affected leg forward together. Place the weight appropriately by leaning on your cane. Finally, bring your stronger leg forward. Repeat this process.
  • Stairs: Stairs can be tricky. Hold the cane in the hand opposite your stronger side. Lift your stronger leg up a step and use this leg to support the ascent of your affected leg and cane. When going down the stairs, place your affected leg and cane on the step below you, and follow with your stronger leg. Use caution when climbing, and always use the railing for safety.
  • Chairs: Place your cane in the hand opposite your stronger leg. Place your other hand on the arm or back of the chair. Slowly shift your weight forward and bend your knee. Lower yourself into the chair. When getting up, the process remains the same.

Caution

Remember to be aware of any slippery or rough surfaces on which you will travel. Be especially cautious with ice and gravel. Making sure that your walking cane has a good foothold during placement.

Walking Canes for Sale

Looking for an offset aluminum cane or a quad cane? Check out our selection of walking canes by Drive Medical and Roll Mobility.

 

5 Tips for Recovering from Foot Surgery

Foot surgery  presents many challenges and recovery can be exhausting. It may take several weeks or months to heal. Thankfully, there are ways to speed up your recovery time and get back to living your life again. Assistive devices, including a knee walker, are an important part of the process of getting you back on your feet. Here are a few tips to help your recovery from foot surgery.

Knee Walker

1. Do not place any weight on your foot.

The doctor wasn’t kidding around when he said, “No weight on your foot”. Applying unwanted weight and pressure can slow recovery times and may make the issue worse off. A knee walker would a suitable solution to alleviate this pressure and increase mobility.

2. Crutches are uncomfortable.

After using crutches for a long time, you will become tired more quickly. Using alternatives to crutches, such as a rolling or knee walker, can keep your energy and attitude up, which brings us to our next point.

3. Attitude is everything.

Having a good attitude and high morale will allow you to stay positive despite you lack of mobility. Don’t let negative thoughts overshadow your recovery. Stay positive and optimistic to speed up the healing process.

4. Ask for help.

Chances are, you aren’t in this situation alone. You have family and friends surrounding you that want to help. Let them. Do be afraid to ask for help. If you try to “go it alone”, you could hurt and injure yourself further.

5. Be thankful.

After receiving help and service, show your appreciation by saying thank you. Be thankful for your doctor, family, and friends and make it easy for them to take care of your needs. Notes, gift cards, and hugs can be a great way to appreciate those who help.

 

Knee Walkers for Sale

Looking for the best deal on a knee walker? Check out our selection of Drive and Invacare knee walkers from Roll Mobility. We offer free shipping and a limited lifetime warranty on every order.

 

How To Prevent Falls On Stairs

Accidents are an unfortunate part of life, but none of us likes the idea of experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of an accident within our own home. Unfortunately, slips, trips and falls are incredibly common – in the workplace, on the street and even on our own staircases. Falls on stairs may be more common in elderly individuals who may suffer from visual impairment or poor balance, but the ways to prevent falls on stairs are the same for all age demographics.

outdoor stairs

Handrails reduce the risk of falling on the stairs.

To prevent falls on stairs, follow these tips:

1. Invest in better lighting.

It may seem a strange suggestion, but lighting plays a major role in how easy or safe a staircase can be. Poorly lit areas make it harder for individuals to distinguish where steps start and end, and this can lead to insecure footing and falls or slips.

The trick is to make sure the light is well positioned to increase visibility across the entire length and width of the staircase. Use a suitable wattage bulb to suit the visibility needs which you have. Having a light switch at the top and bottom of the staircase is also recommended.

2. Secure the flooring.

It’s not just what’s above you that is important – what sits below is equally vital. With staircases, loose carpet or rugs and mats can pose a real risk to users. This is because they are unstable and can move underfoot, resulting in potentially dangerous accidents.

To cut down on the likelihood of experiencing a trip or fall on the staircase, make sure that any carpet is secured down professionally. If you notice loose edges or frayed threads, then get them corrected as soon as possible, as small problems like this can soon escalate.

It also recommended to keep any loose mats or rugs away from areas which surround the staircase. The edges of these can curl, providing the perfect catalyst to a trip or fall when caught by your foot. Eliminate this risk by using mats and rugs in another area.

3. Evaluate the staircase.

Another tip you can use to reduce your chances of falling on the stairs is to evaluate your staircase from an impartial perspective. You can get mathematical and look at step geometry (which analyzes different dimensions on the staircase) as well as looking at other practical considerations – such as whether there is sufficient support provided by handrails.

The safest staircases are those framed by handrails which run the entire length of the staircase on either side, but there are other options. Those who really struggle with the stairs, not just through fear of falling but because of poor mobility or aching joints, can use stairlifts instead. These offer a comfortable seat which travels the length of the staircase in both directions and helps reduce falls as a result.

This article is written on behalf of Stannah Stairlifts, who provide mobility aids to rent or purchase.

Image Credit: A. Schaeffer on stock.xchng

Caring for Alzheimers: Jacqueline’s Story

Thanks to Jacqueline Marcell for sharing her story and advice on caregiving for elderly parents. Jacqueline’s parents both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which brought many challenges along the way, but also some surprising blessings.

Read our exclusive interview with Jacqueline, now an international speaker and author:

Jacqueline Marcell

Jacqueline Marcell, author of Elder Rage

1) How has caregiving impacted your life in a positive way?

I was a television executive, but I barely survived as a fulltime caregiver to my (once-adoring) challenging elderly father and sweet ailing mother, both with Alzheimer’s which went undiagnosed for over a year. But after fighting through the medical system, endless tears, and depleting my parents’ life savings and much of my own, I finally figured everything out medically, behaviorally, socially, legally, financially and emotionally. The experience was the hardest of my life, but it also unexpectedly created a passion to save others from a similar experience, especially from getting so frustrated they commit elder abuse.

I became compelled to write my first book, ‘Elder Rage’ (www.ElderRage.com), launch the ‘Coping with Caregiving’ Internet radio show, became an international speaker on Caregiving & Alzheimer’s, and became an advocate for eldercare awareness and reform. I would have never guessed I would have this passion for a mission in my life!

2) What encouragement do you have for caregivers?

You are not alone. There are 65 million caregivers in the U.S. and millions more who have been through it, so reach out and learn from those who went before you. Remember when life takes you to your knees and nearly destroys you to keep searching for the silver-lining even if you can’t find it yet. The lessons you are learning and the insight you are gaining will help others and may also lead you to a higher purpose, passion and reward.

3) How can you get support from family and friends?

Make a looong list of everything you need help with so when someone says, “Oh, I am so sorry about what you are going through–is there anything I can do?”, you can give the list and say, “Thank you, yes, there is. Here’s a list—pick one!” You may want to include things like: Get the car serviced, tires rotated, filled with gas; get broken items fixed; shop for items you don’t have time for such as a new battery for your watch; have clothes altered, pants shortened, mending done; garden, prune, clear the yard; take stuff to the Goodwill or dumps; organize the pantry, garage, attic, closet; pick up dry cleaning, groceries; make meals or cookies for the freezer; sit with Mom while I go to a support group; rent a carpet shampooer and clean the carpet; do Internet research on medications; evaluate the best local eldercare services and adult day care programs; take me out to lunch!

4) What brings you joy in caregiving?

When I was a caregiver for my parents, joy came from the pride I felt in persevering and solving all the issues and making their lives the best I could. Now my joy comes every day from caregivers emailing me how much my book, radio show or seminar helped them — and that they feel so much less alone with their countless frustrations and rollercoaster emotions. It makes me grateful for all that happened because it gave me the drive to continue to help others.

5) What was the biggest obstacle you faced caring for your parents?

Getting the right diagnosis for my parents, particularly my father who had always been a ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ personality who could be charming in front of healthcare professionals, yet horrible to my mother and me privately. Once I found and understood the Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s and got my parents evaluated by a Neurologist SPECIALIZED in Dementia, everything started to fall into place. The doctor slowed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, treated the (often present depression) and also the aggression in my father. Then I was finally able to get my father to accept caregivers, optimize nutrition and fluids with much less resistance, implement creative behavioral techniques, enroll my parents in a marvelous Adult Day Care program, get myself into a support group, and save my sanity!

6) What is the most helpful caregiving tip you could share with caregivers?

Put you and your health FIRST and never put off your yearly physical and all medical tests. You can’t take care of anyone if you go down, which statistically happens all the time. I know, because even though I was under tremendous stress as a caregiver, I just didn’t think anything would happen to me. After caring for my parents I developed invasive breast cancer, went through it all, and had a heck of a time regaining my health. Please learn from those who have gone before you and never take risks with your health.

About Jacqueline

Jacqueline Marcell is an international speaker on Caregiving & Alzheimer’s, and author of the best-selling book, Elder Rage (print, audio, Kindle/Nook), a Book-of-the-Month Club selection receiving 50+ endorsements, 400+ 5-Star Amazon reviews, required reading at numerous universities, and considered for a film. You can read a sample of her book at http://www.ElderRage.com/SampleChapter.asp.

4 Tips for Baby Boomers Caring for Aging Parents

Caregiver Hands

When it comes to caring for aging parents, it's important to know your own limits.

For baby boomers, the stress of caring for aging parents along with caring for your own family is one that leads to guilt, second guessing, and heartbreaking decisions. Even if you’ve planned for the day when your aging parents would need more care, it’s not easy to find the balance between caring for yourself, your family, and your parents.

Use these tips to help you through the tough but rewarding experience of caring for your elderly parents.

1. Know your limits.

When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, you don’t always realize the pressure you’re under until the situation is over. Take the time to evaluate your response to stress so that you know when enough is enough. Do you get irritable? Frustrated? Do you stop exercising or taking care of yourself? Do you start eating more junk food or zoning out in front of the television?

Ask a trusted family member or friend to let you know if they start to notice changes in your behavior that could signal a need for something to change in your life, whether that’s hiring a caregiver, asking for more help from friends or family, or taking a much-needed break from caregiving for a period of time.

2. Encourage your parents to stay independent as long as possible.

The more your parents can do for themselves, the better they will feel. Helping your parents stay independent might mean making a few changes to their home, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom, placing a bath seat in the tub or shower, or helping them learn how to use a walking cane or rolling walker to keep their balance and get around the house without falling.

If needed, hire an independent contractor or find resources in your community to help you evaluate the safety of your parents’ home and make changes as needed. You should also be aware of basic fall prevention tips such as making sure there are no loose rugs your parent could trip over and making sure hallways and bathrooms are lit at night.

3. Communicate with other family members and caregivers.

Lack of communication between family members is one of the greatest sources of stress for boomers caring for their parents. Although you’ll each have different opinions and ideas about what’s best for mom and dad, it’s important to hear each other out and be willing to compromise.

Make sure that individual responsibilities are clear, such as taking care of financial issues, home and lawn care, and taking a parent to the doctor or other outings.

4. Ask for help before you need it.

Don’t wait until you’re exhausted before asking for help. You’ll be able to take better care of your parents if you build in enough rest time to avoid getting burned out. Along with practical caregiving help, you should also be able to rely on your support system for emotional resilience, a listening ear, and guidance for making decisions on how to care for your aging parents. Although it can be a stressful experience at times, it can also be a very rewarding one!

Bathroom Safety Products

Falls in the bathroom are one of the greatest risks for aging parents living at home. Make sure your parents stay safe with a bath bench or shower stool, grab bars, and an elevated toilet seat. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.!

Wheelchair Buying Guide for Elderly Parents

Transport chair

Transport chairs are best for occasional outings.

If your aging parents are having a difficult time getting out of the house, using a wheelchair can make outings safer and easier. For occasional trips to the doctor or the shopping mall, a lightweight transport chair is your best option. For heavier wheelchair use, a standard wheelchair offers more comfort.

Choose your type.

Wheelchairs come in several different styles. For users who want to sit in the wheelchair and propel themselves forward, get a chair with large rear wheels. If a companion will be pushing the wheelchair instead, consider getting a transport chair for a lighter, more compact version.

Get a folding wheelchair to make it easier to store and transport the chair. Lightweight wheelchairs and lightweight transport chairs make it easier to lift the chair in and out of a trunk or vehicle. Some wheelchairs include removable accessories, such as arm rests and leg rests.

Get the right size.

Before you purchase a wheelchair, take a few measurements to make sure the wheelchair is the right size for your elderly parent. With your parent seated comfortably on a chair, measure the width of their hips. Add one inch to make room for bulky clothing and wiggle room.

You may also want to measure for seat height. With your parent seated and feet flat on the floor, measure from the underside of the knee to the bottom of the foot. If you plan to use a wheelchair cushion, add about two inches to the seat height. The seat height measurement is especially important if your parent needs to be able to propel the wheelchair with his or her feet.

Finally, measure for seat depth. With your parent seated upright against the backrest of a chair, measure from the inside of the knee to where their lower back meets the chair. Subtract an inch or two for relaxed posture.

Folding Wheelchairs and Transport Chairs

Need a better way to get your elderly parent out of the house? Check out our selection of wheelchairs and transport chairs from Drive Medical, Invacare, Medline, and Roll Mobility. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

Foot Surgery Recovery Tips

Knee walker

Use a knee walker to take the weight off your foot.

Having foot surgery doesn’t mean you have to be stuck on the couch for the next few months or become completely dependent on others for getting around. Here are some tips to help you keep your sanity and mobility after foot surgery.

1. Use a knee walker to get around.

The fastest way to recover from foot surgery is to listen to your doctor and stay off your foot! With a knee walker, you can still get around by yourself without putting any weight on your foot. Crutches can be awkward—and dangerous if you lose your balance—but a knee walker gives you more reliable support, since you can put weight on your knee instead of your foot.

Some knee walkers also come with a basket so that you don’t have to wear a backpack or shoulder bag to carry your stuff.

2. Clear away clutter.

Before your surgery, get the house ready by clearing away clutter and making sure you have more than enough space to get around. If possible, arrange everything you need on one floor so that you don’t need to go up and down the stairs. Ask a friend or family member to help you rearrange furniture and move items to make them more accessible.

3. Ask for help.

It’s difficult to feel dependent on others, but it’s better to ask for help than risk re-injuring your foot. If you need to reach something on the top shelf, carry a laundry basket down to the basement, or get the mail on an icy day, ask someone to help you.

If you know you’re going to be spending a long day away from home, it’s also a good idea to ask someone to push you in a wheelchair. Using crutches or a knee walker can tire you out after a few hours. A wheelchair allows you to elevate your foot and enjoy being out and about without compromising your recovery time.

Knee Walkers

Get around better after foot surgery with a knee walker! View our selection of knee walkers by Drive, Invacare, and Medline. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

8 Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors

Teak bath stool

Relax and bathe while seated with a teak bath stool.

Most seniors prefer to age in place in the comfort of their own home. With a few modifications and safety updates, your loved one will be able to live independently for a longer period of time. The following bathroom safety tips will get you headed in the right direction to keep your loved one safe at home.

1. Install grab bars.

When you start to lose your balance, your first instinct is to grab whatever is nearest to you. If that happens to be a sliding shower door or a towel bar, however, the object that you grab onto may not be able to hold your weight.

Keep your loved one safe by installing grab bars in strategic places, such as on either side of the toilet and on the wall next to the bath tub or shower. When properly installed, a grab bar will support your full weight and stop you from falling.

2. Prevent slipping.

Bath tubs and showers are often the cause of falls in the bathroom, since they are slippery when wet. Use a non-slip shower mat or apply non-skid tape or treads to the bottom of your bath tub or shower.

3. Get a shower chair.

Sitting in the shower or bath tub is safer than standing. You can really take your time bathing and enjoy yourself with a bath or shower chair. Options range from a small bath stool (for tight shower spaces) to a bath transfer bench that make it easier to get in and out of the tub.

4. Install a handheld shower head.

With a handheld shower head, you can easily rinse off without standing or moving around underneath the shower head. The long hose allows you to move the shower head where needed, and you can control the spray settings for your comfort.

5. Raise the toilet seat.

A higher toilet seat makes it easier to sit down and stand up. A raised toilet seat platform can be installed over your existing toilet seat for an extra boost. You may also be able to install a portable commode (without the bucket) over the toilet seat for arm rest support.

6. Use a medical alert system.

If you haven’t done so already, get a medical alert system for your loved one. Make sure the alert button is waterproof so that they can wear it in the bathroom. Encourage your loved one to press the button if they fall or get hurt, even if the damage is minor. Better to be safe than sorry.

7. Adjust water heater temperature.

The water heater temperature should never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water gets too hot, it can scald the skin. Elderly people have sensitive skin but are not always able to detect changes in temperature. Lowering the water heater temperature also prevents elderly people with arthritic hands or poor grip strength from accidentally turning the water on too hot.

8. Easy-grab faucet handles in shower and sink.

Some bath and sink faucets are difficult for seniors with arthritic hands to use. Replace the faucet with handles that are easy to grip and use. Lever handle faucets are easier to use than handles that require pulling or twisting. Make sure the faucet also indicates directions for hot and cold water temperature.

Bathroom Safety Products

Are you looking for a bath bench or a raised toilet seat? We have just what you need. Roll Mobility carries the best quality bathroom safety products from Drive Medical, Invacare, and Medline. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.