Caring Made Easy
Across the UK here are an estimated 6.5 million people acting as carers, either supporting family or another loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. This means that 1 in 8 adults are unpaid carers for friends or family.
Caring is likely to affect us all at some point in our lives. This can be both mentally and physically exhausting. The early adoption of Assistive Technology (AT) can help prolong independence, add life to years and offer a safer environment for both care givers and care recipients. Knowledge of and access to the right equipment can make life easier for everyone.
There are two categories of products that can help people giving and receiving care. There are ranges of products that can be used by a carer to help with mobility and personal care of the care recipient. Another category of products can be used by the person who is receiving care to maintain more of their independence and reduce the need for carers to do smaller tasks.
Category 1: Used by the Carer
The right AT can help to ensure that a carer can safely assist in moving the person that they care for from place to place, such as the bed to a wheelchair, or into the shower, or help them dress or bathe. The products can help to reduce accidents and make the task of caring easier to manage and often more dignified for the person receiving the help and assistance.
Hoists can be used to assist with transferring from either a bed to a chair, or from a chair to a bed or bath etc. Though many are large and difficult to use, some, such as the Oxford Midi 180 are smaller, and can fold so that they can be easily stored in a home for daily use. Used correctly, hoists such as this give carers a way to safely transfer those they care for in a way that will ensure neither are hurt.
Transfer boards can be used to help people with more mobility to move from one place to another, such as a bed or sofa to a wheelchair, or a chair to bed or commode etc. These make it easier for the carer to help them a little more independently. They are placed half on the bed and half on the chair, bridging the gap allowing a person to shuffle with or without the carer's help from one to the other.
Lightweight foldable wheelchairs can be helpful for carers to ensure the mobility of those that they care for, whether that is for attending appointments or simply getting out to enjoy the day. The more lightweight the frame, the easier it is to transport and the better for the carer as it will not be as strenuous to push.
Category 2: Used by the Individual
There are a wide range of products that can be used by individuals to increase their independence, or make simple tasks easier. These can be as simple as bed sheets or mats designed to prevent one from slipping off the side of the bed when sitting up or attempting to stand. These may be items such as fitted sheets with grip enhancing edges and centres that are easy to slide on. They could also simply be pads that are placed on the bed to sit on to prevent sliding when moving to and from the bed or seat, or foot pads to prevent your feet slipping on the floor.
Items such as rope bed ladders can also increase the ease with which someone can manoeuvre themselves in bed without the aid of a carer. A bed ladder is attached to the bottom of the bed and laid over the top so that the rungs can be used to lower themselves safely and with ease into a lying position, or raise themselves up in the same way. This allows independent sitting or lying down, rather than having to wait for assistance from someone else.
Bed transfer aids also allow people to get up out of bed without aid from a carer, or disturbing someone else in the bed. Bed transfer aids attach under the mattress and act as a small rail that the user can hold on to when pushing themselves up.
Simple items such as dressing aids, for example sock aids, can also increase a person's independence Items such as sock aids allow a person to put on items of clothing that are otherwise difficult or impossible to without help for those with decreased mobility. These simple pieces of AT can empower people and prolong independence.
There are many organisations out there that offer support to carers across the country. Caring can be complicated and overwhelming. Organisations such as Carers UK or Carers Trust, and many more offer support, advice and the ability to connect with others in the same situation. Organisations such as these and the early adoption of AT can make caring for others easier and ensure that carers never feel alone and isolated.
This article was sponsored by Manage At Home – Your Online Medequip Retail Store. You can find more products that will make caring easier in the following categories:
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