Life isn’t always easy. There are many obstacles along the way. Seniors face more obstacles than most. Whoever would have thought that a simple task like getting dressed in the morning could be so difficult? Sadly, many seniors don’t think about making changes until after a medical crisis occurs, which makes independent living a challenge to be reckoned with.
Younger disabled people grow up using assistive technologies, but seniors who become disabled after a lifetime of taking care of themselves may not know who to ask for help. Michael Alison Chandler (The Washington Post: Washington, D.C. April 17, 2006) wrote an article about how gadgets can help older people remain independent.
Innovative gadgets and modern technology can mean that you don’t have to struggle so hard in order to get by. Scores of gadgets are available to make daily tasks easier and homes safer. When you hear the word technology you probably think it is all about “smart houses,” but robot vacuums and talking microwaves are only a small part of the equation. There are also a lot of low-tech and relatively inexpensive innovations to help seniors live independently. There are nail clippers with magnifying lenses, long handled hairbrushes, telephones with loud rings and flashing lights and silverware with heavy handles. You might be surprised to learn that some of those odd looking little gadget can make your life so much easier. Medicare doesn’t cover most assistive devices, but they are often inexpensive to buy or replicate at home.
You already know about common every day items like commodes, wheelchairs, walkers and long-handled grippers. You may not know about all of the other clever little gadgets available that can make your life easier. A few mentioned in the article:
- Sock-Assist: allows someone to put on socks without bending over.
- Key turners that attach keys to a molded plastic loop that fits over the palm of the hand and provides leverage for those with a weakened grip.
- A pivot pole that allows a person to transfer unassisted from a wheelchair to bed or chair. Other pole like devices help people sit up or get out of bed.
- A swivel cushion makes getting in and out of a car easier
- A variety of soft handled or large grip cooking and eating utensils, gardening tools and writing devices.
This is just a beginning. You can find a variety of gadgets that can help you manage the 6 activities of daily living that we discussed yesterday. It doesn’t have to take you an hour to get dressed in the morning. An assistive device can make a difference.
Experts say that anyone considering an adaptive aid should first be evaluated by a professional therapist. An occupational therapist can tell you what adaptive devices will work for you. Some items are expensive and insurances rarely pay. There are more choices in devices than ever before and getting a professional opinion will can save you money in the long run. If you do not have an occupational therapist, you can request a referral from their doctor.