Consider the various tools you utilize every single day – your phone, hairbrush, toothbrush – simple items, but ones you cannot picture living without. Now, imagine struggling to use those items and finding it challenging to accomplish daily tasks. Having access to assistive devices for seniors could mean the difference between living at home and facing a move to assisted living. However, almost half of seniors living at home aren’t utilizing these useful tools – despite the fact that prices are minimal.
A National Health and Aging Trends Study estimated the ability of older adults to accomplish tasks such as rising unassisted from a sitting position and walking, and discovered that thousands of the participants could benefit from assistive devices.
Not only that, but the likelihood of senior falls due to the lack of simple assistive devices is increased, leading to hospitalizations, serious injury, and disability that may easily have been prevented. In fact, once these devices were made available to older adults, according to research, disability rates for seniors decreased by 50%, together with a decrease in pain levels and an increase in the capacity to independently perform activities of daily living.
According to study author Dr. Kenneth Lam, “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?”
A program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore is looking to change this by introducing inexpensive assistive tools to seniors. Through several in-home visits by an occupational therapist, repair specialist and nurse, 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 enhancements such as these can make an enormous difference in a senior’s capacity to manage activities of daily living safely and independently.
At Harmony Home Health & Hospice, we are pleased to offer in-home evaluations to recommend changes to the home environment that enhance safety and help older adults remain independent as well as in control. We can also help improve senior’s comfort, safety, and independence through services such as:
- Providing accompanied transportation for errands, medical appointments, and fun outings
- Preparing healthy meals and ensuring sufficient hydration for older adults
- Providing help and support as necessary with personal care needs for safe bathing/showering, getting dressed, etc.
- Maintaining a clean and organized home
- And much more