A couple walk cautiously into the showroom…before they have spoken a single word, we can almost predict their opening question… “Mum’s coming out of hospital, lives on her own and we need to buy her a few things…but what do we need to buy to make her home safer?”
We hear this and similar questions everyday, from first time shoppers, shopping on behalf of elderly parents, friends or relatives and have little or no idea where to start.
Nothing prepares the buyer for this type of shopping experience.
If this sounds familiar…read on, because help is at hand.
Before we cover this, let’s face the facts…
Improved living standards, better healthcare, greater awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and taking regular exercise have led to more and more people enjoying life into their 80s and 90s.
We are all living longer.
Elderly parents and relatives become frustrated easily, that they can no longer manage, when they always have done.
People prefer to stay in their homes and worry about the costs of sheltered housing and nursing home bills.
With the rising costs of elderly social care increasing each year, if you have an elderly parent or relative living alone, we can help you to make their home safer and more comfortable for them, for a fraction of the cost of care.
Older people, in particular the frail elderly, are the largest group of our population most prone to accidents, particularly in and around the home.
People over 65 years of age are most at risk, suffering both the highest mortality rate and the most severe injuries.
More than 3,500 people in England and Wales die every year as a result of a fall and nearly a third of a million people need hospital treatment. Many older people who suffer from falls never fully recover from either the physical or psychological impact of their injuries.
Where do accidents happen?
The most serious accidents involving older people usually occur on the stairs or in the kitchen. The bedroom and the living room are also common locations for accidents in general.
Fifteen per cent of falls are from a chair or out of bed (on two levels) and a similar number are caused by a slip or trip on the same level, e.g. falling over a mat or a rug.
Older people need to be made aware of:
The importance of using the right equipment to carry out the task in hand
Dangers in the kitchen; contact burns to those over 65 can prove to be fatal
Loss of balance through sudden movements e.g. getting out of bed or a chair too quickly
The danger of slipping and tripping created by worn rugs, slippery floors or paths, uneven surfaces, trailing flexes, and items left lying around
Loose fitting or badly worn footwear. Well-fitting shoes and slippers worn around the home can help with balance and stability
Where do I start?
Before visiting our showroom or shopping online, we suggest that you assess the needs of the person you are shopping for to gain a good understanding of their risk of slips, trips, falls and scalds etc.
When assessing what daily living aids or products etc. someone may need to help them to live safely and as independently as possible in their home, it may help to think of their home environment in the following way.
Does the task include any of the following: Twisting, Stooping, Bending, lifting, Pushing, Pulling or Sudden Movement?
I – Individual
Does the person have a particular disability; are they elderly, frail or suffering from other health problems? Do they have difficulty standing, walking unaided?
L – Load
Are objects in their home environment heavy, difficult to grip, sharp, hot, cold or unstable?
E – Environment
Are there space constraints, uneven or slippery flooring, unstable flooring, and different floor levels? Can they get in and out of the bath, chair or bed without difficulty?
Once you have assessed a person’s needs, ability and risks, a good starting point, is to compile a list of tasks they find difficult or things they struggle to do easily.
In the Kitchen
Instead of going to visit and doing things for them, ask them to complete a few simple daily tasks, like making a cup of tea… This will give a good indication of how they manage, when they are alone.
Observe how they fill and lift a kettle. If this happens to be something that they struggle with, we would recommend our award winning Uccello safety kettle.
Are cups and other items within easy reach?
Consider non-slip products in the kitchen.
Once they have made the hot drink, can they carry it safely from the kitchen to their living room? If this causes concern, consider a food trolley or a non-slip tray.
Are everyday items at a level that prevents bending or over stretching? Think about rearranging cupboards or lowering shelves. Would a handy grabber help with reaching objects?
A weakened grip can cause frustration in the kitchen. Whether its holding utensils, cups or opening bottles and cans. Look for silicone-based products, as they offer optimum grip. Jar and bottle openers can provide extra leverage and open the tightest of lids and tops with little effort.
In the Living Room
When people spend a lot of time in their home, it is important to stay comfortable and warm.
Can they sit and stand safely? Do they struggle to get into and out of a chair? If the answer is yes, consider a rise and recline chair. These specialist chairs are purpose made help the user rise to a stand and sit down safely. Rise and recline chairs also offer comfort and relief by raising the legs above the hips, and can also reduce oedema or swollen legs.
Are rugs or mats creating a slip or trip hazard? Do they need to be removed?
Are they wearing sturdy, supportive slippers or footwear? Having a sure footing around the home and wearing properly fitted slip on style footwear can prevent any number of trips and falls.
In the bedroom
Getting up during the night becomes a regular occurrence, as we get older. This increases the risks of falling and stumbling to reach the light switch. A clever motion sensor night light that illuminates the room, once motion is detected can prevent stumbling around in the dark.
An adjustable bed can raise the mattress, making it easier to get into or out of bed. Should falling out of bed be a genuine concern for an elderly loved one, adjustable cot sides may be the answer and are available on some of our adjustable bed collection.
If sleeping in, is a problem the new wake n’ shake digital alarm clock will awaken the deepest sleeper. This handy alarm clock can also be plugged into your telephone, to provide an extra loud ring signal. It also has a vibrating disk that can be slipped under a pillow, or left on a bedside cabinet
In the bathroom
Accidents, slips, trips and falls are most common in the bathroom. Simple daily duties like using the toilet is the cause of many falls, as modern toilet seats are often too low for an older person. This can be easily rectified, by fitting a raised toilet seat to the existing toilet. Simple to fit, requiring no plumbing work. This is a far more practical and affordable way than replacing the toilet itself.
Bathing is often neglected, for fear of slipping, whether getting into or out of the bath. An important part of personal hygiene and the most economical way to get warm quickly, a bathlift, which can be fitted to 99% of baths (and removed if necessary after use) enables the user to lower and raise themselves into the bath safely and with dignity.
If stepping into and out of the bath is difficult, a bath step or bath seat could be the answer. A bath step can be placed in front of the bath to reduce the height of stepping into the bath. A bath seat can also be placed inside the bath and used as a step or seat. All of which combined with a comfortable grab handle or rail, strategically placed can help build up bathing with confidence once again.
We recommend self-adhesive aqua safe non-slip discs and strips, these can be fixed to shower trays and baths can also prevent slipping underfoot.
When showering, fitting a handy grab rail can make a huge difference. With suction cups and requiring no drilling, they can be fitted in seconds. If standing in the shower is difficult, our popular shower stool with rotating seat is ideal.
Our range of long handled bathing brushes make washing and bathing easier when manual dexterity and flexibility is limited.
We understand that the older generation are often fiercely independent; don’t want to feel they have become a burden, or wish to cause unnecessary expense. With so many products and daily living aids available, the smallest of things can make the world of difference and can help them to live more independently.
At Rise Furniture and Mobility we have brought together a unique collection of mobility and daily living aids that can help keep your parents and elderly relatives maintain their independence and safety at home, so they can enjoy a staying in their homes for longer.
You can find our range of inspirational daily living aids here.
No matter how expensive you may have thought mobility products were before you stepped into the showroom, remember they are an investment. An investment in the welfare and wellbeing of your elderly parents, and loved ones.
Help them to stay in their homes, safer and for longer…because they’re worth it.