PHYSICAL THERAPY LEARNING CENTER
Daily tasks can be cumbersome and can become obstacles for elderly individuals. Some of these obstacles include getting dressed, reaching for items due to lack of dexterity and flexibility and remembering to take daily medication. There are several daily aids or self-help aids that can help alleviate these obstacles.
Not being able to dress yourself can limit independence in addition to causing frustrations and discouragement. When getting dressed, the first thing to consider is clothing that can easily be slipped on an off. The absence or zippers and buttons can make dressing easier, especially for those with arthritis in the hands or having difficulty gripping smaller objects. There are zipper pulls and button hooks to assist with clothing that contain zipper and buttons. There are also other dressing aids and kits to help make dressing easier.
Putting on socks, stockings and shoes are common frustrations when bending becomes difficult. The Jobst® Stocking Donner is an easy to use tool to help put on hosiery and stockings. It can be used with closed and open toe styles of hosiery. A shoe horn can assist with putting on shoes. Shoe horns have a long, flexible handle to help the user slip into shoes without bending, bruising heels, or crushing the backs of shoes. The Carex shoe horn in particular, does not snag socks or stockings because of the smooth surface. Shoe horns are ideal for people with a limited range of motion.
Reachers or grabbers are tools to help grab or grip an object out of reach. These are ideal for those with limited range of motion. Briggs Healthcare reacher is composed of lightweight aluminum with plastic handle and jaw. It also has an attached magnet that picks up light metal objects. The Drive Medical hand held reacher comes with a lightweight aluminum frame that helps eliminate bending and stretching. Only 7 ounces of pressure is required on the trigger to close its jaws. It has a special runner jaw to prevent slipping and a magnetic tip for metal objects.
Due to age or medical conditions, one might be required to take several medications a day. To help remember to take medication daily, pill boxes or pill organizers can be useful. There are several different types of pill organizers, such as 7 day pill boxes, weekly pill organizers and pill boxes with several compartments per day. These are all labeled with the day of the week, and if applicable, time of the day.
In addition to pill boxes, there are also pill crushers and pill cutters for pills that are difficult to swallow whole. The Medi-pak™ pill cutter splits pills horizontally or vertically. The Medi-pak™ twist pill crusher crushes the pill by twisting the cap while the Silent Knight® Pill Crusher crushes pills with an easy to pull down lever and also can be used with pill pouches. For liquid medication, graduated medicine cups are useful to ensure accurate measuring. Medi-pak™ medicine cups are clear and disposable making them a convenient option for daily use.
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