Consider the numerous tools you use every single day – your phone, hairbrush, toothbrush – simple things, but ones you cannot envision living without. For many older adults, there are basic assistive devices available that could mean the difference between living at home and facing a move to assisted living. However nearly 50% of seniors living at home are not using these useful tools – despite the fact that costs are minimal.
A newly released 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 found that a great many of the participants could benefit from assistive devices.
Not just that, but the danger of senior falls due to the lack of simple assistive devices is increased, leading to hospitalizations, serious injury, and disability which may easily have been prevented. In fact, once these devices were made available to older adults, based on research, disability rates for older adults dropped by 50%, together with a reduction in pain levels and an increase in the ability to perform activities of daily living independently.
Dr. Kenneth Lam, author of the study, explained, “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?”
Johns Hopkins in Baltimore has recently launched a program 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 could mean installing grab bars in the bathroom, removing fall hazards, or adding a shower chair or raised toilet seat. Small modifications such as these may make a substantial difference in an older adult’s capacity to manage activities of daily living safely and independently.
At Seniorcorp, we’re pleased to recommend improvements to the home environment that enhance safety and help seniors remain independent and in control. We are available to also help promote senior’s comfort, safety, and independence through services such as:
- Providing accompanied transportation for medical appointments, errands, and fun outings
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring adequate hydration for older adults
- Providing assistance as necessary with personal care needs for safe showering/bathing, getting dressed, etc.
- Maintaining a clean and organized home
- And much more