Where to Live After Retirement | MEDIchair
Where to Live After Retirement: How to Make a Decision?
Making that decision – whether to live at home or to move into a retirement facility – is never easy – especially when more care is needed. In these situations, people are often unsure of the wisest course of action for themselves or their loved ones.
Different people feel differently about the way they want to live. Some people value their independence, and the comfort and familiarity of their home; others find it overwhelming to worry about daily household tasks, and miss the companionship of people of a similar age. Aside from these personal priorities, physical capabilities also vary from person to person. For instance, people with arthritis report difficulty using kitchen utensils and implements like can openers, and chopping boards, and people with weaker knees or legs find it difficult to navigate stairwells.
These are legitimate accessibility concerns, and contribute significantly to alienating people from their own homes. The solution to these issues is not always a potential relocation to a retirement home or a nursing home. Often, accessibility problems can be addressed through simple modifications to the home environment. For the person with arthritis, the solution might be products like the Drive Medical Acrylic Button Hook. For the person who finds stairwells difficult to navigate, installing a stair lift could provide an effective solution.
A lot of people view these alterations to the infrastructure and living aids as costs that can be avoided by moving to the retirement home. Depending on the mobility condition and the capability of the person in question, this can be an incorrect assumption. A retirement home is a recurring cost, that requires long term budgeting. It’s also an emotional cost as well because family homes hold years of memories, and have great emotional value to their residents. For a lot of people, the comfort and stability of living at home can provide a sense of strength and support.
Moving to a retirement home, therefore, should be a decision backed by thought and consideration. In the example of the person who finds stairs difficult to navigate, getting a stair lift installed in the home might be an effective solution. Like a lot of mobility equipment offered by MEDIchair, stair lifts are customized to the physical build of the person, the amount of available space for installation, as well as his or her specific mobility needs. Such customization helps mobility products like stair lifts provide immense value as long term investments, making your home safe and comfortable for you.
Another common accessibility device that simplifies the layout of the home is an adjustable bed. Adjustable beds are beds that contour the shape of the spine, and improve the quality of sleep for people with sleep apnea, back and neck tension, respiratory problems, spinal injuries and insomnia. With special features for massage therapy, electronic control panels, and independent head and foot operation, an adjustable bed can transform the bedroom from a potentially hazardous space to a safe one. This goes a long way to giving people confidence to live in their homes, without risking injury. These are examples of products that showcase the way adjustments to your home or living space can enhance your level of comfort, and assure you long-term security.
Of course, whether this is a decision you are making for yourself or for a loved one, it is never easy. It is, therefore, important to factor in issues of accessibility and mobility, as well as the physical and mental health of the person(s) in question. It is equally important to research the various options available in your area, as well as the types of community support programs. Before making a decision for yourself or your loved one, be sure to consult a MEDIchair expert to find out what is available.
URL: www.medichair.com/learning-centre/enhance-your-lifestyle-with-these-walking-aidsEnhance your Lifestyle with Walking Aids | MEDIchair
Enhance your Lifestyle with Walking Aids
Devices that improve the overall mobility of people by helping them walk, are classified as walking aids. Walking aids are a necessity among people suffering from arthritis, leg sprains and injuries, as well as people who are rehabilitating from hip and knee surgery. Depending on the condition of the patient, MEDIchair carries several walking aids that assist in speeding up the recovery process, and make walking comfortable.
These devices include simple aids like walking canes, as well as relatively elaborate devices like rollators and walkers. Despite the variations in use and style, all our walking aids offer the following overarching features:
- They make walking easier and help users conserve their energy. Moreover, walking devices reduce the pressure on the weak or injured part of the body.
- They give users greater stability in their movement by helping them achieve better balance.
- These devices substantially reduce the risk of injury from falling.
Overall, walking devices offered by MEDIchair do not just aim to improve the mobility of the user, but also help her/him regain a sense of independence. To this end, we offer several types of Canes, Rollators and Walkers.
Walking canes are the simplest walking aids. They effectively alter the patient’s body weight distribution and reduce the pressure on the patient’s weaker leg. This allows the recovering leg to heal relatively quickly, without being over-burdened. They also help users maintain their balance while walking and standing. Canes also offer customization in function and aesthetic.
An important variable among canes is the height component. Different people have different builds, and require canes that are optimal for their heights. Keep in mind that in order to provide optimal comfort and support, the cane should stand straight with its base firmly on the floor. It should be approximately 15cm from your foot, and in line with the crease of your wrist. If you are able to achieve this configuration… you will know that your cane is right for you.
For this reason, canes like the AMG Airgo Comfort-Plus Folding Cane offer significant height adjustability. This cane has 6 possible height settings that range between 32 and 37 inches, and is designed to fit most people. Moreover, this cane has a flex-grip tip for better grip, as well as a cushion top that contours to fit a user’s hand easily. By way of aesthetic consideration, this cane comes in six different colours.
Additionally, canes can also be quadruple point (instead of the common single-point) –such as the AMG Airgo Comfort-Plus Adjustable Quad Cane, which has a four-pronged base across which to evenly distribute the user’s weight. These canes provide more support than single point canes, and are especially useful for people who require greater stability but cannot comfortably use a walker. To help you make this decision easier, MEDIchair gives you information about choosing the right cane, as well as safety tips.
Medical walkers are a step up from canes, in that they offer greater support to users. Standard walkers have two handles and four legs. They are optimized for indoor use and do not generally have wheels. Walkers are designed to be light so that users with varying levels of strength can easily lift them easily while walking. This also helps caregivers and loved ones carry and transport these devices.
Beyond standard models MEDIchair also offers two-wheeled walkers and three-wheeled walkers for people with milder mobility problems. Wheels are useful when users do not need to place the majority of their body weight on the walker; in such cases, wheels make general movement easier.
A popularly used walker offered by MEDIchair is the Stander Metro Walker. This walker is portable and easily stowed away at home or in a car. The greatest benefit to wheeled walkers is that users do not have to lift them off the ground while walking, as the wheels can just glide over the surface in question. Gradual recovery processes allow for a transition to a walker with wheels.
Before you decide to get a walker or trade in your standard walker for a wheeled one, be sure to get a recommendation from your therapist.
Rollators are especially useful for people who have had surgery and are in the early stages of the rehabilitation process. They are essentially walkers with seats, and often have storage features such as attached baskets or bags. Rollators are indispensable for people who need assistance maintaining balance as well as additional support of seating. These walking aids also have brakes to allow for easy outdoor navigation.
Getting a rollator for yourself or a loved one usually implies getting measured in order to achieve the perfect seat fit, where standard variations are 18”, 21” and 24”. Since rollators are predominantly used outdoors, it is doubly important that users get fitted so they can stay safe and stable in different environments. The Invacare Dolomite Jazz Rollator is the perfect example of a rollator with the perfect blend of safety, support and comfort. This model has a soft seat and an integrated braking cable for improved accessibility. Its height and handle can be easily adjusted to the frame of the user. It is also portable and relatively easy to fold and handle.
If you have difficulty walking due to surgery, a previous injury or a permanent condition, our walking aids can help improve your mobility, balance and confidence. To start the conversation or get more information, contact an expert at MEDIchair.
For people with limited mobility, there are surprising ways to ease the process of entering and exiting your automobile. In some cases, even help you drive it. Whether it’s a turn-out seat, a scooter or wheelchair lift, specialized ramp assemblies, alternative driving controls or even a completely modified van, we can help you improve your safety and independence. Spend more time planning your next adventure and less time wondering about how you’ll get there.
Accessible Vehicle Installation and Service
You depend on your accessible vehicle to increase your independence and improve your way of life. Our factory certified staff will take the time to understand your needs and help you choose the best accessible vehicle solution to enhance your lifestyle requirements. From then on, our highly trained and fully certified technicians are available to repair and maintain your vehicle modifications to keep them running smoothly.
Each time you choose MEDIchair, you’re being served by a store operated by someone who lives in your area and cares about your community. This personalized attention is backed by a nation-wide network of stores with qualifications and skill to provide the highest quality service possible.
Wheelchair Accessible Van Conversions
For the ultimate in barrier-free transportation, consider the purchase of a specially designed minivan, built specifically to accommodate personal mobility vehicles. Based on the popular Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, or even full-sized vans, these vehicles feature lowered floors and/or raised roofs for easier access using ramps or lift assemblies. If you wish to drive, choose to have alternative controls installed to accommodate your unique needs.
We’ll help you every step of the way in selecting the most effective solutions for barrier-free transportation. We also provide financing options and we can help you navigate funding assistance processes as well... anything to help get you on the road to an easier life.
I am not aware of many people who have a genuine desire to move to a long-term care (LTC) facility. Please understand that this is not a slight against these organizations. On the contrary. Today’s long-term care facilities are light years ahead of where they were only a few years ago and are staffed by some of the most caring individuals you’ll find anywhere.
The truth is that, as well as they are run, they are still not home. Increasingly, Canadians are moving to LTC organizations, largely because their specific lifestyle needs are not being met at home. That is their perception, reality is quite different. Today’s caregiver needs to be properly informed before embarking a loved one on these lifestyle changes. What many caregivers are unaware of is that there have been tremendous advancements in home medical equipment that allow people to more easily perform everyday tasks and remain safe and comfortable in their homes longer than ever before.
If we examine why people suddenly decide to make the leap to long term care, the reasons typically fall into two categories. The first is that the person is no longer able to safely and securely function in their existing home surroundings. Secondly, their caregiver is no longer capable of safely providing daily living tasks such as lifting or has other physical limitations. For the caregiver, there appears to be only one solution, long term care.
If the caregiver were made aware of the availability of products for the home and their proper application in everyday life, more people would be able to maintain their lifestyle while remaining in the comfort of their own home much longer.
Mobility Barriers Precipitate the Move to Long Term Care
It has been MEDIchair’s experience for more than 25 years in the home medical equipment industry that the catalyst hastening a move to long term care revolves around the mobility of the patient in the home. Safety and ease of use in transferring a patient between areas of the home is paramount. Examples may include transferring from a bed to a wheelchair or power chair, transferring into a bath tub or onto a toilet. To the uninformed, these mobility issues can be daunting. However, new advancements in home medical equipment coupled with highly skilled and trained home medical equipment specialists, these challenging tasks are becoming increasingly simpler to perform.
New Products for a Safer Bedroom
One product that has allowed many caregivers to keep their loved ones in their home longer is the home care bed. New split spring designs enable these beds to be easily installed in small areas where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to place a conventional bed. New pressure relief surfaces (mattresses) can be applied to home care beds to reduce the risk of bedsores. Technology also allows home care beds to be raised independently in both the head and foot areas. In fact, the entire bed can be raised and lowered to facilitate ease of transfer to a wheelchair. These beds also come equipped with side rails for safety, providing the caregiver with peace of mind that their loved one will not fall out of bed. Another product, the overbed table, can be a great accessory for both the caregiver and loved one.
Overhead Lift & Track Systems
Products that, only a decade ago, were available exclusively in hospitals and other healthcare institutions have been modified and adapted to the home environment. One such product is a noverhead lift and track system. At MEDIchair, we are installing more of these products than ever before. Caregivers find them easy to use and make their tasks simpler and safer. The overhead lift and track system can either be permanently installed with tracks to a variety of rooms in the home or temporarily installed in a single room to facilitate the transfer of a patient from their bed into a wheelchair or onto a commode. At MEDIchair, our home equipment specialists are trained to provide caregivers with a proper assessment and an installation quote for using this technology.
Caregivers also have the option of obtaining similar functionality using a hydraulic/electric portable floor lift. Both the overhead system and a hydraulic/electric portable floor lift eliminate caregiver back strain and other safety hazards associated with patient lifting. Both of these products can be easily adapted for bathing.
New Products for a Safer Bathroom
Having easy access to bathing and toilet needs in the home is critical for the caregiver and their loved one. With today’s techniques, gaining access to the toilet is both easy and inexpensive. Facilitating ease of entry onto a toilet is often as simple as raising the toilet seating surface by two to four inches. This can be accomplished by installing either a raised toilet seat on top of the toilet bowl or raising the entire toilet. Either method will provide the caregiver with a relatively level transfer plane eliminating the potential of back strain. It also makes it much easier for the patient to exit the toilet. The addition o farms on the raised toilet seat or the installation of a super pole further increases safety.
A variety of other bathroom safety products are now available to the caregiver. One simple cleaning and hygiene solution is to have a bath seat or transfer bath board or bench and a hand held shower. However, many of our caregivers tell us that their loved ones still prefer the benefits of a full soak in a warm bath. This is easily accommodated with the installation of a bath lift, either hydraulic or low voltage electric. In both situations, the patient is slowly lowered and raised in and out of the bathtub with the push of a button. This fabulous invention creates a very safe, private and enjoyable environment for both caregiver and loved one.
Making Your Home Barrier Free
Over the years, we have witnessed patient transfers to Long Term Care organizations based solely on the fact that patient could not get out of the home to visit with a physician. While we may not be able to control doctor availability or where one may have to go to see them, we can make their home easily accessible and find them the appropriate mode of transportation from walker, towheel chair, power chair or scooter.
Making the home easily accessible may involve the installation of ramps, inclined platform lifts or porch lifts. Two storey houses can be modified internally with the addition of either astair liftor a residential elevator. Again proper assessment and installation of these products by qualified home medical equipment specialists will eliminate many of the health safety concerns of caregivers.
Talk to Us First
Before accepting the finality of a move to a long-term care facility, talk with the home medical equipment specialists at MEDIchair. Request a free in-home assessment and get the facts, experience products in action and talk with people who are highly knowledgeable in the industry. Let us help you determine what is the best solution for your particular situation. At MEDIchair, we are passionate about finding the best home medical equipment products and providing the right solutions for caregivers and their loved ones.
There was a time when family physician house calls were a common place occurrence. Today, that practice is becoming increasingly rare. Ask yourself, “When was the last time that any medical professional came to visit me in my home?”
Since our inception in 1985, we have operated on the principle that the majority of the products we provide should be custom-tailored to each customer’s living environment. It is essential that we visit our clients right in their homes to determine the true functionality of their product purchase and to ensure that they are getting the highest benefit. Home visits are a common part of daily routine at each of our MEDIchair stores.
We also work closely with rehabilitation professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists who make home visits. All of our retail operations offer free evaluation equipment to these medical professionals for the purposes of conducting home environment assessments with their clients.
Choosing the Right Mobility Product for Your Space
We provide these essential services because we believe that every living environment is different, as are the living habits of each and every client. There are a number of points to consider in order to determine which mobility product or product combination is ideally suited for their needs:
- Do ramps or threshold ramps need to be installed to provide mobility equipment access to the living environment?
- Does the mobility equipment have sufficient turning radius to function within the living space? Is there an elevator or lift that the mobility product must fit into?
- Is the mobility equipment narrow enough to fit through all doorways?
- Where does the client primarily use the mobility product, indoors or outside? This may prompt a decision, in the case of a scooter, as to whether it should be a three wheel (smaller turn radius) or a four wheel model (superior stability for outdoors).
- Will the equipment navigate narrow thresholds and ramps to provide access to the living space? In the case of steeper inclines, do stabilizers need to be added to ensure client safety?
- Is the equipment set to the right height to provide ease of transfer for the client to sitting surfaces? Do adjustments need to be made on the floor to seat height of the wheelchair for smooth access to toileting, desks, work surfaces or beds?
- Is the weight of the mobility product right for both self-propulsion and caregiver needs within the home environment?
- In the case of a wheelchair, will the client be dining at a regular table and if so, do the arms of the wheelchair allow the client to sit close to the table or does the wheelchair need to be equipped with desktop arms or a functional tray.
Preventing Accidents in the Bathroom
The bathroom can be a dangerous area for both able-bodied people as well as those with disabilities or restricted mobility. A home inspection ensures the selection and installation of bathroom safety equipment that is ideally suited to the client’s living space.
Here are a few checkpoints that will be considered during an in-home assessment:
- Are grab bars needed? Can they be connected to wall studs for safe installation and still provide the client with proper functionality?
- Does the bathroom have enough space around the toilet to install toilet safety frames?
- What is the current height of the toilet and does it need to be raised with the installation of a toilet elevating device or the addition of a raised toilet seat to assist the client in transfer?
- Which bath stool will safely fit into the width of the base of the tub. Additionally, it can be determined if there is a need for and space available to accommodate a shower transfer bench.
- Can a handheld shower be installed for the customer to use while sitting on a shower stool or a shower transfer bench?
- Should the bathtub have anti-slip strips installed to help prevent a sudden fall?
- Is a bath lift required to lower and raise the patient in and out of the bathtub? Determining the use of either a water-powered or low voltage power system to operate the lift will be dependent upon the ease of access to a water supply.
Ensuring Bedroom Comfort and Safety
Like the bathroom, the bedroom is a high usage area in the home. Again, a home assessment inspection is critical to ensuring optimum safety and comfort for each client’s unique needs. There are many areas that a trained healthcare professional can be of assistance to caregiver and client.
- Does the customer suffer from vertigo? If so, should a bed rail be installed? Should a floor to ceiling pole be installed if the bed does not have proper attachment points?
- Is there a need for an over bed table during recuperation?
- Is a bedside commode required?
- Do full bedside rails need to be installed to prevent falling or rolling out of bed?
- Would a tracked overhead lift system be beneficial to move the clinet in and out of bed? If so, is the architectural structure of the room sufficient for safe installation?
Creating Easy Access in General Living Areas
MEDIchair’s highly skilled professionals are also trained to provide the caregiver and client with ideas and advice surrounding the general living areas of the home. Here are some examples:
- The height of the home’s access space (outside stairs and landing) will play a key role in determining whether a wheelchair ramp system is practical. There must be sufficient space available to create a slope that is easy to navigate for mobility products.
- From a building code prospective, the minimum requirement is a 12:1 ratio for the slope and height of elevation. A home visit will quickly determine if the required space is available to build a ramp system in accordance with code or if an elevating device such as a porch lift will be needed to provide access to wheelchairs, power wheelchairs or scooters.
- For people who have difficulty using stairs, MEDIchair service professionals can determine the type and cost of stair lifts or elevators. This assessment is based on a variety of factors including number of stairs, curvature of stairs, landing area, access to a nearby electrical supply and access to the stairs by able-bodied people.
- If the client wishes to have a lift chair in the family room or living room, we must determine if there is sufficient room for a regular lift chair to recline. If space is at a premium, a “wall hugger” model may be the more appropriate choice.
- Should furniture risers be installed under couches and chairs to make entry and exit easier?
It is important for caregivers and clients alike to select knowledgeable, caring, committed home medical equipment specialists with services available to help you discover the best ways to increase your independence and safety every day. Use our handy store locator to find your nearest MEDIchair store. They would be more than happy to assist you.