This article aims to take a look at some of the top tools for helping you cope with your disability. As with anything in our consumer society there are a huge range of products out there to help you deal with your disability. Hopefully this will give you some direction in sifting through the products to find the ones best suited to your individual needs.
The blog is primarily aimed at physically disabled individuals, particularly those confined to a wheelchair, so that will be the focus of this article.
Cleary a wheelchair user is not just limited in their ability to experience the outdoors; they are also restricted in terms of their mobility around the house. This is a broad area, far beyond the scope of this article. However let us look at some of the crucial points to be addressed.
Moving around the house may be possible via a sturdy walking stick(s), but the individual is also likely to require additional supports such a grab rails and perhaps furniture pulled out to be used as further support. Grab rails can be useful across the entire house but provide particular benefits in the bathroom where there is the possibility for slipping. A stool will be required in most cases for the shower.
If they wish to remain in a two or more storied house a stair lift should be considered. They are expensive to be bought outright, but they can be rented. Do not rule out a stair lift due to the expenditure, over 1,000 people die a year from falling down the stairs. The best way to avoid such a tragic occurrence is of course to invest in a stair lift.
Relax and Rise
A simple daily task that can prove difficult for people as they become older is getting in and out of chairs. There are some devices and whole chairs available that assist people with this task. The difficulty faced when standing up can lead to some people not leaving their chair. Feet can be fitted to chairs and beds to increase their height when necessary, and certain specialised cushions can provide the extra boost people need to stand up. There are also special powered cushions that lift people up, these can also be found fitted into arm chairs.
As mentioned in another article there is a broad array of products available to enhance wheelchair experience. Some key accessories include:
- A bag for the wheelchair
- Gloves for both the occupant of the chair and the person pushing
- Weather protection – such as a poncho, waterproof jacket, hats gloves and scarf
- Cushion to provide support and comfort
If the individual can walk it is certainly worth encouraging them to do so, within reason of course. For journeys where the individual would have to spend prolonged periods of time on their feet, clearly walking is not a plausible or sensible option. However, walking to a shop or house within close proximity with the assistance of a walking stick, crutches or walking frame should be encouraged.
Walking stimulates the muscles and gives the individual some exercise and independence. If the person remains in their wheelchair they risk losing strength in their legs. It is necessary to retain their physical strength as best as possible to help fight disease and keep them independent. Furthermore if they can retain the ability to walk by themselves it will greatly assist living at home. Once the ability to walk has been lost it can be very difficult to learn again and risks them being sent to a care home.