Caring for a family member—whether a parent, spouse or child—is a fulfilling experience where the rewards may be few and far between but completely worthwhile. This is a major reason why many families choose to take on the responsibility of caring for an aging or disabled relative, rather than hire a professional caregiver. However, assuming this role involves plenty of challenges. Luckily, several tools and equipment are available to make the life of the caregiver and their loved one easier. They range from items to provide added bathroom safety to special needs chairs, safety rails and kitchen utensils targeted for senior citizens. One of the key areas where equipment can drastically improve the quality of life for your loved one, and ease the physical strain of the carer, is mobility.
Choosing the equipment to best suit the needs of you and your care may appear to be another challenge. Here are some tips to help you decide:
Get to Know Your Patient
Choosing to be the caregiver of a family member means that there is already a relationship between the two of you. However, as a caregiver, you are expected to familiarize yourself with your relative’s physical capabilities, medical condition, and mental status in order to give the best support.
Finding out more about your loved one and working closely with them will develop your relationship. It will also make the decision process easier when it comes to determining whether, for example, a universal sling for everyday use takes priority over a hoist for lifting wheelchairs into cars.
Learn About Your Lifts
There are plenty of devices and hardware that fall under the category of mobility equipment—from wheelchairs to bathroom safety accessories to patient lifts—and identifying which ones are relevant to a loved one’s well-being can lessen unnecessary costs and time spent going back and forth with the supplier.
While there is no license required in operating most mobility equipment, taking part in training courses lessens user-difficulties and safety issues associated with the use of these devices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a safety guide that instructs caregivers to study the instructions of a device before purchase. Distinguishing the different parts of the equipment and their functions can prevent accidental falls that worsen a loved one’s already compromised condition.
Matching the Lift to the Patient
Once you have established a good understanding of your loved one and determined the most appropriate equipment, you can adjust the equipment to better fit the user. Assess their size, weight and hip measurement and compare these with the recommended requirements provided by the manufacturer. Doing so makes the equipment more comfortable and ensures safety while in use.
A good caregiver only wants what is best for the person under their care. Choosing the right equipment not only allows easier mobility, but gives the caregiver the support needed to improve the quality of their work. While a caregiver is a role that is physically and emotionally demanding, the payoff of seeing your loved one living a more comfortable life is well worth the difficulties.