There’s no question providing care at home for a loved one is a hard job. Having good resources at hand, both products and services, is a big help. Here are a few of the resources available for patients and for the people who help to take care of them.
Oxygen therapy can be a difficult burden for patients and caregivers to take on, especially when first starting. Managing bulky tanks can be physically difficult and seriously limit patient mobility. Having sufficient oxygen supplies on hand is also a work-intensive chore. New oxygen therapy devices called oxygen concentrators are being developed which make providing oxygen therapy significantly easier. Oxygen concentrators work with the ambient air, concentrating the oxygen content to provide higher oxygen levels to patients. Because it distills extra oxygen out of the air, no external oxygen supply is required. Without tanks, these systems are smaller and more convenient, and many are highly portable. Portable oxygen concentrators enable a much greater degree of travel and mobility for patients and their caregivers.
For people who are unable to drive but who are otherwise able to go out and handle errands or participate in community activities, having reliable transportation services can provide a great deal of freedom. These services can also help to remove some of this responsibility from busy caregivers. In areas where there is not a general public transportation system, such as in many small towns or rural areas, there are often still resources available. Paratransit services offer cars, vans, or buses to transport individuals around their communities. Many of them offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles and can offer door-to-door assistance if needed. Some communities have senior transport or rideshare services for older adults or people with disabilities. Some services are available for set fares, but many others are free.
Meal Delivery Services
Having help with daily meals can help caregivers free up time for other tasks, both necessary caregiving tasks and also personal ones. Such services range from subsidized programs at a low cost to programs which provide specialized meals at higher costs, up to a few hundred dollars per week. There are also services that provide assistance with grocery shopping, deliver groceries to homes, or provide transportation to grocery stores for caregivers or patients who want to cook but lack the time or ability to shop for groceries on their own. If cost is an issue, having assistance with one or two meals per week might be an affordable option that still saves some time and energy for caregivers.
Fall Prevention Tools
One significant worry for some caregivers and older adults who live independently is the danger of falls, which are a leading cause of injury and death among older people. New devices help prevent falls by warning individuals or caregivers when a fall might be imminent. One device monitors a person’s natural gait and is able to detect changes which indicate unsteadiness and alert caregivers. Another option is a walker which can scan a room for tripping hazards and warn the user. While it is impossible to prevent all accidental falls, with such devices helping to monitor and assist individuals who are at risk for falls, caregivers are relieved of some of the burden of watching out for their loved ones in this area.
Electronic Pill Organizer
Managing multiple medication schedules can tax anyone’s memory. To help keep medications on track, an electronic pill organizer can help. These take the idea of a traditional weekly pillbox to a whole new level. Electronic pill organizers remember the schedule for medications for you, for up to two weeks in some models. They sound an alarm when it’s time to take medication and light up the right compartment of the box so that there is no confusion about which pills need to be taken. Using an electronic pillbox can help patients manage their own medications or help caregivers keep track of medications amid all of the other tasks they need to handle.
For individuals who have very little mobility, caregivers must be responsible for helping them get into and out of beds, wheelchairs, bathtubs, and other furniture. Patient lifts can assist in doing this safely and comfortably. There are multiple types of hydraulic lifts, so the best one for any given situation will depend on what is needed. Quality lifts must provide good support for patients while being moved, especially supporting the head and neck if necessary.
Professional Care Assistants
Providing care for a loved one can be too big of a job to do alone. Even with good support from family and friends, hiring a professional caregiver can provide extra help to both patients and caregivers. In cases where a patient needs specialized care, a professional caregiver with appropriate training can reliably step in as needed. For older adults who need a lower level of care, adult day programs can give them responsible care and a place to socialize while caregivers handle other responsibilities.
About the author: Scott Ridl
Scott has been with Oxygen Concentrator Store since 2008 and is passionate about topics relating oxygen and oxygen therapy. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about oxygen to help educate patients on the options they have.