Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top Products to make a Long Life at Home Easier: The Bath Lift

According to the U.S. Census Bureau the majority of senior citizens have a disability.  So it’s challenging for many of them to take a bath.  This difficulty stems from neurological, orthopedic, and medical conditions.  It could be that arthritis has taken its toll on an elderly person’s hips and knees.  Maybe they’ve had a stroke and it’s not as easy as it once was to balance or coordinate movements.  Or perhaps motor skills have been impaired a condition such as multiple sclerosis. 

As a professional caregiver or occupational therapist you’re likely to recommend bath aids in these situations so a senior can continue to take care of their hygiene needs as independently as possible.

And if you’re a family caregiver, consult with an occupational therapist to make sure your loved-one’s home is safe.  Occupational therapists don’t jump to conclusions.  They evaluate patients in their homes, going through daily routines before recommending any changes.   They make sure a senior can easily enter and exit the bathroom and that they are capable to use bath aids correctly. 

One bath aid that I’m putting on the “Top Products to make a Long Life at Home Easier” list is battery powered bath lift.  Why?  Because it makes it easier for mobility impaired people to get into their bathtub, relax and rejuvenate.  The big bonus is that they don’t have to remodel their bathroom. These lifts gently raise and lower them from the top of the tub down to 2.5” off the tub floor—and back up again.

And the gizmo I’m thinking of is adaptable--once in the lowered position, the senior can recline at 10, 35, or 45 degrees. The bath lift is powered by a rechargeable battery inside a waterproof handset. When in the raised position, the seat has flaps that fold out and rest on tub ledge, making it easier to transfer into and out of the bath lift seat. The bath lift mounts to the tub floor securely with suction cups, but can easily be removed to allow for other bathtub users.

Much as I love it, there are a few things to think through before recommending one: 

1.  Can the senior move their legs over the side of the bath while seated?  Is anyone going to be with them when they bathe?  If they intend to bathe without any assistance, they need to be able to move their legs over the side of the bath while seated.

2. Is anyone else using the bath who does not want to use the bath lift?  If so, you want to make sure the bath lift is light and easy to remove.

3.  Does the senior have issues with balance?  If so they might have difficulty with a manual bath lifts or one that uses an air compressor because some people find they provide less stability. In these cases the battery operated lift is best. 

Bye for now…… George Flowers.

Please let me know what you think the top products are for a long life at home.

What experiences have you had with bath lifts?

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