What Time Should My 1 Year Old Go To Bed Family Caregiver – Part 3 – Patient Aids – What You’ll Need and Where to Get It

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Family Caregiver – Part 3 – Patient Aids – What You’ll Need and Where to Get It

Dealing with a patient’s stiffness, speech problems, unsteadiness and inability to stand or walk, feeding difficulties, incontinence, etc. is hard enough even with your help. The products listed here are things I have used for my husband who has Parkinson’s. Aging is noteworthy. If your patient has other diseases – diabetes, heart problems, your list may be significantly longer or different.

You can buy the products you need from medical supplies found on the Internet or through the yellow pages of your phone book. Most people appreciate saving where they can. Yard sales, flea markets or estate sales can lead to used wheelchairs and other reusable items. Over time, I have bought 3 used wheelchairs, in different conditions – some paint, missing a small part or little used. Prices ranged from $15.00 to $40.00. One wheelchair stays in the car, one on the porch to get him in and out of the car, and one in his basement workshop.

Other items that may help:

*Fold down table, which can be pulled to the couch for snacking, works well with a wheelchair. I especially like it because it’s easy to move where needed, it tilts so he can read the paper at a better angle, and it’s washable. Sometimes he eats a meal at this table.

*Bedside table with wheels, like used in a hospital. I bought several of these tables when our county care home was being renovated a few years ago. My husband wasn’t sick at the time, but these tables are handy to keep around the house for other uses. And I definitely use them now – by the bed, on the dining room table and one in the living room to hold her magazines, tissues and water bottle.

*WC/potty chair, bath chair, walkers, fitness equipment. It was difficult to find a potty chair with a shared toilet seat for a male patient, but I finally found one at an estate auction for $10.00.

* Handrails and support bars. I have bought some at yard sales and home improvement centers. Some I made myself from flea market bought 1 1/2″ pegs (actually an old tent pole) and brackets.

* Cutlery, bibs, bed pads, urinals, etc. I found the urinal at a sports/travel store called Little John. It is formulated differently than those found in medical offerings. It’s red, so it’s easy to find in a hurry, and has a long neck that makes it easy to reach between your legs when sitting. I keep several in different places around the house.

*Mobility aids, such as a walking belt for transfers, a sliding seat to assist after transfer, and a mechanical patient lift, manual or hydraulic, when the patient is outside the walking belt. We have a Medicare supplied hydraulic patient lift that is used to help husband get in and out of bed when needed. We don’t use it right now, but it’s good to know it’s there when needed. We have also used it to pick him up from the floor after a fall. I also bought a used one at an estate auction, a little beat up, which I actually use to move heavy stuff around in the workshop.

*Motorized scooter. The patient must be physically able to handle the controls. Medicare may pay for a scooter, but not always. Sometimes you can find a used scooter at an estate sale. Be careful when buying a scooter or any item at auction. Everything is sold “as is”. Unless you can check it out to see if the batteries are good and it’s working properly, I’d avoid buying unless you can get it for next to nothing. Batteries last $40-$50 every and more, some scooters have two batteries. If the transmission is worn, it can cost too much to repair. That’s exactly what happened to my husband’s scooter, the gears were worn. The repair cost was over $1900. Almost the price of a new scooter. We found help in purchasing a new scooter.

*Used hospital beds should be treated in the same way as the scooter mentioned above. Buy used with caution. Buying used equipment is always a calculated risk. If you have problems with the device, who do you take it to for repair? Sometimes it’s better to pay full price and buy a new one from a reputable dealer.

When you get these, the smaller household items, don’t hesitate to get more than one, maybe more of each item…your needs. Design multiples – for a car; house, different rooms of the house; basement, etc. If you can’t get out to shop at these “bargain hunter” sales, tell friends or family to look for items. It may seem heartless to take advantage of someone else’s hard ship when they sell items that their loved ones used while they were caring for them at home. Most sellers are happy to see the items go to someone else who can use them.

The county’s public welfare department can help get new equipment, such as a wheelchair, if the patient meets the requirements. They only offer one wheelchair, so if you need more chairs, you may have to buy used, as I mentioned above. They may be able to help with other mobility aids – grab bars in bathrooms, stair slides up and down stairs, even renovating a house to accommodate a disabled patient, the idea being to keep the patient in their home as long as possible. They may also be able to provide a caregiver to assist with patient care. Getting help when you need it can help prevent nurse burnout and depression.

Medicare can help pay for the devices if they qualify. Combining both Medicare and County Assistance can help make a difficult situation viable.

Finally, remember to take care of the nurse. If that’s you, give yourself time to breathe. I should speak. I feel guilty whenever I feel the need to escape, so I usually don’t. “Me time” is when he sleeps late or goes to bed early. I can’t go out and leave him alone. I try to spend time on the computer or read. Anything I can do and still be within earshot of his call.

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