The Best Caregiving Starts with the Right Tools
By Laura Baumgartner
November is National Family Caregivers month and today many adult children, and even aging Americans who are 65 or older, find themselves providing care for their parents and other family members.
It’s estimated that 34.2 million people provide unpaid care for a person aged 50 or older in the U.S. today, and around 95% of unpaid caregivers are family members. Caregiving is a nonstop strenuous task at times, but one many family members are happy to do for their loved ones.
When people lose the capabilities to care for themselves, family members face a learning curve to figure out how to provide aid with accomplishing simple tasks like brushing teeth, bathing, standing up and dressing. Putting on a shirt someone has worn for years suddenly becomes an aerobic workout that takes 15 minutes. Transferring from a bed to a chair is an Olympic weightlifting event, and one that requires classes or watching videos to learn how to do it properly.
There is a lot to be learned, much of which is done through trial and error to determine what works for an individual’s situation, but there are products that can make the caregiving process easier.
Specialized adaptive clothing is designed to make dressing easier for an individual with limited mobility. In the past these clothing items often looked medical, not stylish. Today, fashion is forward with adaptive features built in and often hidden inside.
For women, Monarch has created over and under shirts. MonarchUNDER shirts have unique side snaps that allow for the easiest caregiver-assisted dressing. Made with soft, natural fabric there are no scratchy fasteners or labels. MonarchUNDER shirts can be worn alone or layered with a MonarchOVER. MonarchOVER shirts have an open back, reducing the fabric bunching along your back when sitting or lying for extended periods of time. The MonarchOVER slides over your arms from the front and it snaps with a single snap behind the neck. The open back reveals your color coordinated MonarchUNDER.
CareZips® patented unisex pants are easier to put on than sweatpants or pajama pants, a common bottom many caregivers turn to because of the elastic waist and flexibility of the fabric. CareZips® unique three zipper system makes changing an adult brief faster and easier. CareZips® are currently available in 4 colors and 7 sizes from Extra Small to XXXLarge.
Using advancements in flat seaming machines and a focus on the softest, high-performance fabrics, Alium Adaptive creates garments that assist in minimizing skin abrasion, allow dignified access points for a caregiver to address issues such as incontinence and injury. Each garment is thoughtfully constructed to address a number of physical issues people face as they age, and the collection includes options like the Easy Access Nightgown, Wrap Sweater and Zip-Front Pants.
In addition to having the right clothing options on hand, technology can also make caregiving easier in certain situations. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s who have maintained their mobility can decide to venture out of their home unexpectedly or forget how to return home while running errands.
A mobile personal emergency response device is an essential tool to ensure safety at all times. The MobileDefender Model S has Fall Advisory capability and a battery technology that gives more than 30 days of battery life on a single charge. Phone numbers can be programmed, and a press of a single button will trigger a waterfall dial that will cycle through the numbers until someone answers. The device can also be tracked online.
Providing the best care possible for a loved one starts with having the right tools.
CREDIT: Written by Laura Baumgartner with appreciation for caregivers everywhere. Thanks to PATTI + RICKY, which provides an inclusive shopping experience that offers stylish and functional clothing and accessories for people of all abilities, and SecuraTrac, which provides mobile health and safety solutions, for contributing information.