Question: My 75-year-old mother recently had knee replacement surgery and suffers from arthritis. She is having difficulty getting in and out of the shower as well as getting dressed (especially putting on socks and shoes). She is also having more arthritis pain in her hands which makes opening pill bottles and putting in her eye drops more difficult for her. Should we hire an agency to help with this?
Answer: Thank you for your question! When someone starts to have difficulty with their personal care, we often talk about hiring a home care agency or professional to help. Although it can be a great option in many cases, it can also be costly. Sometimes, utilizing adaptive equipment or assistive technology can help someone remain independent while saving money! Adaptive equipment and assistive technology are defined as any item that increases someone’s ability to be independent. If getting in and out of the shower or tub is getting difficult, consider looking into grab bars, shower chairs, and transfer bath benches. For getting socks on, consider purchasing a sock-aid. This piece of equipment uses plastic with two long handles to allow someone to pull up a sock without having to bend over. Getting shoes on can be made easier with a shoehorn.
For assistance grasping or squeezing items with your hands, there are a variety of options. Opening pill bottles often presents challenges, but most pharmacies offer an option to have easy open pill bottles if you request it. Eye drops are another common challenge due to difficulties with having to bend back and squeeze the bottle. Using adaptive equipment called “auto squeeze” or “auto drop” can make it much easier and prevent the need for paying a professional to administer these. If doing things like pulling up zippers or buttoning shirts and pants is becoming difficult, using a button hook or zipper pull can make it a cinch!
This equipment can be bought online or at a local durable medical equipment store. This equipment is usually available at stores like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart (not an all-inclusive list). Contact ADRC for questions on insurance coverage, locations of durable medical equipment stores, or if affording an item is difficult for you.
Information and Assistance Specialists also recommend talking to a physical or occupational therapist to ensure you are using the safest item for your situation. Physical and occupational therapists can provide education on how to use equipment the correct way. Please be sure to consult with your doctor and/or a physical/occupational therapist for the safest options.
If you have any questions on adaptive equipment, cost, or where to purchase items, please call us at (920) 448-4300.