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Here’s a question we hear every now and then – can the right disability aids be used to make a disability easier? Is it possible that the right disability aid can even heal or improve a disability over time?
First and foremost, it’s important to illustrate what a blanket term “disability” actually is. It refers to several potential issues, affecting people across the spectrum of any age, background and physical health. Disabilities can range from mild to advanced, and from a mild inconvenience to something that seriously impacts quality of life at all levels.
So, what kinds of disability aids are there? Are there more common aids that some disabled people may not know about?
Disability products include bidets and bathroom sprayers. These and other similar products are often considered ‘convenience’ products, but know that they are used daily by people with disabilities to better their situations and increase quality of life. These sprayers are used by people who don’t have the strength or mobility to reach, and issue a cooling spray that cleanses without mess. As you may know, many people who aren’t disabled use bidets for the convenience, but for disabled people, they’re a lifesaver.
When people think of bathroom aids, they often think of slip guards and handles used to prevent people from falling in the bathroom. Because wet, slippery surfaces are a huge hazard for injury, things like shower stools, specialty bath mats, low slip guards for the tub, rumble strips for the bath or utility bars can be used to help a disabled person in the bathroom. Many people additionally have trouble getting to the toilet adequately, so high toilet risers can assist in using the bathroom without difficulty.
People with disabilities often actually remodel their houses to include disability aids. Many people go above and beyond and build shower stools into their actual shower units, eliminating the need for a sit-down bathtub. A sitting shower is a safe, adequate way to get clean without having to worry about slipping or falling in or out of the shower – and when coupled with non-slip floor guards, can really make a difference in the safety of a home for a disabled person.
Some people can’t bathe or get into the bathtub at all – and portable wash tubs or specialty baths can help with this problem. You can typically find these types of baths at a local pharmacy, though online brokers may have these at a discount. You may also find products like dry shampoos, alcohol swabs and wet wipes useful when it comes to bathing outside the tub. One can get clean in a variety of ways – and showering isn’t always possible due to disabilities. Using dry cleansers or practicing hygiene outside the slippery shower or tub is the next best thing.
Disability aids such as canes, wheelchairs and walkers can greatly increase the quality of life for anyone with a disability. Even crutches can be considered a disability aid. Remember, not all disabilities are long-term – temporary situations require aids as well, so crutches, wheelchairs and these types of devices can also be used for these purposes.
Part of the pull of disability aids is using them to restore life back to some normalcy after an accident, injury or long term disability. Reach aids such as claw grasps and pulleys are used to help people with all kinds of disabilities get back to doing the things they love. Gardening is a great example – this and other physical pastimes many people use to bring joy and balance to their lives can be enriched if disability aids are used after an accident. In addition to reach ads, things that help people kneel, spend time on their feet, or apply pressure without pain can be wonderful in the garden.
As with bathroom remodeling, many people also remodel the exterior of their homes to make their disabilities easier to handle. Wheelchair ramps, smooth walkways and pathways, easy grip bars on porches and many other tools can be put in place to make the trek from the car to the home – and vice versa – a much easier one. Revamped gardens built for senior or disabled living allow seniors and other disabled people to continue gardening without the risk of injury or pain. There are actually professionals out there who specialize in this type of exterior design.
Similarly, these types of disability aids also work well in the home. For those who injure themselves, things like reaching something in the cabinet, scooping something off the floor or opening a jar can be difficult. Reach aids can help increase endurance, strength and grasp so those ordinary daily activities that evade an injured or disabled person can be performed again without trouble.
Home aids also include preventive tools that help keep people with disabilities safe. Things like rug slip safe mats, corner protectors and even putting wheels on furniture can help those with disabilities get around. Many corner protectors and slip mats can be bought online for just a few dollars, and can prevent some very serious injury or further injury from happening.
Getting Out of Bed
Another type of disability aid you may be familiar with is a bed rail. Once upon a time, bed rails reminded us of hospitals and unpleasant things generally. Nowadays, bed rails can be built right into an adjustable bed system that accommodates any kind of disability. If it’s in the budget, a disability sufferer or his or her family can purchase a large adjustable bed that’s remote controlled, incredibly comfortable and can address various mobility issues and body pain. Gone are the days of the flat, hard beds with the follow-up rails – technology has brought us different kinds of beds that are much easier to sleep in than ever before. And even better, couples don’t have to suffer. Today’s specialty beds often contain a system that split one side of the bed from the other, so that one half of the bed can be controlled without the other person suffering a bad night’s sleep.
Compression socks, braces, slings boots, gloves and other clothing can also help with a disability. These may also be issued by a doctor and are often covered by insurance. Important for diabetics, wearables like compression socks can help a disabled person move around without fuss and can prevent further disability from happening.
Disability products for seniors are a huge market. They range from blood pressure cuffs and devices to diabetic test strips (also used by many younger people!) These days, many testing and blood pressure supplies can be mail ordered on a schedule and topped off whenever a person may need them again. Although a person with disabilities certainly needs a good relationship with a medical professional, home monitoring and care are a major part of both controlling or preventing the effects of major diseases such as diabetes. Home testing can save plenty of trouble in the long run.
Home health supplies aren’t always right for people with disabilities while traveling. Taking life on the road is something many people don’t want to give up, and, why should they? With today’s modern technology, it’s easier than ever before to accommodate trips, travel or life on the road.
May people, especially in their older years, enjoy taking a recreational vehicle out for a spin. Even RVs can be equipped with things like shower bars, handrails on the bed and a wheelchair ramp or scooter holder that will make it easier for people with mobility issues to travel.
Special accommodations can be made with airlines and hotels at any time. Travel hugs are used to dealing with people who have mobility issues and disabilities. Particularly if you call in advance and get there early with plenty of time before a flight or a departure, airlines are ready to work with you and special escorts can be provided. Room on buses, planes and trains with armrests and larger seats is available for those who need it.
Handicapped rooms in hotels have wider doors and hold rails for people with disabilities. They may also provide sitting showers and reachable sinks and outlets for those who have difficulty reaching or getting around. Make sure to check with your hotel or travel location in advance to see what types of accommodations are available. These days, even international destinations are better equipped to handle travelers with disabilities.
When you’re back at home, don’t forget that disability products cover a wide spectrum – and if an injury is new or old, if a disability is short term or long term – whatever they need, there’s a product out there that can address it and provide ease. There’s no reason to struggle in today’s world when so many great disability products are available and can be used to assist in a healthier you, with a better quality of life. As our technology changes and expands, so will the variety of disability products we can use – it’s best to be on the lookout!