Stay on your feet with home safety and mo­bil­ity aids

The Hamilton Spectator - - YOUNG AT HEART - Hauser’s Phar­macy and Home Health­care can an­swer any and all of your mo­bil­ity and home safety ques­tions. Visit them on­line at www.hauser­sphar­macy.com or 1-855-440-8500

Did you know that se­niors are in­jured at home more than any other lo­ca­tion? The bath­room and stairs are par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous.

Yvonne Light­foot, Seat­ing and Mo­bil­ity Spe­cial­ist from Hauser’s Home Health­care, un­der­stands that some peo­ple are re­luc­tant to use a mo­bil­ity aid as they feel it takes away their in­de­pen­dence and makes them look older than their years.

In truth they are gain­ing their in­de­pen­dence by keep­ing them­selves safe and ac­tive.

“Walk­ers, canes, wheel­chairs and scoot­ers all of­fer a won­der­ful way to re­new your in­de­pen­dence and to keep you en­gaged,” Light­foot ex­plains. “Scoot­ers are great for in­di­vid­u­als who can’t walk long dis­tances, giving them the free­dom to meet friends for cof­fee, go shop­ping or even do the gar­den­ing.”

Re­gard­less of what type of mo­bil­ity aid you use, it is im­por­tant to make sure it fits you prop­erly. With walk­ers, han­dle and seat height can af­fect your over­all bal­ance and also in­crease the like­li­hood of falls, if not mea­sured ac­cu­rately.

Safe use of walk­ers in­cludes us­ing the brakes and not push­ing it too far ahead as that could throw you off bal­ance.

“Speak with an Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­a­pist to be as­sessed and ed­u­cated on what mo­bil­ity aid is right for you,” she ex­plains.

For as­sis­tance with gain­ing ac­cess to mo­bil­ity aids, The Min­istry of Long Term Care has es­tab­lished the As­sis­tive De­vices Pro­gram, which helps cover the cost of mo­bil­ity aids for those who qual­ify. Veter­ans Af­fairs, NIHB, ODSP and OW may pro­vide fund­ing as well.

Most falls hap­pen in the bath­room. To help pre­vent this, Light­foot sug­gests in­stalling grab bars, bath chair, bath lifts, non-slip bath mats, tub rails and/or hand­held show­ers. If you aren’t sure what you would ben­e­fit from, an Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­a­pist can also as­sess your bath­room (and en­tire home) for safety con­cerns. Per­sonal Sup­port Work­ers are also avail­able should you need ex­tra phys­i­cal sup­port as well.

But don’t stop there! To en­sure that you are safe and self-suf­fi­cient through­out your en­tire home, it is im­por­tant to eval­u­ate all ar­eas of your home and al­ter where needed to as­sist with daily liv­ing. This in­cludes in­stalling lift chairs stair lifts, rail­ings, porch lifts and/or ramps.

“Life call alarms can give you and your fam­ily the peace of mind that you’re con­nected to emer­gency ser­vices in case of a fall or med­i­cal emer­gency,” Light­foot says.

“Us­ing your mo­bil­ity de­vice to move from room to room and not hold­ing onto fur­ni­ture also cre­ates a safer home en­vi­ron­ment.”

If you are tak­ing more than one med­i­ca­tion, Light­foot en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to talk to a doc­tor or phar­ma­cist for a med­i­ca­tion re­view. Some med­i­ca­tions in­clud­ing those that help you sleep/ re­lax or im­prove your mood have been known to change or in­crease your risk of fall­ing, so it is very im­por­tant to know and plan ac­cord­ingly.

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