NRS Healthcare has over 70 years’ experience providing daily living aids and Alzheimer’s disease products, including assistive technology and telecare, which are devices designed to support independent living. Below, we explain how a variety of tasks and activities can be made easier through the use of daily living aids or assistive technology.
For some people, Alzheimer’s disease causes difficulty with moving around safely. Their coordination and balance may be affected by damage in certain areas of the brain, which can lead to moving more slowly and a higher risk of falls. Grab rails placed strategically around the home can provide some balance support. There are many walking aids available to help a person who is able to walk but may need additional support to do so, for example, a walking frame or rollator. As their condition progresses, a person may need to use a wheelchair.
Showering and bathing:
Due to problems with mobility, coordination and balance as described above, some people may find that taking a shower or having a bath becomes more difficult. A shower seat or shower stool can help provide support if a person is at risk of having a fall. A bath step and bath seat may help a person get into the bath and sit comfortably, whilst a bath lift will lower you slowly and safely into the bath and rise back up again when you’re ready to get out.
Short term memory:
It is common for a person with memory difficulties to forget such things as their keys, to lock the door, or turn off the taps. There are devices available which play automatic reminder messages, such as the Memo Minder which announces a simple message when movement is detected. The Mem-X Memory Aid Pendant can be worn on the body and enables messages to be set and announced at specific times and on specific dates.
Time and day orientation:
One of the possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is the potential for a person to become disorientated and not understand the time of day, what the date is or whether it is morning or evening. There is some evidence that displaying the time or date very prominently in the home can help with reality orientation. A Large Calendar Wall Clock would be ideal for this. There are also special Dementia Care Day/Night Clocks available that show pictorially that it is day or night.
Keeping in touch and getting help:
For a person living independently with Alzheimer’s, or spending time alone at home, it is important that they have ways of staying in touch with their family, friends or neighbours to retain a social life and interaction. It can sometimes be difficult though to remember how to use telephones or recall telephone numbers, so a simple telephone with large buttons and even photo buttons, can really make a difference.
Similarly, it is important for someone to be able to call for help or contact someone for help in an emergency or for reassurance. There are auto dialling alarm systems available that enable a person to push a button and automatically telephone their loved ones.
Helping to move someone:
If you are a carer for someone who needs physical assistance to change position or transfer from a bed to chair, wheelchair, and so on, it is important to learn the correct manual handling techniques and to use appropriate equipment. Your local social services department may be able to advise you on this. There is a large range of Slide Sheets, Handling Belts and Transfer Aids available, depending on the needs of the person. Hoists and slings may also be required.
If you are caring for a person who sometimes ‘wanders’, i.e. leaves the house and becomes lost or confused, you may need to implement safety alarms and simple tracker devices that can alert you to their leaving the house, or help you locate them away from home.
Eating and drinking:
A person with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty using traditional cutlery and crockery to eat their meals or have a drink. This may be due to coordination, swallowing or gripping difficulties. There is a choice of specially designed plates, cups, and cutlery designed to help overcome some of these difficulties. Read on to find out more about why Alzheimer's disease diet is important.
It is important to remember that providing the right Alzheimer’s disease products can help make life easier, but the person using it needs to be able to do so competently and safely, and must be able to remember how to use it.
For help choosing the right equipment to suit your needs, you may wish to download the Disabled Living Foundation fact sheets. Alternatively, contact NRS Healthcare’s team of Occupational Therapist product advisors, who may be able to recommend Alzheimer’s disease products to you.
Telephone: 0345 121 8111 (Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00 pm)