Living with a mobility issue is difficult at best and seemingly insurmountable at its worst. Living as a senior with a mobility issue is the very definition of challenging. The assistance providers at our senior home care in Orlando organization firmly believe that seniors should be encouraged to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Being able to provide assistance requires that you are aware of how to identify the issues and how to seek out appropriate help.
While the term “mobility issues” typically refers to individuals unable to walk without assistance, in reality, the term applies to those who have shoulder, arm, or hand impairments. Painful joints due to arthritis or other ailments can hinder dexterity of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Hand tremors can result from a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, etc. These issues can turn routine functions such as brushing teeth, using a remote control, or opening a can or a jar into very frustrating situations.
Perhaps the most significant result of suffering from tremors, living with chronic pain, and other disabilities is the negative impact on the ability of your loved one to be able to feed themselves as easily as they once could. Unfortunately, many who struggle with these issues become embarrassed by the difficulty they experience trying to eat and the fear of being embarrassed is all too real. Here are a few tips we’ve assembled that might assist your elderly loved one maintain their dignity while dining:
- Weakened Strength and Loss of Dexterity: If your loved one experiences this, they will benefit from a few simple assistive devices to open jars and cans. There’s a pretty good selection of differently-gripped can openers that provide a larger surface area for a weakened hand to maneuver with. If hand strength is severely weakened, there are also electric jar openers that conform to almost any sized jar, and, of course, there are many varieties of electric can openers. Weakened grip strength will also impact the ability to use utensils, cutlery, toothbrush, etc. Consider purchasing an ergonomic handle when at all possible.
- Stiffness and Hand and Arm Flexibility: If your loved one struggles with this due to the stiffness of arthritis, they may be better able to use weighted cutlery than your everyday flatware. You can now find flexible spoons and forks to help those with hand and wrist issues.
- Hand Tremors: Should your elderly loved one be dealing with hand tremors, eating is no doubt problematic. If the tremors are mild, a weighted set of cutlery may be of assistance. If tremors are moderate to severe, there is a new product on the market, Liftware, that actually detects the tremor and provides a counterbalance to stabilize the utensil.
As a caregiver, you can provide help your senior by doing a little bit of research and preparation on strategies and products available to make dining in (or out) a more confident and pleasurable experience for them. You don’t have to figure this out on your own. The staff at our senior home care in Orlando organization is here to help. Contact us to learn more, or call us at 407-877-0720.