For Stroke survivors, maintaining an independent and safe lifestyle after the stroke can be challenging, especially when left with limited dexterity or partial paralysis. Recovery and rehabilitation take months or even years, with the lasting effects making stroke the number one cause of adult disability. These life changing consequences can have lasting effects on one's self esteem, especially those who pride themselves on being able to take care of themselves.
In the first part of this segment we covered safety and mobility products for the bathroom, which can be the most dangerous room in the house. However, the bedroom can represent the most challenging aspect of independent living, especially when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. Limited strength and hand use can make maintaining one's independence extremely difficult, sometimes even impossible. But with the right products available, stroke survivors can learn to deal with these challenges and still take care of themselves.
The most commonly needed bedroom purchase for a stroke survivor is a bed rail. However, with the wide range of styles and options available, choosing the correct bed rail can be difficult. Before you decide to shop for bed rail, you should ask yourself one important question: is this to get in and out of bed, or to keep them in bed?
Typically stroke patients with partial paralysis barely have the strength to roll themselves over, so rolling out of bed is often not an issue. If a rail is needed to keep them in bed, the Standers EZ Adjust Bed Rail is a versatile, cost-effective, and easy to install bed rail that is adjustable in length. It can be used on virtually any home or hospital bed and can be installed in minutes using the tools provided. The EZ Adjust Bed Rail helps to keep people from rolling out of bed but can also be used to help them stand up and can be folded down when not needed.
If you are simply looking for a bed rail to help the stroke survivor get in and out of bed, the BedCane Bed Rail and Smart Rail System Bed Rail are both great choices. The BedCane is a cane-shaped device that attaches to a board which is set between your mattress and box spring. It can be folded down for easy storage and is ready to use right out of the box. It also includes a storage pouch to keep items like TV remote controls handy. The Smart Rail System installs in the same fashion as the BedCane, but is slightly longer. When the patient wishes to get out bed, the Smart Rail can be rotated to any preferred angle to make standing up as easy as possible.
The Health Craft SuperPole incorporates a traditional bed rail with a device for helping the stroke survivor sit up in bed. While the Super Pole does require more extensive installation, the optional attachments offer a unique value that no other bed rail can duplicate. The pole extends from the floor to the ceiling while an optional bar extends outward and can be rotated around the pole so that the patient can use it to stand up. The trapeze attachment hangs over the bed and gives the stroke patient something to grab on to in order to sit up, while the optional tray gives them added convenience.
Most people take for granted how difficult getting dressed can be with a physical handicap of any sorts. In many cases, it is practically impossible without help. But with the right products to help them, stroke survivors can make an otherwise difficult task relatively easy.
With the Enablers Zipper Button Puller, patients can button up their shirts with ease - a task that would otherwise be impossible. The small metallic loop goes through the hole in the shirt and around the button, and then you simply pull the button through. If the zipper on a jacket is too small or too hard to pull with your fingers, simply use the zipper attachment of the Enablers Zipper/Button Puller to accomplish that task with ease.
Pulling socks on can also be a difficult task, especially if the patient has difficulty bending down. With the Dual Handle Sock Assist or the Easy-Pull Sock Aid, the patient simply slides the sock over one end, drops the sock aid to the floor, and pulls it on using the handle(s). Once the sock is on, a shoe horn is ideal for getting the shoe on. With the Shoehorn/Dressing Combo Stick, the stroke patient can use one end to get their shoes on while the other end can be used to help pulls clothes on or off. The Combo Stick is available in 24 and 30 inch lengths and has a built up foam handle to make gripping it easier.
While each of the mentioned products allows stroke patients to live safely and independently, it will take some time to get used to them. Adapting to the dressing aids especially will seem difficult at first, but make sure the patient does not get discouraged. Encourage them to keep trying and soon they will be on their way to regaining their independence.
Author: Richard Chandler
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