Equipment is the Key to Independence.
When we use the term medical equipment, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a walker. While walkers are a very popular and much needed piece of medical equipment, there are so many other pieces out there to help you with your everyday tasks. Older adults are hesitant to make that leap into relying on medical equipment because of the long standing societal views, but in reality they are the key component to your independence.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Lindsay aka EquipMeOT, a licensed occupational therapist based out of Michigan, who has worked hard to grow her Instagram following to over 88,000 people. Lindsay was a practicing OT, specifically in Home Health, when the pandemic hit and out of boredom began to post different pieces of equipment on her Instagram account. At this time, she was not new to the internet world and had already been making educational videos on YouTube to allow adequate time to explain precautions or how to install a piece of equipment.
Lindsay began sharing these educational videos for the same reason we write these blogs, to educate people! Lindsay enjoys the community she has created on Instagram and in our opinion does a fantastic job of creating educational yet captivating posts. She believes it is very important to begin equipment education at a younger age to not only prepare this generation for when they may need to use equipment, but to help decrease ableism. She quoted a friend when saying "We are all existing on some spectrum of disability", meaning at some point in all of our lives we will need some level of assistance.
Let's now talk about some of these pieces of equipment. Lindsay finds and shares assistive equipment you probably never knew existed.
1. Walkers continue to advance in their design and functional ability. This latest walker is one we love because it has a seat, storage, keeps you standing tall AND has a cupholder!
2. This next piece is perfect for those who have laundry in the basement or maybe a lot of holiday decorations and have difficulty carrying them up and down the stairs.
3. Lindsay loves telling people about this next adaptation tool because it improves their ability to freely move in their home with a few simple steps!
Offset Hinges to widen doorways!
4. Does arthritis limit your ability to easily button a piece of clothing? Well then, magnetic clothing is your answer! The two brands Lindsay talks about on her instagram are Magna Ready and Yarrow Brand.
Yes, both of those articles of clothing are magnetic. Click the pictures to check out their websites for their endless options!
5. While we could keep this up for days, this next example is going to be our last. We asked Lindsay if she could pick one piece of equipment to recommend every older adult to have in their home. Honestly, her answer surprised us....
I know you're probably thinking why would she say bidet? We were too, so we asked and we are so glad we did!
Being able to wipe your behind after you go to the bathroom is one of those activities you never think will be difficult until it is. We have other pieces of adaptive equipment to help people reach behind them ,and of course you can use plumbers number one enemy... costly wipes. Using a bidet will assist those who have difficulty performing the wiping action but it is a significant game changer for hygiene. Sometimes, we don't get everything we should back there and as we grow older we may shower a little less often because it takes a little more effort. Also as we age, we may become a little more incontinent and depend on absorbent brief's or underwear to help us out. Using a bidet would allow us to maintain proper peri-care throughout the day and especially on non-shower days.
To understand the significance of using a bidet not only to maintain your independence but to maintain your health, Lindsay told us an experince of a close older adult family member. Her family member was getting UTI's about every 6 months. (While UTI's aren't so scary at a younger age, these become much more difficult infections that can lead to serious deconditioning and delirium in older adults. ) It reached the point that every time she was diagnosed with a UTI, she had to be admitted into the hospital to receive IV antibiotics because she became resistant to all over the counter antibiotics. Lindsay finally installed and educated her family member on bidets. That step was literally a life saver. Lindsay's family member has not had a single UTI in 2 years. 2 years!!!!!! All because of a bidet.
Bidets come in all shapes and sizes. You can always first try a simple peri-care bottle to test the waters (pun intended). Bidets are fairly simple to install and can range from a simple insert, a toilet seat, they can include fancy add ons like a heated seat, heated water, colored lights, or you can always start new and purchase a toilet with one already installed. You can find an instructional video on how to adapt a bidet onto a raised toilet seat on Lindsay's YouTube.
We want to thank Lindsay again for all the hard work she is putting into making our society more aware of available assistive equipment, and more importantly normalizing it! She teaches us new things every week and we hope you follow along with her or subscribe to her newsletter to see which pieces of equipment you can use in your daily life.
Don't forget to check out her website!
If you ever need assistance with purchasing or setting up equipment, that's where we come in! Our only requirement is that you are 65 years or older. Contact us by phone or email to set up a consultation and a follow up appointment!
Remember using medical equipment is nothing to be ashamed of and is going to be the key to maintaining your independence and staying at home!