Archive for September, 2011

NEW INDEPENDENT LIVING PRODUCTS

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 by admin

Just to keep things interesting, today I will talk about one of a slew of curious gadgets that are currently out in the market. These products may make life easier not only for older adults and people with disabilities, but for the general public as well. The other day, I went to the store, Bed, Bath and Beyond, to get some items for the house and while I was cruising through the aisles, I spotted a very interesting raised toilet seat. What caught my attention about this product by Ideaworks, was the fact that it lights up and works with noise detection sensors. I bought it because I wanted to try it out.

Installation:

This product does not require any installation, besides putting in 3 AAA batteries and placing in on top of the toilet bowl. There are no tools needed.

Pros:

  • Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and as you enter and turn on the light switch, you are blinded by the overhead light? Well, this was the first good impression I had with this raised toilet seat. The soothing light turns on as you enter the bathroom providing you with enough light to make use of it, while at the same time, sparing your eyes from the uncomfortable blinding moment. Unlike in previous occasions, I was able to return to bed and resume my sleep without any difficulty. I just think that if it was able to make me feel this comfortable and safe, I am sure it could do the same for an older adult.
  • Another benefit from this product is its height. It allows the user to come from a sit to stand position more easily. It would be good for people with hip problems or hip surgeries, as well as, for seniors to help them regain their balance more easily.
  • One more benefit from this product is that the batteries seem to last forever. It has been more than two months since I started using this toilet seat and the lights are still turning on.

Cons:

  • I would say that one of the issues that I found with this product is that since it does not firmly attach to the toilet bowl, there is some wiggle room that may make it feel unsafe. I tried shifting weight in all directions and the seat did not come loose. However, because of the slight separation between the raised toilet seat and the toilet bowl, it can give that sense of insecurity.
  • Another issue that I consider to be a drawback is the fact that you cannot put the toilet seat cover down since the height of the toilet seat does not allow for it.

Overall, I think this product maybe a good option to look into if you want your bathroom to be more user friendly without the institutional look. And for those that may have problems coming to a standing position, this maybe a good alternative. It is priced at 49.99 and I believe that you should be able to buy it at any Bed, Bath and Beyond store.

By

Miller Calberto, MS, OTR/L, CAPS
Senior partner
Adapting Spaces, LLC
mcalbertotr@adaptingspaces.com
1888-956-0077

Helping individuals with physical limitations during natural disasters

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 by admin

Last month ended with a reminder to all of us that Mother Nature is unpredictable and powerful. It reminded us that we need to be ready at all times, but what about our seniors and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. What about those home bound individuals that cannot be reached by home care personnel? What about those individuals that are disabled and cannot evacuate because they live in an old building that is not ADA compliant. These were some of the questions I was left pondering with after the natural events that hit us towards the end of last month.

Everybody talks about preparedness, giving list after list of items that should be included within an emergency kit among other very useful ideas. However, what about making apartments and houses more accessible and user friendly for those with physical limitations. Based on a report published by the Kaiser Foundation in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, it was found that 45 percent of those surveyed did not leave New Orleans because of a physical disability that made it impossible or they were caring for someone who could not leave. http://www.scribd.com/doc/265355/Survey-of-Hurricane-Katrina-Evacuees. More recently, AARP reported on the devastating effects the earthquake/tsunami had on the elderly population of that nation of Japan. According to the report, 47 of 113 residents of a retirement home died because they were not able to escape to the second floor. http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/around-the-globe/news-03-2011/seniors_hit_hardest_in_japan.html

I think that it is important to make homes and apartments, here in New York, more accessible and user-friendly not only for seniors and people with disabilities, but also to facilitate the work of first responders and caregivers in the event of an emergency. For instance, placing a hand rail with a fluorescent strip along a long corridor can assist with someone’s mobility during a black out. Or placing movement activated lights which are usually battery operated. For communication purposes, we could either have a large button or voice activated telephone connected to a land line, since cellphones have proven to be less than reliable during natural disasters. Another idea is to have a designated medicine cabinet or drawer with a pill dispenser; this can save someone’s life in case of an emergency. These are some quick and simple ideas that can go a long way in saving someone’s life during an emergency caused by a natural disaster.

By

Miller Calberto, MS, OTR/L, CAPS
Senior partner
Adapting Spaces, LLC
mcalbertotr@adaptingspaces.com
1888-956-0077