By Aimee Sterk, LLMSW, MATP Staff
I was visiting my friend Leah and her husband James after her husband returned from two hospital stays. James has had MS for more than a decade and usually uses a walker to get around their house and a scooter to get around in the community. James had been in the ICU on a vent for a portion of one of the hospital stays. That time in bed not moving resulted in muscle atrophy and decreased stamina. Leah mentioned that a social worker had come to the house and talked to them about AT (assistive technology) and getting more help in the home.
When Leah mentioned the devices that James was getting, I was dumbfounded–how had we not discussed these very basic AT items before? I just assumed they knew about and were using these devices already. So–to remedy that problem and assuage my conscience I want to talk about these items here–so that we all can be reminded that even some of the most basic items aren’t known about or thought of by people with long-standing disabilities or their family members.
- Shower chair with handheld shower: Even before the hospitalization, these would have been good items for James. A shower chair helps with steadiness, stamina, and safety getting in and out of the shower. They didn’t have this basic item. Nor did they have a handheld shower adapter. I’ve used these my whole life so don’t even think about the fact that they are really AT–helping direct water in hard to reach places and helping keep the water away from places you don’t want it. Handheld showers go hand-in-hand with shower chairs.
- Reacher: I had thought that pretty much everyone knew about reachers but I was wrong. Reachers are helpful to reach items for people of short stature and also for people with mobility disabilities who may be trying to reach items on shelves or the floor. There are a variety of styles and some people swear that kitchen tongs of various lengths work even better.
- Elastic Shoelaces/long handled shoehorn/sock aid: Yes this is actually three items but the combination can make life so much easier. Elastic shoelaces can turn a tied shoe into a slip on and allow for swelling/edema. Long handled shoehorns make it easier to put on the now slip-on shoes and sock aids, well they help you get your socks on without having to bend over.
What other basic AT items am I missing that everyone needs to know about?Tweet