Having the right caregiver products can help reduce the challenges that come with taking care of a loved one. Making sure you and your home are prepared for caregiving tasks will not only make things easier but also improve safety for you and your loved one.
Below are some of the helpful products for caregivers that are essential to creating a safe and comfortable space for an elderly loved one at home. From easy-to-install items like shower chairs and raised toilet seats, to more technologically advanced products like smart lighting and activity monitoring sensors, these are the products every caregiver needs in their toolkit.
Products for Caregivers In the Bathroom
Since bathrooms are one of the most common areas in the home for falls, the right equipment is the key to safety for both a caregiver and an older adult.
Essential equipment caregivers should have in the bathroom include grab bars, shower chairs, and raised toilet seats. These items can help prevent falls, provide support and comfort, and make daily routines easier for both the caregiver and their loved ones.
Grab bars (also known as handicap bars) are made of stainless steel or plastic tubing and can be installed in bathrooms, showers, and hallways. If you are installing them in the bathroom, they need to be made of waterproof material to prevent rust. Grab bars provide extra stability, making activities like showers and toileting safer and more comfortable. Grab bars can be installed by anyone who is a handy DIYer. Look for a general contractor who specializes in aging-in-place projects if it seems too difficult to do on your own.
Shower Chair or Bench
Showering and bathing is slippery and can be dangerous without the right equipment. A shower chair or a bath bench are simple tools that allow your loved one to be able to sit comfortably while showering. This eliminates the need to stand up and bend down, which can be difficult for older adults with mobility limitations. With a relaxed and comfortable environment in the bathroom, shower time will be less stressful for both the senior and the caregiver.
Raised Toilet Seat
Low-to-the-ground toilet seats are a risk for elderly adults. A raised toilet seat is designed to increase the height of a standard toilet, making it easier for people to get on and off the toilet, especially toilets that are low to the ground. A raised toilet seat has a durable base that is installed securely on top of the toilet and they come in different styles. Some are paired with attached grab bars, and more advanced lift models help users on and off the toilet by using a hydraulic system. These are especially helpful for those who have mobility issues.
Essential Caregiving Items in the Bedroom
The bedroom is a sanctuary for rest and relaxation, but for older adults who require caregiving, it can also be a place of challenge and difficulty.
The right equipment can make all the difference in creating a supportive environment. In this section, we cover essential equipment that caregivers should have in the bedroom, including bedside commodes, a transfer bench, a hospital bed, a walker, and a medical alert system. Note, some of this equipment may not be needed right away, but as health and mobility challenges progress it will become essential.
A bedside commode is a portable toilet that can be placed next to a bed for people who have difficulty getting to the bathroom. The commode consists of a seat, a bucket, and a frame with armrests for support. This portable toilet can be easily moved around for convenience. It is an excellent alternative for those who find getting to and from the toilet quickly a challenge.
Walker or Rollator
Front-wheel, rollators, two-wheel, and four-wheel walkers – What do they all have in common? These walking aids improve balance and stability, lowering the risk of falls and injury for people who have mobility and gait limitations. Walkers come in a variety of styles and offer different kinds of support. A standard walker with no wheels offers more stability as it has more friction with the ground. A rollator with four wheels makes movement easier, but faster and more dangerous for those who can’t control the speed.
A transfer bench is a piece of durable medical equipment used to make transfers from one place to another safer. Transfer benches can be used to move from the bed to a wheelchair, from a wheelchair to the commode, and/or from a wheelchair to the shower or bath. It reduces the risk of falls and makes transfers more manageable and safer for both the caregiver and the person they are caring for.
A hospital bed provides comfort and security for people who need beds that can be easily lowered and raised. Some hospital beds are equipped with side railings to protect them from falls and can aid in mobility. Caregivers will find it easier to manage transfers and perform in-bed bathing and grooming as the bed can be adjusted at different angles. A hospital bed with wheels can also be easily wheeled in and out of the room or repositioned for ease of transfers and cleaning.
Caregiving Products for the Whole House
Incontinence, medication management, emergencies, physical activity, and dressing can be challenging areas of caregiving, but with the right equipment, they become more manageable.
In this section, we will discuss some essential equipment that caregivers should have in their toolkits, including incontinence supplies, medication reminder devices, emergency response systems, activity monitors, and adaptive clothing. These items can help improve the quality of life for both the caregiver and their loved one, providing comfort, safety, and convenience.
Designed with rubberized tread on the bottom, non-slip socks for older adults provide extra traction and grip to help with stability. They have slip-resistant grip and also keep the feet warm and cozy at the same time. This simple accessory is ideal when you want to have a little more protection but don’t want to wear shoes at home. Non-slip socks should be used in high-fall-risk areas of the house, like the kitchen and bathroom.
Managing incontinence is easier with the right supplies. Incontinence products come in many forms – adult briefs, pull-ups, pads, and even certain types of medication call all help alleviate the challenges of incontinence. Choosing the right product will depend on several factors, including the level of incontinence, whether it’s both bowel and bladder and the specific needs of the older adult.
Medication Reminder Devices
There is a wide range of medication reminder devices to help you track medication, administer the proper dosage, and even send alerts if medications aren’t taken. Some pill storage devices come with an electronic timer to remind you when it’s time to take medication, which pills are due, and even when to reorder. Automatic medication dispensers are one of the top products for caregivers and will make medication management a lot simpler for both caregivers and older adults.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
Having a personal emergency response system can mean life or death for someone who is at high risk for falls. Medical alert systems can operate at home or away if the alert system is equipped with GPS. These simple devices provide continuous monitoring at home and allow the user to call for emergency help by pushing a button.
Activity Monitoring Sensors
Activity sensors are high-tech systems that can monitor movement, temperature, behaviors, and sleep patterns all with non-invasive sensors installed in a room or throughout a home. The data gathered from these sensors is used to establish patterns and identify abnormalities. If a user falls, doesn’t get out of bed, or has a high temperature, caregivers will be notified through the app or call center. Activity sensors allow older adults to continue living in the setting of their choice while providing family caregivers notification of unusual patterns that may indicate a problem.
Adaptive clothing makes dressing easier for older adults and people with disabilities who have difficulty putting on and taking off traditional clothing. Adaptive clothing for seniors may come with magnetic closures, velcro straps, snapbacks, and other details. Modified clothing removes barriers to dressing and helps people recover or extend their independence. Made with accessible details, adaptive clothing provides ease and convenience to caregivers.
The correct indoor smart lighting can make a huge difference in a home, especially in high-risk areas like the kitchen and bathroom. With so many options for voice and motion-enabled lights, glowing wall switches, dimmers, and nightlights, having the right lighting in any room doesn’t have to be complicated or too expensive. In some areas of the home, installing the correct lighting for aging eyes will greatly improve the space.
Investing in the right medical equipment and helpful items for caregivers can improve the quality of life for both caregivers and older adults alike. From simple products like incontinence pads to smart technology that monitors activities, there are countless solutions to caregiver challenges.
Caregiver products for the bathroom:
- Grab bars
- Shower chair or shower bench
- Raised toilet seat or hydraulic seat lift
Caregiver products for the bedroom:
- Bedside commode
- Walker or rollator
- Transfer bench
- Hospital bed
Caregiver products throughout the house:
- Incontinence supplies
- Automatic medication dispensers
- Personal emergency response system
- Activity monitoring sensors
- Adaptive clothing
- Non-slip socks
- Smart lighting
Caregiver Products Frequently Asked Questions
Seniors’ top products are portable grab bars, a walker (or rollator), smart lighting at home, non-slip socks, and a personal emergency response system. These all effectively improve safety within the house, allowing seniors to live more independently and safely at home.
The bathroom is one of the most dangerous areas in the home for the elderly. Grab bars, a transfer bench, and a raised toilet seat are essential to make the bathroom safer for seniors. Each of these items helps with fall prevention in the bathroom and makes toileting and showering easier.
Products like grab bars, walkers, transfer benches, non-slip socks, a hospital bed with side rails, and smart lighting help with fall prevention at home. These are all designed to offer support and stability, reducing the risk of slips and accidents.
When it comes to monitoring activity, monitoring sensor technology is a smart solution. The sensors are non-invasive and do not use cameras to capture movements. Instead, the technology uses motion and patterns to monitor activities and behaviors. This is especially helpful for those who need to monitor their elderly loved ones remotely.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.