As we enter the new year, caregivers must be well-equipped with essential medical supplies, whether at home or in professional settings. This will ensure the health and safety of those under their care and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the care provided. This article highlights medical supplies that should be part of every caregiver's toolkit in 2024.
Home and Professional Caregivers: A Challenging Yet Fulfilling Experience
Providing care for someone at home or in a professional capacity at an elderly home can be an emotionally and physically draining experience. Nonetheless, it's a personalized journey and can be a fulfilling experience offering personal growth and a deeper understanding of human resilience and compassion. Whether as a home caregiver or a professional, the experience of caring for another person is an opportunity for profound personal transformation and growth. In addition, today, innovative medical supplies and tools can help monitor and improve the care of seniors and loved ones at home. Keeping that in mind, we have curated a list of the Top Rated Caregiving Supplies for the Elderly and Caregiving Essentials for The Home.
Top Rated Caregiving Supplies for the Elderly
Caring for older adults requires a thoughtful selection of supplies catering to their needs. Consulting a healthcare expert is a good idea to gain insight into helpful medical supplies and equipment for the individual you care for. The following list, however, should serve as a starting point.
Depending on the person you care for, their mobility aid choice can significantly influence their autonomy, security, and way of life. The first step is assessing the individual needs. Can they walk with little or no help, moderate support, or heavy assistance? Is their upper body strength sufficient for the use of walkers or crutches? Are they able to hold a cane firmly? These considerations will help you choose a suitable mobility aid for older adults. Here are some examples of mobility aids for you to consider:
- Canes: These mobility aids are excellent for mild weakness or balance issues. Canes are available in various designs, such as single-point, folding, and offset canes. You can select a cane depending on the individual condition. They aid in weight distribution, taking some pressure off legs and reducing strain on joints, which can be helpful for those with arthritis or weakness. They help older adults feel more secure and capable while decreasing the likelihood of falls.
- Walkers: Older adults are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of falls, and walkers provide a more stable base of support than canes. Particularly helpful for people with mobility issues like arthritis, they assist in dispersing weight more evenly, relieving strain on weak legs and joints. There are different models, such as folding, rolling, and dual-release folding walkers.
You can explore walkers with different handgrips, seat attachments, and accessories to suit individual needs.
- Four-Wheel Rollators: A 4-wheel rollator is an effective mobility device for people with balance or walking issues. This device provides stability and support for elders recovering from surgery, people with impaired leg muscles, and those with significant balance impairments or weak legs. Four wheels make the 4-wheel rollator easier to move without lifting than typical walkers. It usually has a solid, lightweight frame, ergonomic handles, and a comfy, built-in seat for resting.
- Reaching Tools: Senior citizens may struggle and risk injury when reaching for items on high shelves, under furniture, or on the floor. Reaching tools like Claw-Style Reacher and Grabber-Style Reacher eliminates the need to bend or stretch, reducing the risk of falls and back pain. Claw-style reachers have a precise grip for picking up small objects like keys, coins, or medication bottles, which can be difficult for older adults with weakened hand strength or dexterity. Grabber-style reaching tools feature wider, textured jaws for a secure hold on larger or flatter items like books, papers, or laundry baskets, making them easier to grasp and lift.
Health Monitoring: Diagnostic Tools
Regular health monitoring is essential in caring for seniors at home since it allows for early intervention in the event of health problems and helps to maintain their well-being. Diagnostic tools such as home blood pressure monitors, thermometers, glucometers, and pulse oximeters can help caregivers monitor the vital signs and health of those under their care.
- Blood Pressure Monitors: Regular monitoring with a home blood pressure monitor can help detect hypertension early, a common condition in older adults. Early detection allows for timely intervention, reducing the risk of complications like stroke or heart disease. In addition, BP monitors assist in tracking the effectiveness of the medication and adjusting dosages for seniors on blood pressure medications. Also, many brands, such as AHS and Omron, provide affordable upper arm BP monitors for home use. On the other hand, InBody Automatic BP Monitor Kiosks are excellent for professional caregiving facilities and nursing homes.
- Thermometers: Fever can indicate an infection, which might be more severe in older adults. A dependable thermometer can detect even minor variations in body temperature, allowing for prompt medical intervention. Caregivers can use the device to get accurate temperature readings and ensure the health and well-being of seniors at home or a facility. Although there are different types of thermometers, the use of non-contact forehead thermometers after COVID-19 has increased.
- Glucometer: Diabetes affects a large number of older adults. The use of a blood glucose monitor on a regular basis is critical for managing their health, preventing complications, and changing dietary and drug regimes.
- Pulse Oximeter: This simple, non-invasive technology determines the degree of oxygen saturation in the blood. It is critical for senior patients suffering from respiratory disorders such as COPD or those recovering from illnesses that impair lung function. Pulse oximeters also provide essential information on heart rate, which helps diagnose arrhythmias and other frequent cardiac problems in older adults.
These diagnostic tools enable both elders and their caregivers to participate actively in administering their health. They provide crucial information that may facilitate improved communication with healthcare providers, enhance quality of life, and enable early detection of potential health problems in older adults.
Wound Care Supplies
Preventative and responsible health and safety measures include maintaining an adequate supply of wound care products at home or in an elderly care facility. It offers peace of mind to individuals and caregivers, knowing that they have the essential wound care supplies for administering minor injuries.
- First Aid Kits: A well-stocked kit is essential for managing minor cuts, bruises, and wound dressing. But when considering a first aid kit for elderly care, caregivers should consider items catering to their skin and health needs. Soft, flexible bandages, for example, are preferable since they are less prone to cause irritation. Similarly, including antiseptic wipes and ointments suitable for sensitive skin in the first aid kit can aid healing and provide a protective barrier against bacteria and other contaminants. You can also customize a first aid kit for your specific needs. For instance, you can include scissors for cutting tape and bandages, tweezers for removing debris from wounds, and cold packs for reducing swelling to create a comprehensive first-aid kit.
- Rubbing Alcohol Pads: Rubbing alcohol pads are a safe and effective approach to disinfect the skin around wounds or before delivering injections. The fact that these pads are single-use assures that they are sterile, preventing cross-contamination.
- Medical Tape and Gauze: Hypoallergenic medical tape is intended to reduce allergic reactions and skin irritation, which is especially significant for older adults with typically sensitive skin. It should securely retain bandages in place while remaining mild enough to remove without causing skin injury. Dressing wounds with sterile gauze creates a barrier that absorbs exudate and prevents bacteria from entering. You can find gauze pads in various sizes and thicknesses, so you may choose the perfect one for any wound.
- Incontinence Essentials: When dealing with incontinence, it's crucial to have the proper supplies to ensure the comfort, cleanliness, and well-being of the person and their caregiver. For instance, choose incontinence underpads with appropriate absorbency levels based on the individual's needs. Light leaks might require light to moderate pads, while heavier incontinence cases need maximum absorbency. Soft, breathable materials, such as quilted or cotton blends, can also help to avoid skin irritation and discomfort. Incontinence supplies such as Prevail Adult Wipes, Tena Overnight Pads, and Cardinal Wings Incontinence Underpads are known for their quality and comfort.
Each item listed above addresses a specific need and contributes to the safety, comfort, and dignity of older people in care. The particular items needed may vary depending on the individual's condition. Still, these caregiver essentials can be beneficial in most caregiving situations. In addition, having supplies such as choking kits and AED devices can also improve emergency preparedness at home. Here are some additional medical items to consider:
Choking First Aid Kit:
Choking is the most common cause of unintentional injury fatality. It is especially common in children and the elderly. Choking can cause a variety of results, ranging from minor injuries to fatalities. Data show that among Americans aged 65 and up, choking ranks as the sixth most common cause of death due to an unintentional injury. Given these statistics, it becomes evident that having a non-invasive choking first aid kit at home is a crucial aspect of caregiving and emergency preparedness.
Automated External Defibrillator:
Should you have an AED at home? Having an AED at home can be a key component of emergency preparedness, particularly in households with individuals with known heart issues or at a higher risk of SCA. AEDs are crucial in the treatment of life-threatening arrhythmias that might result in abrupt cardiac arrest. Access to AEDs at home can be highly beneficial to high-risk patients, enhancing their chances of survival in the case of a cardiac emergency.
While the decision to acquire an AED should be taken after consulting with healthcare specialists and considering the individual health needs of the family, research and statistics show that these devices can save lives. For example, a study by the National Institutes of Health discovered that using an AED before emergency medical services arrive increases the likelihood of survival in cardiac arrest cases. While an AED is a significant investment and requires proper maintenance and training, its potential to save lives in emergencies makes it an essential consideration for home emergency preparedness, particularly for those at elevated risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
In conclusion, equipping caregivers with the right supplies is fundamental to ensure the highest quality of care for older adults, whether at home or in a professional setting. From mobility aids that foster independence and safety to diagnostic tools that enable effective health monitoring, each item plays a vital role. Additionally, including wound care products and incontinence essentials underscores the importance of comprehensive care that addresses older adults' physical and emotional well-being. Medical equipment and tools like choking first aid kits and automated external defibrillators can improve emergency preparedness.
American Hospital Supply: Shop Top-Rated Caregiving Supplies for the Elderly and Home
American Hospital Supply (AHS) is an e-commerce provider of medical supplies and equipment for home, hospital, and caregiving facilities. It collaborates with leading manufacturers to deliver a range of medical supplies, including caregiving tools for the elderly, home care essentials, mobility aids, wound care supplies, and incontinence essentials. In addition, the company offers
This blog is intended solely for educational purposes. Any information related to medical supplies and personal healthcare should be considered general information, not professional medical advice. American Hospital Supply recommends consulting your doctor regarding any medical treatments or therapies referenced. American Hospital Supply does not make representations or warranties regarding the information relating to products or healthcare decisions referenced within this blog.