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Tips on Cleaning and Maintaining Your CPAP Mask

Tips on Cleaning and Maintaining Your CPAP Mask 0

The CPAP machine has ensured millions of better nights’ sleep both for people with sleep apnea and their sleeping partners. Despite some awkwardness and initial discomfort, the combination of mask and machine are a reliable combination for an easy solution to a problem.

Like all medical appliances, they need to be kept clean. Keeping the CPAP mask clean will ensure its continued, safe effectiveness. Here are some tips for keeping the mask clean.

Use Warm Soapy Water

Fortunately, the best and easiest way to keep the mask, headgear, and hoses clean is available in every home. A small cleaning tub filled with warm water and a mild dish detergent is all you need.

Soak the CPAP mask, headgear, and hoses in the tub for around 30 minutes. At some point in the process, swish everything around in the water. Dump the soapy water down the drain and thoroughly rinse the equipment and allow them to air-dry.

The best time to clean your CPAP equipment is in the morning, as part of your routine. The equipment will have the entire day to dry and be ready for the next night.

In an ideal world, you’ll be washing your CPAP mask, headgear, and hoses every day. Daily washing will prevent bacterial growth in the most effective way. Realistically, however, most people will not have time every day to clean the equipment. Once per week will be sufficient in most cases.

Make sure any detergent you use with your CPAP equipment is ammonia-free. In addition, do not use vinegar or alcohol on the mask. The vinegar may end up irritating your nasal passages.

You may want to run a cleaning brush through your hoses occasionally to help eliminate all bacteria.

pap-mask-connecting-strap-hose-laying

Daily Care

Even if you are unable to clean the equipment with soap and water daily, you should still be tending to it daily.

Wipe the mask down daily, especially the parts of the mask which touch your skin. This wipe-down will remove things which could interfere with the seal, including sweat, dead skin cells, and oils.

You can use cleaning wipes available at many medical supply stores or sleep centers. A damp washcloth with a bit of mild detergent will also work.

Drying

Whenever you clean your CPAP mask, headgear, and hoses, you should give them plenty of time to dry. Hang them in the bathroom or laundry room. Let the hoses hang down straight, allowing them to both drain and dry.

cpap-machine-mask-hose-people-sleep

Keeping Your CPAP Machine Clean Helps

If you want to keep your CPAP mask, headgear, and hoses clean, you also need to clean and disinfect your machine.

First, unplug your CPAP machine, and then disassemble it per the manufacturer’s instructions. You can clean the water chamber with hot water and soap. Use only distilled water in the water chamber. This prevents the build-up of minerals and decreases the risk of illness.

Check the filters if any are present. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as some can be rinsed while others need to be replaced. You should expect filters to last between two weeks and a month.

Wipe down the outside of the CPAP machine with a damp cloth, preventing dust from getting into the machine.

You should also make sure the humidifier is disinfected. Once or twice each month, soak it in a light vinegar/water solution—1 part vinegar to 5 parts of water. After soaking the humidifier for a half hour, rinse and run through the dishwasher on the top rack.

Replacement

Your mask is made of plastic and silicone. The light weight and malleability of the plastic help ensure the mask fits.

Use of malleable plastic means it will lose some of its flexibility. After extended use, the mask may not fit as well because skin oils and exposure have affected it. Regardless of your care of the mask, you will need to replace it every nine to twelve months.

Building the replacement costs of the mask into your budget and schedule will help ensure continued, hygienic sleep.

You may want to consider replacing the rest of your headgear at the same time.

Sanitizers

Some people may feel the need to sanitize their CPAP machine and mask, and others may have other issues which indicate sanitizing as a wise practice. One advantage of sanitizers is that you don’t need to take the equipment apart. In addition, you will not need to leave the CPAP mask, hose, and headgear hanging to dry.

Conclusion

Keeping your CPAP mask, headgear, and hoses clean should become a habit for you. If you make tending to your equipment part of your morning routine, you will continue to enjoy your uninterrupted nights of sleep.

  • Becky McDowell
Best Memory Boosting Superfoods to Help Combat Dementia

Best Memory Boosting Superfoods to Help Combat Dementia 0

Remembrance: remembering things that happened yesterday and ten years ago, being remembered, feeling that some thing or event or person is worth remembering. You remember how to stand up and walk and use thousands of words without even noticing. All these are such an integral part of who you are, you hardly ever think of memory as the gift that it is. Without memory, normal daily life is not possible.

It’s kind of funny—isn’t it? When you get to the middle of telling what you did today and, suddenly, you forget the point of your story or a special descriptive word eludes you. You may toss this off as a ‘senior moment’ or some other triviality but, as these moments happen more often than you would like, the humor wears off and life looks not so rosy.

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What Happens?

These may, indeed, be the result of your trying to do too many things at once or feeling stressed or out of sorts, as can happen even for the young.

Neuroscientists call these mild cognitive impairments (MCIs), and they pay little attention. It means simply that your mind is momentarily not doing what it’s supposed to do, but it doesn’t keep you from living your normal daily life. Alas, however, these apparent MCIs may also be early signs of a progressive loss of memory and other brain functions. In that case, it’s called dementia, and age is a factor.

The more often you have MCIs, the more likely is the onset of dementia.

Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are most often associated with dementia, which seems like the end of normal life. The good news is there are often lifestyle changes that can slow down and even prevent your cognitive decline.

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What Is Dementia?

Dementia is not itself a disease; it’s a condition. Dementia is a condition that is the result of some disease or another factor like a stroke.

The list of diseases associated with dementia is long. Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body, and vascular dementia are among the most common. The less common include Parkinson’s, syphilis, schizophrenia, and boxer’s dementia, to name a few.

Any of the things you do with your brain may be involved, but it almost always involves memory and some change or restriction in your cognitive abilities. Your motor functions and balance may become difficult, and often there are emotional instabilities as well.

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What Is Memory?

illustration of brain functionsIn the 100+ years that neuroscience has been a legitimate discipline, there have been amazing advances in understanding how your brain works. There are also amazing gaps in such understanding, and the location and mechanics of memory are among them.

There is a tiny part of your brain that looks a bit like a sea horse, and it is called the hippocampus, which is a Latin word for sea horse. This has long been thought to be your brain's memory center. However, research is discovering that most of the functions of your brain are distributed over more than one brain region. This is true of the memory functions of the hippocampus, as well.

An increased concentration of some proteins and other compounds is often found when you lose memory. The effect of this is to impair your brain cells’ communication with one another or even to degenerate and die. Whatever the case, your brain is no longer able to build, store, and retrieve the memories you would like to keep.

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How Can You Prevent Dementia?

Preventing dementia is partly a matter of preventing the diseases and other conditions that bring it on. However, research and practice are now showing that degeneration of brain function can often be prevented, or at least slowed down.

As far as we now know, there is no way to reverse dementia once it has begun in earnest. The focus, therefore, needs to be on prevention. There are several lifestyle factors involved, but the three main aspects of prevention are intellectual activity, exercise, and diet. Of these three, the most important is diet.

For background, reputable medical sources provide some relevant facts:

  • Eating a lot of non-fiber carbohydrates has been shown to increase the likelihood of MCIs by as much as 89% over those whose diets are low in carbohydrates.
  • If you eat plenty of what are called good fats—saturated and trans fats are bad—the likelihood of MCIs goes down by 44%.
  • Observing those two dietary guidelines will likely result in lower blood sugar, as well as weight loss.
  • People who practice meditation regularly experience less loss of brain cells compared to people who don’t meditate. Consider learning a meditative discipline like yoga.

carbs and mcis quote

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Intellectual Activity

There are countless ways to stimulate your brain and, especially, memory processing like learning another language, learning to play a musical instrument, or even just reading regularly.

In many cities, there are now adult education programs on a variety of topics. For more advanced learning, university programs like EdX or Coursera provide both undergraduate and graduate courses at no cost.

The important preventive attitude in all of these is to keep learning something new. Related to this is the importance of focus on your learning activity. This helps your brain to integrate the learning experiences into the structure of your memory.

Like other parts of your body, memory is responsive to the maxim: Use it or lose it.

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Exercise?

Whether you’re walking or playing tennis, working out or exercising in other ways, you are heading off the possibility of dementia. There are some proteins that work against dementia, and exercise improves the way these are used by your body. It also increases your body’s generation of other proteins it needs for brain health.

senior man bicycling in forest

The memory-centered hippocampus grows, as well, as a result of exercise. This is the only part of your brain in which new brain cells are made.

If you need a reaching aid, bathtub aids, or some other household aid, then exercise doesn’t necessarily mean running around the block. Do what you can, but if all you can do are some simple hand exercises, and do them regularly, it will go some way toward helping your memory.

Don’t overdo exercise. A half hour a day of intentional exercise may be enough to begin, with appropriate increases over time. Don’t exhaust yourself or get to the stage where you really need sports injury products.

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Why Should Your Diet Change?

At base, the problem is with those itty bitty powerhouses that are part of most of the cells in your body. They’re called mitochondria. They are something less than one millionth of an inch in size, and there may be just a few in a cell, or there may be a few thousand.

Mitochondria have multiple functions, but a primary one is to take the nutrients you eat and convert them into a compound called ATP—adenosine triphosphate. This is the primary energy source in your body.

Mitochondria also enable your cells to talk to one another. Dementia is, in many ways, a result of your cells’ inability to communicate.

To be brief, if your mitochondria are healthy, you are probably healthy. If they are not healthy, then you may be heading toward serious illness. Mitochondria are the foundation of your health. If they aren’t healthy, your cells can’t do their jobs and may die.

woman holding avocado halves

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Here’s the Problem

The problem is that while your mitochondria are making ATP, they are also releasing free radicals. In your body, free radicals have a devastating effect on other structures in your body and, especially, your brain.

In stable chemical compounds, the protons in the nucleus are balanced by the number of electrons found in the cloud around the nucleus. Free radicals, on the other hand, are missing an electron and are therefore unstable.

Because nature craves stability, the free radicals go about your system seeking to capture an electron from some other stable chemical.

The bad part is two-fold: First, when the free radical steals from your genetic DNA, for example, it will likely change unpredictably the nature of some genes as well as their function. Any of your proteins, neurons, and more may be affected by free radicals.

The second and more devastating problem is the chemical from which an electron was taken will, itself, seek completion; this may start a chain reaction of further destruction.

Research has shown, for example, that Parkinson’s disease may be related to free radical damage.

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Here’s the Solution

Mitochondria can create ATP from either sugar or fat. A primary difference is that, in converting sugar to ATP, your mitochondria create vastly more free radicals than they do when converting fat to ATP.

That is, diets which are high in non-fiber carbohydrates—chains of sugar molecules—or low in healthy fat are devastating to your brain.

There has been considerable research, including that of integrative neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, that confirm this hypothesis. From this, it’s becoming widely known that one can prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s through diet.

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How Should Your Diet Change?

Brain food fresh produce

Here are some guidelines:

  • Get refined sugar, and especially fructose out of your diet. The popular high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided at all costs.
  • Similarly, wheat which is high in gluten, and casein which is plentiful in cow products should be avoided; this does not include butter fat.
  • Add to your diet sources of the good bacteria that are needed for your body to extract the nutrients you need. These may come from foods that have been fermented or from supplements called probiotics.
  • Keep the calories in your diet low, and take some time to fast regularly.
  • There are several vitamins and minerals that are helpful for brain health, but vitamin D and magnesium are primary among these and should be increased in your diet.
  • Emphasize natural fresh foods including raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
  • In terms of repair and maintenance, your body has a lot of work to do while you sleep, and will do this best if not being required to digest a lot of food simultaneously. Try to get your main meal of the day early, say mid- to late morning. Then, in the evening, eat something light, such as a salad.

Generalized inflammation is the major enemy of healthy brain function. Following these dietary recommendations, you will minimize the chemicals that are causative of inflammation. In addition, you will likely experience no-effort, healthy weight loss.

As a caution, a low carbohydrate diet may not be appropriate if you have diabetes or some other diseases. Always consult your doctor before making radical changes in diet.

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Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals

The goal of your diet should be to change the balance of sugar and fat in your body so that most of the ATP that’s produced comes from fat rather than sugar. That is, you wish to minimize the number of free radicals created, and to provide nutrients that will get rid of the free radicals that are produced.

Antioxidant chemicals are those that neutralize free radicals. Your body naturally makes these and requires raw material from your diet to do so. The foods that are best at dealing with free radicals are those containing beta-carotene, along with vitamins C and E. In addition, a trace of the metallic mineral called selenium is needed.

Here is a short list of sources of antioxidants:

  • Oils from fish, coconut, and vegetables.
  • Raw nuts and seeds.
  • Avocados.
  • Whole grains.
  • Fruits, including peaches, cantaloupe, citrus, apricots, and strawberries.
  • Green bell peppers.
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach, chard, and kale.
  • Others: cabbage, broccoli, eggs, carrots, squash, yams, and tomato.
sources of antioxidants infographic

Next, is one of the best nutritional foods that is seldom mentioned.

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Chocolate Is a Superfood!

Theobroma Cacao, the cacao tree of Central and South America, is the source of almighty chocolate. Its name is based on the Greek words Theos, which means God, and Bromo, which is food. Food from and for the gods is a very good description of chocolate!

Chocolate is replete with antioxidants that are found in flavonoids, especially flavonol. Flavanol is instrumental also in getting more blood to your brain as well as reducing blood pressure and the likelihood of blood clots.

As a side benefit, Harvard researchers discovered that consuming high flavonoid foods at least three times a week was influential in reducing erectile dysfunction in men as they age; folklore has always been clear that chocolate is an aphrodisiac.

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter chemical found in chocolate and is probably responsible for your feeling good after eating it. It produces a protein called BDNF that is known to help preserve neurons.

Chocolate contains good amounts fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and phosphorous. It also has the selenium you need. If that weren’t enough to get you to rush out to get some chocolate, it also helps to increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol.

In addition to probiotics, your digestive system needs some dietary fiber to nourish your gut bacteria. These are called prebiotics, and chocolate is one of them.

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Not All Chocolate Is Good

The cacao beans that are the source of the benefits in chocolate are not in themselves very tasty. In fact, they are extremely bitter. To make them palatable, they are subjected to a variety of processes, including fermenting, grinding, roasting, and more. Then, sugar and other additives are used to make chocolate taste the way you expect it to taste. Unfortunately, some of those additives destroy the benefits found in the cacao beans. For example, adding milk to chocolate undoes its antioxidant properties.

stack of chocolate

You need to eat chocolate that retains as much as possible of the original cacao. Seventy per cent is probably high enough, but 80% dark chocolate is even better. This level is available from companies like Equal Exchange. The resulting bars are delicious, containing only cacao, raw cane sugar, and vanilla beans.

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What Now?

More research is showing that, in many cases, dementia is preventable. The path to prevention is not complex, although it may require some lifestyle changes. The most important path, other than intellectual activity and physical exercise, is eating foods that keep your mitochondria healthy. The time to start on this path is now.

  • Becky McDowell
The Benefits of Adding Grab Bars to Your Shower

The Benefits of Adding Grab Bars to Your Shower 0

What is the most dangerous room in your household? While injuries in the kitchen may result in severe burns or lacerations, the bathroom possesses many dangerous hazards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly a quarter of a million injuries occur each year to Americans in the bathroom, according to a 2011 study.

Slipping and falling in the shower or tub accounted for most of the injuries in the bathroom. Senior citizens are the most vulnerable group affected by falls. Luckily, there are preventive measures you can take to safeguard your shower and lower your risk of a dangerous slip and fall.

Risk Factors: Age and Gender

Bathroom injuries disproportionately impact the elderly. The New York Times noted that injuries in the bathroom peak after age 85, pulling data from the same 2011 CDC study conducted on bathroom injuries. Women were nearly twice as likely to suffer an injury in the bathroom compared to men. This could be related to women having lower bone mass and weaker physical strength, making falls even more dangerous.

The Impact of Falling in the Bathroom

Bathrooms are particularly dangerous for falls, as they often feature hard floor surfaces, sharp counter edges, and fixtures such as tubs and toilets that can result in painful injuries during a fall. As for types of injuries, nearly one-third of all bathroom injuries resulted in trauma to the head or neck.

Safeguard Your Bathroom

Bathroom surfaces often become wet and slippery, making them prone to causing falls. While options such as non-slip floors are available, these safety measures often result in extensive and costly work. There are alternatives that can be installed quickly and more easily than remodeling your bathroom with new floors or other safety features. Installing shower grab bars is a simple, quick, effective, and inexpensive method for reducing the risk of falling.

disability-access-bathtub-shower-hotel-room

What You Should Know About Installing Grab Bars

For your safety, there are national standards for the installation of grab bars in the shower. They include precise size and height measurements. A wide variety of styles and shapes are available to fit different types of showers and shower surfaces.

Ensure Grab Bars Are Installed Safely

Grab bars should be safely secured to your shower wall, ensuring they can fully support your weight and grip in the event of a slip. Suction alone is not sufficient. Instead, grab bars should be secured as an attachment to the wall

Grab Bars Improve Stability

Beyond helping to prevent a dangerous fall, grab bars can improve your stability in the shower. They can help you safely enter and exit the shower, as well as provide support for individuals who use aids such as a cane or walker for stability while standing.

Maintain Your Independence

Shower grab bars can allow you to maintain your independence without sacrificing your quality of life. If you are someone who prefers taking a shower to taking a bath, an affordable shower grab bar gives you that ability. You don’t have to invest in an expensive custom walk-in bathtub to feel safe while bathing.

Feel Safe in Your Own Home

Many senior citizens may be reluctant to bathe out of fear of slipping and falling. You deserve to bathe comfortably and safely in your own home. A properly installed shower grab bar can help to reassure you, making showers not only possible but enjoyable as well.

Other Safety Solutions

In addition to using a grab bar to guard against falls in the shower, there are other safety measures and products that can also reduce the risk of injury in the bathroom. Bathroom floors can often become slippery, especially when stepping out of the shower. A slip-free safety bath mat can allow you to step out onto a comfortable, secure surface without the risk of falling.

Maintain Your Quality of Life

The ability to maintain your quality of life and a sense of independence is a value many share, especially seniors who are used taking care of themselves. However, studies have shown the risk of a serious bathroom injury due to a slip or fall increases with age. Rather than sacrificing your way of life or avoiding the shower out of fear of falling, consider installing a secure shower grab bar.

Grab bars offer stability and safety when you need it most. They are low-cost investments that allow you to continue to use your own shower without the need for an expensive or extensive bathroom remodel. Grab bars not only offer peace of mind, but also the ability to safely and comfortably shower.

water-drain-out-shower-head

 

  • Becky McDowell
Our Best Shoulder Brace Brands

Our Best Shoulder Brace Brands 0

Shoulder pain and injury accounts for more than seven million people visiting their doctor’s office or local hospital annually. There are times when it is obvious what is causing the problem, while, for the majority, pain starts deep inside the shoulder and continually worsens, with no clear idea of the cause.

Whether from injury or surgery, shoulder issues are painful. Every time you move, reach, or touch something, that can be enough to send shooting pains down to the tips of your fingers. In many cases, just the weight of your arm is enough to pull on the shoulder and reward you with an endless throbbing that cannot be relieved on its own.

Short of consuming pain-relieving products, slathering the area with topical creams, and applying heating or cooling pads, the only option left to you is the best one—shoulder support products like a shoulder brace.

Shoulder Injuries

The natural aging process is responsible for shoulder injuries starting after the age of around 45 to 50. Although we don’t think of it at the time, all these years of playing sports, lifting heavy objects, and working out at the gym will eventually take their toll on your body.

When you consider the fact your shoulder joint moves each time your arm does, that is a staggering amount of wear and tear they go through. Every time you lift your fork, write a letter, type all day at your keyboard—these mundane activities are damaging to your shoulder.

Sports injuries are the next leading cause of injuries to the shoulder and arm. Think of the number of times you have seen baseball pitchers or football players walk off the field because of an injury. Accidental sports injuries can occur anytime, both with professionals and amateurs.

Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Injuries

Depending on the injury and its severity, you may need some type of surgery. Technology has come a long way in the medical profession, and techniques are far less invasive than they once were, but recovery can still be long and painful. Most hospitals will send you home with some type of brace to speed healing and reduce pain, but every surgeon will tell you about and emphasize the importance of wearing one.

Universal-Shoulder-Immobilizer

Universal Shoulder Immobilizer

Suitable for either men or women, the contoured chest strap ensures a secure fit while immobilizing both the shoulder and the arm. It has an adjustable forearm cuff and shoulder strap for varying arm lengths and body types, making one-handed closing and opening easy with the use of Velcro. The universal shoulder immobilizer can be used for either the right or the left arm.

Shoulder-Abduction-Pillow

Shoulder Abduction Pillow

Easily used for either the right or left arm, the special design makes quick work of putting it on or taking it off. A high-density foam pillow is incorporated into the design and rests against the abdomen, preventing the arm from being too close to the body. An excellent feature of this innovative brace is the attached stress ball to assist with circulation in the hand without the need for motion in the shoulder or the arm.

Zamst

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Zamst has been an industry leader in orthopedic development since 1992. Each of their products has a high-performance level, ensured with the collaboration of athletes, trainers, and medical professionals. Their rigorous manufacturing standards put a premium stamp on every product in their line.

One of their most innovative products is the Zamst shoulder wrap. Fit customization is guaranteed, thanks to their i-Fit technology which provides over-the-arm adjustable fasteners for any body shape. It adapts to the shoulder using a lightweight material still capable of providing rotator cuff compression support and stabilization with extreme comfort. For either right or left, it still allows full range of motion with the added feature of specialty material to wick away perspiration and provide ventilation.

Zamst

Bauerfeind

The Bauerfeind brand stands for comfort, effectiveness, and quality. Their rigorous research, design, manufacturing, and testing processes have earned them numerous industry awards. Innovation has been their focus since their first compression stockings were manufactured in the 1920s, and they have multiple locations throughout the Middle East, United States, and Europe.

Their most unique product is OmoTrain, a support brace which provides shoulder joint stabilization and guidance following surgery or injury with the use of its special strap system. It provides compression massage on an intermittent basis for the soft tissue, centers the shoulder joint, and relieves aches and pains.

Along with limiting rotation, it also encourages mobility when needed.

Bauerfeind

Final Thoughts

While it is not always possible to prevent shoulder injuries, there are certain things you can do to help with prevention. Physical activities such as yoga are a wonderful way to gently stretch out areas of your body, including the arms and shoulders, without undue strain. It also keeps muscles and tendons loose, helping to avoid injury.

Shoulder braces and stabilizers were once seen as clunky monstrosities that no one wanted to wear outside the hospital. Today’s options are wearable either under or over clothing and far less noticeable.

The technology keeps improving and, with the use of the correct shoulder brace for your particular situation, there is a good chance you will find recovery time to be reduced dramatically as well.

 

  • Becky McDowell
How to Choose the Right Walker for You

How to Choose the Right Walker for You 0

The walker is a misunderstood piece of equipment. Too often, people see walkers as signs of old age and decline.

The walker, however, is really a symbol of independence. They ensure users remain connected with their lives, allowing them mobility and support in the home, independent living facility, and out in public. Just as eyeglasses keep us part of the visual world, walkers allow us to be part of the social world.

And, just like glasses, you have several styles to choose from. Sometimes, of course, medical issues might dictate which walker to choose, but many people can choose from the full range. Here is some guidance for your choice of a walker.

Mobility and Balance

Walkers provide assistance getting around. They also provide support, preventing loss of balance and, therefore, lowering the risk of injury from falls which are the most frequent cause of injury to the elderly.

Regardless of the style of walker you choose, you want to make sure it fits you properly, ensuring mobility and balance. When you’re holding your walker, your arms should be comfortable. Your elbows should bend slightly, at 15 degrees or so. When not holding the walker, the hand grips should be even with your wrist.

Wheels or No Wheels

Walkers without wheels require lifting with each step. This lift may be impracticable for some people with lessened arm and back strength. Walkers with wheels also allow the user to move faster, but walkers without wheels are more most stable.

Some walkers have two wheels, always in the front. In most cases, the wheels are fixed—they do not swivel from side to side. These walkers are excellent for stability and will allow a fair amount of mobility, even if you walk on the lawn or other uneven surfaces.

elderly-couple-walking-behind-their-walkers

Three- or Four-Wheel Walkers

Walkers with three or four wheels—or Rollators—provide great mobility. They allow access to all sorts of situations, and many fold up to allow easy transportation and ease of placing them out of the way when out to dine.

Many Rollators have brakes, providing maximum control while you’re out and about. Most also have built-in seats, which allow people to attend grandchildren’s soccer games and performances without worries about seating.

Choosing a Walker

The choice of walker should be the user’s, as much as possible. Medicare/Medicaid or insurance may cover the cost of some walkers, but that doesn’t mean the walker provided is the best one for you.

The traditional walker may suit many people, especially for those who do not go out often. They tend to provide the most support for both balance and weight, and they fold up to be out of the way around the dining table or living room.

Whether you fit a traditional walker with front wheels or not, you should use it whenever you walk about. Even though you may feel slowed down, you reduce your risk of falling by using it.

Three-wheeled walkers have one big advantage because they fit through narrower spaces. They can be fitted with baskets for carrying accessories. Three-wheeled walkers cannot, however, be fitted with seats.

Four-wheeled walkers may be best for many people. These Rollators do not need to be lifted, and they provide the balance and support people might be looking for.

Yet, Rollators need to be used with care. Because they are on wheels, they can get away from the user easily. Four-wheeled walkers are fitted with brakes, just like bicycles. When you get your walker, practice using it in safe environments before using it as an all-terrain walker.

One advantage of the four-wheeled Rollator is the ability to attach a seat. These Rollators have wheel-locks as well as brakes. The seat allows resting as you move around, and allows you to be in the front row, comfortably, at many events.

Rollators with seats are also the largest of the walker family, which limits where they can go. The seat may not be the right height for the table, and they tend to be heavier than traditional walkers.

elderly-woman-walking

Accessories

Regardless of the type of walker you choose, you will want to accessorize it. A variety of accessories is available.

Because walkers require the use of both hands, you need to add the ability to carry things. Traditional walkers can easily be fitted with walker bags, and a range of colors and styles are available. Many bags have pockets for credit cards and identification.

Baskets and carrying bags can be added to Rollators, and many are quite stylish. They will be especially helpful when shopping.

Drink holders and food trays are other accessories you may want to add, based on your lifestyle. Having an extendable reaching aid, which can be attached to the walker, will increase your mobility.

Conclusion

You should choose a walker based on your way of life. More active people will likely focus on the four-wheel Rollator, especially when fully-accessorized. Folks who mainly stay at home, however, may be well-suited by a traditional walker.

  • Becky McDowell
5 Benefits Ankle Braces Can Provide to Seniors

5 Benefits Ankle Braces Can Provide to Seniors 0

There are many physical changes to the body associated with the aging process, as slowing metabolism, declining muscle mass, and reduced bone density all combine to hinder mobility and increase the likelihood of falls and injuries in senior citizens.

This is particularly true when it comes to the joints, and especially weight bearing joints, such as the ankles and knees. Here, the reduced strength of the muscles supporting the joint can put a lot of undue strain on the ligaments, negatively impacting balance and mobility. This can increase the likelihood of injuries, such as twisted or sprained ankles, and falls, which can have devastating consequences for seniors.

The fear of falling is a source of great anxiety for many older people, and can even prevent them from venturing out alone, which can lead to a loss of independence and negatively impact mental health.

Fortunately, improving the strength and functionality of the ankles is easily achievable with the use of a suitable ankle brace, which can be highly beneficial for those with weakened joints. By lending support to the ankles, ankle braces can improve mobility, reduce pain and swelling associated with prior injuries or arthritis, and can prevent twisting of the ankles and falls.

This can go a long way toward boosting the confidence of the wearers, as they find themselves able to get out unattended and less anxious about potential accidents outside of the home.

Here are the five biggest benefits to seniors from using ankle braces for improved comfort, safety, and confidence.

1. Support

The muscles around the joints weaken and lose mass as we age, which can make the ankles less sturdy and more prone to twisting and sprains. Ankle braces can prevent any undue strain from being put on the ligaments by supporting and protecting them while holding the ankle firm and steady. This support helps to prevent twists and wobbles, making walking easier and more comfortable and reducing the likelihood of a fall.

Many older people with weakened joints have anxieties about leaving the house alone, as the fear of falling can prevent them to straying too far from where they know help is readily available. Ankle braces can help to alleviate a lot of this stress, by inspiring confidence in the wearer and making them feel able to walk longer distances unattended. This may remove a lot of the limitations associated with reduced mobility, for a higher level of independence and a more positive mindset.

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2. Pain Reduction

Weakened ankles are prone to rolling and twisting, which can be excruciatingly painful and result in a nasty sprain. The resulting pain and swelling from this type of injury can last days or even weeks, hindering mobility and making it more difficult to get around and carry out day to day tasks. This is particularly true for senior citizens, who may already have difficulties with mobility and often experience a slower recovery time compared to the younger population.

The support lent to the joints by ankle braces can significantly help to alleviate the pain and swelling of a sprain injury, making movement more comfortable and expediting recovery.

Ankle braces can also help to alleviate the stiffness, pain, and swelling associated with age-related conditions such as arthritis, making these diseases more manageable and lessening their impact on quality of life.

3. Injury Prevention

Many older people have weakened ankles that are more likely to turn inwards when walking, resulting in painful sprains which can take weeks to recover from fully. Ankle braces with plastic or metal supports on the outside of the ankle can be highly effective in preventing injuries of this nature, as they hold the ankles steady and preventing them from rolling inwards.

By stabilizing the ankles and preventing them from turning, a good ankle brace can also help to reduce the likelihood of a fall, which can cause serious injuries such as broken bones. An injury of this severity can be disastrous for the elderly, taking months to heal fully and, in many cases, leading to further complications. Supportive ankle braces can, therefore, improve safety for senior citizens, bringing peace of mind to the wearer and their family and preventing injuries that could seriously impact their quality of life.

4. Increased Mobility

A good ankle brace can make walking a lot more comfortable and easy, which can improve the mobility of the wearer and reduce the need for walking aids. The ability to walk longer distances and get up and down stairs with more confidence and ease can result in more independence, improving mental well-being and inspiring positivity.

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A good supportive ankle brace can help to counteract many of the limitations to mobility and independence associated with aging, by making walking far easier and safer.

By improving mobility, reducing joint pain, and preventing falls and injuries, ankle braces can significantly improve the quality of life of many senior citizens. They are of particular benefit to those with weaker ankles that are prone to rolling and twisting, or for those with pre-existing joint problems, such as arthritis.

Final Thoughts

Ankle supports are inexpensive, comfortable to wear, and simple to use, and they can be easily purchased online and delivered to your home for increased independence and an improved quality of life.

  • Becky McDowell

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