April 13, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
Being a caregiver to a paraplegic is a challenging role. It’s a difficult and frustrating situation for the person you’re caring for. They’ve lost a lot of their ability to function independently, perhaps even all of it, and this has probably happened quite unexpectedly. They’ve got to relearn how to do simple daily activities that they used to take for granted. Most of that is going to require some support from other people, and that’s where your role as caregiver comes in. It’s not going to be easy, either emotionally or physically. It’s difficult to see a loved one who, up until recently was strong and independent, now unable to do things for himself. And it’s going to be a lot of hard work for the caregiver. Lifting and moving someone whose legs are paralyzed is strenuous work. Lots of caregivers actually experience pulled muscles and other strain-related symptoms.
Fortunately, modern technology, and a culture which is becoming increasingly in tune to improving conditions for people with special needs, have resulted in a lot of products which will make the caregiver’s job easier. And of course, these will improve the patient’s quality of life as well. Here are some of the top products that will assist caregivers with the support of paraplegics.
It’s not pleasant to talk about, but many paraplegics also experience incontinence. A lot of caregivers’ work is going to involve cleaning up the patient and their bedding and clothes. Some machine washable bedpads will make your work much easier, as will waterproof underpads. In addition to incontinence, these will provide additional protection against spills of food and beverages, as well as water and soap from sponge baths administered in bed.
One of the most difficult things for paraplegics is what’s known as transferring – moving from the bed to the wheelchair, or to the toilet, and so on. These are available in a number of shapes, sizes, and materials, and all serve to facilitate transfer in and out of the bed or wheelchair. Use of the board to support the patient’s weight eliminates a lot of his or her frustration in trying to wriggle their way in and out of the wheelchair. And it makes the caregiver’s job so much easier, since there’s not as much weight to lift.
Advances in consumer safety requirements have resulted in wheelchairs being much more stable and safe than they used to be. But still it is possible for a wheelchair to tip over, and I don’t need to tell you how serious of a problem that can be. Fall prevention systems like anti-tippers decrease the risk of having the wheelchair tip over. They do, however, result in somewhat restricted mobility, and many seasoned wheelchair users prefer not having them.
Among the items that will really make life easier for both caregiver and patient are devices designed to provide lifting support. Anything that allows the paraplegic to use his arms and upper torso to lift himself will increase his sense of autonomy, and take some of that weight off of you, literally speaking. Our own Pants Up Easy product is specially designed to allow people to lift themselves up from the toilet or wheelchair in order to more easily pull their pants up. This is actually a huge time saver and a great quality of life improvement.