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Free professional advice
This completely free, call back service has been set up to offer impartial advice and guidance on living aids for a more independent lifestyle. The service is operated by a team of qualified professionals with the expertise and experience to assess the safety and suitability of the product you’re looking to buy, whether it’s for yourself or someone you care for.

How we can help
Our experts can help with the following:

• Guidance on the most suitable living aids for your needs
• Advice on how to incorporate them into your home
• Helpful hints on safe product use for the best results
• Assessment of product suitability in accordance with BHTA guidelines

Click here to find out more


How can we help?

Wandering

Wandering

Disorientation and wandering aimlessly are particular problems for people with dementia, so the way that a home is fitted out and equipped is important.   Just because a person is wandering, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a purpose; they may be looking for the toilet or have a desire to take a walk. Making sure that they get enough exercise is one simple thing you can do to help the situation.   However, it’s important that the person being cared for stays safe and, if they go out, is able to find their way home or carries some form of identification and a contact phone number in case they get lost. It’s especially important that their movements are monitored if, for example, they are likely to get out of bed during the night and suffer a fall, or even leave the house and wander the streets. For a person with dementia even a home in which they have lived in for years can become an unfamiliar place and they will need help to orientate themselves, 

Toileting

Toileting

The world of the person with dementia can be stressful and frustrating and going to the toilet can be a source of anxiety, but there are ways to alleviate the problems. It can be as simple as making sure that the person knows how to find their way to the toilet or reminding them regularly. It may even be a case of replacing buttons and zips with Velcro.   There is a wide range of support products available which can make the toilet more comfortable to use and help with continence management. Above all it is important not to make an issue out of incontinence. Restlessness or agitation may also be a sign that they need to go and it is extremely important for the dignity of the individual not to embarrass them.   If incontinence is an issue, then it is important to check with the doctor whether it is a physical problem that can be treated. It is also sensible to consult a community nurse about appropriate aids such as pads, pants and protective cushions or bedding.

Staying Active

Staying Active

Staying active and alert will prolong the quality of life It is important for people with dementia to remain both mentally and physically active as research shows that this can help to slow the onset of the disease and help them to live a fulfilled life for longer. Boredom and lack of activity can be negative features in the care of dementia, so it will help if the person can be encouraged to pick up a pastime they previously enjoyed, like gardening for example, or play one of our reminiscence board or card games. These are not only enjoyable to play, but also designed to stimulate conversation with the carer and encourage the person with dementia to recall people, events and places from their past. To keep the body active, a range of light exercise equipment, ball games, throwing games and more besides is available to exercise the muscles and help retain body tone. Simply getting out and about for a walk, if necessary with the help of a walking stick or rollator, can also be good therapy.

Sensory Loss

Sensory Loss

Helping people with dementia to cope with sensory loss People with dementia frequently experience some form of sensory loss, particularly of sight and/or hearing, but taste, touch and smell can also be affected. Sometimes this may be due to the brain damage which comes with dementia, but it may also just be a symptom of aging. If the loss is identified, there are products available which can alleviate the problem and improve the quality of life. It is also important to take professional medical advice. For people with impaired vision the solution may be as simple as improved lighting or a magnifying glass for everyday tasks like reading. When sensory loss is accompanied by confusion and disorientation, then high visibility signage can help the person with dementia to find their way around the home. There are also purpose designed products like talking watches and vibrating alarm clocks which can be particularly useful in the early stages of dementia. Because these products have a high volume setting they can also be helpful in the case of hearing loss. Modern hearing aids are now not only extremely effective and comfortable to wear, but also fit discreetly behind the ear. The right products can prolong independence and help people with dementia to continue enjoying life for longer.

Safety

Safety

Tackle dementia safety concerns both inside and outside the home Because there are many potential hazards for a person with dementia, products and systems are available to help tackle the safety issues involved, whether in the home or out and about. Starting with the home, it is important to create a dementia friendly environment. This means, for example, locks and bolts should be positioned where they are hard to reach and door or window sensors installed to stop the person wandering outside unnoticed.  Medication should be kept in a safe place or in a pill box organiser to ensure that it is taken as prescribed. Adequate lighting should be installed and trip hazards removed to help reduce the risk of falls and a fall detector carried in case an accident does happen. The right product aids in the kitchen will also help to maintain independence but minimise the risk of scalding from handling hot saucepans or kettles. Outside the home wandering can be a problem, even in the early stages of dementia and even in a location where the person has lived for a long period. Easy to use tracking devices are available to help locate the whereabouts of the person who has wandered. A strategy for safety is essential for everyone’s peace of mind.

Personal Care

Personal Care

Personal care: A frequent source of anxiety for the person with dementia As dementia progresses, people need more help with all aspects of their personal care, whether it’s dressing, washing, toileting or even eating properly. With dressing, arthritic hands can add to the problems caused by dementias such as Alzheimer’s. Designed by occupational therapists, a variety of aids are available to help put on or take off shoes, socks, shirts, bras and jackets For people who find bending and reaching difficult, long handled products are available such as hair brushes, combs, sponges and foot washers. Bathing and toileting are personal tasks which people like to carry out by themselves for as long as possible. This should be encouraged, but make sure there are adequate safety precautions in place, such as support rails which can be used to steady the person as they get up from the toilet or step out of the bath. When bathing a special plug. See also our range of incontinence products which can help with problems of toileting. Eating and drinking properly is also essential but eating habits can change with dementia. Consider using purpose designed plates or cups to reduce spillage and make mealtimes a more pleasurable experience.

Monitoring

Monitoring

It can be difficult to support an older relative or friend, especially someone with dementia, cognitive impairment, or a condition such as Parkinson's, when you're not in the same room, the same home or even in the same town. People with dementia in particular are prone to wandering and this can lead an increased risk of falling and sustaining a fracture, an obvious cause for concern when there's no-one on hand to help. Fortunately a range of sophisticated monitors and sensors are now available to alert the carer when a person gets out of bed, leaves their chair or perhaps has not moved for a set period of time. These aids will help to ensure peace of mind for all.

Mobility

Mobility

A wide range of mobility aids to keep you on the move Most forms of dementia will at some point affect the areas of the brain that are responsible for movement and balance. For example, the person with dementia may begin to walk more slowly, a symptom also associated with Parkinson’s disease, or appear uncoordinated. However, although they may find life becoming more of a struggle, people with dementia may not consider themselves to be disabled in the early stages. Fortunately they can choose from an extensive range of practical mobility aids which will help them to stay active and independent and move around comfortably, both indoors and out, with a reduced risk of falls. For example, in the early stages of dementia an ordinary walking stick or perhaps a walker will be all that is needed to steady the gait. However, as the dementia progresses, the person may tire more easily and not be able to walk for long distances without a rest. At this time a rollator with a built-in seat may be the answer or a wheelchair, with or without a person to push it. We have a selection of stylish, practical mobility products suitable for all types of dementia at every stage.

Memory Loss

Memory Loss

Loss of memory need not mean a loss of independence   Becoming forgetful can be a normal part of the ageing process as well as the result of stress or depression, so proper diagnosis by a GP or specialist is essential. However, memory loss is also a symptom of dementia, so forgetting names and telephone numbers, getting lost on the way home from the shops or missing out on important medication can be signs of a more serious problem.   In fact memory loss can be one of the most frustrating aspects of having dementia, impacting on all daily living tasks for both the person with dementia and those looking after them.    However, products are available to help overcome the problems that forgetfulness can cause, thereby reducing the stress and worry for all involved. These aids can be particularly useful when introduced at an early stage to remind people of anything from taking their medication to remembering appointments. They can also make it easier for a person to stay at home safely and retain their independence longer.   But don’t leave it too late to introduce special aids as this may result in a person being frightened to use the new product.

Medication Management

Medication Management

Always talk to the doctor about medication and ask for an assessment if you start to notice changes in the mental and physical abilities of the person with dementia. Keep an eye open also for side effects and alert the doctor if you notice anything untoward.   Medication for dementia usually falls into one of two categories; drugs that can slow the onset of the disease, for example Aricept, and those that alleviate the symptoms such as insomnia, depression or agitation. Unfortunately as yet no drug treatments are available to cure the disease.   When drugs have been prescribed it makes sense to have a system in place to remember which ones to take and when. This can be difficult when loss of memory is a problem, but you can easily buy products which make it easier to see when a pill should be taken or even if it has already been taken. For example, special pill boxes have separate compartments for different times of the day and days of the week, while other versions sound an alert and open automatically at the right moment.   Please note that for safety reasons it is always advisable to get rid of any medicines around the house which are no longer needed or ask the chemist to dispose of them.   As a final thought, research suggests that different kinds of therapy can also alleviate the symptoms of dementia and reduce the need for drugs. For example, reminiscence therapy, aromatherapy, music and dance therapy can all have a beneficial effect by making the person happier and helping them to relax.

Falls Prevention

Falls Prevention

Falls prevention aids for people with dementia The risk of falling is present in all older people but can increase, perhaps because of cognitive impairment, for those with all forms of dementia, whether Alzheimer’s Disease, Lewy Body dementia or alcohol related brain damage. For this reason it is important to minimise potential hazards in the home environment and perhaps improve the lighting or introduce products to steady the person when they are standing up, sitting down or moving around. Not just for the bathroom and toilet, but also for the bedroom and lounge, there is now a wide range of products to reduce the risk of falling. The right mobility aid such as a stick or walking frame can also help them to stay upright as they move around the home. It may not always be possible to avoid a fall, in which case a fall detector with an inbuilt sensor, worn as a pendant, can issue an automatic alarm which will alert a carer. Or if the fall occurs in the bedroom, a high density foam fall-out mat placed next to the bed can reduce the risk of an impact related injury. Seek professional medical advice if falls are a recurrent problem as other factors such as medication may be a contributory cause.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and Drinking

Making mealtimes an enjoyable experience Mealtimes are an important part of the daily routine and people with dementia, like everybody else, need to have an enjoyable, stress free experience when they sit down to eat. Good nutrition and hydration are essential for health and well-being, but eating habits can change with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. For example, people may find it difficult to hold a knife and fork properly so that eating a meal becomes a messy experience. Drinks too are more easily spilt and large handled or non-spill cups may prove a helpful aid, especially if a person has Parkinson’s disease. Clothing protectors can offer a practical solution to untidy eating. The way that the table is set out can also contribute to a more pleasurable experience. Colour has an important part to play as, for example, contrasting colours for the crockery, plates and table cloths can all help to focus attention on the meal itself. We have a range of products which can promote confidence, prolong independence and counteract some of the problems a person may develop with eating and drinking. However, if someone is losing weight or having problems eating, we always recommend that a doctor should be consulted at the earliest opportunity.

Continence Care

Continence Care

Support solutions for incontinence It can be extremely stressful and a source of anxiety for everyone when a person has trouble controlling their bladder or bowels. As Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress, accidents of this kind unfortunately become a growing problem. There are several reasons for this. The first reason might be that the person with dementia has forgotten where the toilet is and is unable to find it in time, particularly if they wake in the night and are disoriented. However, during the day a simple high visibility room sign might be the answer, even in a domestic setting. It may also be a symptom of their impaired mental condition and the confusion that they are experiencing. Fortunately there is now a wide range of discreet continence management products available, for men and for women, which can help to keep the person dry and reduce the embarrassment caused when there is an accident.

Bedroom Safety and Comfort

Bedroom Safety and Comfort

Sleep problems are common for people with dementia. Some may find they are more tired because extra effort and concentration are required to do things which once came naturally, while others are simply less active and need less sleep as a result. Some may sleep during the day and stay awake at night, while others may find it difficult to differentiate between day and night.   Whatever the problem, the bedroom should be a welcoming space, decorated and fitted out to provide comfort, support independence and promote dignity. Ensuring that a person feels at ease in their bed will help them to enjoy a good night’s sleep.   Helping them to find the bedroom door could be the first step, even in a home in which they have lived for years, so the use of a high visibility sign with a picture of a bed is a sensible option. In a care setting, the sign could also include a photograph of the resident to aid room recognition.   Safety is a key consideration, so helping people to get in and out of bed easily and reducing the risk of falls are key considerations. People with dementia are also liable to wander, so sensors are available to alert a carer if the person gets out of bed or leaves the room.   Other developments in design and technology can help also help to improve the bedroom environment for people with dementia. We recommend that you contact an occupational therapist for more information. 

Bathing

Bathing

Choosing the right aids makes bathing easier, safer and more comfortable. Maintaining personal hygiene is essential for retaining dignity and in the early stages of dementia people may still be able to take a bath or shower by themselves. However, it's important to make sure the bathroom has appropriate safety measures in place to reduce the risk of a slip or fall.   For example, sitting or standing up too quickly can make an older person light headed, so a handrail and a non-slip mat are useful measures to help maintain balance when getting in or out of the bath. A bath seat or bath lift can also make it easier to get in and out, but if it's still too difficult, taking a shower may be a better option. A shower stool is helpful to remain steady and long handled sponges can be used to reach the back and feet.   Grab rails and towel rails should all be in bright colours so that the eye is drawn to them. Even the towels and soap should be a different colour from their background so that they're easy to spot.   Choosing the right aids can make bathing easier, increase confidence, reduce the opportunities for mishaps and prolong independence.

Anxiety

Anxiety

Helping a person with dementia to cope with anxiety People with dementia sometimes experience feelings of anxiety and there are many possible reasons for this. For example, changes within the brain may cause forgetfulness, confusion between the past and present or even delusions and hallucinations. It may also be that they worry about an inability to cope with everyday tasks and become anxious that they can no longer do the things they used to. Sometimes these feelings may be due to medication or depression in which case it is essential to consult a doctor and take medical advice. However, there are practical steps that the carer can also take to support the person, address their concerns and help them feel more secure. Making sure they get enough exercise could be one step, for example by getting out and about, with a mobility aid if required, or using a suitable exercise product. Engaging them with some kind of calming mental activity using a reminiscence aid is another possibility. The most important thing, however, is as much as possible to reduce stress in their lives by using living aids to simplify daily tasks and checking that they don’t have a physical problem relating to hunger, tiredness, continence or anything else that can be alleviated with the right product aid