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Caring for the Elderly

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I had said in another post I would list things that would help when caring for the elderly, or just someone that is handicapped.  A lot of these everyone knows of and might be some things that are new for some.  

Anyone have other ideas please add to the list.  It might help one day to know and to maybe buy some of these things as you are able. I for one had to buy some of it at one time.  Ouch!



Portable toilet 

Commode pail liners

Toilet safety rails

Bed assist bar

extra sheets as you might have to wash them more often. I have 3 sets and have had to wash them twice a week as DH stays in bed more now. 

lots of towels and washclothes

pans like the size of a dish pan for washing person in bed. I have done that many times with DH both with his stroke and now with his illness now. 

grab bars for shower

shower chair

baby wipes as well as the adult bath wipes that are much larger for adults 



wheel chair or rollator that can be used as a wheel chair also. I am thinking of buying one of these. 

elevated toilet seat

condom catheter for men. Great for night time as you don't have to get up during night every hour.. 

women's urinal with collection bottle.  Much like the go girl but has a tube and a bottle for collection on urine.  Also great for camping and road trips.

Adult diapers or pull-up style for both men and women

Incontinence pads for under the patient

waterproof pads for bed.  Get the size for your bed.  I am getting a queen size one for us. 

Bidet for elderly that has a problem with wiping. 

Risers for raising the bed if needed.  We had to lower ours. 

small trash bags as well as the larger ones.

Blood pressure cuff 


oxygen finger monitor

diabetic supplies

scales for weighing.  Needed for cong. heart failure


This is all I could think of right now.  Please add anything you think would be useful.  I really do think our medical field is collapsing. Doctors offices as well as dentist offices are still not opening up.  Nursing homes at this time are really not safe and for some of these homes patients did not get the care they needed.  This virtual doctors visits will not work.  They cannot lesson to your heart or do anything else for that matter. This is not medical care. There are many people out there that DO NOT know how to take blood pressure and other things that should be done at a doctors office. 



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Remember that technique of making a baby's bed where you put down a sheet with a towel on top of it, and another sheet on top of it, and a towel on top of that, and nother sheet on top of that, and a towel, and so on until the sheets wouldn't fit any more (or you ran out of them).  Saves a heap of bed-making in the middle of the night.

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Right off the top of my head I can think of a stethoscope, gloves, masks, paper gowns, hair caps, shoe covers. Also a bed pan. I got a fracture bed pan instead because they are not nearly as tall as a regular bed pan..think big dust pan. I was prepping for Ebola a few years ago. :blush:


Oh and an emesis basin and barf bags. Fleet enema suppositories. 


I made out a list and I'll try to find it.


Grab bars everywhere. So true for me. I've noticed in the last few months that my balance is getting worse.


Good post. I think I have about everything on the list except for toilet and bed rails, shower chair and walker/rollator. And potty chair liners. I bought the chair but no liners.  :scratchhead:


I also got a couple of those things that look like sweater guards girls used to wear in the 50's. They are used to keep a napkin in place. They go behind the neck instead of the front. Kinda like those chains for holding glasses on your chest so you don't lose them. But with alligator clips on the end. 


I don't have a bidet but plan to get a portable one when I change my toilets over to the high rise ones. 


I have a couple pair of compression socks. I need to check on those. I found out the hard way that elastic doesn't last forever when my knee hi hose became ankle hi. 


I love lists. I get so excited. 

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A tip from my friend with a 105 yr old mom.  During COVID she couldn't find the 'chucks' pads and discovered that puppy pee pads work very well. 


Canes:  Lot of different kinds for different uses.  Right tool for the right situation!  And yes, there is a graduation to the next level up....


I began with only a "walking stick" for hiking...for MS stability.  Now there are treking poles.  KNOW WHEN you have to graduate to a more sturdy outdoor 'walking stick' cuz the treking poles should not be relied on for full-weight balancing.  Now both DH and I use retired old aluminum ski poles with molded plastic handles.  Great for setting my hand into the 'shelf' of the molded handle.  It requires waaay less grip to hang onto the pole. 


Indoor cane:   I prefer the "shock-corded" collapsible stick cane with the flat, not curved, top.  I also have a seat cane that is a cane when closed and a canvas strip for a seat when opened.  Must have coordination to sit and stand for that to be safe.  QUAD cane is my friend in the woozy mornings.  Sometimes the quad in R hand and a stick cane in left.....hobble slowly to the bathroom first thing.  Eventually I ditch the stick and work on with the quad.  Eventually I am able to ditch the quad cane too.  Don't use a stick cane when you should have graduated to the extra [wonderful] stability of a quad cane!!! 


MtRider  .....overview of my 30 years of experience with cane.  YMMV  

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I want a quad cane too. Mostly so it can stand it up when I'm sitting down. 


Puppy pads would work in a pinch but they are infused with something that attracts puppies to them. I don't know if humans can smell it or not. Better than nothing though for sure. 


I know what you mean about layering a bed Ambergris. They do a similar thing in ICU's. They use a wide thick cotton pad on top of the sheet. Mostly so they can change it without disturbing the patient so much. It's probably about a yard wide and long enough that it can tuck in both sides of the mattress to keep it smooth and straight.  

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4 hours ago, Jeepers said:

Puppy pads would work in a pinch but they are infused with something that attracts puppies to them. I don't know if humans can smell it or not. Better than nothing though for sure. 

Nope, not at all.  We used them for the ferrets.  Never a smell and very absorbent.  Plus, as sensitive as ferrets are, and me, they, nor I, ever had a problem with them.  They kept the poop smell to almost nothing and dried out very quickly.  I’d use them, in a heartbeat, if I needed to.  Plus, they are slightly cheaper than the human versions.  

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Good ones.  And yes I do remember the layering.  Thanks for the reminder Ambergris.  I do have a stethoscope. And a regular cane and 2 quad canes. I still am looking into the wheelchair rollator. Not sure which one is best, so having a problem choosing.  I need to get the right one that will work for DH.  I am getting a collection of things for the elderly now.  Will be holding on to all of it. It can all be passed down to my daughter some day.  It would save her a lot of money having to buy this stuff like I am having to do. Medicare only pays for so much and then it is the cheapest stuff they will pay for. Not all ways the strongest or the best quality. 


Good to know about the puppy pads. That would make for a last resort in case we can't find the chucks. 

I have heard of people using the trekking poles before. But never bought any.  Seems they will give you better stability when outside. Might later look into getting a set of them.  If lucky enough,  if I can start going to yard sales again, maybe someone will be selling some in the yard sale or even in a second hand store.  Will have to keep my eyes open for those. 

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Exactly, Ambergris.  That's where I've found almost all of my equipment and some supplies.  At a thrift store, I picked up some incontinence [adult "Pull ups" ] as COVID was starting.  In case one or both us got very very sick and the portable commode wasn't even enough.  Like: toooo weak to even get out of bed.  We'd both been so VERY sick in January that we knew how bad illness can get.


Garage sales is the other place I've stocked up on disability equipment before I got the the stage of needing it.  Have pretty much the whole spectrum of things now.  Except my disability scooter needs new tires and battery.  Can't use at this house and stores often have them so it hasn't been a priority to fix it.


...I DID buy a brand new wheelchair a year and half ago.  Wanted specific features so paid the big price.  But...I need it often often enough to have worn out a free one in the past 25 years.


MtRider  :shrug:   If you use something once --- it's used! 

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Wish I could get to the yard sales this spring. But with DH I am unable to leave him. I am going to talk with my daughter about coming over on a day she is not working or having classes.  She went back to college and should be finished by end of year. And SIL has also gone back to college for management for his job. Grandson is now working 2nd shift in food distribution and granddaughter that still lives here is working  12 hour shifts at hospital and also in college for Nurse practitioner. She will be starting medical school in the fall I think.

So that really leaves me with slim timing to have someone stay with DH so I can get out for a bit. I do leave him long enough to go pick up RX's and groceries. But I have a urinal, water and a snack where he can reach everything from the bedside along with the phone. So far he has done well with staying by himself for about 2 hours. But that is as long as I will leave him. I rush to get what I need to do done and then right back home. I do have a neighbor that will go to store for me and DH's cousin brings me things I need from the farmer's market. So we are making out ok. Just missing getting to go to places I like to go and not able to make the Sam's club or BJ's club right now. They are two far away for me to make that trip without a backup for DH.  Just wish they would let us know about a surgery date and get this done so he can be on the mend and back doing things again. 

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Thought of another item.   Adult bibs.  You can either buy them or make them from old towels. I have several bar towels and I usually put one over DH's chest when he is eating his breakfast in bed.  Yes he is spoiled. So thinking of making a few that could tie around the neck. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Random thing we learned with the kid who used to throw up on every single long car ride and half the short ones:  Those big plastic gas station cups?   If you buy them, keep them.  They're big enough for mouth and nose to fit in when somebody throws up, keeps it contained without splattering like a bowl might, and can be kept right next to somebody so they can grab it quickly.  The kid mastered the art around the age of 6 or 7.  We bought them JUST to keep in the car (same price as with a drink, but useful enough we didn't care).  If you're out and about, baby wipes to wipe off the face and a gallon-sized ziplock to put the cup in until you can chunk it.


Before that, we used the plastic bibs that had the tray at the bottom, water bottles (to rinse off things on the side of the road), baby wipes (to wipe off kid, car seat, etc.), paper towels (to dry things after being rinsed off), and gallon-sized plastic bags (because if I had to smell it until we got to the next trash can, there might be 2 messes to clean up).

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Oh my CG. I was one of those kids. Got car sick on long rides. I hated those times. Have a granddaughter that was the same way. Wish we had those cups back then but that was in the 50's.  Just glad it was something we outgrew though my grand daugher still get icky if riding in the back seat.

Those pans they give you in the hospital work great for puking.  They are large and washable. I have several of them though now they are not made as sturdy as they where a few years ago. Cheap plastic now and very flimsey. 

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I still get car sick on long rides if I sit in the back seat too. Now days I'm always the driver though. I can not read anything in the car even if I'm in the front seat. Including maps. When I go to Indy, DIL is relegated to the back seat as son usually drives. 


I have a couple of those kidney shaped pans (emesis basin) too. Mine are plastic though. Nice shape to fit beside the cheek when lying down. Hospitals use the heavy metal ones so they can be autoclaved and reused. I suppose the plastic ones could be microwaved or rinsed with boiling water?


A big plastic fast food cup would work great too with the wide opening and lid to hold contents and odor until it can be disposed of. 


I used to dread long car rides as a kid. Four years in a row we drove from Indiana to Florida. Every summer. Before automobile air conditioning. A thousand miles...one way.The third year mom got smart and we took a Greyhound bus. We sat at the rear of the bus to be close to the bathroom. Remember bus fumes? I do vividly.The fourth year mom got even smarter and we took the train. Another little girl and I took turns running to the bathroom. We shared the same malady. Motion sickness. A good time was had by none. At least a train was a little faster. The fifth year we moved "Back Home Again In Indiana" for good. Funny the things you remember. That was back in the 1950's. 

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.jpgThe current upchuck bags in hospitals are blue plastic bags attached to a white rigid plastic rim.  Thin like grocery sacks.  Rim holds it open ....size of big huge drink cups.  The bag has measurement markers ..... :unsure:    For disposal, I think you twist the top of the blue bag and hook into slots on the rigid plastic rim...and toss. 


When I woke in ICU recovery area....from my "supposed to be simple In and Out" surgery....I had only a few seconds to say:  "I need a bag!"  The RN, with her back turned away from me, had one of those snatched out of the wall dispenser and into my grasp with time to spare!   Whew!  They're good! 


I brought one home with me  ....unused, of course.  It had been placed handy near my pillow in my over-nite room.  It's handy at bedside here.  DH and I pretty much never get that type of sick but.....ya never know. 







Edited by Mt_Rider
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Mt. Rider that would be a great purchase to add to our first aid stash. Never know when it will come in handy. Hospitals here are still giving out those small plastic kidney shape bowls. Bought one home from hospital with DH. Only once did they give him anything while he was there. Not even a toothbrush like they used to.  You have to ask for it. But rather you get it or not, they will charge Medicare for it. 

Not cheap trying to take care of the elderly. So much that you need to have. But on the bright side you only have to buy most of it once. When DH is done with his stuff, I will be storing it for use on another family member if not myself one day.

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I got some of the barf bags (Ebola again :blush:) a few years back. It's been so long ago that I don't even remember what they look like. The last one I used on an airplane :blush: you folded the top down and there were tabs on either side to hold it closed. Sort of like a bag of coffee. 


Amazon has a lot of the kidney shaped pans. Look up 'Emesis Basin' and you will find a lot of them. They have a stainless steel one for $10.00. Or five plastic ones for $6.00. Those are the ones I bought because you never know how many sick people you might be handling at one time. 

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I don't know if I mentioned it or not but an insulated bedside water pitcher is nice to have too. Not only for the patient but for the care giver. 


Don't fall for the pretty glass ones. They sweat, won't hold a chill and break if dropped. Also, the plain stainless steel cost more than the colored stainless steel ones. Why? Just because some people like the look of silver colored stainless steel. 


Then best place I found and where I got mine is Wal-Mart. I like the one with a handle for patient use. It gives something extra to hold on to. Also the insulated ones have a tight-er fitting lid with a small opening where you can shop from or use a straw. They hold on cold pretty well IF you use ice in the cup.


https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=insulated mugs

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is some pictures of the pad I've seen used on ICU beds. 


The pad is not very wide but it is long enough to tuck in both sides of the bed under the top mattress to help hold it in place. They look like they would be easy to make. You could just use a flat sheet folded in half a few times to make them extra absorbent. Maybe even sew around the open edges to hold it together so it doesn't wrinkle. Using a sheet would be just like sleeping on a regular sheet too.


If you prefer using a pad, you could probably save money by using a pad that goes on the bed and sewing sheeting on either end that gets tucked in under the mattress. 


These would be cheaper, more comfortable and more convenient than the Chux pads...in the long run. Chux are still great for expected accidents like the flu etc. but as an ongoing precaution, I think I'd like to have some of the washable ones on hand. Definitely ones that tuck under the mattress.


I can't get the link to work. Google washable tuckable under pads then images. Sigh. 


Edited by Jeepers
Link didn't work out as I had planned
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