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Assistive Technology Might Be the Extra Hand Caregivers Need

February 07, 2018

We live in a world where things are changing very rapidly. Who would have thought that we would see a day when there would be cars on the road that are able to drive themselves, or that the average laptop we use has much more computing power than the computers used to land a man on the moon? 

Caregiving, however, is something that is more about routine. Certain activities need to be completed within a certain timeframe, in a certain order and on specific days. 

It is very easy to fall into a pattern and not think about what may be out there that would make the task easier to complete or provide more independence.

The following article by Jane Mahoney, OAA Consultant for the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, provides some information and insight on assistive technology that may be useful for those of us who are providing care to someone else:

The life of a caregiver can be incredibly busy. When your loved one needs help with daily living tasks such as dressing, grooming, walking and eating, a lot of time and energy is consumed on these tasks alone. Add to that doctor’s appointments, medication management, housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking and laundry and you wonder how to get it all done. And it’s nice to share some quality time with your loved one, not to mention taking care of your own needs!

When there are so many things to do, assistance of any kind makes the day go smoother. Asking friends, relatives and neighbors for help is one great solution. Another way of making your caregiving tasks more manageable is using Assistive Technology.

Assistive technology is an item, piece of equipment, or product that helps a person do an activity that they might not otherwise be able to do.

One example is using a weighted fork for a person with tremors. When using regular silverware, the person might need to be fed, but the weighted fork reduces the tremors and he or she is able to feed him or herself.

Not only can assistive technology make completing tasks easier for the caregiver, but also allows the person being cared for to do things on their own. That feeling of independence can mean a lot to a person who needs help with so many things.

There are many assistive devices that can help people complete daily living tasks independently. Some things are as simple as sticky-backed foam dots marking the wash cycle on the washing machine knob. Others are larger pieces of equipment like a raised toilet seat. Helping people to become aware of the assistive technology devices that are available is the biggest challenge. 

A wide range of information about assistive technology is available at the Aging and Disability Resource Center, and some equipment is available to try out. Some things, like a long-handled reacher, back scratcher and a jar opener, may be familiar to you.  But there are a wide variety of very innovative products that that aren’t as well publicized. 

Here are a few examples of assistive technology that can help with different areas of need:


Swivel seat cushion
Furniture risers
Ceiling mounted pole

Plate guard
Weighted forks
Forks with grips

Suction cup brushes
Rocking T knife

Sock aid
Shampoo trays

Talking pill bottle

Lighted magnifying glass
Extra-large playing cards
Pocket talker

3-prong plug with helper
Non-skid tape

Door posters
Door alarms
Adaptive door knobs

If you are interested in exploring how assistive technology might help you, contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 920-467-4100, or stop by at our office at 650 Forest Ave., Sheboygan Falls. Assistive technology may be just the thing you need to make your role as a caregiver a little easier. Check it out!

Dale Deterding is elder services supervisor at Aging & Disability Resource Center
of Sheboygan County.

Source: Sheboygan Press