Tips for Dealing with Arthritis at Home

Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes inflammation in the joints, resulting in pain and discomfort for those afflicted. Arthritis is the biggest cause of disability in Ireland, affecting almost 1 million people in all different age groups, from newborns to the very elderly. Arthritis patients can regularly experience issues with mobility and comfort, making movement and activities around the home difficult.

Beechfield Healthcare has the following advice for making life easier in the home for people dealing with arthritis.

Look after your health

With a difficult health disorder like arthritis, looking after your wellbeing can often seem like a daunting and impossible task. However, there are ways in which you can take good care of yourself at home while dealing with the condition. They are as follows:

  • Do some gentle exercise at night. It will result in less joint stiffness the next morning.
  • When sitting down and relaxing, it is important to adjust position frequently and move the joints as much as possible. Make sure to take regular breaks so that you don’t overuse a joint and walk around every now and then to decrease stiffness in this area.
  • Be mindful of maintaining a balanced diet. In addition to exercise, a varied and healthy diet will keep weight off. Being overweight whilst suffering from arthritis can lead to complications and increase joint pain.
  • These health precautions extend to smoking, which causes stress on the connective tissues in the joints.
  • Emotional health is important too. While it may be difficult at times, it is important to develop and maintain a positive, can-do attitude to make improvements in your lifestyle and increase overall happiness.

Staying safe

Exercise and medication are important for looking after your health and keeping arthritis under control. However, caution must be taken so that these activities are carried out safely. See our pointers below:

  • Concentrate on physical activities that build muscles around the joints without causing damage to the joints themselves. Consult an occupational therapist on how to carry out these activities safely.
  • Avoid high impact, repetitive motion exercises like running and aerobics. Instead focus on low impact activities such as walking, cycling and swimming.
  • Consult a pharmacist on over-the-counter medications that can help relieve joint pain or discomfort. If over-the-counter medications do not relieve pain, visit your GP and ask for advice.
  • Indulge yourself from time to time with relaxation therapies such as massages, acupuncture and meditation. These treatments relieve pain and help the body unwind.

Conclusion

If arthritis is affecting your mobility or comfort, we have a range of products available that should make day-to-day activities more convenient and increase overall independence.

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Cognitive Ageing: Safety at Home

As we get older, our cognitive abilities begin to diminish. Cognitive abilities are the mental skills we use to carry out daily tasks, be they household chores, carrying out tasks in public or pursuing hobbies. Cognitive abilities will gradually deteriorate as we age and this is quite often a normal part of ageing. However, cognitive deterioration can sometimes be symptoms of more serious mental conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Beechfield Healthcare has the following tips on how to be aware of cognitive ageing and the best way of staying safe under such conditions.

Assess the home environment

Cognitive decline can make certain activities in the home potentially dangerous. This includes carrying out household activities and using appliances and tools as the homeowner may experience memory loss or confusion during such tasks. The following pointers highlight some ways to make the home environment safer for someone with cognitive decline.

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers visible
    in the home so that they can be called in case of an emergency. These include numbers for doctors, caregivers, helplines and emergency services. A magnetic sticky pad or sign containing these numbers can be placed on a wall, fridge, mantle or kitchen cabinets.
  • Adjust water temperatures
    so that the homeowner doesn’t accidentally scald themselves with hot water taps, baths or showers. By placing a limit on water temperature, you can prevent painful accidents.
  • Keep the home clutter free
    so that the homeowner can move about freely and with as little risk as possible to their personal safety. Develop and plan a routine for household activities and adjust items in the house to meet these routines.
  • Be careful with medications.
    Leaving various medications around can be dangerous for someone suffering with memory problems. Keep a written schedule of medications, when they need to be used and when they are used to ensure correct dosage daily. When medication is not needed, keep it locked away in a drawer or medicine
    cabinet.
  • Maintain independence and pursue hobbies.
    Cognitive decline can be a serious, daily struggle or an occasional inconvenience. Either way, it is important to maintain independence. Finding a hobby, working on mental-based activities and socialising with others will sharpen the mind and improve emotional health.

Conclusion

If you are worried about your own cognitive abilities or those of a loved one, Beechfield Healthcare are here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us for advice.

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Mobility Aids for Ankle Injuries

People suffering from ankle injuries find themselves uncomfortable, sore and lacking in mobility for an extended amount of time, anywhere from a few days to several months. Ranging from simple relaxation to moving about, ankle injuries can be strenuous in terms of comfort and mobility. Fortunately, there are a number of products available to assist those suffering from such conditions.

Ankle Supportsankle injuries mobility aids

For mild injuries, ankle supports can be used for mild sprains, reducing pain and controlling edema. Ankle supports come in different sizes and are generally elastic, stretchable and easy to pull on.

Ankle Braces

Ankle braces are placed around an injured foot to immobilise the joint and provide heat and compression to the joints, allowing the foot to heel in the process by improving circulation and energising muscles. Ankle braces come in different sizes and are attached to the foot, generally via an elastic or Velcro strap. Ankle braces are used for mild to moderate injuries.

Ankle Foot Orthosis

An ankle foot orthosis or ankle brace surrounds the ankle and part of the foot, stabilising the ankle and compensating for muscle weaknesses, such as drop foot. These products are designed to assist ambulation in patients suffering mild to moderate ankle injuries. They keep ankle position controlled, minimise irregular walk patterns and they are capable of fitting most types of shoe.

Ankle Prompt Gait Trainers

Gait trainers are wheeled devices used by patients with serious mobility issues. They are used to assist those who cannot walk independently. Gait trainers help patients with conditions such as spasticity, poor motor control and ataxia. Most gait trainers are length adjustable and are attached with ankle prompts. The prompts when joined to the ankles help counter abduction and scissor gait.

Insoles

Patients with mild ankle injuries or recovering from them can make good use of shoe insoles. Insoles will easily insert into most shoe types and provide overall pressure support to the surface of the foot. These objects are comfortable and long lasting, and provide relief to foot, heel, ankle and knee
injuries.

Conclusion

If you or a loved one is suffering from ankle injuries (mild or severe) we, at Beechfield Healthcare, can help. See our range of ankle injury related products here. Ankle injuries and conditions have an overall effect on a person’s movement.

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5 Benefits of Riser Recliners

beechfield-riser-recliner
Riser recliner armchairs are convenient for people with mobility issues. These armchairs can seat a person comfortably and assist them in rising to a safe

standing position, with just a touch of a button. Here are another five reasons riser recliners are of benefit to people.

It eases standing up

For some people, getting up from seats can be a painful or awkward process. A riser recliner will ease this and make life more convenient for its user. By pressing a button on the chair, the seat and arms will slowly rise up, allowing that person to stand up. Another button on the seat will allow the chair to slowly move down when the user wishes to sit down.

It provides convenience and independence

With the easy-to-use controls on riser recliners, the user has a more control over their difficulties. The recliner provides them with the help that they need in standing up, and the ability to carry out activities alone and independently without the need for aid from family, friends or a carer.

It’s a source of comfort

Riser recliners are built for comfort and provide a relaxing seating experience for its users. These soft, cushioned armchairs will allow the user to recline back and forwards and rest their feet on the footrests in a position that suits them best. The user can adjust the seat forward for reading, watching television and socialising or push it back for sleeping and resting.

It can help ease physical ailments

Electric recliner risers are of great benefit to people with back problems and swollen legs as they lighten certain symptoms and conditions associated with these ailments. These seats will distribute the user’s weight evenly so there is less pressure on joints and muscles. The ability to move positions will also aid healthy blood circulation, preventing illnesses and sores.

There are a variety of extra features available

There are many types of riser recliner chairs, that will be suited to each individual and any ailments they may have. Some recliners have heating and massage features to ease pain, aid circulation and increase comfort. Some chairs will even extend completely flat, allowing its user to enjoy short periods of sleep. Riser recliners come in all shapes, sizes and styles so the right one should be out there to match its user requirements.

Conclusion

At Beechfield Healthcare, we have a large variety of riser recliners to choose from. And right now, we have some amazing discounts and special offers. You can find our range of quality riser recliners here.

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Tips for Accident Prevention in the Kitchen

“The kitchen is the heart of any home” is a popular phrase widely proclaimed by the masses. While the kitchen is a place for households and friends to commune and share food in comfort, it is also notorious for hosting a number of threatening household hazards, if its occupants aren’t careful. Beechfield Healthcare has the following tips on how to keep a safe and secure kitchen and avoid any potential dangers as you go about your daily business.

Plan your kitchen the right way

You might not be able to rearrange kitchen counters and large appliances but you can still be smart with the placement of your utensils. Having the right kitchen utensils near the correct units is a must for all kitchen owners, particularly those dealing with mobility or other physical issues. Keep oven mitts near the oven and make sure sharp objects such as knifes are safely stowed away in a convenient, easy-to-access location.

Stay on top of things

Food preparation will result in dirty cutlery, scattered utensils and spillages across kitchen floors, appliances and units. For a healthy kitchen environment, it is best to clear up spoils as soon as possible. A clean environment will protect you from harmful bacteria, particularly if you’re susceptible and vulnerable to common illnesses. Wiping up spillages prevent any falls or injuries. Be careful that heated units, such as cooking hobs, kettles or cooking appliances, are given time to cool before cleaning.

Don’t be complacent

Using kitchen appliances is such a common thing for homeowners that we sometimes take kitchen safety for granted. There are many small mistakes in the kitchen that can lead to accidents. Never cook while wearing loose clothing or accessories as these can get caught in utensils or catch fire. Make sure to wash hands thoroughly before food preparation to rid yourself of harmful bacteria. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove to prevent dangerous spillages and make sure to store away temperature sensitive foods as quickly as possible.

Look into making adjustments

For people struggling with disabilities, there are hireable professionals out there who can make adjustments to aid and convenience you in the kitchen. There are many mod cons available for kitchens nowadays such as pan holders that keep pots in place when in use, wall ovens, adjustable countertops, pull-out surfaces and sling belts which attach to counters and help people stand more securely.

The kitchen may be the heart of the home but it’s not without its dangers. By following the above tips, you can ensure a greater level of security in your home and avoid dangerous occurrences in future.

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Safety Tips for Mobility Scooter Users

Following on from our article on considerations when buying a mobility scooter, Beechfield Healthcare are here to share a number of tips related to mobility scooter safety.

Read the instruction manual:

It may sound obvious but reading the instruction manual for your mobility scooter will help familiarise yourself with the functions and limitations of the scooter while also providing you with instructions on safe use, its capabilities on rough terrains, required maintenance and especially battery charging.

Navigating ramped curbs:

With a mobility scooter, it is best to drive the scooter head-on at any ramped curbs. The manual should once again come in handy to instruct on the scooter’s ability to navigate steep ramps. Do not drive up ramps at an angle as this may cause the scooter to tip.

Be visible:

When travelling by road, be aware that mobility scooters are at a height disadvantage to other motorists. It is, therefore, important to:

· Wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing. Placing reflective strips on the back and sides of the scooter is also worth considering.

· If your scooter has lights, switch them on so that you are more visible in dark or overcast conditions.

· A brightly coloured flag attached to the backseat of the scooter improves your visibility and allows you to be seen from a distance.

Obey traffic rules:

Mobility scooter users are classified as pedestrians. This means following the same rules as pedestrians such as travelling by footpath if accessible and crossing the road at pedestrian crossings. Always be cautious when using the road and make eye contact with motorists before crossing to ensure that they are intending to stop and let you by.

Be prepared:

When travelling around in your mobility scooter, familiarise yourself with the places you go to most. This will warn you of obstacles that may hinder or slow down your journey, allowing you plan the best route in future. During this process, take someone with you to help out and always carry a mobile phone in case you are stuck when alone. When disembarking from your scooter, make sure it’s turned off and the brake is applied to prevent accidents.

Conclusion:

If you are interested in buying a mobility scooter from us, check out our full range of mobility scooters. If you need impartial, free, professional advice call us on 057 868 2304. Our scooters come with free delivery to anywhere on the island of Ireland and we will not be beaten on price.

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Dealing with Cystic Fibrosis at Home

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetically inherited disease that primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system. Ireland has the highest incidence of Cystic Fibrosis in the world with 1 in 19 Irish people carrying the gene for the disease. For people struggling with Cystic Fibrosis, Beechfield Healthcare has the following tips and recommended products that might be of help.

Maintain good nutrition:

Cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. For most people, these fluids are thin and slippery, making them easy to secrete and an important lubricant in the human body. For people suffering from cystic fibrosis, however, these juices become thick and sticky and block up tubes, ducts and passageways, particularly the lungs and pancreas.
To help alleviate these symptoms somewhat, it is important for people with cystic fibrosis to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. Increasing fluid intake can help thin mucus in the lungs. People with CF also need to consume 50 per cent more calories than those without because the enzymes needed for digestion often cannot reach the small intestine. In addition to taking the prescribed enzyme replacements, it is important to have a high calorie diet, eat plenty of fibre to prevent intestinal blockage and increase salt intake in hot weather.

Get some exercise:

Exercise can strengthen the heart and lungs, and can help loosen mucus in the airways. It is also an effective confidence builder and the way to a better quality of life. Beechfield Healthcare offer products such as theTHERA-Trainer Tigo 528 and the HappyLegs Walking Machine which allow the user to practise cycling and walking in the comfort of their own home.

Be vigilant about the chances of infection:

Cystic fibrosis sufferers are more susceptible to infection and these infections can lead to serious health issues. It is vital that a person with CF is situated in clean, smoke-free surroundings as much as possible. It is also important to wash hands and remain up-to-date on immunisations and vaccinations, such as the anti-flu vaccination.

Conclusion:

For people with cystic fibrosis, there are a number of products on the market that can help with symptoms in addition to the tips given above. If CF is affecting mobility, there are a host of mobility products which can assist you such as wheelchairs, scooters and canes.

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Are Mobility Scooters Better Than Cars?

People with mobility issues may often consider buying a mobility scooter for getting around and carrying out everyday tasks. They may also wonder how a mobility scooter compares to cars in terms of flexibility, convenience and legislation. If you are one of these people, or have a loved one considering the purchase of a mobility scooter, Beechfield Healthcare offers the following advice.

Choose the right mobility scooter for you:

Before buying a mobility scooter, it is important to assess the situation so that you can make the right purchase. Factors include the severity and expected length of mobility issues, the amount of journeying that will be done in the mobility scooter and the type of terrain that the scooter will be travelling on regularly. These factors together should determine whether a mobility scooter is worth a purchase and which type best meets your needs.

Legislation involved in mobility scooters versus cars:

Unlike cars, you do not need to pass a test, hold a licence or obtain road tax to ride around on a mobility scooter. Mobility scooters are classified similarly to bicycles. Scooter users are expected to use roads and pathways the same way as pedestrians.

Features of a mobility scooter:

Mobility scooters come in three standard sizes of small, medium and large. Small boot scooters are relatively inexpensive, easily dismantled and lightweight, making them easy to store away or take with you in the boot of your car. Medium and large scooters are heavier and bulkier but they are equipped with more features which allow for longer journeys, carrying luggage or shopping, navigating rougher terrain and generally have longer battery lives.

Mobility scooter maintenance and warranty:

Mobility scooters require very little maintenance. The main areas of focus here are to ensure that the batteries are charged daily, tyre pressure is checked weekly and that the machine is kept clean. It is important to buy your mobility scooter from a reputable source and comes with a comprehensive warranty. It is also hugely beneficial to buy off a company who will do regular service checks on the scooter to ensure that it continues working correctly and where they can offer advice.

Conclusion:

Mobility scooters are a worthy consideration for people with mobility issues due to their convenience, low cost and ability to use indoors and outdoors.

Beechfield Healthcare offer a full range of mobility scooters and give free impartial advice on what type would best suit your needs and budget. For further information, visit www.beechfieldhealthcare.ie or call 057 868 2304.

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5 Considerations When Buying a Stairlift

For people struggling with mobility issues in a multi-storey home, a stairlift is often the most practical solution to moving between different levels of a house with relative ease and comfort. Before making such a purchase, however, it is important to do your research and consider the following points so that you buy the stairlift that best meets you or a loved one’s individual needs.

1. Consider the budget:
It is important to consider the budget when buying a stairlift. If you or a loved one has a considerable budget, then a brand new high quality stairlift can be purchased. If on a tight budget, you might consider buying or renting a pre-owned or reconditioned stairlift. Most pre-owned stairlifts should be under warranty and cover any maintenance costs.

2. Know the staircase details for stairlift installation:
It is good to determine the length, width and shape of the staircase before purchase. Stairlifts will work on most stairs whether they are straight, curved or helical. This also applies to staircases with one or more of these factors, such as a mostly straight staircase with curved steps near the top and/or bottom. The more details that can be provided to the stairlift installation service, the more accurate the installation quote will be.

3. Look out for additional safety features:
Many stairlift providers will install stairlifts that come equipped with a range of safety features. Such features include arm and foot rests, swivel seats, remote controls and emergency stop buttons among others.

4. Purchase from a reliable source:
It is extremely important to purchase a stairlift from a trusted company. A genuine installer will provide the right system without causing many modifications to the structure of you or a loved one’s home. They will also be able to provide advice and perform the required maintenance to the stairlift if it is under warranty.

5. Choose a stairlift with warranty:
It is always better to choose a stairlift with warranty. This will provide you or the stairlift user with services that are free of charge, should there be any issues. It is important to get a stairlift with long warranty so that you can be assured that the system will be taken care of, especially after long-term use.

If you have any questions about buying a stairlift or need further advice before deciding on stairlift installation, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We will be happy to offer recommendations and guidance.

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4 Tips For Senior Independence At Home

As we get older, it is important to maintain as much independence as possible to maintain good health and quality of life. Beechfield Healthcare has the following tips for older people living at home and how they can continue to maintain independence around the house.

1.  Have a positive, can-do attitude

As we get older and begin to slow down, it is often the case that elderly people find themselves becoming overly-reliant on others to assist them at home. While no-one should overexert themselves, it’s important to have an enthusiastic, take-charge attitude when approaching potential obstacles around the house.

2.  Research devices and aids that can help around the house

Some senior citizens may have a physical disability that might reduce their independence levels around the home. To deal with obstacles like these, there are a number of devices and gadgets that can help like canes, reachers and grab bars. Consulting a healthcare professional and practising the use of such devices can inspire confidence and resourcefulness around the house.

3.  Keep the body and mind active

It is very important for senior citizens to keep their minds and bodies active, not only to maintain good health but independence too. Light exercise and logic-based tasks such as puzzles and games within the home can ensure a better quality of life and freedom for elderly people.

4.  Take note of any prescribed medication

For many older people, it is important to take note of any prescribed medications they may need to take on a daily or weekly basis. Draw up a schedule of required medications and place it in a familiar place so that the elderly person knows what medications to take and when.

Conclusion

If you are looking for more information on senior independence in the home and further tips and recommendations on how to make life more comfortable for you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts are always willing to help.

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