Thank you to the West Virginia Assistive Technology (AT) System for reminding us that caregivers also benefit from assistive technology.
Caring for someone who is elderly or has a disability can be a stressful and
intense job. Assistive technology devices can make the job of a caregiver
People often use AT to increase independence with daily living skills. Daily living
skills are tasks such as eating, personal care and getting dressed. Devices that
may help with these tasks include:
- Weighted or curved forks or spoons
- Bowls that are held to the table with suction cups or plates with higher
- Grips for holding the toothbrush
- Reachers and other dressing aids
- Aids for bathing and toileting like toilet risers and shower benches
AT can also prevent injuries to the caregiver. Many caregivers have back pain
from lifting and pulling. The right devices can make these tasks easier. Hoyer lifts,
transfer boards, gait belts, grab bars, and other devices are made to make moving
a person from one place to another easier. These devices ease the strain on both
the caregiver and the person in need.
Helping with leisure activities is another role for caregivers. Reading to loved
ones, assisting them with the computer or phone, or helping them use the
television are tasks that can take up a lot of time. There are many devices to help
people do these things with little or no assistance:
- Book readers or audiobooks are easy to use and will read books aloud to a
- Modified telephones with large buttons, pictures, headsets, speakerphone
capabilities or keyboard and visual displays
- Environmental control units can help turn on lights, the television and music
Caring for yourself is one of the most important and most forgotten tasks you can
do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of the West Virginia Assistive Technology System Newsletter (and is posted here with permission and added links).
Try before you buy! Find your State or Territory AT Program to discuss your needs with professionals, learn your options and borrow equipment for short-term trial.