If you’ve just become one of the primary caregivers to a person in their twilight years, you’re probably running up hard against the learning curve when it comes to their daily care. Whether this person ails from chronic pain, complications due to cardiovascular problems, arthiritis, or sleep apnea, there are a few medical supplies for the elderly that a new caregiver should always have close at hand:
Medical Supplies for the Elderly you Should Keep in Your Home
-Heating pads or electric blankets
-Back and chair support cushions
-Braces for any joints or muscles that might bother the patient
-Over the counter pain relief creams and medicines
-A remote contact device
-Anti-bacterial soap, gauze, bandages, and band-aids
-A list of their prescription medicines, designated medicine containers, and the number of their pharmacy and doctor
Why These Medical Supplies for the Elderly are Important
A lot of you might be reading this and thinking this list is overkill. After all, you already have a rapport with your charge’s physician and they only recommended you purchase a few of the items off this list. However, we believe this medical supply list is important for all caregivers of the frail or elderly. This is because, much like an emergency glove compartment kit, the supplies on this list don’t just equip you for existing ailments. They anticipate future injuries and problems and give you and your defacto patient better options for dealing.
For example, say the person you’re looking after has some pain and bone weakness but gets around generally fine. Then one day, they fall while you’re downstairs or in the next room and break something. With their remote contacting device, they are saved the agony of calling loudly for help and/or waiting for you to happen upon them. If you have a wheelchair or crutches on hand, you won’t have to carry them anywhere or risk injury to yourself or the patient. In fact, if the person is wearing their support brace, this might prevent breakage in the first place! The key to being a good caregiver is giving yourself options and support, and not just being reactionary to emergent issues.
Where to Look for Quality Medical Supplies for the Elderly
We understand that a lot of these supplies are a significant up-front cost for those who weren’t expecting them. So first thing’s first; do your research. Start with asking about your new charge’s insurance policy. You would be surprised how many of these costs may be covered or reimbursed by insurance policies. Next, research nonprofits or AARP chapters in the area and see what they can do for you. Finally, once you know what all your costs might be along with any affiliation discounts, we highly recommend doing your shopping at a specialized medical supply store, rather than the chain pharmacies like CVS or Rite Aid. Medical supply stores generally buy things in bulk and pass much of the savings along to consumers. They also have direct relationships with niche medical suppliers and so will have more options for you to choose from. You’ll know a medical supply store by its warehouse feel, but if you’re really not sure where to find one, do some Googling or ask your charge’s primary care physician. They are sure to know one or two in the area that will meet your needs.