Hi! I’m hoping someone might have some advice for me.
My mum has Parkinsons and is confined to a wheelchair. My dad is her full time carer, and is doing a marvellous job as they have not had much assistance from the GPs, he has found his own way.
He is a very fit 80+ year old but is starting to feel the strain when he dresses/undresses my mum. He can get her standing and her trousers over her feet, but she can’t stay stood up for more than 30 secs without collapsing so he is taking all her weight, whilst trying to pull her trousers up.
Does anyone have any recommendations for lifting devices/hoists that could support my mum under the arms whilst my Dad has his hands free to clothe her?
Or any other suggestions would be gratefully received!
Thanks so much in advance.
You need a visit from occupational therapy. There is a device called a rota stand which we have used extensively. But you do need an assessment first. You may well be surprised by all that is available to your parents.
I have given two methods below which may be worth trying but not knowing your parents or their circumstances you will need to make a judgement call on how useful they may be.
First it may be worth considering the actual clothing. In general keep clothes loose fitting and it worth buying a size larger than needed as this makes it easier to get clothing on and of course pull ons and velcro are usually easier - but you probably already know this.
Second. Unless there is a particular reason for your mother needing to wear trousers, she might be better opting for skirts that can be put over her head and pulled down.
What is less well known is that there is an increasing number of companies in the business of adaptive clothing. These items are not cheap but if they help or resolve a problem you might consider it money well spent. This link may be of interest.
Your father may find it easier to dress his wife’s lower half if she is on a chair with arms. A dining or kitchen type chair is best but it must have arms. Your mother sits on the chair, the trousers are put over her feet and pulled up as much as possible. Using the arms of the chair you mum needs to lean over to one side thereby lifting her bottom so the trousers can be pulled up further. She leans to the other side to complete the process. There are a couple of points that need to be made very clear if this method is tried. Make sure the chair is sturdy and not easy to tip over and the seat needs to be wide enough that your father actually has some room in which to work. An element of tugging is likely to be needed and care should be taken not to pull his wife forward at this point. Most important of all is your father must be very aware and very careful about his own posture to avoid hurting his back. Ideally he should bend his knees and crouch down or even kneel down but as this is a bit unlikely given his age he would be better to sit on a chair at an angle to his wife’s when pulling up.
A similar technique can be used on the bed. Put her trousers over her feet and pull them up as high as possible. I am assuming as she can’t stand for long she probably won’t be able to ‘bridge’ ie bend her legs at the knee and lift her bottom off the bed so the trousers can be pulled up; if she can do this however it will help. All is not lost if she can’t however. If she can roll onto her side and reach to pull on the mattress edge, he should be able to pull her trousers up. She may have to roll to the opposite side to complete the job. Again,there are a couple of warnings with this. Unless they have a height adjustable bed, your father must be very careful of his back as mentioned above as a standard bed will generally speaking be too low. This is also difficult for obvious reasons on a double bed.
I would stress these are not quick fixes, they can take a bit of time and it can take a few tries before you get the hang of them and your parents may just find it too much hard work for whatever reason. If they can make it work however it will mean your father isn’t having to support his wife’s weight while adjusting her clothing. I can’t stress enough however that he must be very careful and aware of his back in particular if he tries these methods - and indeed should be aware of this with the method he currently uses.
I strongly suggest they contact their local council so that a proper assessment can be made. The methods I have outlined may help as an interim measure but are not necessarily the best long term solution.