When you first start experiencing frustration with a health situation, it’s easy to go overboard in your efforts to try to find something that will mitigate the problem. Discovering what “works” can be a process of trial and error. Often at your own expense.
Before throwing money at any and every potential solution, take some time for an evaluation process. Use these questions as a checklist to help you determine what type of aid or equipment is best for you.
- Does it do what you need it to do?
Maybe your hearing has become worse, and you need a new, louder alarm clock. Don’t just randomly buy new ones, hoping they will have the right sound. Do your research to find clocks that have options for extra loud alarms, different types of sounds, and possibly even vibrations or bed-shaker options. You want to make sure the item is going to do what you need it to do before spending your money. Also, consider getting something with features that can grow with you. Maybe you don’t need a vibration feature now, but in a few months you may wish you had it.
- Is it a manageable size?
Whether considering a rollator walker or a pill container, consider the size of the item. Do you have room to store it? Can you carry it easily? Even if a piece of equipment is relatively small, it won’t be functional unless you have a good place to put it. An example of that is a talking pill container. Some of these containers are a bit bulky because they include built-in clocks and speakers. If you currently use a small pill sorter that stays inside a cabinet, will you be able to easily switch to something that needs more space and is less portable? And if you are looking for a walker, will it fit into your vehicle or down the halls of your home?
- Is it a good fit for your physical abilities?
Sure, that cane looks snazzy, but if you really need to be using a walker, it may not be a good purchase. Make sure the item you buy fits your physical abilities. Be honest about possible limitations in seeing, hearing, or mobility. Another consideration is ergonomics. If you’ve had a stroke, there are adaptive utensils that can help you eat. But if you also have arthritic fingers, you should examine handle size and shape to make sure the utensils are manageable with that condition as well.
- Have you asked your doctor or therapist about it?
Doctors and therapists often have good ideas as to which aids work and which ones don’t. They also understand your health history and may think of warnings or considerations that are specific to your situation. Every little thing doesn’t require a healthcare consult, but if you are considering a piece of equipment, it’s in your best interest to get a professional opinion first.
- Can you afford it?
Even if you feel like you would pay anything just to solve your problem, don’t buy the first thing that comes along. Shop around and compare prices. Or wait until you see your favorite item go on sale. That’s why ILA puts items on sale each week. We try to make independent living affordable for our customers.