BY: ROSIE REICHENSTEIN
Being “independent in your daily living skills” looks different for each of our residents at Daymark Living. We adapt to this wide range of skillsets using what we call a “hack” to help fill in where their skills or mobility may be limited. After a few years of working with families and researching these hacks for their loved ones we have put together quite the list and want to share some of our favorite products with you!
Creating a routine that works is one thing. Actually completing the routine is work for anyone. For some of our residents who prefer visual prompts and need assistance with their hygiene routine, we love apps like iDo Hygiene. iDo Hygiene uses video modeling and fun games to help guide users through their daily hygiene routine. Step by step video guides with narrated text cover shampooing, washing your face, washing your hands, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, applying deodorant, shaving with an electric shaver, combing long hair, making a ponytail, boy in the bathroom, girl in the bathroom and navigating public bathrooms.
Plaque HD Toothpaste is an FDA-registered fluoride toothpaste with a built-in plant-based plaque identifying agent. When you brush your teeth with Plaque HD, it shows up green on the areas of your teeth where plaque exists. Keep brushing until all of the green has disappeared and you’re good to go. Plaque HD not only helps you efficiently clean your teeth, but it also enables you to brush for the correct length of time.
If mobility is an issue for your loved one during teeth brushing, try the Y-Brush. The Y-Brush is a hands-free auto-cleaning electronic toothbrush that cleans all of your teeth at once in just 10 seconds.
Showering & Getting Ready
The Learning Resources Time Tracker is an excellent tool if your loved one needs assistance with staying on track in the shower. The tracker can be set for up to 24 hours in one-second increments. Unique lights and sounds alert your loved one of their remaining time and when to move on to the next task.
Setting the shower temperature is a skill that a lot of our residents need assistance with at Daymark. The DreamSpa Temperature Color-Changing LED Hand Shower uses visual cues to help users set a safe shower temperature.
A hair dryer stand can be a useful tool for simplifying the hair drying process. It frees up your hands so that you have one less item to worry about. This product paired with a long-handled hairbrush is another great solution for individuals with low mobility.
Shaving (male and female)
Across the board, shaving is a task that we work on with our families and residents daily. One product that seems to provide a solution is the Braun Series 9 Shaver. This shaver can be used wet or dry, with foam, gel or water, and it has a self-cleaning charging station! The Braun Series 9 also has a more efficient, flexible razor which means it will take your loved one less time and fewer strokes.
If your loved one isn’t a fan of the sound/vibrations that can come with an electric razor, give the Gillette Treo a try. The Treo is a brand-new single-use razor designed for caregivers to use during assisted shaving. But we think that the wider handle, the specifically designed blade to make the shave safe and help prevent clogging, and the built-in gel make it an option worth having your loved one try during their shaving routine!
Using the restroom
Using the restroom comes with its challenges especially if an individual has low mobility! We recommend that our residents try attaching a bidet like the Brondell Bidet or using an aid like the Self Wipe Bathroom Aid to assist them.
Staying hydrated is important. Period. Staying hydrated is especially important for some of our residents taking medication. The Ulla Hydration Reminder goes around any size water bottle or cup and flashes to remind the user to take another sip.
The Dot Hydration Counting Water Bottle has a hydration tracker built into the lid. The water bottle has three light up dots on the lid that activate one by one each time the water bottle is emptied. The goal is to refill the bottle three times lighting up all three dots.
Almost 100% of our resident use detergent in pod form to do their day-to-day laundry. Pods take the measuring and pouring out of laundry and come in a variety of brands and formulas to meet any allergy restrictions or skin sensitivities.
Whether, like me, folding is not your strong suit or you have mobility issues that make folding a challenge, using a clothes folder can help keep clothes neat and make putting them away a breeze.
One gadget that can assist a resident in taking control of their own schedule is Reminder Rosie. Reminder Rosie is a personal reminder alarm clock that allows residents, family, and staff to set up to 25 custom voice reminders. Reminder Rosie can also be completely controlled by vocal cues taking away the need to fiddle with any buttons while snoozing or setting up alarms.
Hacks to keep an eye out for in the future!
Communication is key. That’s why we are so excited about Voiceitt! Voiceitt is a hands-free speech recognition app that enables face-to-face, real-time communication with friends, family, and strangers. Voiceitt is currently in a beta test. Visit their website to learn more and follow their progress.
Our leasing team has spoken with a number of families seeking a post-high school option for their loved one with IDD and a seizure disorder. However, because a large part of the population with IDD and a seizure disorder requires 24/7 monitoring in case of a seizure, independent living options are slim. Our team came across a recent project completed by four Rice University graduating seniors called the SMART belt. The SMART belt is a wearable that detects increased electrical conductance in the skin and changes in respiration rate to identify signs of a seizure before they happen and alert an assigned caretaker for help.
Do you have a hack that you use at home to help your loved one with their independent living skills? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!