Monday, August 5, 2013

Help for Swallowing Difficulties

During my father's recovery, I happened upon quite a few things that can help strengthen the throat muscles and aid in regaining one's ability to swallow. I realized only recently that I haven't shared all these great things on this blog ... and that's what this blog is all about ... sharing information!

So here goes ... in the hospital and at assisted-living centers and nursing homes, you might see several items that you can't find on your grocery-store shelves ... pre-thickened beverages, for instance ... and a wonderfully high-protein, delicious-tasting ice-cream kind of thing called Magic Cup. After a bit of researching on the internet, I was able to find a source for both thickened liquids (as well as other thickened products) and the elusive Magic Cup.

If you'd like the products made by Hormel, the Thick and Easy products, you can purchase them online at the Hormel Home Care Nutrition website  or by telephone: 1-800-491-6876. You can find all the wonderful products that were available at the hospital ... like my Dad's personal favorite, Nectar-Thick Sweet Tea. 

For some reason, the pre-thickened beverages seem to taste much better than those to which thickener has been added.

Magic Cup is a protein-rich, ice-cream-like product that is also made by Hormel. You can order it online or by telephone. This is the website. Here is the telephone number: 877-493-2633

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Of Books and Book Stands ...

I've learned so much in the last several years while being a caregiver ... which is why I started this blog back in 2008. I have lots and lots of resources that I want to share, but find I have so little time to write about them all.
So, let me just start here: If you are taking care of someone who is seriously ill or who is disabled and needs a lot of care, one of the best books that you can get is The Complete Bedside Companion: No Nonsense Advice on Caring for the Seriously Ill When I found my copy on sale for 25 cents at our local library's book sale, I had no idea that I'd actually be using it one day. This book contains a wealth of information that you won't find assembled together anywhere else ... from general advice on how to be a caregiver (such as turning a person in bed, giving bed baths, preventing pressure ulcers, etc), to separate sections for different ailments ... such as caring for a person with neurological disorders and strokes; cardiovascular problems; muscular problems; there's even a section on Alzheimer's disease and dementia. This book has it all! Truly, it's invaluable!!
As for many of the other books out there that are marketed for helping caregivers, I found most were not helpful at all. I purchased a TON (yes, I mean a TON) of books and not one of them gave me any of the practical help that The Complete Bedside Companion gave me.
I know, I know. You can't judge a book by its cover. When it comes to books about caring for elderly parents, if you think you are going to buy one, see if you can flip through a library copy or look for it on a shelf at your local Barnes and Noble before you plunk down your hard-earned cash. I purchased stacks and stacks of books, looking for that one that would have the perfect answers for me. Unfortunately, I can't recommend any of them beyond the Bedside Companion. No, not even one.
However, there is a book stand that I would highly recommend! My father, who is quite physically challenged, wanted to read in bed. His bed is a hospital bed. I tried rigging up many different things to make reading in bed a possibility for him. I tried an over-the-hospital-bed table, but it was too high and the flat top didn't work. Of course we tried many different book holders, but none of them really held the pages open ... and propped up on the table, they were far too high. I also tried a lap desk. This didn't work, as it was too low and the book kept sliding off the top. Complications from my father's stroke left him with a clenched left hand. Although he can move the thumb and forefinger, this doesn't really do an adequate job of keeping a book open ... and then, turning a page becomes quite a task.
FINALLY: I did an online search and found the most amazing thing: The Levo Book Holder Book Stand. It's available at many places on the web (here are a couple of  links: book stand, book stand 2)
Here's my Dad ... reading yet another of his favorite Civil War books ... you'll notice the stand can be adjusted to many different heights (right over the side rails!) and then the holder, itself, can be tilted to the appropriate angle. It came with a clip-on, battery-operated book light, which is great. See how the handy page holders work? This is a pretty thick book and yet, the pages can be held open quite well.
Here's the back view.
This has been an exceptional find. It was well worth the price. I might add that the stand is actually very heavy, but it comes on rollers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Still Looking for an Easy-to-Use CD Player

While I'm quite disappointed that the Sony cd player that I had come to know and love for its ease of use is no longer manufactured, I'm back to looking around for a replacement. I recently stumbled upon the Coby MPCD281 portable MP3/cd player with am/fm radio ... It looks a little more difficult, with its smaller buttons; however, on the positive side, it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles to complicate things. One is able to pull up the lid to place the cd inside, which is great. Too often, the newer models have yet another button to push to get the lid to open!
This model appears to be readily available at many places. Here's a link to it at Coby MPCD281 It also comes in a variety of colors. If anyone has any prior experience with this model, please let me know. For some reason, the red color is the least expensive. The blue, the white and the red are much less expensive (on, anyhow) than the black. Take a look and see what you think.