How to Help Someone Living day to day with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
For those living with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or other back injuries which restricts them from fully bending over, it makes regular Activities of Daily Living (ADL) difficult and sometimes nearly impossible, especially if it requires stooping down or bending over.
For those who have it, especially seniors, sometimes they will just try to get by without making any fuss. If you have a spouse, relative or friend you can make a real difference in either making items or helping them locate products for the home.
Just some of the simplest items or modifications can really make a world of difference in living a full productive life with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD).
I myself started to encounter back issues about 10 years ago, I also noticed that I started to put off the activities that I once enjoyed such as working in the garden and doing other household routines. I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) and developed the other issues caused with pressure on the sciatic nerve.
In simple terms my spinal disc had shifted restricting the pipeline flow inside my spinal column. Several series of shots have worked for me, but thank goodness for my husband’s creativity and handy skills I’m able to routinely function without limited restrictions.
The first item we purchase was a home style inversion tilt table, where I could tilt backwards and take the load off of my back. I never went to the full upside down level, just enough so that my body and spinal column would straighten out using the force of gravity.
After about 20 minutes I could feel a real difference in the feeling coming back in the bottom of my foot plus I would have less pain. I use it for several days in a row, then as I feel numbness returning I will return to the tilt table. Sometimes I can now go weeks and months without needing it.
The second item we purchased was an Amish made aluminum laundry cart. The cart is made to hold a standard plastic laundry basket to wheel from the washing machine to the outside for those who hang up laundry on an outside clothesline like the Amish.
While I do occasionally hang laundry outside, I mostly use mine indoors taking laundry from the raised laundry hamper my husband built to the washer and dryer and then transporting the clean items back to the bedroom. It is at a perfect height, especially for my front load washing machine and dryer; the bottom of the laundry basket is 17” off the floor, so that I don’t have to bend down to reach socks and other small items at the bottom.
Now I never have to bend over or carry a heavy laundry basket. The cart fits through our doorways and is used for many of my other household chores as well. I liked it so much that we carry it on our Cottage Craft Works site, if you would like to get one go to http://www.cottagecraftworks.com/laundry-carts-lines-tubs-aluminum-laundry-cart-free-shipping-p-236.html Several hardware stores in the Amish communities do carry these carts, if you should live close to one.
Bending over to retrieve pots and pans and other kitchenware became a real problem in just trying to prepare meals. I just could no longer get down to that level to look into and under the cabinets. My handy husband took out all the standard shelving and converted all of my lower cabinets into drawer units, using full extension drawer glides so that I can pull the drawers completely out to easily locate the items I need, or store new items.
Considering how much time I spend in the kitchen each day, this has been an absolute improvement in my day to day life. It has not hurt the value of our home either as these are considered upgrades in new homes. In our future kitchen remolding plans, the dishwasher will also be raised up so that I don’t have to bend over to place and remove dishes from the lower rack. We have also noticed this as an upgrade option in the new model homes.
Luckily I already had a wall oven, but we did replace it with a double oven. The middle rack in the upper oven that I use most is just above the standard counter height so that I can pull out a hot dish and place it right on to the counter top.
We finally broke down and bought a memory foam mattress, it has really helped as well, but instead of buying the expensive box springs we built our own platform with drawer units just so the mattress would be at the right height so that I can slide in and out without having to get down too low or have to climb in and out of bed. The drawers are handy to store books and other items so that I don't have to reach over to the nightstand.We also replaced the toilet in our bathroom, with a taller one so that I didn’t have to sit down so low.
We grow a lot of roses, and I clip the dead roses off frequently, so that new ones can grow. Not being able to fully bend over restricted me from reaching the lower flowers and trimming other items in the flower beds. We located a long handle pruner designed for reaching up to prune trees, it is perfect for me to reach the lower buds, and do the other trimming around the flower beds. We found mine at http://www.agrisupply.com we purchased ours through a catalog, I cannot find a link for it on their website now, but you can type into Google images long handle pruners and find several different types.
We also purchased an extended pickup tool; these are really inexpensive and can be found in most pharmacies or online. They have a couple soft suction cups to grab articles on the ground or floor; it operates using the handle mounted mechanism at the top. These are also good for wheel chair bounded people to reach an object up on a top shelf. Agri supply does list these on their site for $11.95 item number 47069. The company does have several retail stores on the East Coast.
For a dust pan we found the Stand-Up Dust Pan made by Mclane Manufacturing, Inc. Phone number 562-633-8158 http://www.mclanemower.com/dustpan.asp It has a sturdy handle with a large pan for indoor or outdoor use.
For our fruit and nut trees we use the Orchard Broom, it has a rolling basket that picks up apples, and other fruits and nuts off the ground without bending over. http://www.cottagecraftworks.com/orchardvineyard-supply-the-amazing-orchard-broom-fruit-nut-picker-p-569.html
Potting and re-potting plants can be difficult for a person with bending restrictions, fortunately my husband built us a potting shed with built in shelving, but for those that don’t have a potting bench or table, a free standing potting table designed just at the right height is a great gift for any gardener regardless if they have back issues or not. These can be easily built; the ideal design allows potting soil that misses the pot to fall back into a collection tray, so that it does not go all over the floor. A shelf also holds a container or bag of potting soil, and the bench or rack has a place to hang the garden tools. You can also purchase a ready built potting bench at http://www.cottagecraftworks.com/american-garden-tools-garden-potting-bench-p-773.html
Raised garden and flower beds also provide less strain on the back, as well as provide good drainage and less space to keep weeds out of. These are easy to build from concrete blocks, wood, or other materials. Some prefer to not use treated lumber, but the new poly lumber being made from recycled plastic bottles is becoming more available.
Lucky we still have our van and a SUV for our cars. I don’t think that I could drive a standard car again. They are just too hard for me to get in and out of and place groceries and supplies in and out of the trunk. Something to consider when we go car shopping again, it is not all about the driving and parking but the shopping as well.
I don’t think that I could of came up with all this myself, as like many diseases they slowly progress and sneak up on you, so be a good friend or partner and help someone live a better life.
Our online store is http://www.cottagecraftworks.com we have no other affiliations with the other sites mentioned above as these are only resources that carries these products that we have found.