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More than 2 million older adults suffer fall-related nonfatal injuries every year, making fall prevention one of the most important health care concerns for seniors. If you're concerned about the risk of falling, you can take steps to protect yourself, reduce your chances of injury and maintain your independence. There are a number of assistance aids available to help you perform daily living tasks more safely. Among these, reachers are one of the most inexpensive and simple-to-use options.
A reacher is a very simple device that can have a dramatic impact upon your personal safety at home. While there are many different styles available, a reacher is essentially a long handle with a grabber on one end. As its name suggests, a reacher is used to reach for objects that are difficult to access. You can find reachers in a variety of sizes and with different grabber mechanisms to meet your needs. Some have magnetic tips, making them great for retrieving metal objects, while others have clamps that allow them to take hold of objects. Reachers can also feature combination magnetic and grabber ends to help you pick up a variety of objects.
Reachers can be beneficial for many different types of tasks at home. If you need to retrieve something from an overhead cabinet or a high shelf, using a reacher can help you to access the item without having to climb onto a stool, chair or ladder. This can be very beneficial for people who have difficulties with balance or who are unsteady on their feet, as climbing to retrieve an item could result in a fall. Reachers can also be used to take hold of items that are at your feet and eliminate the need to bend over to retrieve objects. Not only can this help you to prevent falls, but it also can help you to pick up objects without experiencing pain or discomfort. You can use a reacher to access items that are just out of reach when you're sitting or lying in bed, allowing you to take hold of items that you require without having to change positions and risk falling.
When selecting a reacher to use at home, you'll want to first consider what length you'll need to purchase. Some reachers are adjustable, while others are fixed at one length. If you're unsure how long your reacher needs to be, ask someone to help you measure the distance from the palm of your hand to the top of your highest cabinet or shelf and from the palm of your hand to the floor. Another important consideration when choosing a reacher is the type of mechanism used to operate the device. Reachers may have squeeze triggers or levers for operation. If you have limited hand dexterity due to arthritis or an injury or you lack hand strength, a lever type reacher may be a better choice for your needs. Keep in mind that you'll need to keep your reacher in an easy-to-access location to enjoy its benefits fully. Some people choose to purchase multiple reachers to store in different rooms of the home.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.