ADAPTING THE HOME AFTER A STROKE
It is important that the home environment be one that supports continuing recovery and safety for your loved one. Hopefully your loved one had a trial home visit that helped address some changes that needed to be made.
Here we will discuss some modifications that may be helpful. Some changes have been mentioned in previous blogs as risks are similar in different disease processes and diagnosis. Many of the suggestions made may be simple, however, the effects of such alterations have the potential to increase the safety, independence and general comfort level of the stroke patient.
The bathroom is the most dangerous part of the house for anyone with physical disabilities. It is difficult to move about on small, slippery surfaces and falls onto hard tile can cause significant injury.
Here are some suggestions to make it safer in the bathroom: grab bars- assist with stability getting in and out of shower/tub; non-skid bath decals and rugs- provide a feeling of stability while bathing/showering; shower chair or transfer tub bench- provides stability for someone with difficulty balancing or standing for long periods of time; sponges and soap- long handled sponge may help one who has limited movement. Use of soap pumps or squeeze bottles are preferred as bar soap becomes slick and can be easily dropped. Have towels within easy reach.
Using the toilet: grab bars help stabilize your loved one when sitting on and getting up; floor around toilet should not be slick. If rug used-make sure it has a non-skid backing; a raised toilet seat may be helpful; a commode chair may be useful for an individual who has difficulty getting to the bathroom.
Your bedroom should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe. This is a private area of the home for you and should be tailored to meet your needs. It is also important to consider the room from a night time perspective: adequate lighting, clear pathways and access to a toilet are essential to avoid accidents in the dark.
Clothes and Dressing: depending on limitations from stroke--accessing clothes may be difficult. Lowering closet rods and placing frequently used clothes in easily accessible drawers is helpful. Avoid clothing that is difficult for your loved one to put on. Avoid tight fitting sleeves, armholes, pant legs and waistlines. Clothes should fasten in front. Elastic waist pants are easier to dress with and comfortable. Dressing aides are available.
Keeping a night light on is very beneficial. Also, keep a telephone within easy reach of the bed.
The kitchen is the second most dangerous place for stroke survivors with limited movements and/or decreased sensation. What changes need to be done will depend on the extent your loved one will be utilizing the kitchen. Sometimes major construction changes are needed.
Dining: Dining can be frustrating to a stroke survivor. Using utensils, sitting up to the table and swallowing are often difficult after a stroke. There are a variety of devices available to assist with the disability displayed: adaptive plates, utensils, cups etc. Use of thickening agents may be helpful too. Whatever the disability-- the goal is to make dining for your loved one an enjoyable experience.
**WHATEVER THE OBSTACLE YOUR LOVED ONE HAS, PATIENCE PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN IMPROVING THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE.**
We at ElderCaring can provide the assistance you need to care for your loved one at home!!