Parkinson's Disease can eventually lead to slow or delayed balance responses. Your doctor may recommend a Home Safety Evaluation where an Occupational Therapist comes to the home and provides tips to make your home safer.
This week we will list some safety tips for various rooms in your home. Hope you find some of these helpful!
One safety challenge many patients with advance Parkinson's face is "freezing". Freezing is the temporary, involuntary inability to move. There is no known cause and the episodes are unpredictable. Here are some tips for patients to try to help alleviate a "freezing" episode: marching, shifting weight of body from one leg to another, listening to rhythmical music and stepping with the rhythm, using a mobile laser device that creates a line in front of them to step over.
BATHROOM SAFETY TIPS: Most falls take place in the bathroom because of difficulty getting on/off the toilet; in/out of tub; difficulty seeing due to lighting issues;slipping on wet surfaces; tripping on throw rugs or dizziness. Here are some tips: Use of bath bench or shower chair. Elevated toilet seat. Grab bars and/or tub rail. Hand held shower. Lower heat of water to prevent burns. Light switch near door--always put light on before entering room. Use of nightlight. Rubber mat and/or non-skid decals in bath/shower. Make sure all throw rugs have intact rubber backing.
KITCHEN SAFETY TIPS: Use longer cabinet handles versus knobs as handles make it easier to open/close doors. Install sliding drawers to avoid need to reach or bend over too far to look in back of drawers. Use a single handle faucet as easier to control and turn on/off. Place frequently used items for cooking within easy reach. Make sure a smoke alarm is in working order.
BEDROOM SAFETY TIPS: Make sure your bed is easy to get in and out of in terms of height-average height is 22 inches. Consider use of bedside commode and/or urinal if bathroom not close. Make clothing accessible: clothing rods should be at height that is easy to reach. Store clothing in drawers that will allow access without stooping/bending. Carpets should be smooth to create a safe walking surface. Adequate lighting: keep flashlight available in case of power outage; lamps and/or light switches near bed to avoid having to walk in dark; nightlight. Have telephone and clock near bedside.
LIVING ROOM SAFETY TIPS: Make sure all furniture is secure, sturdy and does not swivel. Have adequate lighting. Adequate space to move around furniture. Adjustable blinds/shades to regulate glare. Room free of clutter to prevent a fall. All cords are out of the flow of foot traffic.
STAIRWAY SAFETY TIPS: Provide adequate lighting. Apply brightly colored tape to the top and bottom step to show beginning and end of steps. Apply non-skid surface to steps. Install a ramp over stairs if unable to safely climb steps. Install hand rails on at least one side of steps. Keep step clutter free.
Living with Parkinson's is a challenge for patient, family, friends and caregivers. I hope we have provided some useful information to you this month. Please feel free to contact us if we can provide assistance.