Preparing a home for seniors who have survived a stroke can be a daunting task, as you want to ensure their safety and comfort at all times. There are many details to think about, especially if they live alone or don’t have a full-time caretaker, but fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help make things safe around the house.
The first step is to figure out how much mobility a loved one has and the condition of their mind and body. Strokes can cause varying levels of debilitation, and everyone reacts differently to the aftereffects. There may be issues with motor coordination, speech, and/or short-term memory, to name a few, all of which can interfere with daily activities such as cooking a meal or taking a shower. You’ll also need to think about what possible dangers the home presents to someone who needs physical therapy, or how to make the house more accessible for a wheelchair or walker.
It may sound overwhelming at first, but there are many easy ways to get started. Read on to learn more.
Stroke survivors can have issues with balance and coordination, so it’s important to make sure the bathroom is a safe place since it’s the room where falls occur most frequently. Bathtubs should have non-slip rubber mats installed, as well as a detachable showerhead, grab bars, and/or a shower seat. Padded toilet seats will not only provide comfort, but they’ll also provide protection from a hard surface in the event of a fall. Hard corners on sinks and countertops should be padded as well.
In the kitchen
The kitchen should be well-lit and free of slick surfaces. Throw rugs are always discouraged in the homes of seniors due to slip hazards; a thin, rubber-backed rug or mat is okay for standing at the sink. Items in the pantry and cupboards can be labeled with easy-to-read stickers; items should be placed low enough on shelves that your loved one can reach them without stretching or using a stool. Because the kitchen holds many dangers for an individual with balance or vision issues, it’s especially important to make sure it’s safe and comfortable for your loved one.
Outside the home
If there are stairs outside the home, consider installing a ramp that leads to the front door. It should be made of a material that won’t be slippery in rain or snow but is sturdy enough to withstand quite a bit of weight. Walkways and driveways should be kept clear of clutter and debris and shoveled after every snow. After a particularly bad winter, it’s important to check the concrete for cracks or potholes that can cause a fall.
Staircases and closets
Ideally, a senior who is a stroke survivor would never have to use the stairs, but in some cases, it’s impossible to prevent. If your loved one’s home has a staircase and there’s no money in the budget for a lift to be installed, make sure the handrails are sturdy and go all the way from the bottom of the stairs to the top. The area should be well-lit at all times and shouldn’t contain carpeting if at all possible.
Preparing a home for a senior who has survived a stroke can be a difficult job, so ask your friends or loved ones to help out. Look online for resources, as there may be grants or insurance coverage available when it comes to making modifications and installing equipment.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.