One of the hardest things we have to face as we grow older is watching our parents age and lose their mobility. Getting up and down the stairs and using the bathroom with ease can definitely be a challenge for many aging adults. If you are taking care of an older parent who faces mobility challenges, here are just a few ways you can improve certain parts of your home for them and help them regain some independence.
Stair Lift Assistance
If your home has stairs, this can be seen as a barrier for your loved one when trying to get around your home. Stairs are obviously something that most people need in their homes, but when your loved one uses a wheelchair or is simply unable to climb stairs due to weakness, imbalance or inability to adequately get up and down them, it’s time to look into a stair lift. A stair lift allows your loved one to comfortably sit on a chair and slowly be lifted to the top of the stairs. It’s also convenient because it can carry extra items up the stairs as well. This is beneficial if your loved one still has lower body strength and capabilities, but struggles with balance or carrying items up and down the stairs. An EasyClimber stairlift, for example, allows you or your loved one to regain the mobility to reach different floors of your home with ease.
Ramps and Railings
Many falls occur as someone is getting ready to change positions or when they walk through a hallway or bathroom. This could be due to changes in flooring types, added weakness issues or because of the shifting in weight due to repositioning. Making sure that your home is equipped with the right hand rails is a good place to start in regards to home safety. Railings in the bathroom, any stair area and near the washer and dryer are helpful in reducing your loved ones overall fall risk. Ramps are also beneficial. Even if they use a walker or cane, a slow incline reduces their chance of a falling and makes it less of an impact on their skeletal system. A properly installed ramp is a must if someone in your house uses the assistance of a wheelchair. Contact a professional contractor about customizing a ramp system that will fit the needs of your loved one as well as your home.
Other ways in which you can make your home more accessible is through DME or durable medical equipment. This starts by talking with your doctor or discharge nurse about your overall ADLs or activities for daily living. From there, they will evaluate what you need and how it will benefit your lifestyle. Some possible choices include;
- Over the bed table
- Hoyer lift
- Hospital bed
- Egg crate mattress
- Walker or cane
- Shower chair
- Lift chair
In many cases, a home health agency will come out and evaluate your home to see where there may be some hidden issues. They may recommend where to install railings or what specific needs that your loved one may have. The good news is that most DME is covered by insurance, so you will see a significant cost savings in your home care over time.
Assistance in the bathroom with showering and using the bathroom is a huge need for seniors and those facing a disability. Being limited on movement and range of motion can impact how you care for yourself, no matter what your age. Making sure that your bathroom can accommodate you or your loved one is vital to personal care and hygiene. Having a walk-in shower is very beneficial because there are fewer barriers when it comes to showering and bathing. Making sure that there are handrails in this area and just outside of the shower will reduce fall risks and give your loved one some more independence when it comes to this part of their life. Installing flooring that is anti-skid or using anti-skid rugs in this area is also very beneficial. Making sure that the sink is handicap accessible assures that your loved one can use it properly. Sometimes a raised toilet or raised toilet seat also helps with someone facing mobility problems.
There are many ways to accommodate your loved one, start by asking their doctor or physical therapist to do a complete assessment and go from there.
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