Stroke survivors often have disabilities that require adjustments to their living environments. Stroke Recovery Foundation is sensitive to this and thought that it would be worthwhile to explore some of the issues.
Your home is where you should feel most comfortable at all times, but, are you doing everything necessary in order to feel that way? Are you replacing what needs to be replaced, or making adequate changes or repairs to better fit your way of living, especially your mobility needs? As aging in place is becoming more common, doing what is necessary to provide a better day-to-day living for senior homeowners should be a priority. Below are some key points to help make your home more accessible, without needing to spend enormous amounts of money.
It’s essential to make the entryway easily accessible to everyone who enters the home. Many homes nowadays are raised above the ground, requiring stairways in order to gain access. This may not be the most ideal situation for people with difficulties going up and down stairs. A ramp is a great alternative to stairs and is more accessible to individuals who require wheelchair access or walking aids. A common approach to solve any accessibility issue is by having both a set of stairs and a ramp. Of course, nothing extravagant is necessary, but this is a great first step in making the home more accessible.
Repairing or repaving any uneven or damaged sidewalks is also very helpful in increasing accessibility. These upgrades can be costly, so if you’re unsure of how to fund them, consider using the equity from your home. A home equity loan is a great way to get fast funding in a lump sum amount, for any home improvement projects needed. Not to mention, home improvements are tax-deductible when using a home equity loan. It doesn’t take much to accidentally trip and fall due to sidewalks being in poor shape or uneven. As we all likely know, entryway doorway frames come in all different shapes and sizes. However, in order to increase accessibility, it’s suggested to have a wider doorway frame to allow for wheelchair access and any other walking assistance required.
When it comes to lighting your house for accessibility, it’s important to consider the heavily trafficked areas. Hallways, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and entryways are likely the most trafficked areas within homes, so you need to make sure they are well-lit at all times of the day. While natural lighting can help during the day, when it comes to nighttime it becomes a different story. Determining the best lighting for every room can be a daunting task, however, personal preference does come into consideration as well as practicality. Lighting exposes glares, dark spots, and uneven flooring, among many other things we often overlook. When it comes to accessibility, properly lit hallways at nighttime can give us a sense of safety when venturing to the refrigerator for a late-night snack, going to the bathroom, or going to sleep after locking the house up. With our main concern of accessibility in mind, lighting allows for safe navigation from room to room.
The bathroom is so heavily trafficked, it’s hard to ensure everyone using it is taking care of it as well as they should be after each use. To improve overall safety and accessibility, you can start by placing high-quality non-slip mats or rugs throughout the bathroom to improve the overall safety of the space. Whether water is splashing from the sink or shower, it’s bound to find its way to the floor. Installing grab bars inside and outside the shower to help establish balance when getting in and out can prove to be very helpful. It’s suggested that using vertical or horizontal bars is more beneficial than diagonal bars, given that hands tend to slip more often when angled. An adjustable-height shower head equipped with a six-foot hand-held hose can reduce any unnecessary movement while showering. The adjustable shower head and hose make it so whenever showering, there is no need to stand on your tippy-toes or stretch to shift the shower head in a different direction.
Having a well-lit and glare-free bathroom is essential for safety. Water will eventually find its way to the floor. While it’s bound to happen, slipping or falling isn’t. Taking a preventative measure, like adequately lighting the space, can allow you to see what water spots are on the floor before it’s too late, and an injury is caused. Of course, being mindful of your surroundings and trying to remain on shower mats as much as possible will help reduce water from falling on the bare floor. Nearly 80% of falls at home occur in the bathroom. To avoid being a part of this worrisome number, take the time to ensure your bathroom is well-lit, and the flooring is ideal for the environment. Porcelain or ceramic tiles are very common for bathroom flooring but be careful as they are slippery surfaces.
Everyone has their own preferences for flooring types based on experiences, but let’s not forget this is a key aspect of improving our home’s accessibility. If your home is currently equipped with a shaggy carpet, you may want to consider replacing it with a shorter nap carpet. Carpets are easily tripped and slipped on, especially in highly trafficked areas within the home, such as a hallway or living room. A shorter napped carpet is also more accessible for individuals with wheelchairs and others who require additional walking aids. Vinyl, hardwood, laminate, and tile flooring are smoother flooring options, allowing for easy navigation for wheelchairs and walking aids, however, they tend to be more slippery than a shorter napped carpet. Placing throw rugs on these floors can help reduce the overall slipperiness, however, this may cause an issue with different-level flooring and balance. If you decide to implement throw rugs throughout your home, keeping rugs from slipping will be essential. Consider placing rug grippers or non-slip mats under each rug, allowing it to stay firmly in place, and preventing accidents.
You are now equipped with several of the most common ways to make your home more accessible. There are so many ways to change your home around to suit your needs and those of others, you just have to find what works best for you within your home’s physical structure and also makes the most sense for your loved ones.
Prevention is so very important to prevent falls which are the downfall of so many people with disabilities. Furthermore, following some of these suggestions allows stroke survivors, and others with disabilities to have a more independent lifestyle within their homes.