Creating a Safe Environment for Those Who Have Experienced a Stroke

news-freedom-elder-care-new-jersey-ageism-healthy-agingAccording to the National Stroke Association, there are several tips and tricks to making a house more accessible for those who have experienced a stroke.

Forty percent of stroke survivors suffer serious falls within a year after their strokes.

To avoid falls:

  • Clear paths to the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
  • Move electrical cords out of pathways.
  • Wear non-skid shoes and avoid slick surfaces.
  •  Remove loose carpets and runners in hallways and stairwells or fasten them with non-skid tape to improve traction.
  • Replace thick carpeting with lower pile carpeting to make wheelchair or walker movement easier.
  • Install handrails for support in going up and down stairs and check to make sure they’re securely
    fastened to the wall.
  • Consider stair glides, stair lifts, and platform lifts if stairs are required. 

Doing laundry will be less challenging with a few simple changes:

  • Move laundry machines to a place where they are easily accessible.
  • Stackable, front-loading machines may be easier to reach and take up less space.
  • Use easy-to-reach, labeled detergents and laundry supplies.
  • Have easy-to-read markings for wash settings.
  • Use a nearby table or cart at the right height for sorting and folding.
  • Use an ironing board that folds down from the wall. 

Making the bedroom safe and comfortable:

  • Install a light switch near the bed.
  • Move/reorganize clothes and personal items to make them easier to access.
  • Use a nightlight and clear a path for easy access to the toilet at night.
  • Keep a commode chair near the bed.
  • Consider placing disposable “blue pads” underneath the sheets. 

Adjusting to challenges in the kitchen:

  • If possible, use a stove with push-button controls at the front.
  • Install automatic shut-off controls.
  • Mount an over-the-stove mirror to help see stovetop contents if cooking while seated.
  • Keep a clear space near the stove to place a hot pot or pan quickly
  • Have oven mitts on hand.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Adjust the kitchen table so it is the right height for a wheelchair or for a chair with arms that supports posture. 

Special utensils help people with physically-impaired arms and hands at the table:

  • Flatware with built-up handles which are easier to grasp.
  • Rocker knives for cutting food with one hand.
  • Attachable rings which keep food from being pushed off the plate accidentally. 

Helpful bathroom devices:

  • Grab bars in shower or tub.
  • Sturdy handrails.
  • Raised toilet seat or toilet chair.
  • Tub bench.
  • Adjustable or handheld showerhead.
  • Bathing supplies that are easy to reach and use.
  • Easy-to-use water control knobs with easy-to-see settings or long-handled levers.
  • Non-slip flooring strips installed inside and outside of the tub.
  • Long-handled brush.
  • Squeeze bottles and soap pumps.
  • Washing mitt with pockets for soap.
  • Soap-on-a-rope.
  • Electric toothbrush.
  • Flip-top toothpaste tube.
  • Electric razor.
  • One-piece faucet with lever handles or long extensions, allowing water to be turned on and off with a fist or arm movement.
  • Cut-out or roll-under sink, which allows room for legs underneath the sink while seated.
  • Suction pads to hold grooming tools or bottles in place on a counter, requiring just one hand to pick up or use.

Resource: National Stroke Association is the leading national non-profit organization devoting all of its efforts and resources to stroke. NSA provides the most up-to-date information on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and support for stroke survivors and their families. For more information on NSA contact 1-800-STROKES or visit www.stroke.org.