If your loved one is getting ready to return from a hospital stay, it’s important to prepare your home and yourself to ensure you can provide a safe and comfortable environment. Caring for an older adult in your home will certainly require some lifestyle changes, but it will likely require some modifications to your surroundings as well. Here are a few things you can do to get your home ready:
General living areas
- Use a non-slip backing to securely hold throw rugs and runners in place
- Secure extension cords against baseboards or in drawers to minimize the risk of tripping
- If your loved one is in a wheelchair, make necessary accommodations such as installing a ramp to your front door
- Install extra railings on all stairways for more stable support
- If possible, convert a downstairs bedroom into your loved one’s bedroom to reduce the need to climb stairs
- Place a non-slip mat at the bottom of the bathtub
- Install grab-bars by the toilet and shower
- Add a shower chair or bench for enhanced stability while bathing
- Make sure there is proper lighting in the bathroom, such as a night light for when it’s dark
- Place a light near the bed with a switch that can be easily reached
- Create a clear path from the bed to the door
- Make sure there is ample space between the wall and the bed, so your older loved one can easily get into bed even if their mobility is reduced
- Place your microwave on the counter, rather than over the stove, to reduce the need for bending or stretching while preparing food
- Put all pots and pans at waist level for easy access
- Provide a backed-stool to sit at while preparing meals
Now that your home is prepared for your older loved one, think about what needs to be done in terms of care. Do you need to buy your older loved one a walker? Schedule them for physical therapy? Find a home care professional for more complicated needs like baths?
Will your older loved one be able to drive, or does your car need updates in order to accommodate them as passengers? Should you expect memory issues and prepare with a security system that will keep your loved one from wandering? These are all things to talk with your healthcare team about before taking your older loved one home.
Lastly, prepare your family for the change. Family dynamics are different for everyone, but you’ll want to have an honest and open conversation with all members of your household. Talk about the general plan, expectations, roles and responsibilities, and explain why this is the best course of action for your family. Getting everyone on the same page will help you and your family transition into your new roles as caregivers, whether those roles are permanent or temporary
If you need help preparing your home or family or would like to talk about long-term care, contact us today. We are happy to help you gain a better understanding of your options.