The Best Home Installations for Caregivers
Many homes are not naturally constructed with accessibility modifications. As such, if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in your care, your house may present a number of safety hazards. The easiest way to make your home safer without spending a fortune is by doing the projects yourself. Here are some of the most important repairs and additions you can make to your home that will help your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease remain safe.
Simple Additions to Your Home
Most people with Alzheimer’s disease are senior citizens, so one of the main things you will have to think about when planning out your renovations is your loved one’s physical safety. Focus your attention on the rooms that your loved one spends the most time in, like the living room, bathroom, and dining room. Bathrooms, in particular, can be dangerous places because of the often-slippery floors and sharp corners on vanities.
For basic modifications, think about what you can add to make the room safer. For instance, put non-slip mats (you can find memory foam mats on Amazon for around $8) on the floor and inside the shower to help your loved one with Alzheimer’s maintain their balance. Use foam to cover up the edges of the vanity if they are exposed, and pick up a soft cover for the shower head. Continue adding mats to slippery spots and covering up sharp edges on counters throughout the rest of the house. Pay particular attention to any rugs you may have — you’ll need to add mats underneath them to make sure they don’t slip.
Make Space in Your Project Areas
If you plan to do more technical projects, you will need to clear out space in your home. Instead of stressing out while looking for extra places to store your things, which can create new tripping hazards, put your things in storage until the project is completed. A storage unit is a small investment with a great impact for your loved one’s safety; in Denver, Colorado, for instance, the average cost of renting a storage unit is $76.04 over the past 180 days.
Installations for Your Bathroom
Bathtime is statistically the most dangerous part of the daily routine for seniors. To keep them even safer while they shower, you can install a handrail and a shower seat inside the shower itself. Start by picking up the necessary pieces in your hardware store, then locate the studs inside the shower. Install the grab bar as high as needed (if you have tile on your walls, you will need to use a drill bit designed to pierce tile without cracking it), then be sure to test its strength by pulling on the bar in every direction.
The process for installing a shower seat is similar. Pick a side of the shower to install the chair, then find the studs nearest your ideal location. Be sure to measure the correct height of the chair — if it is too high, your loved one might slip trying to sit down, and if it is too low, they may have difficulty standing up. If you don’t have a great tape measure in your toolkit, now’s the time to pick one up — Home Depot has tons of options, some of which are as low as $10.
Increase Your Home’s Accessibility
Finally, it is important for your loved one to be able to move through the house. Expandable door hinges can make it easier for them to walk through narrow doorways, while a ramp up to the front door can simplify their entrances and exits if they are in a wheelchair or use a walker or cane. To install new hinges, leave the existing door in place and swap out the new set, making sure to keep the door stable with your other hand. Ramps are a slightly more difficult project, but you can buy modular ramps that take care of the hard part. Installation is relatively simple, but be sure to research the different types of ramps available first.
It is important to keep your loved one safe while you care for them. Adding measures to your home to prevent falls and other accidents can increase their quality of life while providing you with the peace of mind of knowing they are safe in their home.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Article courtesy of Paul Deniken of Dad Knows DIY