Stroke survivors often experience problems with their walking, coordination, and balance, which can greatly impact their ability to live comfortably and safely in their homes. The clinical implications of a stroke can also increase a person’s risk of falling and getting injured post-attack.
Nevertheless, even with the various physical, cognitive, and emotional issues that stroke may cause, it’s still possible for survivors to live independently in their own home — if the right home modifications are implemented to encourage the patient’s recovery, enhance their safety at home, and generally offer them an improved lifestyle.
Why Home Modifications Are Important Following a Stroke
The goals of modifying a home after stroke should be:
- To install essential assistive devices in the patient’s home
- To improve home safety
- To reduce the patient’s risk of falling at home
In short, your goal should be living in their home more manageable for the stroke survivor.
Of course, this means that you’ll need an expert who’s well-versed with making home modifications for stroke survivors. They will be able to assess your loved one’s needs and make changes that best fit their specific situation.
For your part, you should look around, watch your loved one as they move around, and find ways in which you can increase their independence, safety, and overall comfort level.
Common Post-Stroke Home Modifications
The following are suggestions for some of the modifications you can make to help your loved one.
In the Bathroom
- Install handrails in the shower or bathtub as well as beside the toilet
- Install non-slip bath mats
- Install single-lever faucets that can be operated easily using one hand
- Install toilet chairs and shower or bathtub benches
- Install a handheld showerhead
- Install swing-clear door hinges that offer enough room for a wheelchair or walker to pass through
In the Bedroom
- Install bed rails on the bed
- Use bed risers to raise a low bed. Conversely, if the bed is too high, lower it
In the Kitchen
- Install pull-out shelves or use baskets in place of traditional shelves
- Increase cabinet access by installing a lazy Susan
- Provide a small, wheeled cart for carrying groceries and other kitchen supplies
Other General Changes
- Have a cordless phone installed in every room
- Get rid of throw rugs and use double-sided tape to hold carpets down to the floor
- Keep floors clear, and ensure that there’s enough space for your loved one to maneuver around the house without bumping into things.
- Ensure that the house is adequately lit — especially along the hallways, doorways, and in the bathrooms.
Stroke affects people differently. For some, it’s not always easy to adjust to life afterwards. This is why it’s particularly important that the survivor returns home to an environment that not only supports continuing recovery but also increases their safety. To ensure your home is ideal for recovery, consider working with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist who can guide you through the process.
Live in Place Designs is a residential full-service contractor that brings together Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) and care coordination solutions for individuals in the healthcare and long-term care industry.