After your elderly loved one has experienced a stroke, it is important to modify the home environment to encourage a successful recovery. Many of these modifications are simple, but can make a significant difference in your loved one’s safety. Bridgewater, NJ, senior home care professionals offer 5 tips to help make the home a safer place for your loved one to recover following a stroke.
1. Encourage the Use of a Microwave Instead of the Stove
Many stroke survivors become weak, paralyzed, or numb on one side of the body, which severely limits the ability to perform daily tasks like cooking. Utilizing a countertop microwave oven for meal preparation can simplify cooking for your loved one and discourage the use of heavy pots and pans. In addition, the microwave’s timer function helps ensure nothing overcooks, reducing the risk of serious injuries that can result from stovetop cooking.
2. Install Handrails and Grab Bars
Loss of balance is a common post-stroke complication, with as many as 40 percent of stroke survivors experiencing serious falls within the first year after a stroke. Install handrails and grab bars in areas that might be difficult for your loved one to maneuver, paying special attention to stairways and the bathroom. Make sure the bars are mounted properly to provide stability and support your loved one’s full body weight.
3. Set the Hot Water at a Safe Temperature
Senior stroke survivors often have decreased sensation to hot and cold temperatures. To prevent scalding your loved one’s skin, set the water temperature to 120° Fahrenheit. Make sure to use a thermometer to verify the temperature, and clearly mark the desired settings on the water control knob with large words written on waterproof colored stickers.
4. Remove Sink Cabinets
If your loved one uses a wheelchair or has trouble standing for long periods, using a sink may be difficult. Remove the cabinets below the sink to allow room for your loved one’s legs, and add a chair or bench if necessary. Be sure to properly insulate any exposed pipes under the sink to prevent burns.
5. Make Emergency Contact Easily Accessible
Because secondary strokes are not uncommon, it’s important to have accessible phones placed throughout the home, especially if your loved one lives alone. Consider investing in a personal emergency response system in the event your loved one has another stroke when no one is around to help. Provide family and friends, with information on how to recognize the signs of a stroke, and make sure they and your loved one’s Bridgewater stroke caregivers know the number they need to call if your loved one has another stroke.
Stroke recovery can take some time, and every senior has unique care needs during this difficult time. If your loved one needs help recovering from a stroke, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers can assist with mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments, and help with a wide array of tasks around the house. For more information on respite and live-in care Bridgewater, NJ, seniors can count on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.