One of the greatest gifts a child can give their aging parent is the ability to stay in their home. The comfort, stability and security that the ability to remaining in the home provides, is priceless. It’s a daunting processing, there are so many choices, where do you start?
The best location to start is the bathroom, 1 in 3 persons over the age of 65 will fall in a bathroom accounting for almost 80% of all falls. These staggering statistics are due to several contributing factors such as, wet surfaces, trip hazards such as bathmats or bathtub lips and a lack of anything to hold onto. When starting out, the easiest and typically most cost-effective proactive step you can take is to install grab bars. Grab bars come in several different lengths, between 12 inches to 48 inches, a variety of colors and can be securely mounted to just about any type of surface in the bathroom, including inside the shower itself. Grab bars are mounting on two studs, providing a minimum 250 pounds of weight-pull but can go up to 500 pounds of weight-pull, depending on manufacturer and length. Another simple fix is providing a shower chair while room allows for it, a simple chair designed to get wet and allow the user to properly and safely clean themselves it an easy way to prevent slips in the shower. Shower chairs come just about every shape and size, ranging from round seats, to seats with backs, to wheelchair that can be moved in and out of the shower. Some other affordable solutions include a handheld shower, which allows for the patient to have a detachable shower head that they can using while sitting. Tub transfer benches which allows for easy and safe transfers from wheelchairs or patient lifts into the shower. Taking these simple steps greatly reducing the risk of fall in the bathroom.
Once the bathroom has had these effective modifications completed, the next are to evaluate would be the easy of which they enter their home and maneuver inside their home. This cover several different things; entry, maneuverability and complete access. If your parent uses a scooter, power wheelchair or manual wheelchair sometimes the biggest task is getting their child, with them in it, through the front door, typically because the lip and/or step up into the house is too steep to roll over it. This is where rubber ramps come in handy. While semi-permanent, they assemble much like hardwood floors do. There is a lip on either side of the ramp and it simply snaps together. Rubber ramps are extremely affordable and work great on anything with a 4’’ or lower step. The second biggest obstacle I see inside homes is stairs and the fall risk they present. The best way to reduce this fall risk is by having an evaluation done for a stair climber. Stair climbers can be on the more expense side, especially if they are custom built, but the investment is well worth it. They are compact allowing for use clearance in the walkway when not in use, they are low maintenance and most manufacturers offer an amazing lifetime warranty on parts.
These simple effective modifications mean the world to our costumers who are faced with having to leave their homes. It provides them with privacy to shower on their own, to sleep in their bed, in their room that they have spent every night for the past 20 years in. Simple, effective and affordable. Bonus, as a child with an Grandma who she loved dearly, can tell you from experience, the peace of mind in knowing that she wasn’t going to fall in the bathroom, or trying to go upstairs – was priceless.