How do you make sure your home is safe for your disabled loved one?
You need to start with a walk through your house with an extra wise friend or two, or a family member...and that ever present notebook.
- Take note of the piles of things here or there. Newspapers? Magazines that you want to get to read? Crafts you hope to get finished? Each one is a dangerous minefield for a person whose balance is not what it once was, whose vision is poor, who forgets what was there the last time he walked past. Empty those nooks and crannies of the clutter. Toss the newspapers. Save only the last few magazines and get rid of the rest. Be realistic about the craft projects you will be able to finish and either pass them on to someone who will enjoy them or toss them. The world won’t end. I’ve had to get rid of a number of those things in the past few years and the world didn’t end after all. Not only that, but the clutter has lessened and I feel like I can breathe!
- The same goes for scatter rugs. It is very easy to slip on them. Either anchor them well with double stick tape designed for rugs or get rid of them. Look around and see where you see items that are dangerous for you or your loved one. It isn’t worth the risk of falling.
- Do you need rails in your shower for someone who gets lightheaded easily? Or a shower chair for someone who has unsteady balance? Get that on your list to be taken care of. Get everything put on the list so you can get it done or gotten rid of.
- Do any rooms need to be rearranged so the traffic flow works better. You may have a friend or family member who can help advise you now that you have a disabled person in your home.
- Depending on the nature of disability, your home may need modifications. The most common are ramps to the house and bars in the bathtub/shower, but others might be needed as well. Widening doors for wheelchairs or walkers is another possible accommodation that might be needed. If you can’t afford to do them, there are volunteer groups in some communities that will do ramps. This is another consideration you may need to make.
Just to recap and cover some things in more detail…
Often, putting out the word in your church will get some volunteers together to help and you will only have to pay for the supplies. It all depends on the skill set you have available to help you. At least you can ask. If they say “No, we can’t do it.” the world will not end. It may hurt a bit, but life will go on. Don’t allow one person to speak for everyone. Ask more than one. Ask women and men. Some people tend to say, “No.” easier than others. Some of those people tend toward administrative gifts. Give them time to hunt for you before committing. If “No.” ends up being the final word, move on without holding a grudge and find another solution. GOD will provide. He just won’t use them. You don’t need to carry the burden of a grudge.
Another way you may need to prepare your home is to eliminate clutter. If you have piles of newspapers, clutter lying around the floors, lots of scatter rugs, blocked hallways, etc. these need to be eliminated. If you aren’t sure, ask a younger friend to look around your house and be honest. If you tend to collect too much, you might need to get help clearing out your house before your loved one comes home.
This would be a great time to have your kids come and gather their things and help you clear out the clutter. You are rattled enough. Ask for their help. If they feel sentimental about their things, ask them to take them home to their places rather than leave them with you. If they don’t feel sentimental about their things, ask them to come and throw them away along with some other stuff you are having a hard time tossing. You can ask for the donation of a weekend, maybe even a long weekend. Maybe you have let some things go, you can still ask for their help.
Another source for help is your church. There are people there that you have known for awhile that might be able to help. Ask for it. Yes, they may see a mess. I’m sure they have seen messy houses before. If they haven’t, they will survive.
You may have other friends in the community or neighborhood who have offered to help. Ask if any of them could help you in this way. You will be surprised at the people who are glad to help! Not only that, but it often deepens friendships when you ask for help. Go figure!
I’m sure I have overwhelmed you by now. I hope you will be able to refer back to this in your time of need. But telling you how to navigate your hospitalizations will save you a lot of angst along the way. With each hospitalization, you have the opportunity to learn more about his condition and improve ways of caring for him. Watch how the good caregivers treat him and move him. Learn from them. Add your special loving touches and he will be well cared for and loved!
Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives,
and the one who seeks finds,
and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread,
will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give good things to those who ask him!
**Parts of this post have been taken from a prior post, edited and added to.