When a family member suffers a debilitating stroke, you may need to make numerous modifications to your house before they can safely return home. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine what those modifications are since each stroke victim suffers different effects depending on what part of their brain was injured. That is why some experts suggest that you may want to arrange for your family member to make a trial visit home before they are completely discharged from a hospital or a nursing facility. That way, you can discover exactly what changes you will need to make to your home. Without a trial visit, you may not realize, for example, that your family member can no longer negotiate the steps in your home safely or that they can't sit down on the toilet by themselves.
Stroke Side Effects
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year. Many of these strokes, unfortunately, leave their victims with severe disabilities. The following are a few of the common side effects of a stroke that can occur if the stroke happens in the right side of the brain:
- Paralysis or weakness on the left side
- Numbness and stiffness
- Problems with seeing
- Memory loss
While the following are side effects commonly seen when the stroke occurs on the left side of the brain:
- Paralysis or weakness on the right side
- Problems with speaking or with language
Other changes that you may notice include:
- Changes in bowel movements, especially constipation
- Cognitive problems, such as confusion and short-term memory loss
Home Modifications for a Stroke Victim
If your loved one has been left with physical disabilities that prevent them from getting around their house on their own, you may need to:
- Consider installing a star lift or glide. If your family member can still get in and out of a wheelchair but has difficulty negotiating a flight of steps safely, a mechanical stair lift can carry them safely upstairs via a chair that is attached to a rail. If, on the other hand, your family member is unable to get out of a wheelchair, you may want to consider installing a wheelchair stair lift instead. With this type of lift, your family member rolls their wheelchair onto a platform, which can then move them safely up or down the steps.
- Add grab rails in your showers and bathtubs so that your family member has something to stabilize themselves with. Also consider adding a bathmat or other non-slip surface to the floor of the shower or tub.
- Purchase supplies to help them bathe. Strokes often limit the ability of a stroke victim to make certain movements, so purchase long-handled sponges so they can reach their backs and feet. Also make sure that shampoo and soap are in bottles that are easy for them to squeeze or to pump. The bottles that many products come in can be difficult for a stroke victim to manage.
- Install a raised toilet seat. This will make it easier for the family member to get on and off the toilet by themselves.
Even if you can be home full-time to help your family member, you may want to consider hiring extra help or getting assistance from other loved ones, especially if the stroke victim needs help with their basic needs, such as getting in and out of the tub or on and off of a stair lift. Being a primary caregiver to a stroke victim can be very tiring physically and mentally, so it's important to give yourself some relief at times.
With the proper modifications, such as a stair lift and a raised toilet seat, transitioning your family member back to life at home can be made much easier. Click here to learn more about this topic.Share