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Preparing Your Home for Caregiving

Preparing Your Home for Caregiving
When taking the steps in becoming a successful caregiver for a loved one or patient, it is imperative that you prepare your home accordingly. Particularly if the individual in question is prone to outbursts or destructive behavior, it is important that you ensure that their living environment is safe.

Of course, every situation is different. There are always going to be factors that you will not see beforehand, and thus you should be flexible and patient with yourself in setting up the best environment. Here are some general things to consider when preparing your home for caregiving.

Entrance and Exit

Put yourself in the shoes of the older adult, and imagine some of the challenges they may face that you may not consider yourself. Is the house or apartment a place that can be entered and exited safely? Is there secure railing, and are the stairs in good condition?

Ensure that the living area is free from clutter and unnecessary furniture. Check that the locks are working as intended and if the emergency exit is clear and easily reached.

Kitchen

Make sure that the kitchen appliances, such as the refrigerator, freezer, and faucets can be used easily and safely. Put utensils, pots, pans, and sharp objects in places that are easy to reach and stowed away when not in use.

Keep towels, curtains, and other flammable material away from the stove. Prevent accidents by being aware of potentially dangerous situations your older adult can be put in doing what you may consider simple tasks such as food preparation.

Living Areas

The furniture in your living areas should have straight backs and firm seats so that they are easier to sit down on and get up from. Make sure that the television can be easily managed, and that windows and doors can be easily opened or locked.

Secure electrical cords so that your older adult can not trip on them, out of walkways with tape. It can also be helpful to have the telephone’s speed dial to be pre-programmed with emergency contact numbers.
Bedroom

Is your older adult able to get in and out of bed safely? Can they turn the light on and off from the bed? Is there a clear path to the bathroom? In case of an emergency, make sure that there is no clutter and that most things are within reach of the bed.

Bathroom

Is your older adult able to get in and out of the shower or bathtub safely? Will a tub bench or chair be necessary? Are there bath mats in place?

Remember that many home accidents occur in the bathroom. Put in a nightlight and be aware of the hazards that the older adult may face during basic sanitary practices. In particular, it is helpful to have a large rug that covers most of the floor to prevent slipping.

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