HOME CHECK LIST
The number one priority for a loved one is safety, especially now as mobility and independence decreases. Moving a loved one into your home or making their home more accessible to their current condition can be stressful. There are several things to consider such as bathroom and bedroom safety, as well as daily and mobility aids. In addition to these safety concerns, you may also need to think about disposable, incontinence, household and personal care products. Lastly, wellness should be on top of your mind so nutritional supplements, vitamins & minerals, and physical therapy products might be a consideration.
The bathroom is a private place, but can also be dangerous due to fall hazards. Some bathroom safety items to consider are:
- Shower chair or transfer benches - Shower chairs or bath chairs can be used in either tub or stand up shower. These are ideal for individuals who cannot stand for long periods of time. Some shower chairs come with backs and arms for additional protection and comfort. Transfer benches are ideal for bathtubs that are difficult to get into. An individual can sit on the transfer bench simply slide on into the ideal position for bathing. Transfer benches also act as bathing chairs during the shower.
- Bath Mat - Bath mats can help prevent an individual from falling in the shower or bath. They are a simple and inexpensive fix for slippery bath tubs.
- Handheld shower head - Handheld shower heads help make bathing easier, especially if an individual is using a shower chair or bench.
- Raised toilet seat and toilet frame - Raised toilet seats help an individual from bending too much to get down to standard toilet seat height. Elevated toilet seats are useful for those with limited to no mobility. Some raised toilet seats come with arms for more assistance sitting down or getting up. Toilet frames with arms are also available for the same purpose. Most elevated toilet seats and toilet frame arms attach to a standard toilet. Please check the size of toilet and requirements before purchasing one.
- Safety grab bars - Safety grab bars are for safety in the bathroom. Grab bars can be placed in the shower, tub or wall to help make maneuvering in the bathroom easier and safer. Safety grab bars come in different sizes, materials and type. Some grab bars are adjustable and can be moved to any location desired, while others are permanent fixtures. Tub rails are also available to help an individual get in and out of the tub safely.
- Commode - Commodes are a great option when mobility is an issue. Commodes are portable toilets that can be placed anywhere needed. Most commodes come with arms, seat and pail. Pails are also sold separately if a replacement is needed. Some commodes are developed for the shower incase incontinence is a concern.
- Long handled sponge - Long handled sponges help make washing oneself easier, especially when using a bathing chair. Long handled sponges help alleviate bending and stretching to reach areas that are difficult to reach.
The bedroom is typically a peaceful place, yet can also be dangerous with safety hazards lurking. When setting up a bedroom to ensure the safety and convenience of you or your loved one, please consider the following bedroom aids:
- Alarms and sensors - Alarms and sensors help notify caregivers or others when an individual has left position. These are typically used for beds or chairs where an individual is more likely to fall. Bed alarms or chair sensors go under a chair or bed pad to a hook and loop belt alarm for wheelchairs.
- Bed rails - Bedrails are a helpful solution for keeping a loved one in bed or to help them get in or out of bed. There are many different types of bedrails such as soft, assist rail, “t”style bedrail and full length bedrails. There are also bedrails pads to help add comfort.
- Fall mats - Fall mats or safety mats are often used when falling out of bed becomes a concern. These mats are generally a cushion that helps prevent injuries from falls. Additionally, there are also no-slip or anti-slip material or matting available to put on surfaces to further help from falling.
- Mattress covers & Overlays - Sometimes beds, especially medical beds, can be uncomfortable. If added cushion is desired, mattress overlays or commonly known as mattress pads or egg-crates, are an economical solution. Also, for bladder leaks at night, mattress covers are helpful solution. Mattress covers vary in size and material and are typically reusable. If a disposable option is desired, underpads are great for beds or chairs.
- Over the bed tables - Over the bed tables are a convenient option for bedside or by a chair. Some over the bed tables tilt or are adjustable. They also make it easy for an individual to reach items since the table can be pulled close while laying down or sitting and also typically have wheels for easy maneuvering.
- Other bedroom aids - Depending on needs, some additional items may need to be considered such as restraints, pillows, bedpans and urinals, emesis basin, and bed warmers. Restraints help prevent movement and come in different styles such as mitts and limb holders. If getting to the bathroom is difficult, bedpans or urinals are an option and can be used while sitting or lying down without moving. If unable to shower regularly, emesis basins allow for easy cleaning. If an individual gets cold easily, bed warmers help add an extra layer of warmth. Lastly, if positioning is important, there are several pillows and therapeutic cushions available as well, offering comfortability and positioning.
If mobility is a concern or becoming a concern, there are many options for both in home and remote locations. Some individuals only need mobility or walking aids when they travel since their home is set up in a way that is comfortable to them without aids.
- Canes - Canes are a basic mobility aid that are generally light weight and easy to use. Canes act as a support aid while walking and come in different styles including quad cane, offset cane, folding cane and standard cane. A universal crutch, or one arm crutch, is similar to cane and also acts as a support aid while walking.
- Crutch - Crutches are commonly known for supporting your body while walking after a leg injury. In addition to the common form of crutches, there are also universal crutches, known as one arm crutches, and forearm crutches. These two types of crutches act like a cane in the way that they help support an individual while walking with typically one piece or leg with added support from the arm piece.
- Rollators - Rollators are walking aids that have a frame and wheels. Additionally, rollators have seats which make them ideal for individuals who cannot walk for long periods of time and need to rest periodically. Many times, the seat is also used to place items on when walking. This frees up their hands and helps them get to point A to point B safely. Lastly, there are additional rollator accessories that can be used such as rollator cushions, baskets and totes.
- Walkers - Walkers are another basic walking aid, but offer more stability than a cane. Walkers generally have four legs and come with or without wheels. Walkers typically need to be lifted before or after each step, which may require some strength. If this is not ideal, wheels or gliders can be added to some walkers. Another solution is walkers with all wheels, which are commonly known as rollators. Additionally, walkers can have other accessories added such as walker baskets, pouches and trays.
- Transfer belts - Transfer belts allow a caregiver or nurse to safely lift an individual from a sitting position. Most belts go around the person’s waist and help the caregiver lift them without hurting their back. Some transfer belts come with handles for better assistance. Transfer belts are ideal for individuals who cannot lift themselves and require another person to assist them in lifting.
- Transfer boards - Transfer boards also allow a caregiver or nurse to safely move an individual, but in laying down position. Some boards come with cut outs or hand grips to help with moving. Transfer boards are ideal for individuals who are in laying down position and need to be moved as such.
- Wheelchairs - Wheelchairs are the same as the name implies, a chair with wheels. Wheelchairs are ideal for an individual who is limited with mobility or handicapped. Wheelchairs can be pushed by another person or pushed using the two larger wheels by the individual in the chair.
- Transport chairs - Transport chairs are like wheelchairs, but smaller and more compact. Transport chairs are generally used to help transport an individual from one place to another. An example of this is a store, the person may have the ability to walk with another walking aid, however the distance is too far and a transport chair is quicker and easier for them. Transport chairs have four of the same size wheels and must be pushed by another person. These are also lighter and fold up compared to wheelchairs.
Daily tasks can be cumbersome and can become obstacles for aging individuals. There are several daily aids or self-help aids that can help alleviate some of these obstacles.
- Shoehorns - A shoehorn helps the user to slip into shoes without bending, bruising heels, or crushing the backs of shoes. They are ideal for those who have trouble bending over to slip on their shoes and those with bad backs, hips or arthritis.
- Reachers - Reachers or grabbers help individuals grab or put up items. Most reachers have a handheld trigger handle which requires minimal strength. These are ideal for those who have trouble bending or with limited mobility. Reachers can be used from picking up the daily newspaper or a napkin that has fallen while eating.
- Socks & Stocking Donner - Sock aids help put on socks easier and with one hand, while stocking donners help put stockings on. Both stocking donners and sock aids are ideal for those who have trouble bending or have arthritis, especially in the hands, when grabbing items becomes difficult.
- Button Loops, Zipper Pulls & Dressing Sticks - Button loops help allow a user to hook the button and pull it through the hole easier. Zipper pulls act similar in nature and hook a zipper to allow a user to zipper a piece of clothing easier than the traditional zipper tab. Dressing sticks work with a combination of hook/pusher to assist in putting on shirts and jackets, pulling up slacks or removing socks. These aids are ideal for those with limited range of motion and arthritis in the hands.
- Elastic Shoelaces - Elastic shoelaces help alleviate the pain of tying traditional shoelaces. Elastic shoelaces allow enough stretch so that shoes can be slipped on or off without untying. They can be useful for those with limited dexterity or have difficulty tying shoelaces.
If you are a caregiver, you may also want to think about disposable products and clean up. These can include:
- Disposable incontinence products
- Briefs & Diapers - Adult disposable briefs and adult diapers are ideal for those with incontinence or bladder control issues. There are a variety of briefs and diapers to choose from, both men and women. Check the absorbency levels and size to determine which brief or diaper is ideal.
- Pads & Liners - Incontinence pads and underwear liners are primarily used for bladder leaks and can be placed in user’s underwear. Pads are developed for both women and men, men’s pads may also be known as guards. Check the absorbency levels and size to determine which pads are ideal.
- Underpads- Underpads are additional protection against bladder leaks and are primarily used for beds or chairs. These are commonly used at night and are known as bedwetting pads. Check the absorbency levels and size to determine which underpads are ideal.
- Perineal Wipes - Perineal wipes, butt wipes, adult baby wipes, or personal wipes are used to clean up the perineal area. These should be used for those using incontinence products such as briefs, diapers, pads or underwear in which the skin has direct contact with fecal matter. Keeping the perineal area clean is important and perineal wipes are quick and convenient at doing that.
- Underwear- Incontinence underwear is similar to briefs and diapers but look and feel more like underwear. Check the absorbency levels and size to determine which underwear is ideal.
- Gloves - Gloves help protect against germs, bodily waste and some hazard waste. There are numerous types of gloves including latex gloves, nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves. Most gloves indicate the level of protection offered. Be sure to check protection level, size and material in case of allergies.
- Disinfectant wipes - Disinfectant wipes are a quick way to clean and disinfect an area. These are ideal for bathrooms or other hard surface areas. Disinfectant wipes have cleaner in it, so all you have to do is wipe a surface clean.
- Masks - Medical face masks can be used to help prevent infection. These can be used for an ill patient or for fecal clean up. Be sure to check protection levels before purchasing.
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