So mom took a bad fall and is finally coming home from the hospital? That’s great news! You need to ask yourself if the home she is returning to or moving into is accessible. Does it have stairs? Can she climb stairs with assistance or not at all?
Here are some key things to think about and prepare before her return.
Does she need assistance to move around? You might need to get her a walker or rollator. A walker comes with either 4 legs or with small wheels on the front legs. It’s small, light and easy to maneuver indoors. A walker with wheels on all its legs is called a “rollator” and is great for outdoor use and long distances. It comes with handbrakes and a seat (4-wheel rollators only). Think about her needs, where she’s using it and daily travel distance. Read more about walkers and rollators to make an informed decision. For more serious injuries and conditions, mom may need a wheelchair to get around. Do some research and look into the financial assistance offered by many states and provinces (funding in the US/funding in Canada).
If her house has stairs, you have quite a few options. If mom is using a cane or walker, you might consider a stairlift. A stairlift is essentially a chair on rails that can transport the homeowner up and down the staircase, whether straight or curved. If mom is in a wheelchair, you could install a wheelchair lift or home elevator. Again, there are lots of options. A vertical platform lift works like an elevator, transporting homeowners between floors, whereas an inclined platform lift works like a stairlift, providing wheelchair access over a single flight of stairs. A home elevator is, of course, what it sounds like. Options range from basic to luxury. Think about your price range, layout of the home, and installation time, as these things can range quite a bit between models.
The entranceway can often be forgotten during the planning stage. Does mom have steps leading up to the door? Consider installing a ramp or wheelchair lift for the front of the house.
One room to consider upgrading is the bathroom. A large percentage of falls in the home occur in the bathroom and we want to make sure mom is safe both in this room and on the path to and from this room. Check out our blog on bathroom safety for some suggestions on where to start.
What about transportation? Does mom want to be able to drive? Is she able to drive in an accessible vehicle? If she is in a wheelchair, you or another family member or caregiver may want to consider the purchase of an accessible van. This will make trips together much easier for you and much more comfortable for mom. Again, have a look at financial assistance for accessible vehicles, as many provinces offer some type of funding.
And last but not least, welcome her home! Maybe stock the fridge, PVR some great movies, and leave a new book out on her favourite armchair. After being in the hospital for a while, a new and improved but familiar home could be just what she needs. Welcome home mom!