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Modifying Homes As People With Parkinson’s Disease Decline
Modifying a home for someone with Parkinson’s disease involves creating a safe and accessible environment that accommodates the challenges associated with the condition. Here are some general suggestions to help an older person with Parkinson’s disease adapt to their home:
- Remove Tripping Hazards:
- Secure loose rugs or remove them altogether.
- Eliminate clutter and unnecessary furniture to create clear pathways.
- Install Grab Bars and Handrails:
- Install grab bars in the bathroom near the toilet and shower to provide support.
- Add handrails along staircases and in hallways to assist with stability.
- Create a Safe Bathroom:
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
- Consider a shower chair or bench for added safety.
- Raise the height of the toilet with an elevated seat.
- Adapt the Kitchen:
- Arrange kitchen items at waist height for easy access.
- Consider installing pull-out shelves to minimize reaching.
- Use appliances with large, easy-to-grip handles and buttons.
- Choose Appropriate Furniture:
- Select chairs and sofas with sturdy arms to assist with sitting and standing.
- Opt for furniture with a firm back and seat for better support.
- Improve Lighting:
- Ensure adequate lighting throughout the home to reduce the risk of falls.
- Use bright, contrasting colors on stairs and steps.
- Install Smart Home Devices:
- Implement voice-activated devices for lights, thermostats, and other home controls to reduce the need for manual adjustments.
- Consider Motorized Furniture:
- Explore motorized or lift chairs to assist with sitting and standing.
- Adjustable beds can also provide more comfort.
- Flooring Considerations:
- Choose non-slip flooring materials, such as low-pile carpet or non-slip tiles.
- Consider replacing high-pile carpet with a smoother surface for easier mobility.
- Enhance Communication:
- Use large, easy-to-read labels for switches and controls.
- Ensure that a phone or communication device is easily accessible in case of emergencies.
- Consult Occupational Therapists:
- Seek advice from occupational therapists who can provide personalized recommendations based on the individual’s specific needs.
- Regularly Review and Adjust:
- As the person’s condition may change, periodically reassess the home environment and make necessary adjustments.
It’s crucial to involve the individual with Parkinson’s disease in the process to address their specific needs and preferences. Consulting with healthcare professionals, such as occupational therapists, can provide valuable insights for creating a home environment that promotes safety and independence.