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Stroke: A Family Guide

Strokes, depending on the location of the brain affected make everyday life a challenge for both the victim and their family. Following a stroke the damage might prevent movement and lead to confusion and memory problems. However difficult this might be, according to the extent of the damage there are a lot of options available to promote independent and active living that make everyday tasks a lot easier. Make sure the home is as safe as possible in terms of carpeting, lighting, exposure of electrical cords and width of doorways. Have a look at our guide to see how each room can be prepared for a stroke survivor:

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Hallways

Minimising clutter might seem like an obvious first step, however it is vital for the patient’s safety and independent living. When clutter is minimised, everyday items can be found much more easily and a person can move from one side of the house to another even in a confused state. Furniture's corners should also be covered with foam padding to avoid bruising and moved against the walls of each room. Make sure all hazardous electrical cords are hidden as it could be extremely dangerous to be exposed to them while on a confused state. It is also a good practice to remove any rugs and mats that could get in the way and cause tripping, alternatively they could be taped to the floor. If the stroke survivor is using a wheelchair, you need to make sure the doors are wide enough for the chair to go through them, the carpet in their house should also be appropriate as thick carpeting can prevent the wheels’ movement.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are some of the most dangerous rooms for a stroke survivors, however they don’t need to be with the right equipment. Make sure you stick non-slip mats at the bottom of the shower or the bath and have grab bars installed as these will help them get in and out easily, minimising dangers of slipping. Using a bath seat might also be a necessity depending on their ability to stand.

Bedrooms

It is good practice to organise the room so that all necessities are lowered down and readily available to minimise confusion and make it easier for the victim to get back to normal everyday tasks. According to the severity of the damage, some people can be bed bound or have difficulty getting in and out of bed independently. In these cases bed levers, trays and even special beds might be essential.Getting dressed and undressed independently might also be a challenge, however, there are a lot of dressing aids available on the market to make the process easier.

Kitchens

Reorganising the kitchen for a person that has just suffered a stroke does not have to be expensive and or unmanageable. If the stroke survivor is now on a wheelchair and cannot reach the majority of the high shelves, make sure all essentials are readily available on the side for their convenience. The use of straws, scoop bowls/ dishes, safe cutlery and bibs might also be a necessity according to the damage caused, so make sure you stock up on new kitchen sets that are stroke-friendly. It also probably a good idea to buy appliances that turn themselves off automatically in case they are forgotten and cause a fire.

Stairs

Stairs can be a dangerous hazard for many stroke sufferers. Make sure the lighting is very bright and the carpet / floor does not present any potentially dangerous irregularities to avoid tripping and missing steps. Adding a stairlift to the staircase might also be a necessity for many victims as well as promoting their independence and general comfort.

The best advice we can give when it comes to preparing a stroke victim’s home for their arrival is to plan ahead. Everyday tasks might become very challenging but not impossible to tackle. Preparing each room with the victim in mind will make life much easier for everyone involved.

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