Making Home Safe for a Stroke Survivor

Stroke affects everyone differently. A stroke can leave a survivor with difficulties in their speech, cognitive skills, vision and mobility. However, with time, patience and hard work, many are able to regain some of their previous abilities and can lead fulfilling lives.

Ensuring a safe home environment for stroke survivors can make a huge difference in their ability to live independently and comfortably and avoid falls.

Here are 10 changes you can make at home to enhance safety for a stroke survivor:

  1. Clear walkways of clutter to provide unobstructed access to other rooms such as the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
  2. Remove or secure carpets and runners in the hallways, stairwells and entryways to prevent slipping.
  3. Position furniture in the corners or against the walls, and use corner guards on sharp corners and edges to prevent accidental bumps or injuries.
  4. Install handrails in the home to provide a stroke survivor with support when moving up or down stairs.
  5. Add safety devices in the bathroom, such as a raised toilet seat, tub bench, handheld showerhead and electric toothbrushes.
  6. For walking support, purchase a walking aid to use, such as a brace, cane, walker or wheelchair.
  7. Make sure doorways are wide enough for easy access with a wheelchair or walker.  Consider installing a ramp outside.
  8. Install proper flooring inside the home, such as low-pile carpeting, small ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring.
  9. Secure electrical cords against the wall or to the floor so they are not loose, which would be a tripping hazard.
  10. Purchase a portable alarm or have a telephone within the survivor’s reach to allow him or her to call someone for assistance or in case of an emergency.

For more information on ways to make your home safer and easier to navigate for a stroke survivor, contact an occupational therapist or physical therapist. To learn more about stroke survivorship and recovery, attend our monthly Stroke Survivors Support Group. Call 410-871-7000 for more information.

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