Caring.com suggests 7 designs to help people 'live in their house forever'. They talk about 'universal design', products and features for use of anyone regardless of their physical limits. These came from the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University which is a resource for useful designs for anyone of any age or ability or disability.
* Design that is equally appealing to all users: "wherever possible, universal design creates spaces that can be used by everyone equally and that are appealing to all. UD doesn't stigmatize any one group of users -- like those obvious wheelchair ramps tacked onto the fronts of older homes."
For example - a no-step entry, a lever-handed front door (no knob), mirrors placed where you can be seen in them sitting or standing, no changes in floor levels.
* Flexible use: accomodates for left and right handed people and a variety of uses. Have at least one bedroom and one bathroom on the main floor (even if it starts out as a playroom or storage room), possibly a laundry area too. Use paddle handled handles in the sinks, a small rolling cart to use, pull out boards in different spots in the kitchen to help with cutting (if possible put them at different heights to accomodate someone standing or sitting), pocket doors to use less space.
* Presents essential information clearly: information can be easily received through sensory, tactile, or pictoral means. Keyless locks that use a remote control or pad, appliance controls that use words as well a pictures (like blue for cold, red for hot), a circuit breaker on the main floor that is clearly marked, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should verbalize the situation as well a show an alarm.
*Allow for user errors: install grab bars, handrails, there are also curbless showers, floors made of non-slip materials, rugs that are low-pile and tightly woven like Berber, spring loaded switch for garbage disposals that has to be held so no hands or forks get in there, contrasting edge on counters for those with visual problems - these corners should also be rounded.
* Appropriate size and space use regardless of body size or mobility. No matter what your size or posture or mobility or intellect you should be able to use the area and equipment. Open floor plan with 5 1/2 foot halls, a variety of work surface heights, fold back doors under a cooking island for those in a wheelchair or step stool, wall mounted sink (drain at the back) with open space below for those in wheelchairs, raised or adjustable toilet seats, a moulded seat in the shower stall.
I am sure if you go through someone's house you can come up with different ideas to make the space more useful to those inside. Get creative.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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