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Caring for Ill Family Members in Your Home

by Marion White 03/11/2019

Illness or an accident may strike a family member at any time. Or, they may require surgery or other care. And when they need in-home care during recovery, you may find yourself woefully unprepared.

Prepare your home

Caring for an invalid or person recovering from an illness reveals many areas in a house that do not work well with wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches. These include stairs, narrow doorways, and halls without rails. Turning radius requirements for wheelchairs notably, sadly are lacking in most homes.

Additionally, most baths and shower enclosures do not have grab bars, and something as simple as a faucet may be too complicated to manipulate if your family member's illness causes weakness or lack of feeling.

If your parents are aging and ill, or if you have a child or teen with ambulatory limitations, here are a few suggestions of things to do to make your home invalid-friendly and reduce some of the stress:

  • Replace door and cabinet knobs with levers. A lever-style handle is operable with just one hand giving a gentle push.
  • Add grab bars to any place where water might make it slippery, including inside and outside of bath and shower enclosures, and near the toilet.
  • Switch out knob-style faucets for lever-style.
  • Add railings to outdoor steps, and any interior steps, even if only one or two stairs.
  • If possible, replace all interior room doors with 36-inch doors, the best width to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Add rails to long hallways.
  • Make sure seating for meals is at wheelchair height if necessary.
  • Keep clutter and extra furniture out of the way to remove hazards and barriers.

Prepare yourself

No matter how ill your family member is, you are of no help to them if you don't take care of yourself. Arrange for periodic relief. Sometimes you only need a breather, and other times you may need to get away for a couple of hours. Reach out to other family members or to friends or hire a care-giving service for those times you need to get away to refresh yourself. You can not give to your loved one if you have nothing to offer.

Prepare your family

Children in the home need preparation, information, and instructions regarding the ill family member. A child that used to run directly into grandma's arms might be confused about what to do when grandma uses a walker or wheelchair. Of, if Uncle Charles typically gets down on the floor to play with them, but has a broken leg and can't do that right now, your children may not understand. Preparing your children for what to expect in a gentle and non-fearful way helps them adjust to any temporary inconvenience your love one is subject to during recovery. 

If you expect to care for a loved one in the future, make plans to include ADA compliant options as part of your homebuyer checklist.

About the Author

Author
Marion White

As a full-time and results-driven REALTOR, with high expectations for myself, I am committed to helping you buy or sell a home.  I thrive on goals, challenges and results.  My effort, determination and commitment will remain steadfast throughout the process.  I have 21 years of Residential Real Estate experience.  I have been a resident of Plaistow, NH for 43 years with 2 Children and 3 Grand Children, I enjoy the game of Golf as a player and spectator as well as Football and Baseball.  I carry a multi-faced background and professional approach to Real Estate.  My professional affiliations include:

     *New Hampshire Association of Realtors

     *Granite State South Board of Realtors

     *Northern New England Real Estate Network (NH MLS)

     *Massachusetts Property Information Network (MA MLS)

     *Showcase of Homes on Realtor.com

Welcome to your resource for your southern New Hampshire, Rockingham County and Essex County Massachusetts real estate needs! If you are seeking a licensed REALTOR® that provides professional representation and a high caliber of service, I specialize in providing customers/clients with personalized service in finding both a home and a community that meets their needs. Whether you are a first-time Home Buyer, Relocating or Purchasing or Selling, I welcome working with you!  That means finding the exact home you're looking for, or selling your home promptly and for the best price. It means not having to worry, even if you're new to the real estate arena, or if you're moving thousands of miles away.

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