Using a Wheelchair Doesn’t Mean Giving Up on Independence
Provo-Orem is home to some of the healthiest and long-lived seniors in the nation. Remaining independent remains one of their primary concerns, but mobility issues or disability can create problems and situations that require assistance. However, a few changes to a home can make it more accessible and convenient for seniors with mobility issues.
Height is often a problem when you’re in a wheelchair. Orem custom cabinets built low on the ground will allow you to access what’s inside without using unwieldy extended grabber tools. Countertops can either have a hollow portion for wheelchair access or sliding surfaces so that they can be accessed. Stovetops and sinks should be a little lower for better vision with the same hollow portions that will not impede your wheelchair. Kitchen appliances should have their switches on the front to allow quick and easy operation and be situated on heights that are easily reached. Emergencies are more dangerous if you have mobility issues. Fire alarms connected to emergency services can make things safer, ensuring a quick response in case of fires.
Bathrooms are notorious for senior accidents and are often described as the most unsafe room in the house. Make sure the doors are wide enough to allow your wheelchair to pass through easily, and the light switch is within reach. You can also opt for a motion-activated light system on the corridors leading to the bathroom — and the bathroom itself — for more comfortable trips. Make sure there is a clear path from the door to the toilet, with no obstructions like rugs or mats that can get snagged on your wheelchair.
Transferring seats from your wheelchair to the toilet can be a bit complicated, but raised toilet seats and nearby grab bars can make the task easier. Taking baths is a lot more complicated when you have mobility issues. Showers are close to impossible, and getting in and out of a tub will require assistance. However, you can still keep your bath time private with a walk-in tub. These tubs are specifically designed with seniors in mind, especially those with mobility issues. Getting into one is as easy as transferring seats, and there’s no risk of slipping into the water because you’ll be in a sitting position as you bathe.
Make sure your bed is level with your wheelchair for secure transfer. Avoid long skirts or bedding that can catch on the wheels of your chair and opt for bedding or comforters that don’t extend to the floor. Install bed rails to help you climb in and out of bed and provide a bit of safety when you’re sleeping. Getting up once you’ve fallen to the floor can be quite tricky, and railings can prevent you from going over. If you’re having problems sleeping, change your mattress to suit your sleeping position — firmer beds if you sleep on your back and softer ones if you sleep on your side or belly.
Relying on a wheelchair doesn’t mean you have to give up on your independence. A few changes around the house can make life have a semblance of normalcy, allowing you to go about your day without assistance from others.