A stroke can lead to a number of lingering physical complications. Muscle weakness, sudden bouts of dizziness, problems with balance and coordination … all of these things can make day to day tasks seem impossible.
Fortunately, there are a lot of household upgrades and assistive devices that can help you maintain your independence, whatever your needs are.
- A single tip cane gives a little extra help walking.
- A quad cane offers greater stability.
- Consider a walker if balance is a major issue.
- A wheelchair or scooter.
Bathing and Toilet Needs
- Install grab bars in the shower or bathtub or near the toilet.
- A bath chair or bench. Some have steps built into the side to help walk over the high rim of the bathtub.
- A detachable showerhead on a long hose.
- Anti-slip rubber decals to stick to the tub, or bath mats anchored by suction cups at the bottom.
- Long handled sponges and bath mitts.
- A raised toilet seat is a simple plastic ring that fits over the existing toilet so the person doesn’t have to sit so low down.
- A toilet frame with arm rests to help you get up.
Other Personal Care Needs
- Portable foot bath to soak toenails and make them easier to cut
- Press-down nail clippers, if the scissor-style ones are too hard to grip.
- A pumice stone on a long handle.
- A toothpaste squeezer.
- Long handled hairbrush or comb.
- An electric shaver.
- A stand for a hairdryer.
- Makeup brushes and applicators with thick handles. Consider universal foam handles that can be slipped over the brushes you already have.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Dress the weaker side first.
- Fasten buttons with a button hook.
- Look for wrap clothes and those with front fasteners, no tricky zippers at the back.
- Consider going to a tailor and having some clothes altered to use Velcro fasteners or easy plastic snaps.
- Avoid clothes with a lot of texture or seaming, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting.
- Look for sock pullers and a long handled shoe horn if flexibility is an issue.
Cooking and eating
- Invest in a kitchen trolley, to reduce wandering around the kitchen gathering what you need. These are wheeled, so do not lean your full weight against them unless they have a locking brake.
- A rocker knife to cut food.
- A wall mounted electric can opener.
- Adhesive rubber placemats to keep bowls from sliding.
- Plastic plates, cups, and bowls are easier to handle when hand and arm strength is reduced.
- Multipurpose utensils such as a spork, so fewer have to be juggled while eating.
- Drink from a long straw placed into the cup if it is difficult to lift. If you’re having trouble swallowing, consult your medical team.
Communicating with loved ones
- An ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Some are specially designed for one handed use.
- Voice operated typing program.
- Type to talk devices.
- Communication boards and books, so you can point at the pictures or words you want to get across.
One Step at a Time
With a little practice, these common devices can help you stay on top of your household tasks and get back to living a full life with your loved ones.Advertisement