Aging in Place Home Modifications for Cognitive Impairment After a Stroke
According to the National Stroke Association, cognition is the process of thinking and knowing things. Damage to the brain after a stroke can cause many cognitive changes. Doing things that once were easy may now be hard. Changes in cognition are very stressful. Cognitive challenges after stroke include dementia (orientation and alertness), memory problems, and communication challenges (aphasia).
Home modifications to improve safety and accessibility can make living at home better for those with cognitive impairment after a stroke. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) can help with these home modifications.
Some modifications in the home to improve safety for victims of cognitive impairment include:
Relocating furniture to avoid tripping hazards.
Replacing or removing carpeting or rugs.
Installing guardrails below high object that are not at least 80 inches above the floor.
Install contrasting colors on elements or where depth perception is poor.
Install non-glare and/or non-yellow lighting.
Install brighter light bulbs.
Replace sheer curtains with mini-blinds to cut down on glare.
Mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape or paint to make them easier to see.
Use soaps and shampoos in pump dispensers to prevent spillage, or hang a shower caddy in the shower to hold your soap and shampoo.
In the shower, use a hand-held showerhead so you can test the water temperature on your hand.
At all sink water sources with hot and cold water, make sure the hot water faucet handle is on the left side.
Install handrails on both sides of all step systems, regardless of the number of steps.
Eliminate all abrupt vertical elevation rises greater than 1/2 inch.
Make sure that all abrupt vertival elevation rises greater than 1/4 inch are sloped at least 1:2 for that part above 1/4 inch rise.
At single handle shower faucets, make sure you get full hot water only at the full throw or movement of the faucet handle.
Make sure the maximum hot water temperature at all faucets is 120 degrees F. If not, adjust the water temperature selector at the hot water heater.
Install signage at all doors to remind the occupant what is beyond the door.