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Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.

Can't Open the Washing Machine (Or Dryer) Door?
Pexels

Pexels

I will admit to you all today that I sometimes struggle to open the washing machine or dryer door. There are instances where I do not grip the door handle well enough and my hand slips off! Occasionally, I attempt to open the door and need to tug on it two to three times before it opens! When I experience this I tend to think, "Oh my gosh, why is this so hard?"

Then my occupational therapy brain starts to kick in and think: "How can I solve this? How can I make it easier to open the washer or dryer door?"

Well my friends, let me share some ideas with you today! Let's go through and think about your current situation!

stay_at_home_solutions_laundry

Please go and look at your washer and dryer right now. I will patiently wait for you! (Side note: Hopefully your washer and dryer are on the main level of your house. If not, put that in your three to five year home modification plan! A washer and dryer on the main level of the house helps people age in place in their home!)

Ok, did you look? I am going to ask the following questions:

  • What type of washer and dryer do you have? Are they front or top loaders?

  • Are they a stackable washer and dryer?

  • What brand do you have? 

  • Which direction does the door open and shut on the washer and dryer?

  • Where are the control buttons on the washer and dryer? On the front of the machine? Towards the back on a panel?

  • Where is it located in the house?

The answers to these questions tell me a lot about how you are moving to do laundry. It leads me to other questions about you personally like:

  • What is your dominant hand? Right or left?

  • What is your grip strength?

  • Are you sitting or standing at the machine when moving loads?

  • Are you sitting or standing while folding clothes?

  • How far can you reach while sitting or standing?

  • Are you using equipment, like a walker or reacher?

  • When you do laundry, do you wear out after a short time or can you do everything without rest breaks?

  • Do you lose your balance when reaching for clothes inside the machine?

There are no right or wrong answers! Everyone does laundry a little bit different. Answering these questions helps me think about the best options for you when opening the washer and dryer door. It tells me what your needs are and the possible solutions to making it easier to open the door handle every time.

It is also really helpful to see you in action! Ask your local, friendly occupational therapist to watch how you open the washer or dryer door handle to find a way to make it better for you! Or another option is to have your family member or friend take a video recording. You know your teenage children or grandchildren would be happy to whip out their phones to video record you in action!

After considering all the information and how you open the washer or dryer door handle, perhaps your solution is as simple as switching the door hinges to swing from the right instead of the left or vice versa. Maybe you are able to add some texture around the handle of the washer and dryer door handle, like shelf liner or some other type of non slip grip. The solution varies from person to person!

Clarke Health Care grab bar

Clarke Health Care grab bar

I talked with another occupational therapist about trying a suction cup grab bar on the washer or dryer door. The handle of the suction cup grab bar would be easier to grip. However, the temperature changes on the surface of the machine's door could cause the suction cup grab bar to fall off after several uses. If you have tried to use a suction cup grab bar as a door handle on your washer or dryer, please comment down below! I am curious to hear your experience!

To be honest, this is one of the rare times I encourage people to use a suction cup grab bar at home! Please click here to read why I am skeptical about suction cup grab bars!

After doing some quick research, I found an ingenious way to fix a broken handle on a washer or dryer door. Click here to read this do-it-yourself article on how to change your washer/dryer door handle into a rope handle! I have never seen anyone use a rope as a door handle on the washer or dryer in person. Nevertheless, this option is appealing because it is inexpensive and straightforward to pull on the rope to open the door.

An alternative strategy is an autorelease, or automatic, washer or dryer door. The door would open as soon as the load finished, which lessens the need to open the washer or dryer door. I researched this option and only found it for a dishwasher brand. Manufacturers, hear my plea to be more creative with your washer and dryer handles!

Home Depot Samsung Washer

Home Depot Samsung Washer

In the same technology vein, I looked at several smart washers and dryers. I could not find any with a feature that made it easier to open the washer and dryer door. However, I encourage you to consider this type of appliance because smart washers and dryers cost around the same amount as other washers and dryers. Other benefits include smart washers and dryers running loads when energy usage in your neighborhood is low, monitoring machine parts that need replacement, and controlling the machine from an app on your smart phone.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you open the washer or dryer door effortlessly! These tips will help you stay independent while doing your laundry for years to come. Laundry is not the most pleasurable chore for people, but you deserve for it to be free of difficulty! Please share what you have done to your washer or dryer door handle. Tell me what technology, equipment, or parts that I'm missing! 

Your Booty Wants This . . .

Today, I’m talking about a highly emotional topic: the agony related to toilet paper scraping against your booty when you go to the bathroom.

I know I may lose most of my readers with this article, but it needs to be addressed! Many people feel the pain and shame of a hurting booty and don’t want to talk about it.

I’ve been there! As a healthy adult, I didn’t have any booty pain until recent years. I thought, “Maybe I should go to the doctor and talk about why my booty hurts.” But then I recoiled in fear thinking about how embarrassed I might feel. I didn’t want to talk to my doctor about my personal health and I’m a healthcare provider!

“There has to be a better way,” I thought. So I did some research and stumbled across a solution that not only helps my booty stay clean and pain free, but helps me remain independent and home for a lifetime: the toilet seat bidet.

Photo of toilet seat bidet by Kohler

Photo of toilet seat bidet by Kohler

Photo by Cadet Bidet by American Standard

Photo by Cadet Bidet by American Standard

Like most Americans, I had never encountered or used a bidet until I went to Europe a couple of years ago. I walked into my Airbnb apartment in Munich and there it was: a bidet sitting right next to the toilet.

It was lower in height than the toilet next to it and sparkling white. My host asked that we avoid using it because there was a crack in the porcelain bowl.

What a missed opportunity! I was hoping to experience the feeling of cleanliness that no toilet paper could provide.

But lo and behold, I came across another form of bidet in an unexpected location: Sapp Bros in southern Missouri.

Photo of toilet seat bidet by Smart Bidet

Photo of toilet seat bidet by Smart Bidet

“What in tarnation?” I thought as I scanned the toilet seat bidet and noted the temperature and pressure controls. In my humble opinion, toilet seat bidets are the best option in the world of bidets because you don’t have to squat as far to use it. I felt so delighted that the toilet seat bidet was in such a sparsely populated area for travelers to feel that shower fresh clean!

I tip my hat to you, Sapp Bros!

Toilet paper alone cannot clean your booty as well as water. Think about it: when you get mud on your skin, do you feel cleaner washing it off or wiping it off with toilet paper?

Compared to other methods, plain water is amazingly effective at cleaning your booty! For instance, the chemicals in wet wipes irritate the delicate booty skin and cause breakdown if used for a long period of time.

No one wants a broken down butt!

I also love that the toilet seat bidet combines the toilet, which you already have at home, with the function of a bidet! You don’t have to take up bathroom space installing a bidet at home. Instead you get the benefits of a toilet and bidet together!

Using a toilet seat bidet limits the amount of twisting in your back and pain in your shoulders and hips you would normally feel with traditional toilet paper. A toilet seat bidet would actually help you use less toilet paper (or no toilet paper at all)! Saving money by purchasing less toilet paper makes me want to moon walk with excitement!

Installing toilet seat bidets is very easy! They are all a little different depending on the manufacturer, but essentially you remove your toilet seat, bolt down the bidet attachment, and place the toilet seat back on the stool! There are non electric and electric toilet seat bidet options. The non electric bidets only need to hook up to the same water you use for the toilet while the electric option would need a GFCI outlet next to the toilet to work. Both types of toilet seat bidet allow you to adjust the nozzle where you need it most on your bum and alter the water pressure. If your toilet is close to the bathroom sink, some models can attach to hot and cold water which lets you change the water temperature on the bidet.

If you want to get a little fancy, many electric toilet seat bidets have an air dryer function. This allows you to blow gentle warm air on your booty to dry it off before you go on to the next part of your day! How fabulous!

Photo of toilet seat bidet controls by Tushy

Photo of toilet seat bidet controls by Tushy

When shopping for a toilet seat bidet, expect to pay $70 or more depending on the brand. Look closely at the toilet seat bidet controls to determine if they’re going to work well for you! Do you think the controls will be hard to read or adjust? Some bidets come with remotes just like your TV, which makes it easier to select the options you want instead of craning your neck to the side of the toilet to read the fine print on mounted controls. Learning curves can be hard!

Lastly, if you or a loved one need a taller stool to get on and off the toilet, you’re in luck! There are toilet seat bidets that come with stool risers, so you can have the best of both worlds! Toilet seat bidet and stool riser combinations are great for people who have back and hip problems or muscle weakness. This set up allows people to stay independent with going to the bathroom and cleaning the booty. I can’t tell you how many people I know cry with joy and relief at the ability to retain privacy in the bathroom!

Tell me your thoughts! Did I convert you into a bidet believer? Are you going to push your bum higher on your priority list? In my perspective, toilet seat bidets are relatively affordable. Of course there are more expensive versions, but you can find them for a pretty low cost.

Do you already own some form of bidet and want to share your experience? We want to know what brands you love and which ones don’t work! Share in the comments below if you’re going shopping for a new bidet today!

Remember, you better bi-DO it before you need it!

6 Ways to Garden for Life!
Garden photo by Unsplash

Garden photo by Unsplash

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.”

-Unknown

I’m an enthusiastic amateur gardener! It makes me feel happy and alive to watch my plants attract wildlife.

Interestingly enough, gardening helps you feel good in your mind and body. People who garden tend to be active in later years and retain their strength and balance. It’s one of the best types of gentle exercise!

I love gardening most of all because it’s a great option to help you live at home for a lifetime!

You don’t have to be an experienced, master grower with a massive amount of land to reap the benefits of gardening. Whether you’ve got a couple of plants or a quarter acre, you’ll benefit from six tips to help you garden for life!

1) Warm Up Those Muscles!

I just mentioned that gardening is a form of exercise! Let’s not pull any muscles today! Before heading outside, stretch those major body muscle groups: back, shoulders, chest, legs, and glutes. If you need some stretching inspo, check out this 3 and ½ minute video from Go4Life!

2) Wear the Right Clothing!

Mother Nature invented some gnarly looking plants! Sometimes the thorn bushes and trees at my place remind me of the hellscape in my nightmares!

Long sleeved shirt by J. Crew

Long sleeved shirt by J. Crew

To properly protect my skin from scratches and too much sun, I wear light-weighted clothing with long sleeves and pants. I also wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep those sun spots away from my face!

Some people tell me, “I don’t want to wear long sleeves because I’ll sweat more.”

Well, guess what? In Missouri and Kansas, you’re going to sweat a lot regardless of what you’re wearing! Check out athletic long sleeved clothing that wicks away moisture from the skin. This type of clothing seems to be ubiquitous at every large retailer!

Lastly, keep in mind that gardening before 10 A.M. and after 2 P.M. helps you avoid the strongest sunshine! You’ll stay cooler gardening early in the morning or late in the evening.

3) Water, water everywhere!

Sip water before, during, and after gardening! Dehydration is super sneaky, especially in warmer weather! I’m a coffee drinker in the morning, but the problem is the caffeine makes me lose water faster when I’m gardening in the sun!

I make sure I have my 30 oz water container on hand when working outside. I try to take sips every 15-30 minutes to replace the water I’m losing through this type of exercise.

Sorry to gross you out, but I need to share a great tip! A good way to see that you’re getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine when you use the bathroom. If your urine is clear to light yellow, congratulations! You’re drinking enough water!

If the urine is a dark yellow, you better drink, drink, drink!

Bonus: My water breaks allow me to rest my body at the same time! Resting the body is equally as important as keeping it active.

I’m not getting an injury from a repetitive gardening task!

4) Choose Ergonomic Tools

Ergonomic garden tools by Radius Garden

Ergonomic garden tools by Radius Garden

Although gardening is exercise, we don’t want to work TOO HARD! Use gardening tools with long, curved handles for easier grip and leverage. These types of tools will prevent injuries, like wrist strain.

You can find ergonomic tools at most stores and online shopping. If the budget is tight, see if you can build up the handles on your existing tools using materials like foam tubing or an old t-shirt. It’s amazing how a little change to the handle can improve your ability to grip the tool!

5) Dust off that Radio Flyer!

Use a wagon to carry your equipment around. Carrying around a lot of tools and plants at once is hard no matter how big of a garden you’ve got! Work smarter, not harder, and put your equipment in a wagon.

Wagons also help you keep track of your tools better. Just place the tool you’re not using inside the wagon and you won’t have any stragglers!

6) Working on the Knees?

Kneeler stool photo by Gardeners.com

Kneeler stool photo by Gardeners.com

It doesn’t matter what your age is, gardening on your knees can be rough! Knee pads, chair cushions, and foam pads can protect those bony prominences from rocks and hard surfaces.

Need a little more help getting up and down from the ground? Try using a kneeler stool! These stools are typically double sided where you can kneel and sit on it depending on if it’s right side up or upside down. The handles are mounted on either side for your hands to push against. It’s a nifty invention!

Have you considered other knee-saving solutions? Raised beds or container gardening allows you to bend less and work in a sitting or standing position. You can create raised beds between one foot or as high as your waist! Instead of spending a lot of money constructing new raised beds, I use outdoor furniture to raise certain plants up higher for me to easily trim.

Raised garden bed photo by DIY Network

Raised garden bed photo by DIY Network

Vertical gardening works the same way, although you may be working with specific types of plants that like to creep upwards, like cucumber and melons. I’ve seen other people use material like posts or fencing to help plants climb while they grow. It seems as though plants can be pretty determined and will climb almost anything. You don’t need to garden a lot of different types of plants to get great exercise!


It doesn’t matter if you garden two or 22 plants, gardening is excellent for your health! Gardening maintains the physical fitness you need to stay at home for a lifetime! You don’t need intense exercise programs to get the same benefits! Gardening is the right amount of work for me!

Share your tips on how you make gardening easier in the comments below or on our social media! We love hearing your stories on how gardening has impacted your life. You never know, your experience may help someone else in a positive way!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!


7 Ways to Take Care of You and the Household for Life

I’ve worked with a lot of determined people. These are people who live at home and want to take care of themselves and their own things in their household. They want to be in charge of their lives.

Two people sitting and watching the sunset. Photo by Unsplash

Two people sitting and watching the sunset. Photo by Unsplash

Truth be told, I’m one of those people too.

At the same time, I’ve come to the realization that barriers to taking care of my daily needs and my house eventually come into existence. It’s possible for me to have an accident, a progressive disease, or just basic aging that will make it more difficult for me to manage my household.

I won’t always have the energy and strength to take care of my needs and my house.

All of these possibilities can make me start to fear and worry about the future. Who will take care of the yard and change the furnace filter? How will the cooking and cleaning be done?

The antidote to fear is to plan on making changes in case life throws me a curveball. Here are seven painless ways to help you take care of your daily needs and household.

1) Move to the main level in your home.

Think about the places at home that you need to use to take care of yourself and the house.

Living room and kitchen. Photo by Unsplash

Living room and kitchen. Photo by Unsplash

In my case, I use the main entry (my back door), bedroom, bathroom, laundry, and the kitchen, all of which are on the main floor in my house. This eliminates the need for me to use time and energy to walk up and down stairs to do a daily activity. For instance, I don’t have to ask my husband to carry laundry up and down the steep basement stairs because I’m afraid I’ll fall. I can just do the laundry on my own time.

Sidenote: Although I don’t launder my clothes and linens daily, I do laundry once a week to keep things fresh! It still helps to keep laundry on the main level of the home as opposed to the basement.

Once you’ve identified the places you use the most at home, try to do as many daily activities as you can on the most accessible level. For example, let’s say your bedroom is on the second floor and you always sleep in the recliner in the living room on the main level. So do you really need a separate bedroom and living room? You could convert the living room into the bedroom and use the bedroom for a different purpose.

I know some of you may find this to be radical speak, but honestly, think about it. Humans are creative. We can make our homes whatever we want and need them to be.

If making a simple change, like moving our everyday activities to the main floor, ensures that you’re able to manage the household and take care of your physical well being, then what’s the problem in that?

2) Store seldom used items in the basement or attic.

What are younger family members for? To help out with physical labor when necessary! That’s an evolutionary fact!

When you store seldom used items, like seasonal holiday decorations or sentimental items, in the basement or attic, it gives the main floor in your home more room to keep things you need on a daily basis.

Don’t use the linen closet to store your inflatable Santa! Use the linen closet for storing linens, cleaning supplies, or pantry items. This way you’re not wasting time and energy shoving Santa to the side while looking for a clean washcloth.

Tip: Try to store infrequently used items in clear plastic totes or label opaque plastic totes in order for people to know what’s inside.

3) Make cleaning equipment accessible.

On the main level of your home, put your cleaning equipment within reach, not on high shelves or shoved in the back of stuffed closets.

Some easy ways to do this would be to:

  • Install pull down or pull out shelving in top and bottom cabinets.

  • Hang brooms and mops on the inside or back of doors, closets, or cupboards.

  • Designate a cleaning caddy to make it easier to carry supplies with you to different rooms.

  • Store specific cleaning supplies to the room, like leaving bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom.

4) Store cleaning solutions in smaller bottles.

It’s easier to handle smaller bottles than great big gallon sized bottles. Think about the cleaning caddy, would you want to lug a gallon sized bottle of cleaner around the house or a pint sized one? You save energy and reduce the risk of injury when you use smaller bottles for everyday tasks.

This reminds me of watching my grandmother struggle to pour a 32 oz bottle of dish soap just to wash dishes. I asked my mother to buy smaller bottles or pour dish soap from a large container into a small bottle. Granny doesn’t need to struggle with washing dishes and neither do you!

5) Use ergonomic designed cleaning supplies.

When looking for ergonomic designed cleaning supplies, consider the following:

Pump handle on soap bottle. Photo by Unsplash

Pump handle on soap bottle. Photo by Unsplash

  • Pump handles on bottles

  • Lightweight brooms, mops, dusters

  • Grips on handles made of rubber

  • Tools that do more than one thing: multifunctional

  • Handles that are length adjustable

  • Long handles on equipment like dust pans (so you don’t bend so much!)

All of these qualities will help make your job taking care of the household much much easier! Work smarter, not harder!

6) Reduce the amount of things you own.

People don’t like to hear this tip because they automatically don’t want to give up their possessions. I understand. But the more stuff you own, the more work, time, and energy you need to devote to take care of it!

You just need to get super honest with yourself and ask questions like: do I really need informal and formal dining room sets?

As pretty as the formal dining room is, the answer truly is “no”. Pick one set and use it every day.

I’m not trying to be mean and tell you to give away everything you love. I’m raising the awareness on how owning a LOT of things can make it difficult for you to take care of your household for your lifetime.

7) Decide who can help care for your household.

Family and friends smiling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

Family and friends smiling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

If there’s an elective surgery or an accident that leaves you unable to care for your household, you need another option to make sure the laundry and dishes are done.

Ask your friends and family if they’re willing to help with specific tasks. It helps if the household task is something they like to do (and do well!). In my grandparents case, my uncle helped with yard work while my mother cooked complicated meals with my grandmother. Communicate on what’s going to work best for your family member, because in the end that’s going to work best for you!

Make sure two people aren’t doing the same thing! For instance, assign your pharmacist granddaughter to take care of medicine while your son mops the floors. Establish how often these things need to be done up front. Don’t leave people guessing how frequently you do your household tasks.

Inform family members and friends where to find things they need to do the task. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to help someone and you don’t know where their cleaning supplies are located!

Another reasonable option is to hire a professional service. Have a list ready with the things you’ll need assistance with, like vacuuming, mopping, changing bed linens, etc. Be aware of pricing and add the cost to your monthly budget. Also, price several different companies and ask other people about their experience with that service.

If you start planning these changes now, the chances of you being able to care for yourself and household for a lifetime will improve. I understand that not every tip will 100% pertain to your situation. However, you can take the ideas you like the most and apply it right now.

Sometimes life makes you feel completely out of control. These tips will help you feel a little more grounded and more certain about taking care of your home. Share what you’ve done to make household management easier in the comments below. You better do it before you need it!

Do I Really Need a Ramp as I Age?

This answer is: not really. It depends on how well you plan changes to your home!

Ramps are mostly a utilitarian tool for houses with steps to enter. I’ve never known anyone to say that they would LOVE to have a ramp attached to their house. More people would rather have a zero step entry.

But if life sneaks up on you and you have little time to plan, a ramp is a good option to keep in mind to keep that ability to get in and out of your house. Let’s go over what types of ramps exist!

Photo of modular ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of modular ramp by Upside Innovations

Modular ramp:

Modular ramps are cost effective in that they can be prepped in one location and assembled in another. They are reusable, which is great for low income families or people who need to move to a different home. Modular ramps are considered a temporary structure and require no permit to build.

Here’s a link for more information on how to build a modular ramp from a local non profit in Minnesota. You can even add stairs to this model!

Permanent ramp:

Photo of wooden permanent ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of wooden permanent ramp by Upside Innovations

You do need a permit from your city to build a permanent ramp. These ramps are typically made of aluminum, wood, or concrete. Consider building this type of ramp if you are planning to live in your home for a lifetime.

Permanent ramps are the most expensive ones on the list. Make sure that you are satisfied with the design of the ramp before you build! Any last minute changes could be VERY expensive!

I would also double check and make sure the surface of the ramp will resist feeling slick from rain or ice. Have you ever pushed or pulled something with wheels up a hill or ramp when it’s slippery? If you haven’t, it’s NOT easy! I don’t want my ramp to turn into a slide if I can help it!

Transportable ramps:

I grouped the following ramps together because they are all designed to be set up and taken down frequently over a few steps: telescopic, folding, and suitcase. They are typically made of aluminum and some sort of anti-slip tape or treads.

Photo of telescopic ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of telescopic ramp by Upside Innovations

Telescopic ramps have two separate troughs for the right and left wheels of a wheelchair. This is a bad choice for scooters due to the third wheel in the middle!

Photo of foldable ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of foldable ramp by Upside Innovations

Folding ramps come in a variety of different sizes and are either bi-fold or tri-fold. They are foldable in order to conserve space when stored. People typically use these ramps to get in and out of a wheelchair accessible van.

Photo of suitcase ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of suitcase ramp by Upside Innovations

Suitcase ramps are bi-folds with handles to make it less awkward to carry. They vary in length from two to six feet, which makes it convenient to throw in the trunk of a car if you’re travelling or visiting family or friends.

Always check the weight limitations that transportable ramps can support. For instance, power wheelchairs can weigh up to 250 pounds alone! You definitely want to have a ramp that can support the power wheelchair plus a person.

Threshold ramps:

Photo of threshold ramp by Upside Innovations

Photo of threshold ramp by Upside Innovations

This type of ramp is used to maneuver over a small barrier, like a door threshold or a curb. They’re made of rubber or metal and are very lightweight. Threshold ramps work on heights from ½ to six inches, so please don’t try and stack them if you need a height exceeding that (speaking from experience!).

Rampscape:

Lastly, let’s talk about my favorite type of ramp, the rampscape. They incorporate landscaping and grading to create a gradual incline to the threshold.

Photo of rampscape by Innovate Building Solutions. It doesn’t look like a ramp!

Photo of rampscape by Innovate Building Solutions. It doesn’t look like a ramp!

In my case, I would love to make a rampscape to my back door, which is the main entry in and out of my house. I’m planning on grading the dirt and pouring a concrete sidewalk that will make a gradual slope to my back door. This will eliminate the steps and make my door a zero step entry!

Rampscapes are beautiful, have great curb appeal, and stand the test of time. If you put in a rampscape, then anyone with any ability can visit your home! I have relatives who have a hard time walking and climbing steps. A rampscape would allow my relatives and wheelchair users to effortlessly go in and out of my house.

How cool is it to be the house everyone can visit?

Let me give you two tips for consideration when using ramps. First, try to place an overhead cover above your ramp. This helps with weather protection, especially if your ramp becomes slick from rain, ice, or snow. Overhead covers keep you dry and comfortable while self propelling wheelchairs, fumbling for keys, opening the door, etc.

The second thing to remember is that ramps with a rise of one inch to one foot (1:1) is the most ideal.

Why is that?

Well, have you ever pushed anyone in a wheelchair up or down a ramp? If the slope is more than 1:1, you are working VERY hard. This leads to increased physical labor for caregivers and a higher chance of injury.

Heck, I feel my body working harder when I’m walking up a steep hill by myself! I don’t want to work too hard when I’m helping somebody else!

Make sure you have the space for the length of the ramp you need. The rise at my back door is 14 inches, which means I need 14 feet of length for my ramp to be 1:1. Personally, I have the space to do that in my yard.

Now, if you don’t have the space for that, you may need to install something else besides a ramp, like a vertical lift.

Your takeaway from this tip should be: steep ramps are pains in the BUTT! Make sure you’ve got the room to make a ramp with a gradual slope. Steep ramps make it hard to get in and out of the house, which makes it so people never want to leave the house. Not leaving the house is very bad for your health!

I hope this article helps you plan for a ramp (or NO ramp) in your future. Personally, I don’t want to have to deal with ramps to get in and out of my home EVER. With my experience as a caregiver and occupational therapist, I’ve found that ramps can be treacherous.

That’s why I’m planning my rampscape while I can easily climb stairs, not when I struggle getting in and out of the house.

Do you use ramps at home? What type of ramp do you have? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!

(Thank you to Upside Innovations for their great article on types of ramps!)

Suction Cup Grab Bars: Good or Secretly Evil?

Today, we’re going to talk about a highly contested, controversial topic: suction cup grab bars.

Clarke Healthcare suction cup grab bars.

Clarke Healthcare suction cup grab bars.

More than likely you’ve seen one of these things at the store or in the home of someone you know.

A suction cup grab bar is a handle with suction cups at both ends. They come in a variety of lengths from 12 inches on up. You can place them on any flat, non porous surface. Just avoid grout lines!

People really like suction cup grab bars because you:

  • Can buy them at any big box retailer or Amazon.

  • Don’t need tools to install them.

  • Don’t need to hire a contractor.

  • Can put them at any height and angle in the shower. Customizable to the individual!

  • Can install them on fiberglass, tile, marble, acrylic, porcelain, etc.

  • Can remove them when you don’t need them anymore.

I get the appeal. I truly do. What’s not to love about all of those points?

Clarke Healthcare Quattro Power Support Suction Cup Grab Bar

Clarke Healthcare Quattro Power Support Suction Cup Grab Bar

Check out this type of suction cup grab bar from Clarke Healthcare! I mean, the attachments to this thing alone are very attractive.

Suction cup grab bars are advertised as steadying devices. They aren’t meant for people to push or pull their whole weight on them when getting in and out of the shower or on and off the toilet.

This creates a conundrum if someone were to slip in the shower and instinctively grab onto the suction cup grab bar while generating a minimum of 50-80 lbs per force. Now some suction cup grab bar manufacturers say they can sustain up to 500 lbs per force, BUT they quickly follow up with stating that suctions cups lose pressure over time and NEED to be readjusted.

We know that temperature changes going from cold to very warm cause a loss in pressure between the suction cups and the wall surface.

Would you want to remove and reattach your suction cup grab bars every week or so?

Installation is not a one and done process. Even Consumer Affairs wrote an article that discusses how suction cup grab bars are only as effective as the method in which they’re mounted. It’s hard for us to judge exactly how much pressure we put on the grab bar. The author mentioned that if a very heavy person were to have a grab bar drilled into a stud, the grab bar would still require extra reinforcement to give the proper support that person needs when getting in and out of the shower.

Unfortunately, I’ve worked with quite a number of people who’ve had the frightening experience of pulling suction cup grab bars and standard grab bars off the wall! Those people never thought it could happen to them.

Group of women sitting and talking. Photo by Pexels.

Group of women sitting and talking. Photo by Pexels.

The probability of falling at home is highest the moment you step out of the shower. Why wouldn’t you choose a more secure option to keep you safe?

Let’s talk about the benefits of installing a standard grab bar:

Stainless steel grab bar from Home Depot.

Stainless steel grab bar from Home Depot.

  • ONE and DONE. You install the grab bar one time! No need to remove and reattach!

  • Placing the grab bar at the height and angle that works for you. Again, customizable, but this also depends on the stud placement and if you need additional plywood in the wall behind the shower surface.

  • You can hire a professional, do-it-yourself, or have a family member install the grab bar.

  • Save money by buying equipment that won’t lose suction, fall off the wall, and break into 100 pieces.

  • Confidence in knowing the grab bar stays put EVERY single time you get in and out of the shower.

  • Available in every color and finish. There’s even grab bars designed to look like a soap dish in the shower!

  • Fiberglass shower? No worries! The solid mount is designed to hold your grab bar in place.

In my perspective, grab bars are a great investment in lowering the chances of a fall. On the other hand, suction cup grab bars are akin to fast food: they provide immediate gratification with unwanted consequences later on.

Let me illustrate this point with an anecdote. Ethel (names have been changed) was preparing to return home from rehab after fracturing her hip. When we visited her home, I noticed she had a suction cup grab bar in the shower. I explained to Ethel and her daughter, Liz, to consider replacing the suction cup grab bar with a standard grab bar to avoid removing and reattaching the suction cups. Liz did not realize suction cup grab bars lost pressure and became very alarmed.


“I can’t come over and reattach those all the time.”

Ethel lived home alone and said she would ask her neighbor to reattach the suction cup grab bars. Liz and Ethel decided they didn’t want to hassle with hiring someone to install grab bars in the shower.

Eventually, Ethel finished rehab and went home. She started to get back to her regular schedule and neglected to ask her neighbor to check the pressure on her suction cup grab bars.

You know in your gut what happened next.

Ethel slipped while getting out of the shower and fell onto the floor with the suction cup grab bar in her hand. She went back to the hospital and rehab, but instead of going home her daughter helped her move into an assisted living facility.

She moved out of her home not by her choice, but by preventable circumstances.

Don’t let this be you or your loved ones. You should decide how long you live in your home. Not a piece of plastic!

Some people ask me: do I really need grab bars right now at this point in my life? My answer is, if you find yourself reaching out to steady yourself as you get in and out of the shower, you need grab bars. Shower doors, towel rods, and sink vanities are NOT suitable to withstand your weight either. Don’t even get me started on how many people I know who’ve pulled their towel rods and sinks out of the wall!

Contact me or another occupational therapist to help you decide where you should place grab bars in your bathroom. Remember, you better do it before you need it!

What Do You Need? A Zero Step Entry!
Front entry with zero step entry. Photo by the Journal of Light Construction

Front entry with zero step entry. Photo by the Journal of Light Construction

A zero step entry is a doorway to get in and out of your house with ZERO steps.

You know what’s a shame though? Less than 3.5% of homes in the U.S. have one zero step entry according to Joint Center for Housing Studies (2011).

Now, of course, I hope that figure has gone up since 2011. But I highly doubt it!

When I drive around and see new construction for houses and apartments, you better believe I’m rubbernecking to see if they’re putting in one entryway with zero steps!

But here’s the unfortunate truth: I see steps to go inside the front door, back door, and garage door.

Why do builders do this?

Because they do what they know. Builders don’t obsess about accessibility the way occupational therapists like me do!

I understand people think that a couple, two, three stairs won’t hurt anybody from going in and out of their house. But it actually does in the long run.

Let’s try an experiment:

I want you to carry something that requires two hands, like a laundry basket, across level flooring for ten feet.

I’ll wait here. . .

Okay! You’re finished! Great! How much effort did you put into that? How hard are you breathing? Can you still hold a conversation? Are your muscles tired?

Now, I want you to carry that same object up and down at least two stairs. If you have more stairs, try carrying your object up and down all of your stairs.

After all of your stair climbing, how much effort did your body put in to carrying an object up and down the stairs compared to no stairs at all?

As we age, this “simple” task of carrying objects up and down stairs becomes more difficult. Even though I’m in my 30’s, I notice I exert more energy to carry things up and down stairs compared to carrying things across the floor.

I hate to burst your bubble, but there will be a day when it’s harder for you to carry things up and down the stairs. It may be due to a back injury, arthritis, heart condition, etc., etc. You just never know!

So if you DON’T have a zero step entry, what can you do NOW to make sure you’re set for the future?

Start planning your zero step entry for your home!

Front zero step entry with portico and rampscape. Photo by Sutton Group Preferred Realty

Front zero step entry with portico and rampscape. Photo by Sutton Group Preferred Realty

It can be any entry you desire! The front door, the side door, the back door, the garage door, etc. You pick what works best for you and your house.

You can convert an existing window into a zero step entry door! If you’re creating a door out of a non-existing door, make sure to have the doorway width measure 36 inches for plenty of room to maneuver in and out of the house.

An issue that may come up is the fact that the main level of your house is not the same as the ground outside.

I have that EXACT same issue! So let’s dive into the problem solving process for my humble abode.

This is my back stoop with uneven pavers and rubber mats! This is a work in process, my darlings!

This is my back stoop with uneven pavers and rubber mats! This is a work in process, my darlings!

The problem for my house is the front and back entryway both have stairs to go inside. I would choose to make my back door zero entry because it’s closest to our driveway. There are several options I can think of off the top of my dome:

Wooden ramp from driveway to front door. Photo by Wheelchair Special Needs Project.

Wooden ramp from driveway to front door. Photo by Wheelchair Special Needs Project.

1) Install a ramp at the back door and create a minimum 6’x6’ landing for space to open the door and walk inside and outside. The ramp incline would need to gradually rise one foot per inch from the ground level to the height of the door threshold.

In my case, I would need 14 feet of ramp to accommodate the 14 inches from the ground to the top of my threshold. I would also make the ramp width at least 60 inches to allow plenty of room for a wheelchair user.

2) Install a rampscape at the back door. Rampscapes are ramps made by grading dirt to make that gradual incline to the door threshold. They look very pretty when landscaped with whatever materials you choose. I would lay a 6’x6’ concrete patio by the door, a 60 inch wide concrete sidewalk on the rampscape, and add lots of plants around it!

Rampscape from the driveway to the front door using pavers with a gradual incline. Photo by Schafer Construction

Rampscape from the driveway to the front door using pavers with a gradual incline. Photo by Schafer Construction

3) Install a vertical lift. A vertical lift is a platform that takes you from ground level and elevates you to the main threshold, like an outdoor elevator! I would still create a 6’x6’ landing to allow enough room to open and close the back door. This option would definitely require an overhead above the vertical lift to protect it from rain and snow.

Vertical platform lift next to small porch with four steps to enter door. Photo by Mobility Express

Vertical platform lift next to small porch with four steps to enter door. Photo by Mobility Express

All of the options above would cost thousands of dollars. The most inexpensive option would be installing a ramp. Personally, I would install an overhang or portico to cover the landing above the back doorway to avoid all forms of precipitation, especially after witnessing Missouri imitating Siberia this year!

Although I don’t have the funds at the moment, I can discuss this with my family, look for ways to fund a zero step entry, and ask for bids to help me select the best option and plan. Creating a zero step entry is a three year goal for me.

If you’re looking into building a new home, then you will spend the least amount of money to create a zero step entry!

Let’s say you wanted your zero step entry to be your garage door. Tell your builder! They can grade the site to ensure you drive into your garage and effortlessly step in and out of your home.

Sometimes, people are concerned that the only style of house they can build to include a zero step entry is a patio home.

NOT TRUE.

If your builder is not willing to make at least one zero step entry and keep whatever style of house you choose, then they do not have the creativity or desire to move outside of their comfort zone.

You can build ANY style of house and have at least one zero step entry.

Whichever doorway you choose, remember: it’s best to have the doorway covered above and to make sure water will drain away from the door. Water is bad inside of the house.

Contact me to help you create a zero step entry! You better do it before you need it!

Do you have a zero step entry? Show us pics. If not, what are your plans? Share in the comments below!

3 Ways to Store Your Kitchen Goods!

Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering, has taken the nation by storm!

Very tidy personal belonging organizer sitting on counter top. Picture by Unsplash

Very tidy personal belonging organizer sitting on counter top. Picture by Unsplash

If you haven’t heard about Marie Kondo or her book, she teaches people how to sort through and organize their personal belongings at home. You only keep items that bring you joy. This process will result in feeling less stressed and more happy in your home!

Another bonus of this method is less cleaning!

Of course there are some people, like my husband, who are scared that the Marie Kondo method forces you to get rid of all of your stuff. Definitely not the point, babe!

You keep what sparks joy! Don’t get rid of everything!

Anyway, I digress. . .

I love the concept of tidying up your space at home because this process makes your belongings more accessible to you.

For instance, Marie Kondo encourages people to sort through their personal items by category starting with clothing. She taught me a new way of folding clothing and storing it where you can see all of your clothes at one time in a drawer, on a shelf, or hanging on a rack. That way you use every single clothing item more because you can see it. You’re reminded that it’s there.

So now, I fold all of my scarves like this:

Organized scarf drawer a la Marie Kondo method! Picture by Maria Lindbergh

Organized scarf drawer a la Marie Kondo method! Picture by Maria Lindbergh

Today, I can see all of my scarves, so I’ve been wearing more of them lately instead of my top two!

Tidying Up is inspiring me to rethink how I store my personal items in a way that’s accessible to me. Which brings me to my most troubled spot: the kitchen!

A huge problem I have is storing my cast iron skillets. I have like six of them in skillet, griddle, and biscuit mold form. They are super heavy!

Semi-organized cast iron skillets, pots, and bowls in lower cabinet. Picture by Maria Lindbergh

Semi-organized cast iron skillets, pots, and bowls in lower cabinet. Picture by Maria Lindbergh

I can’t store them in an upper cabinet because I’m klutzy and might drop them on the counter or my foot. I’d definitely break something.

At the moment, my cast iron cookware sits on the lowest shelf in my bottom kitchen cabinet out of pure fear of hurting myself.

The other problem is my lower cabinets are deep. They go way back! I have to practically put all of my upper body inside the cabinet to reach things I’m looking for.

Needless to say, I put the least used items in the back of the cabinet and more frequently used items up front. This is a go to strategy for organizing any household items: put the most used items within reach!

But my cabinets still seem cluttered and don’t fit my Marie Kondo aesthetic! It’s not pretty. See for yourself:

There are some excellent storage solutions for cabinets that work well to make things more accessible so that I’m keeping my pots and pans in their assigned place and not overreaching.

One of these solutions is pull out shelving! Click here to see a video!

Kitchen with lower cabinets, drawers, and open shelving. Picture by Unsplash

Kitchen with lower cabinets, drawers, and open shelving. Picture by Unsplash

Pull out shelving allows you to install a drawer-like system inside of your cabinet. That way you open the cabinet door and pull out the shelf inside to reach your things that are waaaayyyyyyy deep back in the cabinet.

You don’t have to worry so much about putting the least used items in the back. You simply select where on the shelf you want to put your stuff and you can pull everything out at once.

That makes it easier to see all of the things you own too! What a concept to use the stuff you already own more often!

Hell, I might bake more biscuits if I can see my cast iron biscuit mold more often! That would spark joy in my husband!

As with everything else, there are tons of different options for pull out shelving. You can really make a big difference with a small budget depending on if you want custom or made-to-fit organizers.

Since made-to-fit is less costly, I would simply measure out the dimensions of my lower cabinets. I could go online or to a retailer, like Home Depot or Lowe’s, to select the best pull out shelving for my cabinet.

Personally, I really like wire pull out shelving. Why? Because it’s easier to see everything you have.

Also, it doesn’t tempt to me store small, little items in the pull out shelving. I can’t stow away stuff in lower cabinets with the risk of them falling underneath the shelving and being stuck there for life!

If I have to bend down and pull out a shelf to retrieve something, it’s easier if the cookware is larger. Small kitchen ware would better be suited for drawers and organizers that are counter height so you’re not exerting as much energy.

Work smarter, not harder!

The second way to store your kitchen items is through pull down shelving for upper cabinets (AKA One of the greatest inventions ever of all time and space!) Click here for a video!

Man reaching into upper cabinet with standard shelves. Think about how nice it would be to have pull down shelving! Picture by Unsplash

Man reaching into upper cabinet with standard shelves. Think about how nice it would be to have pull down shelving! Picture by Unsplash

If you have any shoulder, neck, or upper back problems, you should really consider pull down shelving! Again, no overreaching here! You just pull down all of the shelves in your upper cabinet to the counter level.

You never have to worry about putting your most used items on the lowest shelf again!

For people who are average height or shorter, pull down shelves make it so I can get the things I need when I need it! I don’t have to wait for my six foot tall husband to help me.

Talk about independence!

Now, it seems as though pricing for pull down shelves are more costly. So you may want to do more shopping and research when selecting the best product for you.

The last and least expensive strategy for kitchen storage is using under cabinet organizers, under shelf baskets, or shelf risers. This allows you to maximize the space you already have in your cabinets by storing items vertically. Check out these examples from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (I’m not affiliated with triple B! I just like showing you examples!)

Galley kitchen with minimal cabinet and counter top storage. Shelf risers and under shelf baskets would work perfectly here! Picture by Unsplash

Galley kitchen with minimal cabinet and counter top storage. Shelf risers and under shelf baskets would work perfectly here! Picture by Unsplash

This is a great option for apartment living where you typically have small kitchens with minimal storage.

Do you have pull out or pull down shelving? What kind of kitchen organizers do you use? Have you been tidying up?

Tell us about your experience! Share pictures! We don’t care if your stuff is clean! (It’s not our kitchen!)

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4 Tips for Buying a Lift Chair

First of all, what’s a lift chair?

Have you even seen those recliners that slowly raise or lower the seat with the touch of a button? If you know what I’m talking about, those are lift chairs. If you still don’t have a clue, click here to watch a quick video (Sidenote: I just picked this video to show you what lift chairs do. I do not endorse this particular brand).

Lift chairs are fantastic for people who struggle to stand up from recliners, sofas, couches, etc. It helps people retain their independence and move around freely!

Lift chairs remain stationary in that they don’t swivel side to side. They only move up and down. This makes it easier to prevent falls!

Also, if you or your loved one has any health conditions that make the legs and feet swell, a lift chair could reduce the the swelling by lifting up your feet when you recline.

Older female adult smiling at camera. Photo by Pexels

Older female adult smiling at camera. Photo by Pexels

Case in point, my grandmother developed congestive heart failure in her late eighties. She would sit in a bat wing recliner with her feet on the ground for most of the day— this is called a dependent position. Blood pools in your legs which leads to swelling.

Grandpa would very sweetly struggle to move a clunky stool along the carpet and place it under Granny’s heels to raise her legs. Watching a person with a heart history work so hard physically to move a stool was very strenuous on my heart!!!! Because it was a difficult task to do, Granny’s legs were not raised very often during the day which resulted in continuous swelling of her legs.

Mom and I talked to Granny about buying a lift chair in order for her to raise her legs whenever she wanted without the danger of Grandpa dragging furniture across the ground. Granny readily agreed to a lift chair and delighted in using it every day. Incredibly, the swelling in her legs went down quickly after a week of use!

My grandmother was a very petite person. She had to have been around 4’10”! So finding a suitable lift chair for her size was at the top of the list for us.

If you are purchasing a lift chair or helping a family member, here are the top four tips to remember when you’re shopping:

1) Sit in the lift chair.

Man sitting in recliner outside near trash. Obviously, don’t do this, BUT do try sitting in a lift chair to make sure it’s comfortable for you! Photo by Pexels.

Man sitting in recliner outside near trash. Obviously, don’t do this, BUT do try sitting in a lift chair to make sure it’s comfortable for you! Photo by Pexels.

You (or whoever is using the lift chair) need to go to the store of your choice and sit in the chair. This will help determine if the seat depth and the seat back length will work for you! If you’re petite like my Grandma, you’re bottom and legs are probably not long which means you don’t need a deep seat. When I see petite people sitting in deep seats, I observe them scooting a lot to get in and out of the chair.

Have you scooted on your bottom in a seat lately? It’s a workout! Especially if you have arthritis all over your body!

It’s beautiful that people come in all shapes and sizes. We all have different needs and feel comfort through various means.

Remember that recliners come in small, medium, tall, and extra wide. You really don’t know what will work best until you actually sit in the lift chair and feel it out!

2) How far back do you want the recliner to go?

Some recliners stop at 45 degrees while others go farther. It really depends on how you think you’ll use it.

Do you see yourself taking lots of naps in the lift chair? Or will the chair be used primarily for reading and watching TV?

If you’re sleeping a lot in the lift chair, you may want to choose the type that reclines 90 degrees.

3) Take measurements of the space you want to put the lift chair to make sure the chair in the store will fit!

Bright living room. Photo by Unsplash

Bright living room. Photo by Unsplash

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen lift chairs placed in rooms where the chair can’t even recline all the way! What a travesty! No nap for you, Grandma!

If it doesn’t look like the lift chair will fit in the space at home you had in mind, do you have the ability to move around the furniture? Or do we need to think of a different seating option?

4) Buy a SIMPLE lift chair remote with easy to push buttons or toggle switch.

There are so many fancy, schmancy remotes for lift chairs out there. I’ve seen remotes with the option to massage or move individual parts of the lift chair, like the knees for example.

At the end of the day when our memories start to work a little harder, how bad do you want to fight with the remote to lower the legs of the lift chair?

I mean, I don’t have the time to push 800 buttons to figure out how to get out of the damn chair. Do you?

Make it as easy as possible and purchase a lift chair with a remote with TWO options: up and down. That’s all you need.

Besides, I hate when chairs “massage” you. I feel like I’m being violently shaken. It’s not relaxing whatsoever.

Person holding up smiley face. Photo by Unsplash

Person holding up smiley face. Photo by Unsplash

Overall, a lift chair can be a great investment. I know some therapists frown on lift chairs because it doesn’t give that person the opportunity to “stay strong” through their legs, back, and arms if the chair pushes them up.

But to that point I argue that you can still set up the lift chair like a normal chair when standing up. It depends on the self-discipline of the individual. I appreciate lift chairs for helping people stand quickly when they have an emergent need, like going to the bathroom. Also, like I mentioned up top, they keep people independent in positioning their bodies.

Whatever your reason is for buying a lift chair, I hope these tips will help you in your journey as a consumer. You better believe I’m getting one in the future! Except it definitely will be without the massage feature!

Have you experienced purchasing a lift chair? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!

Worried About Dad?
Grandma wearing glasses and hat scowling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

Grandma wearing glasses and hat scowling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

Oftentimes, it’s difficult to know exactly how to help your family member at home. You may have noticed Grandma starting to drop her spatula more frequently. You see Dad trip on the door threshold every single time he enters the house through the garage.

In the back of your mind you start to worry about your family member’s safety. What if Dad falls and hurts himself or what if Grandma drops something sharp on her foot? But then you brush it off with, “Maybe those problems will go away on their own.”

Are you sure those problems will disappear?

Or perhaps you do bring up your concern with your family member and they say, “I’m doing fine. I don’t trip all the time” or “I don’t drop stuff every day.” In almost the same breath, your Dad trips again. Grandma drops a ladle on the floor.

What’s going on?!

You’re fighting between pushing your family member to talk to a professional or letting go of the issue altogether.

It’s very difficult when your family member insists they’re okay. But deep down inside, you know they’re not.

I urge you to go with your first instinct! Encouraging your family to talk to a professional is a great start to figuring out how to keep dear old Dad or Grandma at home. But what kind of professional do you talk to?

Me on a windy fall day!

Me on a windy fall day!

The most bang for your buck would be talking to an occupational therapist. All we do day in and day out is problem solve ways for people to do their daily activities. In fact, click on this link to read research on how effective we are at helping people out! Occupational therapists figure out how to help Grandma stop dropping her spatulas and how to keep Dad from tripping when he walks into the house. (Of course, we look at other issues too!)

People tend to think, “Well, I may have a hard time with X now, but it’s not a big deal.” Wrong! This kind of everyday stuff seems little until it adds up to an injury at home.

Man laughing. Photo by Unsplash

Man laughing. Photo by Unsplash

Occupational therapists break it down by looking at your personal abilities, the demands of the task, and the environment. Let’s take Dad’s case of tripping when he walks into the house from the garage. An occupational therapist ( also known as OT) would assess Dad and find out his knees are worn out by years of playing flag football with his friends. Dad has neuropathy, a symptom of diabetes, and cannot feel his feet very well when he walks around. These two factors can make it more difficult to walk and regain your balance if you trip.

Walking into the house from the garage requires Dad to go up two stairs and over the door threshold. Upon examining the environment, the OT would see this entry is poorly lit, the threshold is 2 and ½ inches high, there is no handrail, and the depth of the steps are very shallow.

At this stage, the OT informs your Dad that although his knees will never be quite like the 6 million dollar man’s knees, he can make some changes to the doorway that will make it easier and safer for him to enter the home without tripping. The OT offers ideas like adding motion-sensor lighting, removing the door threshold, installing two handrails on both sides of the steps, deepening the steps, creating a ramp in the garage, installing a vertical lift, creating platform steps, etc.

Next, the OT coaches Dad to select the options that he likes the most. We know that people who choose their own solutions are more satisfied compared to people who don’t have the ability to choose.

Briefcase full of money. Photo by Pexels

Briefcase full of money. Photo by Pexels

Your dad is financially savvy and acutely aware that your mother wants to move to Florida in the next ten years or so. He doesn’t want to spend a ton of money and he wants to increase the value of the house.

Dad chooses to pull out the threshold and install platform steps with handrails and a motion-sensor light to help him get in and out of the house for years to come. “I have enough room in my garage after tidying it up!” #KonMari

After the garage entry is modified, you notice your Dad never trips when getting in and out of the house! Is this what peace of mind feels like?

OTs have the medical background and practical mindset to help your family stay safe in the home. We understand how medical conditions and aging can impact our ability to do the things we need and want to do!

In addition to our professional expertise, most of us have personal experience as caregivers with our own family. I helped my grandparents live in their home for thirteen years. We sympathize with your deepest desire to keep your family safe!

Despite the medical background, OTs never want your home to look like a hospital! We enjoy helping you create spaces that are functional for you without visitors ever knowing the reasoning behind your home design.

We’re also relentlessly optimistic, much to the chagrin of some people. There is never a problem too tough to solve.

“Yeah!!” written on a sign with confetti. Photo by Pexels

“Yeah!!” written on a sign with confetti. Photo by Pexels

The big takeaway is there are professionals to help you keep your family safe. Reach out to others and ask questions. If you can’t find an occupational therapist right away, talk to a social worker, case manager, your local area agency on aging, senior centers, or your county’s senior service department.

In the Kansas City area, you can visit the Mid-America Regional Council, Wyandotte/Leavenworth Area Agency on Aging, or the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging to learn more about resources available to help people live in their home and community as long as they like.

There is so much information available, sometimes it’s difficult to navigate through everything and keep a clear idea of who does what. Don’t worry! You will find the answers you need. But remember, you better do it before you need it!