I was recently informed that my mom wont be walking when she leaves rehab,although she's only been there three weeks. She was at an acute rehab and now she's at a sb acute rehab. She had a stroke that left her left side weak. She can't move her left arm at all and can barely make steps (4 to 5) then must sit. If this is the case I want to know what she'll need to make her home comfortable and safe for her.
Now check and see if Mom sold her house [I know, never an easy thing to think about] and moved into a retirement community where she would have assisted living which probably would have all these required items....
Which would be the better choice?
Of course, it depends on your Mom's age and if she can get herself back to being independent. I remember when I broke my shoulder and didn't have use of that arm for several months, it was quite difficult to deal with daily routines... yikes, dressing myself was a challenge. Try putting on socks one handed !! Hope your Mom isn't left handed, simple stuff like brushing teeth or even eating is hard to learn with the other hand.
A potty chair. It sits over the toilet and can be adjusted up or down and had large sturdy handles. It was a great help to my mom who had falls in the bathroom.
A shower chair or bench as was mentioned above.
An electric lift easy chair. Really helps getting up to use the Walker, and back down again.
A bed rail. I used one that is very simple. It's an L shape with the longer portion sliding in between the mattress and box springs. The shorter part looks like a very small ladder and sticks up vertically beside the bed forming a nice grab rail. No tool, easy installation.
I've also put grab rails in the tub area and at all the doors and steps.
Except for the electric lift chair (about $600) all of this stuff was affordable and easy to install. Its all been a huge help to my mom who has very limited mobility.
As was suggested, it would be great to get a therapist to visit the home and give you tips on what types of aids to use and how to place grab bars etc. It was very helpful for me.
You can probably do more accommodation than you might think without changing doors and undertaking expensive building projects.
As EL writes, the therapists should be able to guide you in preparation of a list of improvements to be made, in order of priority so you can determine which to get if you can't afford all of them.
Medicare's policies have changed since the sequestration and some assistance that's necessary has been cut back, or limited in other ways. I recently asked a Medicare rep about payment for a ramp to be installed and learned that Medicare will not assist.
If you need financial assistance, contact your mother's community and ask if they participate in the HUD emergency repair grant program. My understanding is that it covers basics such as minor home repairs, so I don't know if it would provide for retrofitting.
If not, you might research online or contact the AAA for lists of device suppliers, and ask if the AAA is holding a Caregiver's Expo near you. There have been various device suppliers including home retrofitters at the expos I've attended. They focus on this, whereas general construction companies don't always get involved with this specific subset of building issues. These companies may also have some financial assistance programs available.
You should be aware that widening of doors would probably require costly structural adaptations, as would bathroom modifications such as installing walk in tubs. For the latter, I would consider a transfer bench that extends out from the tub and doesn't require standing to enter or exit the tub. Also consider using a no rinse shampoo to allow bathing in a warm, more comfortable environment and avoid the hassle of getting in and out of a tub.
I would ask the therapists who provide an evaluation to recommend alternates, i.e., if you can't widen the doors, what alternatives are there? I.e., could your mother enter sideways, taking a few steps at a time, with grab bars to hang onto?
Same with ramps. Your mother's community will have specifications for slope to which the ramp must conform. Some yards are too shallow so the ramps need to be angled to meet that requirement, resulting in more cost to build one. An alternative might be to sacrifice parking space in an attached garage and have a ramp installed in the garage - it would be much safer for ingress and egress anyway, especially in rainy and wintery conditions.
Nothwithstanding this, I would ask one of her physicians for continued PT and OT in her home. Medicare will pay for this, for a limited duration. It will help with specific in home adaptability.
I also would contact local hospitals to see if they have stroke support groups; you might get some advice from others as well as the medical pros who might participate in the group meetings.