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Being a caregiver is no easy feat. After perhaps a whirlwind of emotions and stress, you can begin taking note of new responsibilities, navigating your new role, and preparing your or your loved one’s home for what’s ahead. A well-organized and safe living environment can greatly improve the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver. And while there is no singular experience for this sometimes unexpected role, there are several measures you can take to adjust your home that will ease the transition and prioritize the comfort and well-being of your loved one. Read on to discover seven essential tips for prepping your home as a newly minted caregiver.

Set up basic needs on the first floor

We all have basic daily needs that need to be tended, from personal hygiene to food and clean clothes. When prepping your home for your sick or injured loved one, it’s important to establish what they’re going to need, and to ensure most of these basics are accessible on the first floor whenever possible. This will simplify your work as a caregiver, and it will also allow your patient to retain some level of potential independence in accessing their room and bathroom.

Remove hazards

Eliminating hazards like rugs or cords in the home is a crucial step when preparing to care for a sick or injured loved one. These seemingly innocuous items can pose significant risks, especially if the patient has limited mobility or uses assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers. By removing rugs and securing cords out of high-traffic areas, you can create a safer and more accessible environment that reduces the likelihood of trips and falls.

Invest in bedroom and bathroom modifications

Simple modifications like bed rails and accessible lighting will help with patient mobility, safety and independence. You should also position the bed to allow easy access for the caregiver and medical equipment, bearing in mind that putting the bed in a corner adds a layer of protection against falls in the middle of the night.

Bathrooms can also pose challenges for those with limited mobility. If your home doesn’t allow first-floor bathroom access, consider investing in a stair lift if you are unable to renovate. Altering the shower with a walkway entry and investing in non-slip grab bars for the bath and toilet would also be welcome renovations, coupled with rubber shower mats and a raised toilet seat; all relatively small modifications that make a big difference. 

Simplify doctor visits

Going to different specialists and hospitals is already anxiety-inducing for many; that pressure can multiply when you’re responsible for the well-being of another person. Add in different doctors with varying specialties, lab tests, and a plethora of prescriptions, it can quickly become overwhelming for a caregiver, and difficult for an ill patient or someone with limited mobility. Fortunately, there are various integrated care options that simplify staying healthy by consolidating all doctor visits into one building and uniting all medical records in one place.

Embrace technology

From virtual reality innovations in surgery to daily heart monitors and more, technology is being applied in unique ways across health care, and that includes caregiving. With evolving telehealth options like video visits, receiving care has never been easier. These video appointments can be especially helpful when you’re pressed for time between caregiving for your loved one and other responsibilities.

Other smart tech can also be an advantage to have in your home such as medical alert systems, household intercoms and other health tracking tools like a blood pressure cuff, which can all help closely monitor your loved one’s health.

Focus on food

One of the most time-consuming duties caregivers face daily is cooking. While sometimes shifting to frozen foods and other methods of sustenance can be tempting, the fillers, preservatives and more found in these quick fixes can often be more detrimental than not.

So, how do caregivers remedy this alongside all their other time-consuming duties? Keeping healthy snacks on hand that your loved one likes is a great solution. Additionally, meal prepping nutrient rich bites can also positively impact their health and your caregiver relationship with them while also saving you time by preparing in advance. If it’s within your budget, consider meal kit delivery services that save you time and eliminate food waste while still allowing you to make home-cooked meals.

Remodel if needed

Sometimes, it’s necessary to invest in bigger remodeling projects like installing ramps or widening hallways for your patient’s mobility and safety. If your insurance provides limited resources for these modifications, do your research. While every locality has different resources and eligibility requirements, be sure to check with local non-profit organizations, government housing agencies, and community-based services that may provide assistance with home modifications and low-interest loans.

Regardless of this immense life change, remember that there are nearly 48 million caregivers who are going through the same transition as you. You are not alone, and there are plentiful resources out there to help.

For assistance with life care planning, access to telehealth services, and caregiver support, Kaiser Permanente is here every step of the way. Click here to learn more about Kaiser Permanente and how they can support you and loved ones throughout your caregiving journey.

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