Accessible Housing With Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy Singapore
If you have an ageing parent(s), regardless if they're staying with you on they're living on their own, it's best to engage an occupational therapy or physiotherapy specialist to do a walkthrough assessment of your/their accessible homes to identify and highlight possible problem areas that are high risk to causing injuries such as falls. In this article we will look at accessible housing where they stay in.
Accessibility refers to ease of access in terms of convenience, safety and comfort.
Accessible Housing: Outside
Most of the time, the areas outside of houses are brighter in the day time, but make sure that it doesn't become too bright/warm as it can cause fainting episodes due to dehydration or overexposure to the heat from the sun. If they enjoy gardening, do install an extendible garden-umbrellas for them to be protected from the heat and brightness, but allow winds to blow in. Do install firm and heavy garden chairs with arm rests, and place them in strategic places within the compound and garden areas, where they can rest whenever they're tired. They need to be wearing adequate footwear that will protect their feet from sharp objects or chemicals. If you park your car in the compound, try to ensure that it doesn't leak any motor oil, as that will cause the grounds to be slippery.
Accessible Housing: Inside
Inside the house, it'd need to be well lit, and the switches should be easily accessible any anytime of the day. If your floor has smooth finishing, be extra cautious whenever you mop or polish it, and on those days do get your family to stay off the floor until it's fully dried and safe to walk on. Remove any loose articles and clutter on the floor such as toys, loose rugs, light and easy-to-topple furniture such as high and thin tables, low stools or furniture with protuding legs - these all cause high risks of injuries and falls. Place stable and heavy chairs with arm rests all over the home, for them to rest whenever they get tired. If possible, install grab bars and railing along walls they often use.
If you stay in a multi-storeyed unit, we'll advise them to stay on the ground level room, and decrease the need to go up and down stairs - however, if they prefer to stay upstairs, ensure that the railing is strong and place brightly colored industrial tape on the edge of every step to ensure that each step is easily noticable.
These are some general advise for you, but if you are cautious and are concerned about having injuries or falls in the house, it will be best if you engage your local physiotherapy and occupational therapy group (if you don't know anyone, check with your family physician; if you're in Singapore, we'll be more than happy to help you) to both assess your family member and prescribe a physiotherapy program; as well as to assess the accessibility of bathrooms.