Add grooming and toileting aids for a stroke survivor in the bathroom
- Standing at the sink may be difficult or impossible for a stroke survivor. Whether or not she's in a wheelchair, a sink with room beneath it for her legs is a good idea. You can set up a chair for her if necessary. You may be able to remove a below-sink cabinet to accommodate her legs, but be sure to insulate any exposed pipes to prevent burns.
- If she has trouble using her hands, install lever-handled faucets that she can turn on and off with her wrists or arm.
- Soap in a pump-top container or a wall dispenser may be easier to use than bar soap.
- A cordless electric toothbrush makes it easy to care for teeth and gums. Disposable flossing picks, which can be purchased at your local drugstore, enable her to floss with one hand.
- An electric razor may be easy to use, but some stroke survivors complain that it aggravates nerve pain. If this is the case for the person you're caring for, a disposable safety razor is a good alternative.
- Install handrails or grab bars on the walls around the toilet so the person you're caring for can sit down on and get off the toilet with minimal assistance. Alternatively, you can place a commode chair with a raised seat and grab bars over the toilet, or even a raised toilet seat with grab bars. (Examples)
- A commode chair with grab bars and a removable bucket can be invaluable if she has a hard time getting to the bathroom in time. You can keep it by the bed or in the living room. (Example)
- Premoistened, flushable wipes make it easier for her to clean herself after using the toilet. These can be purchased at pretty much any store that sells toilet paper or personal hygiene products.
- In case of accidents, keep a set of clean, dry clothing in the bathroom so she can change with a minimum of fuss and embarrassment.
Since making the right home modifications can make a huge difference in the lives of both you and the stroke survivor, it may be helpful to consult an occupational therapist (OT). An OT can take stock of her specific disability and the current state of her home, then make suggestions based on her particular needs.
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications has compiled a list of resources for consumers looking for products to modify their homes.
For more information about making a stroke survivor's house safer after a stroke:
Making Your Parent's House Safer After a Stroke
Making Your Parent's Kitchen Safer After a Stroke
Making Your Parent's Bedroom Safer After a Stroke
Making Your Parent's Stairways Safer After a Stroke