Making a Bedroom Safer for a Stroke Survivor

All Rights Reserved

Maximizing a stroke survivor's safety and comfort while dressing

For someone who's survived a stroke, the bedroom is his sanctuary. By setting up this room to maximize his independence, you can give him a sense of privacy and comfort -- while still making sure he's safe.

Aids for getting dressed:

  • Make sure the stroke survivor can easily reach and pick out his clothing. You can replace dressers or chests of drawers with a storage unit that has open compartments. Organize the storage unit so the most frequently worn clothes are the easiest to reach. You can also lower the bar in his closet so he can reach items on hangers.
  • Adapt his wardrobe to make it easier for him to dress himself. Choose loose-fitting pants with elastic waistbands and shirts that pull on easily or fasten in the front. Replace buttons and zippers with Velcro fasteners or snaps, and shoelaces with coiled elastic laces. (Find them online by searching for curly elastic shoe laces.)
  • Dressing aids can be invaluable. You can find these through stores or websites that sell adaptive products.
  • Zipper pulls fasten onto the end of a zipper to make it easier to pull up or down. You can tie a string in a loop on the end of a zipper, or buy a commercially available version. (Example)
  • A button hook enables him to fasten buttons with one hand. (Example)
  • A dressing stick has a hook on one end so he can pull items down from a closet and pull on clothing. (Example)
  • A long-handled shoe horn makes it easier to slip on shoes. (Example)

Making the bedroom of a stroke survivor safer and more comfortable at night

For nighttime safety:

  • Always keep a telephone within easy reach of his bed. You may also want to consider getting him a personal emergency response system (PERS). Available from many different service providers, an emergency response system allows a stroke survivor to immediately contact a monitoring service during an emergency.
  • Make sure there's a clear pathway to the toilet. A nightlight will make it easier for him to avoid obstacles if he has to get up during the night.

For more comfortable sleep:

  • To prevent pressure sores, make sure he doesn't lie in the same position for long periods of time. Use pillows to support his affected limbs. If pressure sores are a concern, you can also purchase a special mattress to reduce pressure. (Example)
  • If he has a hard time getting to the bathroom during the night, you can keep a commode chair with grab bars and a removable bucket next to the bed. (Example)
  • Accidents happen sometimes, especially at night. Just in case, you can place a washable or disposable absorbant pad between the mattress and fitted sheet. These "blue pads" are available from medical supply companies. (Example)

Since making the right home modifications can make a huge difference in the lives of both the stroke survivor and his caregivers, it may be helpful to consult an occupational therapist (OT). An OT can take stock of his specific disability and the current state of his home, then make suggestions based on his 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 friend or relative's house safer after a stroke:


Stephanie Trelogan

Stephanie Trelogan writes about heart disease, stroke, and depression issues that concern people caring for their aging parents. See full bio

over 6 years, said...

For Stroke survivors, maintaining an independent and safe lifestyle after the stroke can be challenging, especially when left with limited dexterity or partial paralysis

over 7 years, said...

There also needs to be discussion about the height of the bed: A hospital bed would be helpful to some stroke survivors, and in some cases may be covered by insurance, but there are also charity sources. Sometimes the mattress of an existing bed may be inappropriated for someone after a stroke; hard, old, saggy, or even too soft., and a regular bed may be too high or too low for ease in getting out of it or into it. There needs to be appropriate room warmth and cooling, safely arranged and easily accessible to caregivers, at least, if not the stroke survivor, and for the stroke survivor, remote controls can be a blessing for a anyone who is alert whether verbal or mobile or not. and in no case should a stroke survivor be using an electric blanket, or electric heating pads, but bedding must not be too heavy, either. Circulation is threatened when limbs are cold, and that must be paid attention to and dealt with. There are devices for aiding a mobile but impaired stroke survivor in getting out of bed, or in sitting up. There needs to be a convenient arrangement about lighting, beside table lamps, which may not be safe when one's movements are difficult or imprecise, or a touch-on/off switch or remote controled lighting source may be helpful. Good lighting is essential in thwarting confusion. There needs to be discussion and re-arrangements about grab-rails and bed rails, and various supports, about the flooring and or carpeting and rugs underfoot, especially for a storke survivor with mobility problems. For a bed bound survivor, it is for sometimes a help if the furniture is rearranged so there is a window view of some sort, and attention paid to the fact that for some survivors mirrors are NOT helpful, and can be confusing and even dangerous in some cases. This article is helpful, but severely limitted, and it needs to have a widened scope, or needs to be supplemented with other articles linked to it.

almost 8 years, said...

I'd check out a device called lace-amatic for making it easier for wearing laced shoes. It doesn't require any grasping strength to operate and will work with a push of the heel of a hand. It always leaves the shoe fully open for easy exit or re entry but provides the full athletic lacing support of conventional laces.