Illness or an accident may strike a family member at any time. Or, they may require surgery or other care. And when they need in-home care during recovery, you may find yourself woefully unprepared.
Prepare your home
Caring for an invalid or person recovering from an illness reveals many areas in a house that do not work well with wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches. These include stairs, narrow doorways, and halls without rails. Turning radius requirements for wheelchairs notably, sadly are lacking in most homes.
Additionally, most baths and shower enclosures do not have grab bars, and something as simple as a faucet may be too complicated to manipulate if your family member's illness causes weakness or lack of feeling.
If your parents are aging and ill, or if you have a child or teen with ambulatory limitations, here are a few suggestions of things to do to make your home invalid-friendly and reduce some of the stress:
No matter how ill your family member is, you are of no help to them if you don't take care of yourself. Arrange for periodic relief. Sometimes you only need a breather, and other times you may need to get away for a couple of hours. Reach out to other family members or to friends or hire a care-giving service for those times you need to get away to refresh yourself. You can not give to your loved one if you have nothing to offer.
Prepare your family
Children in the home need preparation, information, and instructions regarding the ill family member. A child that used to run directly into grandma's arms might be confused about what to do when grandma uses a walker or wheelchair. Of, if Uncle Charles typically gets down on the floor to play with them, but has a broken leg and can't do that right now, your children may not understand. Preparing your children for what to expect in a gentle and non-fearful way helps them adjust to any temporary inconvenience your love one is subject to during recovery.
If you expect to care for a loved one in the future, make plans to include ADA compliant options as part of your homebuyer checklist.