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3 Ways Home Modifications Reduce Caregiver Burnout and Injury Risk



Jukebox Health's home modifications improve safety and independence for seniors

Caregiver burnout is multidimensional.

Not only is it taxing on emotional health, it can also negatively impact mental, social, financial and even physical health.

Luckily, as more families opt for aging in place at home, there are many products now designed to support home caregiving and make life easier and more comfortable for everyone.

Here, we will share three ways home modifications can help solve some of the common challenges that caregivers face – all while improving the safety and independence of those you care for.


Handy grab bar

1. Improve safety with transfers

Some of the most challenging times in a caregiver’s day is when your older adult needs help to move around.

In healthcare terminology, this is called a transfer.

A transfer is when you help the person you care for to get up, sit down, or get in and out of an environment like the bed or bath.

This could include times when you need to provide assistance for your older adult to safely:

  1. Sit up in bed and take medication

  2. Move to and from the toilet or shower into a wheelchair

  3. Get in or out of a car

Regardless of the type of transfer, there are a variety of home modifications that help make this important task easier and safer.

For example, transfers are often physically exhausting and could cause injury. Depending on the height and weight of the person you’re caring for, it’s important to find solutions that reduce the risk of muscle injury or falls during the transfer.

Common home modifications that can help minimize risk of injury with transfers include: 


Low threshold at doorway

2. Get greater peace of mind

Caregivers often have that gnawing sense of worry that you might not be able to prevent every accident or injury from happening to your older adult. 

This worry can be mentally and emotionally draining and causes you to feel “on call” every moment of every day.

And it’s not uncommon for caregivers to worry that their own stress or fatigue could increase the chances of an accident happening.

Another helpful benefit from home modifications is that they can significantly improve an older adult’s safety during daily life tasks.

This gives caregivers greater peace of mind, which can be an amazing stress reliever.

You may worry that the person you care for could:

  1. Wander out of the home at night

  2. Fall or trip down the stairs

  3. Unsafely try to get out of bed 

  4. Slip in the shower or bath

A great way to reduce the anxiety about and chances of an accident like these happening is to proactively take as many precautions as you can in the home. 

By implementing simple home modifications, you can provide an additional safety guard for those moments when you’re unable to hold their weight or catch someone before they fall.

There are also home modifications that are designed specifically for certain needs or conditions.

For example, a caregiver taking care of someone with Parkinson’s may be concerned about the risk of falling or tripping due to what’s known as a “freezing” or “shuffling gait.”

In this situation, effective ways to help minimize the risk of falling and provide additional peace of mind include wearing non-slip socks, using double-sided rug tape to prevent throw rug movement, or removing uneven door thresholds.

Simple home modifications help those you care for by increasing their level of independence in daily life

3. Increase independence for improved quality of life

Home modifications also help those you care for by increasing their level of independence in daily life.

Whether you add motion sensor lighting, grab bars, or another helpful household aid, the goal is always to improve their overall level of independence.

If an older adult can experience more independence, it’s better for them as well as for family caregivers. In fact, one study showed that basic home modifications can reduce the hours of care needed by nearly 42% per week.

This reduction in care needs can be life-changing for those caring for a loved one full time while balancing a career, other family responsibilities, managing personal finances, and maintaining their own well-being.

There are many simple ways to increase independence and reduce the amount of assistance needed from a caregiver.

Some common and cost-effective options include:

  1. Accessible utensils that make eating easier

  2. Velcro clothing also called adaptive clothing

  3. Motion sensor lighting for better visibility, automatically

  4. Adjustable bed bases to make getting in and out of bed easier and safer

  5. Lower body dressing kits to improve independence

Ultimately, there is a wide variety of products that can be tailored to an older adult’s specific needs, budget and style.

Depending on those specific needs, some or all of the home modifications recommended in this article could make a big difference in independence, safety, and well-being.

To get help choosing the most helpful and effective products, call Jukebox Health at (888)-292-2771.

Their expert client care team is happy to arrange a complimentary 1 on 1 appointment with a licensed home safety expert. They’ll make sure you find the most effective and necessary solutions. 

By Daniel Elliot (OTR/L, Aging-in-Place Specialist), a Guest Contributor at Jukebox Health

About Jukebox Health: This content is a sample of Jukebox Health’s blog. Jukebox Health makes aging in place a common-sense and cost-effective option for older adults and their families. With the help of licensed home safety experts and a nationwide network of trusted installers, they provide a tailored solution to improving home safety and reducing fall risk. For more information, visit www.jukeboxhealth.com or follow @jukeboxhealth on Facebook or LinkedIn.

This article is sponsored by Jukebox Health. For more information, see How We Make Money.

 

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