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Access for all (Final part)

We were looking in our last article at indications on how to carry out all types of alterations in a home and to comply with the new stringent Spanish regulations on accessibility. 

We dealt with electrical installations and floor finishes.

 This article will continue dealing with the layout and convenient type pf furniture.

 

Living room.

- Chairs or armchairs with armrests and high backrest are very suitable.

- The armchair is preferable to the sofa.

- The seats should not be too high or too low because that would make it difficult to sit or stand up. There are available automatic armchairs that lifts the seat up to help the person to stand up without much effort.

- The seat must be high enough (45 centimetres); The backrest is straight and has arms rest to facilitate standing up. A reclining backrest and footrest add comfort.

- The television must be equipped with a remote control. Wireless headphones will allow you to listen without raising the volume too much in the case of hearing difficulty.

 

- Cordless telephones prevent the person from rushing towards the device every time a call is made, reducing the risk of falls.

 

Bedrooms.

- As far as possible, in order to move around the bed, it is necessary to avoid placing one of its sides next to the wall.

- It is not advisable to orient the bed towards the window, particularly in the case of people with vision problems, because the morning light can dazzle them.

- The bed should not be too high or too low, so that it is easier to get up and go to bed. The minimum recommended height is 45 centimetres.

- To adapt the height, you can change the legs of the bed base or use shims.

- The light switch, telephone or remote alarm must be easily accessible from the bed. The bedside lamp should be as stable as possible. In fact, the ideal would be to replace it with a wall lamp.

- The floor mat must be fixed to the floor with double-sided adhesive, although it is most effective to suppress it.

- Use an air mattress or those similar to a mattress (mattress size or cushion size) in people with great immobility. Its use relieves the back or other parts of the body and prevents aches and ulcers from developing decubitus (ulcers of the skin that occur when the body is supported on a surface). Cushion-size mattresses can also be used on the chair or in the wheelchair.

- Also use protectors for the skin (sheep skin). Its function is to reduce or avoid the consequences of friction of those parts of the body that for certain reasons (protruding bones, postures, etc.) can reach sores (pressure ulcers) and / or pain.

- Sheepskin can also be used on the chair, in the wheelchair, etc.

Articulated bed. In those cases, in which the person suffers a high dependency and cannot alternate the periods of stay in bed with small walks or breaks in an armchair, the articulated bed will avoid absolute immobility and facilitate the change of positions, from the decubitus to sitting (sitting posture).

 

Kitchen.

- It is necessary to make adaptations that allow the dependent person to continue using the kitchen. The sink should not be too deep, the tap with lever avoids the twists of the wrist and if it is of the removable shower type it allows to fill the pans without needing to place them in the bottom of the sink.

- The shelves must not be too low or too high: their ideal height is between 40 and 1.5 meters above the ground. The most used utensils should be placed in the most accessible places.

- Use plastic cups and plates, bibs or any object that facilitates the task. Cutlery with more grip surface are easier to handle. Do not use plastic cutlery, as they are fragile and, if broken, can be dangerous. Ensure that, as far as possible, kitchen utensils (cups, cups, plates, etc.) that are used are made of materials that are difficult to break. Specialized stores have numerous tools designed to help those who have difficulty holding objects or those who can only use one hand. These utensils help to peel, to cut, to open the cans ...

- One of the main dangers lies in the risk of burns caused by different sources of heat. Electric stoves are preferable to gas stoves because they are equipped with a light that indicates their operation. However, ceramic cookers are the most recommended, because, thanks to its flat surface, it is easy to slide the pots over them. It is true that they are more expensive and for those who have difficulty seeing it is not easy to know what the cooking zones are.

- The microwave allows to heat all kinds of dishes and prepare infusions ... Nowadays it is an almost essential piece.

- A small table with wheels, known as "waitresses", allows you to safely transport the hot and heavier dishes.

- Use stable chairs or stools.

- It is preferred a non-slip floor.

 

And above all. The elderly dependent must receive explanation and justification before any changes are carried out and should consent freely to those changes. Let's not forget, more often than not it is their home!!

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