Frank O.

Frank O.

64, Walsall

Frank’s mother Frances is 92 and lives in her own house. She recently fell following a stroke and broke her hip, so Frank knew he had to move her bedroom downstairs.

"My mum had a stroke and lost power on the right side of her body. Her eyesight’s not good. She says she was lighting the coal fire, and she stood up and her right side collapsed and she fell and broke her hip. She went into hospital and had some time in a care home. Now she’s back in her own house.

Safety first

We knew the first action was to fit grab rails to the front and back doors and wherever there is a step in the house. We’ve also put handles on everything downstairs to help her get around. We took up the rugs so she can’t slip on those.

"We’ve put handles on everything downstairs to help her get around and brought her bed downstairs, for safety."

We’ve also moved her bed downstairs for now, with a commode in that room, and we brought down a chest of drawers to make it into a bedroom. We moved armchairs upstairs out of the way. She’s got no central heating in the house and the therapist said you can’t light the fire any more and risk falling into it. So I put lots of electric fires on timers so she doesn’t have to bend down to switch them on and off.  

There’s a chair with arms on it that she can use to pull herself up, and that’s now on raised legs so she can stand up more easily. She used to have the telephone in the hallway and we moved it into the downstairs bedroom and put the wires under the carpet so she can’t fall over them.

It’s a massive health and safety operation, so you look for tripping hazards and any change of level is going to be a problem.

Keeping it simple

We have been providing her with ready cooked meals, too, including veg, which requires far less standing to prepare.

As my mum is having carers three times a day, a key safe was fitted to allow free access to them. It also means that the neighbours, who are first call on the list for the alarm she wears on her wrist, don’t need to have an individual set of keys.

Looking to the future

It is early days, but we are considering applying for a grant to move the bathroom into bedroom three as there is a significant step into the current bathroom. There is also a walk-in pantry downstairs, which we may look at turning into a toilet.

Are you in a similar situation?

As well as the rest of the articles in this guide, see our overview on Safety and wellbeing in the home and Finding out what home care products are available.

Despite all the changes, Mum is glad to be back in her own home."

More information

Page last reviewed: March 2015
Next review due: November 2016