Housework Help

Cleaning

After a stroke, when the survivor has less energy and endurance, everyday cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, washing counters, walls and other surfaces, garbage disposal, and general tidying may need to be done while seated. Working in small areas and taking frequent breaks can make these tasks more manageable. Products are available to simplify steps in cleaning processes, such as disposable wipes presoaked in cleaning solutions or multipurpose solutions for cleaning multiple objects.

The weight of items such as garbage and buckets of cleaning water may be too heavy for someone with decreased strength. Smaller containers, wheeled push carts, and lightweight mops and brooms require less energy and strength to handle. Cleaning supplies may need to be switched to more easily handled containers such as sprayers or soap pumps, depending on the limitations of the individual’s movement. Long handled brushes and sponges and vacuums with extensions can be useful aids for hard-to-reach places. All frequently needed items should be placed on shelves or in drawers at optimal height.

Laundry

Even if the stroke survivor is limited to a wheelchair, with a few changes, he may still be able to do his own laundry. In order for this to work, the machines may need to be relocated to the main floor of the home if they were previously on a different floor and it is difficult or not possible for the person to climb stairs. To provide enough space, stackable washing machines may need to be used. Front loading washing machines are usually more reachable for someone doing laundry while seated. The arm movements required for loading the front of the machine differ from the arm movements for loading into the top of a machine; in general, front loading requires a smaller range of motion.

Visible markings for wash settings, such as colored stickers, can provide cueing for people with low vision or with memory or problem solving difficulties. Furthermore, the larger the dial or knob, the easier it will be for the person to change the wash setting. Buttons rather than knobs may be necessary for stroke survivors who are unable to produce a turning motion with their hand or wrist.

A nearby table or cart of adequate height can make doing laundry easier, as wet clothing is heavy and often difficult for someone with low endurance and decreased strength to transport. This way, fewer items can be removed at a time and placed nearby, saving time and energy. A fold down ironing board may take up less space and requires less energy and fewer movements to assemble and disassemble. Well-organized supplies in easily accessible containers such as clearly labeled squeeze bottles and soap pumps can ease the laundry process as well.

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