Spinal Cord Injury: Adapting Your Home
When you leave a rehabilitation (rehab) center for your home after an SCI, it will help to have your home ready for your special needs. Because you may have to use a wheelchair and have limited movement and feeling, you may have to adapt your home. Talk with your rehab team about what you will need to do.
Here are some of the adaptations and special equipment to consider:
- Wheelchair fit.
If you are in a wheelchair most of the time, height and width are a concern. A ramp into your home can help with easy entry in your wheelchair. Discuss with your rehab team how best to deal with hall and door width, countertops, water faucets, sinks, towel racks, light switches, and heating and cooling controls.
- Eating and cooking.
Special handles can help you hold spoons, forks, knives, plates, cups, and other utensils. You may need long straws to help you drink. If you cook, you may need a shorter stove. Or you can install a mirror over the stove so you can see the food while it cooks.
- Dressing and grooming.
There are tools that can help you reach your feet, pull on socks, zip up zippers, and open and close buttons. You may also need Velcro fasteners for clothing or shoes, loops in your clothing to help you dress and undress, sponges or bath mitts, and special handles for toothbrushes, combs, razors, and hairbrushes. You may also need special mirrors.
- Other adaptive equipment.
This includes tools that help you pick up faraway things (reachers) and small objects (if you have little pinch strength). You may also need holders for telephones, pens, pencils, and devices to turn on and adjust electric appliances such as radios, TVs, and computers.