Skip to content

Home Modifications

Living with MND

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” – Walter Elliot

Home Modifications

Beyond the physical care, it is also important to many of those affected that they maintain maximum agency, independence, and control. To ensure this, adjustments and modifications to their surroundings and equipment have to be made. If there is trouble getting in and out of your home, up the stairs, through rooms, on and off the bed, getting on and off the toilet, trouble reaching things, etc. you will have to make modifications to your home.

The specific changes required will be advised by the occupational therapist after an assessment of your needs, the premises, and what is possible. Sometimes all it takes is a change in technique when doing something while in other cases certain equipment or home modifications might be necessary.

Ramps can help get in and out of the house while the stairs might need electronic rails or a floor lift.

Certain toilets with self-washing features, along with installing rails, can be helpful when maneuvering the bathroom.
Certain toilets with self-washing features, along with installing rails, can be helpful when maneuvering the bathroom.
Beds can have a hoist or an overhanging bar, adjustable height and a deep mattress to ensure ease of access and comfort.
Beds can have a hoist or an overhanging bar, adjustable height and a deep mattress to ensure ease of access and comfort.
Chairs can be propped up on blocks to adjust height. Recliner chairs can be more comfortable, especially with pressure relief cushions and a comfortable headrest. Adequate forearm support can also make writing and eating easier- especially with adjustable tables at the appropriate height. As touched upon earlier, cutlery too can be specially designed to be more lightweight, with larger handles for spoons, forks, mugs etc. or larger rims on plates.
Chairs can be propped up on blocks to adjust height. Recliner chairs can be more comfortable, especially with pressure relief cushions and a comfortable headrest. Adequate forearm support can also make writing and eating easier- especially with adjustable tables at the appropriate height. As touched upon earlier, cutlery too can be specially designed to be more lightweight, with larger handles for spoons, forks, mugs etc. or larger rims on plates.
Another major change one can consider is shifting rooms that are frequently accessed, such as the bedroom, onto the ground floor if they are not there already. Nowadays, there are smart gadgets that can turn lights on and off, turn on devices, open curtains, lock the doors etc. These can give the person more independence and easy handling of finicky items. Phones also have a hands free option and one-touch dial functions.
Another major change one can consider is shifting rooms that are frequently accessed, such as the bedroom, onto the ground floor if they are not there already. Nowadays, there are smart gadgets that can turn lights on and off, turn on devices, open curtains, lock the doors etc. These can give the person more independence and easy handling of finicky items. Phones also have a hands free option and one-touch dial functions.

There are many more modifications that can be made. However, do this after consulting an occupational therapist as they will know what is required and will also foresee what will be required in the future as well.

Another major aspect in ensuring independence and agency is speech and communication. It can be frustrating when caregivers or professionals take certain decisions without complete consent- which can lead to a feeling of a lack of autonomy. Although this is not a common scenario, it is still a good idea to have an advocate convey what the person wants to say. This can be a professional or a loved one who knows them well, who understands what their viewpoint is for a variety of topics, and can understand their communication method. They can communicate what they are saying or even on their behalf if they are comfortable with that. One will also have to make sure there is a way to communicate agreement and disagreement easily with the advocate so that they can modify their communication accordingly.

Alternatively, there are other communication options available.

Dr. Alexander Thomas | President, AHPI

As President of AHPI and National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI), Founder-President (2012-2017) and Patron of the Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations (CAHO), Dr. Thomas has effected far-reaching policy changes within the healthcare landscape, including incorporating healthcare communication among the NABH accreditation standards and in the Indian medical curricula, leading the expert group on medical education for the National Education Policy 2019 headed by Dr. Kasturirangan, and creating a national network of healthcare associations with the IMA, CII, FICCI , NATHEALTH and ASSOCHAM, a think tank on health (with NLSUI), and liaising between government and health stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has developed major initiatives at the State level, especially in Karnataka, and served on committees of the Union Health Ministry, NABH, HSSC, CII, FICCI, UNESCO, PHFI, and NBE.

He is a Visiting Faculty at IIM-B and NLSIU, pioneering several healthcare training initiatives.

His recent publications include books on healthcare communication and healthcare quality, and white papers submitted to the Government of India.

He was awarded the Emeritus Teacher Award by NBE (2014), the National Distinguished Services Award by the IMA (2016), and the Lifetime Achievement Award by CAHO (2018).

AHPI Founders page:

AHPI India

Online biodata:

Dr. Alexander Thomas President, AHPI

LinkedIn:

Dr. Alexander Thomas – President – Association of Healthcare Providers – AHPI (India)