We have changed the arrangement of the rooms to accommodate wheel chairs, walkers, lifts, and commodes. We need to use them in the living room next to the chair that my dear husband spends most of his days and all of his nights. To keep them anywhere else just doesn't make sense. But I always like the neatness and the lack of clutter in my home. For now I just have to give that up.
I wish that my house was better able to accommodate the care of a loved one that no longer walks or stands. The doorways just barely allow me to push a wheelchair through. There is just enough room to maneuver in the bathroom to change his clothes, assist with the teeth brushing or allow for a quick sponge bath. The shower in the other bathroom, where I take him for his weekly shower, is in a very tiny bathroom. With glass doors on the shower. I put the commode into the shower, then I help him in with the aid of his walker, and sit him on the chair and use the hand held shower wand to bathe him. And sometimes I am wet too. If I were to build a house today it would have really wide doors and a bathroom big enough to hold a shower that was accessible to a wheelchair. How much easier would that make my life?
My husband no longer is able to sleep in our bed. We have not yet made the move to a hospital bed. He sits in his Big Boy Lazy-Boy recliner all day and he sleeps in it all night. It is where he is most comfortable. So it is where we stay. And I have moved to the couch to be close if he needs me during the night.
Sometimes, if he feels good enough, we transport him to the dining room for meals. Into the wheelchair and up (we have one of those 'sunkin' living rooms) to the dining room. He used to like to then be transferred into a dining room chair, but now he sits in the wheelchair. Too many transfers are hard on him. Many of his meals are served on a tray while sitting in the recliner. And he is needing more help with being fed. If he eats at all.
I am so thankful for the Hospice nurses. They bring me everything that I need. At no cost to me. It is a benefit to Medicare. They are supplying us with the pads, the wipes, the bathing supplies, lotions, medications, oxygen, lifts. If I come up with something that I need, Janie brings it. She is awesome. She treats Richard with such kindness. She laughs with him. She holds his hand and strokes his arm. She is very young with such a wise heart.
This is our journey. These are the things we need to make him comfortable at home. And to make things easier for me!