When my grandma broke her arm, it changed her life forever.
If the same thing had happened to me I expect my life would’ve been back to normal within a couple of months, but when you break your arm in a place that cannot be plastered, the risks of an operation are too high and you have osteoporosis, that arm is never going to heal. Not properly.
That was a catalyst for huge changes in both her life and mine, and my grandma’s house had to undergo several adaptations in order to accommodate her new needs. Her broken arm, coupled with her already poor health and deteriorating mobility, meant we needed a whole new normal.
I gave up my job and became my grandma’s carer, and together we learned how to get along in our new roles. I have worked in care for many years and I’ve seen all sorts of gadgets and aids, so my family set to work and made sure my grandma’s quality of life was as good as it could be.
Her main bathroom is downstairs so we had a shower cubicle fitted in the smaller upstairs bathroom, giving her the independence to manage her own personal care, since getting in and out of a bath was now impossible.
We had a stairlift fitted so that she could continue to sleep upstairs. Until then, we were managing with a bed downstairs but that isn’t ideal at all. With her arthritic knees deteriorating week by week, this was an absolute godsend, and although stairlifts aren’t cheap there are companies like Ideal Stairlifts that will provide second hand and affordable stairlifts, which is what we plumped for in the end.
We had grab rails fitted to make getting in and out of the house easier – it really is the little things that make a big difference sometimes and this means that although she still can’t go out independently, she can at least enjoy the garden.
There are also smaller aids that make a big difference. Things like a cradle for the kettle, weighted utensils and home alarms all contribute to peace of mind for families and service users alike.
I know first hand that it isn’t an easy transition to make from being totally independent to being cared for, nor is it easy to be the carer of someone who hasn’t ever needed to reply on help. If you need help or advice in this respect, call your local authority who will be able to advise you. You can also find out more about the help that is available to carers and those they care for at the Age UK website.