Rearrange things to make it easier to do things

Author/Mom's Note: Having an Occupational Therapist do a home visit was immensely helpful and interesting. Her main point was to look at all the everyday things that need to be done. You want to identify what the most important activities are for the person to do. Then, look at how easy it is to do them. Make it easy to get to the things that are needed. Make it easier!

We had to go through each of the activities of daily living that my daughter did and figure out:

  • Where does the activity take place? Is there another place to do it that would be easier?
  • Is she standing up? Can she sit down or put her foot up on a stool?
  • Are the things she need within arms reach? Are they at the level of her waist or higher? Or are they near the floor so she has to stoop over to get them?

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Getting dressed Where are the clothes kept? Do you have to go through a lot to get to them? Are the clothes used the most the easiest to get to? Are the clothes used the most up high or near the floor? We changed from a dresser with drawers to a cabinet with shelves. We moved the most used items to the top 2 shelves, socks on the third. She uses the bottom for miscellaneous and for her cat to hide.

Preparing food.Whether you are fixing a meal or just a snack, having the fixings close can make a difference. We rearranged things in the kitchen so the things she eats most often are in one area, near the microwave and refrigerator. Then, we put a bar stool right there (one with a foot rest). It makes it easy for her to make a sandwich or warm up something in the microwave.

Getting Fluids
Here is an example of our refrigerator that we got for liquids. We wanted to keep them close and there wasn't enough room in our kitchen refrigerator to keep liquids stocked.

If you look at the bottom of the refrigerator, you will notice it is not on the floor. It is raised up on one of those plastic crates. This way, a person does not have to bend over very far to get things out of the refrigerator.

Also, the boxes of seltzer cans on the side are raised up on the shelf so it is easier to take one out without bending over. That way, it is easier to grab a can and put it into the refrigerator just before you take one out - without bending over!

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  1. Personal experience of author as physician and caregiver since 2004 as well as recommendations from physical and occupational therapists seen in consultation.

Author: Kay E. Jewell, MD
Last Updated: July 6, 2012