The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Lewy-Friendly Home, Part 1

Remodeling your home to make it Lewy-friendly can make it possible to keep your loved one home longer. And it is actually cost-effective. Residential care is expensive. If you can keep your loved one home just a few months, the savings will pay for the cost of the renovations. If you decide to renovate, consider the following for your bathroom:

An uncluttered, easily washable, non-slip floor that gently slopes right into the shower drain area with no barrier. This makes it easier and safer for persons with mobility issues to get in and out of the shower. It also makes cleaning the whole floor as easy as using the shower head to wash it away.

A commode chair and a hand-held shower head. Standing may not be safe. The hole in the commode chair makes it easier to wash up with little or no standing.

A toilet that is at least 16.6 inches high. If you can find one that attaches to the wall instead of the floor, that will make cleaning the floor easier.

A bidet toilet or a hand-held shower head for the toilet. If the shower is close by, you can just use a long hose. This makes cleaning up messes so much easier.Click here to see an inexpensive hand-held sprayer for your present toilet.

Grab bars in all the needed places. Don't forget the shower.

A ceiling heating lamp with a timer to keep the bathroom warm. No one likes a cold room. If you become unable to verbalize how cold the bathroom feels, you may stop wanting to use it. (Space heaters are discouraged due to their dangers.)

Bathroom doors that open out and don’t have locks. If your loved one falls in front of the door, you may not be able to open it if it is an inward-opening door as most bathroom doors are. You could also install a pocket door, if an outward-opening door isn’t practical. As confusion sets in, a person may lock their door but not be able to unlock it. If locks are necessary, use one with a keypad.

Open shelves for needed items like towels and toilet paper. Having such supplies out in plain sight and easily reached increases independence and avoids confusion.

Electrical outlets in lockable cupboards. This keeps them accessible for use now and as dementia sets in and judgment disappears, they will be out of reach.

Limited mirrors and covers for any you do have. A person whose perceptions are compromised may not be able to recognize their own reflection and be frightened by the stranger in their home. Covering the mirrors usually solves this problem.

The rest of the house usually doesn't need much remodeling except for the entry way. If you have stairs, consider adding a ramp. An attractive entryway and ramp can add value to a house and makes the transition to wheelchair use much easier. Even if a wheelchair isn't needed, ramps are easier for an unsteady walker to negotiate.


  1. From Vivian DeWalt on Facebook: Thank you for a great article! I just had grab bars added to the bath/tub area. There are 3 grab bars for the shower now, 2 installed by the VA! The VA also provided a walker, a grab bar for the bed and soon there will be a wheelchair ramp!

  2. From Donald Mc Cormick on FB: Vivian, did the VA provide a ramp? I need one for the two steps to the garage. Rest of home is safe with all the modifications I can make. VA helped me modify the shower so the door coulld be removed and a curtain installed.

  3. From Vivian DeWalt on FB: Soon we will have a wheel chair ramp. The VA is sending out 3 companies to measure and give quotes to the VA. Once the quotes are in, then the VA will choose a company or you can request the one that you liked and see if it gets approved.