Feeling safe and secure in your own home is important to us all. When frequent falls were impacting Aletha’s life in her apartment, the Supported Living staff at Team 12 worked together on a plan to make some physical changes to the space to help Aletha be more safe at home.
“After a consultation with an occupational therapist, we worked closely with the Supported Living staff and her medical team to get some changes in place to make Aletha’s home safer,” says Matt Hoff, Site Supervisor at Team 12. “So far so good – falls have dropped considerably and we are thankful.”
The goal for the team was to find a way to get items off the floor to prevent Aletha from having to bend down to retrieve them and thus falling. The staff at Team 12 got to work on some creative solutions for a safer living space. One of the biggest challenges was the dresser. With a standard dresser sitting on the floor, Aletha would have to bend down to get clothing out of the lower drawers and would risk falling in the process. The staff searched for a dresser that could be mounted to the wall, but many commercial options were simply too expensive. “Thankfully, the staff came up with the perfect solution,” says Matt. Cube-styled shelves were mounted to the wall at the appropriate height for Aletha and the staff sewed some colorful curtains that were then attached to the front of the cubes so that the contents are out of sight. “She enjoyed picking out the fabric for the curtains – with plenty of pink, of course,” says Jenna Stewart, Teacher Counselor at Team 12. “She also picked out a nice pink wall paint color to match. It was a whole room make-over!”
“About a week or so before we started making the changes, staff started dropping subtle hints about painting her room and getting her new things. We wanted Aletha to get used to the idea,” says Matt. “Aletha also loves new things so it was not too much of a shock that days before the remodel, we found that she had already started emptying her dresser and moving things around in preparation.”
Additional changes included mounting some hooks to hang clothing and accessories from and shelf for her favorite dolls and photographs. The television set was also mounted on the wall as well as more cube shelves to hold Aletha’s favorite movies.
“The day of the remodel, we had all hands on deck. In total we had six Supported Living staff assisting us throughout the day as well as D.L. Gladbach, BCFR General Maintenance Technician, who helped with some of the hanging that needed to be done,” says Matt. “Aletha came home and was excited to see the finished product. She loved showing people her room for the next couple of days. And not to be out done, Aletha’s roommate also decided that she wanted to paint her room, so we had her buy paint and we were able to do two walls for her as well. They loved it!”
A few weeks after the changes were implemented, Matt reports that Aletha is doing well and continues to like her room. “Aletha’s room is staying organized and if a fall happens, we hope that it is a much safer environment for her to be in.”