- Grab bars prevent you from slipping and increase your ease getting in and out of the shower and tub. Michelle Holland works at a Medequip in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. She talked about the value of suction-cup grabbers for a tub or shower. She said, "Be careful not to use your full weight with them. They are for assist only. The kinds you affix permanently onto the tile can support you."
- Rubber mats for tub and shower are essential. Even so-called "nonslip" floor tile in a shower can be a dangerous surface.
- A no-step shower is the latest thing in home improvement. If you are redoing your bathroom, ask your designer or contractor to install a special shower with no-step and with sloped flooring for easy access. Another hot look is a sunken shower with handrails. It's stylish, functional, and easier to navigate. Also, ask for a permanent seat in the shower, so that you can sit down in a hurry if you feel dizzy or lose your balance.
- Bathtub maneuvers can be tricky, and if you feel it's so dangerous that you deny yourself a warm soak, that is a shame. If you miss the therapeutic relaxation of a bath, it is possible to install an automated device to lower you into the tub and raise you up. It comes with a high backrest and wide seat. It's fully waterproof, battery operated, and has a simple hand control along with a remote control. One such device is Archimedes Bath Lift made by First Street: For Boomers and Beyond. Contact the company at 800-289-0063 or online at www.bathliftdirect.com.
- A walk-in tub is a wonderful (although pricey) answer for people who want to take a bath. Premier Walk-In Tubs are being touted as so easy you just open the door and step in. If your legs aren't adept at climbing out of a tub, consider these walk-ins. Call the company at 800-578-2899 for more information.
- A raised, removable toilet seat is several inches taller than a regular seat. It fits over your existing one and has handles. It will be easier when you sit down. If your neuropathy goes up to your knees, it might lessen the discomfort of sitting and standing. You can also buy permanent tall seats.
- Water on a kitchen floor can result in a fall. If you have peripheral neuropathy, your feet might not be aware of a spill near the kitchen sink. Put down an attractive non-skid throw rug to prevent falls. Rugs, however, can also cause you to slip and fall, so it is essential that you get one with a backing that grips.
- Anti-fatigue mats are cushiony blessings in the kitchen or any place where you have to stand for a long time, as they provide great relief to sore feet. Go to the nationwide store Harbor Freight, which sells them at a low price (under $10). Or visit www.antifatiguemat.com online.
- If you find that standing on your feet is painful, wasting time hunting for a utensil in an overflowing utensil drawer is downright annoying. Take things you rarely use and put them in a box in your garage marked "Graveyard for Kitchen Stuff I'll Never Use." Smarter: Take the stuff you bought at the Home and Patio Expo and haven't used in the past year to Goodwill.
- Get a few kitchen organizers at a discount or dollar store. Sort through and weed out one drawer at a time.
- Get out those old high-fat cookbooks from the '60s and earlier, and give them to Goodwill because now you are eating healthier.
- When you feel up to it, whip up casseroles, freeze them, then save them for days when cooking hurts to even think about.
- Go through your spice racks and toss anything older than a few years. Standing and staring at your spices until you find the one you need is easier if there are fewer in your collection.
- The best reason to get rid of clutter is that the less you have, the easier it is to clean your house. Kathryn Weber, who writes the "Around the Home" column in a local paper, says too many knick-knacks and kitsch that don't mean anything to you any more are big obstacles to proper cleaning. And don't say, "But they all mean a lot to me!" Think of the time you'll save if you don't have to clean around bric-a-brac. Weed out. Let others enjoy them.
Edit your house. Peter Walsh's book, It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan For Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, will help you do that. A few of his tips:
- One day a week for two weeks, take two big trash bags (not wimpy grocery bags) and fill them up. Take one to Goodwill and send the other to the garbage. Peter Walsh's overall theme is: People, you have too much excess baggage that makes your home harder to clean and weighs you down psychologically. Try to get everyone in your household to declutter.
- Walsh also says for every category of your possessions — books, videos, clothing, shoes — get rid of one item. He calls it "downsizing." You'll probably never miss the discarded items.
- If you have things belonging to other people or relatives, return them. It's hard to find enough time to clean your own clutter without having to clean theirs, too.
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