Outdoor Activities for In-House Washington DC and Maryland Patients
Many people in America have physical disabilities, especially those who are getting up there in years. While parts of the country were house-bound during quarantine, most places have lifted these restrictions, allowing people to go back into the world. While it’s great that things are going back to normal for most of us, the struggles of being isolated don’t go away for many with significant limitations.
Many don’t let this lack of mobility drag them down. These brave souls maintain a cheery attitude and a positive outlook on life by doing things that remind them that life is good. Many of these activities involve finding safe, enjoyable ways to entertain themselves outside. Unfortunately, not all places come with a disability-safe backyard for them to use. This loss doesn’t have to be permanent, though, because Winthorpe Design and Build has compiled a list of ways to make your outdoor spaces easily accessible.
Safety Measures to Take when Making your Outdoor Space Safe
There are many things that physically disabled people can do for themselves, but there are also many things that could put them in harm’s way. The outdoors happen to house quite a few of these hazards. Whether it’s safely blocking off an outdoor pool or simply making things more accessible, here are a few safety measures you should take to ensure the safety of your disabled friend or family member.
Pools are common on lots with big yards, especially in warm-weather climates because they provide endless hours of fun. Pools can be dangerous for people with physical disabilities, especially if they’re also mentally impaired. In-ground pools are more hazardous than above-ground pools. Your physically disabled friend or family member may not see the pool or remember that it’s there. This reality may lead to a slip or a fall, putting them in harm’s way. Even if they know that they’re near the pool, they may have an accident and end up getting hurt.
As a preventative measure, it’s best to make sure that your pool is safely blocked off so there’s no way someone can get to it unless doing so intentionally. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way is usually to put up a fence around it. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — it just has to be sturdy enough to prevent accidents.
Alternatively, you could call a construction company (like the skilled team at Winthorpe Design and Build) to come and fill it in for you. This option may be a bit pricier, but if you don’t use the pool anymore, the cost of filling it outweighs the long-term costs of maintenance, tax, repair, and more. It also means that you’ll have more room in your yard for other fun activities.
Many physically disabled people, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, want to do as much as they can for themselves. This desire can be a more significant hazard than it seems if the area doesn’t accommodate their disability. However, most of the changes that need to be made for your yard to be more safely accessible are easy and cheap.
One of the most significant changes you can make if you have a porch or other outdoor area only accessible via stairs is to make sure that they’re shallow enough and have enough surface area for them to climb them easily. Alternatively, installing a ramp for them to use is probably a better long-term investment.
Some other things you can do include raising activities usually done on the ground (like gardening) so they can reach without having to bend over. You can also provide handrails where possible so that the risk of them losing their balance is minimal.
Probably the most important, though, is to make sure that any terrain they’ll be traversing is level and has no pits or sudden changes in height. Uneven surfaces can lead to disaster for people who struggle to walk, especially if they cannot get themselves up again.
Activities for In-house Patients
Once you’ve made the safety changes to your outdoor space, it’s time to start thinking about ways to entertain. As previously mentioned, gardening is an excellent way to help patients feel freer and connected with nature.
Installing a porch swing at a safe height for those who still have good mobility in their legs can be a great way to help your loved one(s) relax. Even something as simple as a gazebo with a view for them to sit in and watch the sunset can make more of a difference than many people realize. The possibilities are endless, but when all is said and done, the best way to figure out what to do is simply to talk to them and discuss how you can help.
When you need professional advice regarding how best to modify your home and yard, Winthorpe Design and Build has you covered. We’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years, and with our new remote design consultation process, it’s never been easier to update your home! Contact us today to get started!