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Stroke Rehabilitation Unit
Baggot Street Community Hospital

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Tips for making everyday tasks easier

Pace Yourself

Use Daily/Weekly  Schedules

Simplify Tasks

Plan Storage and Work Areas

Use Proper Body Mechanics

Shopping

Cooking

Helpful Cooking  Hints

Baking

Kitchen Equipment

Cleaning

Laundry

Ironing

Bedmaking

Pace Yourself

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  • Avoid rushing
  • Take rests before becoming fatigued
  • Avoid activities that cannot be stopped (especially if too stressful)

 

Use Daily / weekly Schedules

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  • Balance work and rest periods.
  • Space light and heavy activities
  • Rest for activities you wish to pursue later

 

Simplify Tasks

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  • Decrease steps (Two- in- One, doubling recipes- freezing)
  • Decrease effort
  • Use gravity
  • Use leverage
  • Sit, if possible

 

Plan Storage and Work Areas

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  • Organize for convenience
  • Work at comfortable heights
  • Work within natural range
  • Have proper lighting
  • Break tasks into components parts, e. g. laundry: gather, sort, load, dry

 

Use Proper Body Mechanics

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  • Maintain good posture (importance of alignment)
  • Use both hands (carrying, loading, lifting).
  • Use largest possible joints(hip to push drawers closed)
  • Use Aids (to relieve stress – walking aids, bath board

 

Shopping

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  • Shop during non-peak hours when possible. It takes less time to get through the shop
  • Order by telephone and on-line. Use delivery services offered by shops.
  • Make enquiries by telephone before leaving home to save energy searching for wanted items.
  • Know layout of supermarket to avoid excessive walking and standing.
  • When shopping, keep an eye out for new items designed to eliminate some details of housework.
    Watching T.V., newspapers and magazines also might provide you with ideas
  • Buy heavy non-perishable groceries, cleaning supplies, etc, when someone else takes you grocery shopping. Have them carry supplies into the house.
  • Rather than rushing home when tired, go for coffee before leaving the supermarket or shopping centre. You will be rested for the trip.

 

Cooking

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  • Plan ahead when preparing foods to allow for short breaks in between mixing etc.
  • Pre- position baking or salad goods before beginning.
  • Avoid peeling foods by using the food in its natural state or by using frozen foods.
  • Meal in a dish, ready meals avoid excess dish washing.
  • Measure all dry ingredients before measuring wet ingredients.
  • Slide heavy articles rather than lift to avoid excess strain and energy consumption.
  • Light-weight pots and pans are easier to hold and work with. Double handles make carrying easier.
  • Avoid holding cooking utensils by using suction cups, non- slip mats and dampened j-cloth.
  • Have a work surface near the fridge on which to place goods taken from the fridge.
  • Drain dishes and allow to dry to avoid the necessity of drying dishes.

 

Helpful Cooking Hints

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  • Casseroles - can often be done as meal in a dish; these can usually be prepared the night before, and heated for dinner the next day.
  • Pouring tea or coffee lift pot with both hands – one on the handle, the other under the pot to support it. Use a pot holder to prevent burning yourself. A kettle tipper makes pouring much easier.
  • Draining vegetables - cook vegetables in a wire chip basket as this makes it easier to strain them.
  • Carving meat - stainless steel roasting dishes with spikes are obtainable. This keeps the meat firmly in place while you carve. Meat cooled for 20-30 minutes is easier to carve.
  • Lifting and moving pots use pots with two handles. Where possible, slide pots from stove to sink, or slide from stove to kitchen trolley and wheel to sink small sturdy trolley that is as high as your counter and with an open end can save you considerable lifting and carrying. Good posture and correct work height makes working easier.
  • Stews - cut meat into serving-size pieces (no need to cut into tiny pieces) or use stewing chops. Butchers will cut into pieces for you.
  • Sliced bread- saves time and energy. Buy thick and thin type if the family likes thick toast.
  • Funnels- use when pouring – saves time mopping up afterwards.
  • Vegetables– if boiling vegetables, they are easier to cut when cooked or partially cooked.
  • Hard vegetables – Use a chopper or food processor if possible.
  • Carrots. - time and food value are wasted on dicing or cutting into rings. Cook whole or in halves.

 

Baking

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Ready mixes. - help to save time and they may actually be more economical to use if ingredients are not usually stocked.

 

Kitchen Equipment

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  • Store most frequently used items at easy reach spots and least used at difficult-to-reach spots
  • Hooks - plastic stick-on, or wire screw-in types allow more convenient placement of oven mitts, dish towels, etc
  • Spice and knife racks allow accessible storage as well as being decorative.
  • Long handled utensils such as dust pans, mops and dusters allow you to clean without excess bending.
  • A slotted spoon or colander allows you to drain vegetables, etc, with ease.
  • Dusting mitt allows cleaning without the necessity of grasping the object.
  • Foam plastic mat - placed at the bottom of the sink helps prevent breakages.
  • Dish mop - a sponge type is easier to wring out than a heavier cloth type.
  • Dish rack – leave dishes to drain and save yourself the drying time.
  • Long handled serving spoons – give a better leverage.
  • A work surfacenear the fridge and stove eliminates extra bending and walking
  • Funnels – use when pouring - it saves time when cleaning up.

 

Cleaning

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  • Do not do all the heavy housework or cleaning on the same day. When you clean the whole house in one day, it takes many days to recuperate.
  • When disposing of rubbish, make only one trip to the bin.
  • Try to arrange the furniture so you do not have to shift it around every time you want to clean the room.

 

Laundry

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  • Do not do all your laundry and heavy housework on the same day.
  • Get each member of the family to put their washing in the laundry in a basket. This saves you from going around the house to collect it.
  • Sort clothes on a table, work bench, freezer or on washing machine – never on the floor
  • Only wash articles in the laundry basket, do not run for a forgotten article. You will become more organised in collecting laundry
  • Sit, if possible, to do any hand laundry
  • When hanging clothes on line, make sure line is at a good height and put basket on a chair or stool to eliminate bending
  • When doing washing by hand, it is better to do a little at a time rather than let it build up and find that you have to exert yourself and spend hours to do it.
  • Fold clothes as they are taken from the line. Later they will be less creased and easier to iron.

 

Ironing

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  • Purchase machine-washable rather than hand-washable articles.
  • Take shirts, etc, out of dryer when finished to prevent wrinkling.
  • Keep iron on a shelf or cupboard in easy reach of the ironing area.
  • Leave ironing board set up all the time, i.e. avoid lifting and carrying it across the room.
  • Sit with both feet on the floor and the work surface about 2 inches above your thighs if, standing, adjust the height for good posture.
  • When putting clothes away, put them all in a basket and make one trip only.
  • Plan to buy clothes that wash easily and require little ironing. Do not bother to iron things that do not need it e.g. sheets, pyjamas, etc.
  • It is better to do a little ironing each day than to wear yourself out doing it all at once.

 

Bedmaking

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  • Bed making is easier if the bed is high enough for you to reach without bending or if you sit while making it. Position the bed away from the wall, if possible so that it does not have to be pulled out each day. Move the bed by pushing with your legs if casters are not available.
  • Avoid leaning across the bed to the other side. It might take a little longer to walk around – but it avoids back strain and unnecessary energy waste.
  • Bottom fitted sheets with elasticised corners eliminate tucking in everyday.
  • Top sheets should be large enough to stay so they do not pull out nightly.
  • Tuck in all sheets on each side together – saves walking around the bed several times.
  • Enlist your family’s support to change their own beds.
  • Place clean pillow cases on pillow without too much shaking. (Roll onto pillow like you put on a stocking.)
  • When mattress needs turning – get someone else to do it for you

 
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