As your family members age, sometimes they need extra care, which may result in them moving into your home. It is very important to prepare your space to make sure that your elderly relative will be safe and is not at risk for any injuries or ailments. You’ll also need to make sure that both they and your family are emotionally ready for the change and that everyone will be able to co-exist happily. Here are some tips for ensuring that your elderly relative will be comfortable in your home.
Set them up on the first floor if you can.
Stairs can present a challenge for many people in their old age. Many seniors can no longer climb stairs at all, and even if they can, stairs can put them at risk for a fall. To prevent this from happening, try to put them in a bedroom that is on the same floor as the bathroom, kitchen, and every other room they may need to use. If they do need to go up the stairs at times, make sure there’s an accessible railing for them and that the steps are not slippery.
Give them enough space to themselves.
You’ll want to make sure that your parent or relative has enough space to themselves so they can still be somewhat independent. This is very important for their emotional health, as well as the comfort of your family. This may mean taking dens, guest bedrooms, or other extra rooms and transforming them into a designated area for your relative. You may also want to consider making renovations to your home, although this can be very expensive.
Consider how your parent will get around.
You’ll need to accommodate your parent not only in your home, but outside of it as well. If your parent can still drive safely, make sure there’s room for their car or that they will be able to use yours when necessary. If they can’t drive anymore, is there public transit in the area to help them get where they need to go? Many cities now offer accessible public transit options for those who need them. Realistically, you’ll likely need to be able to drive them around at times as well.
Be ready to install extra accommodations as your parent ages.
Your parent may still be relatively high-functioning, but as they get older, they might lose the ability to do many things that are a part of their basic routine. Consider installing things like a shower seat or railing, doors that are sized appropriately for wheelchairs, and other accommodations that they might need considering their health status. Although they may not need those things right now, it helps to financially prepare for when they do.
It’s also very important to talk to your family and decide how this will affect everyone’s basic schedules. Find out what everyone needs to feel comfortable – if you have young kids, they’ll likely need time when they can run around and play without disturbing your elderly relative, and your relative will still need time to socialize with people their age and do things they love. By having these conversations beforehand, you can ensure that your parent will be able to live happily in your home.