Tips for Preparing Your Home for an Elderly Family Member to Move In
Are your parents or grandparents moving in with you? Here is how you can prepare your home for them to move in!
If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what tomorrow may bring and that it’s good to have our family members close in case things go awry. If you have elderly parents or an aunt or grandparent, or another person in your life who needs some more help around the home and to be closer to you, you may be planning to have them move in with you soon. If so, it’s vital to prepare your home for their arrival.
Since elderly relatives are often unsteady on their feet, you want to remove as many potential trip hazards and obstacles for them to get around as possible in your home. You may also need to pare down your belongings to free up the spare bedroom or den, guest house, etc., for them to move into.
Spend time decluttering to make your property clearer and enable you to do a much better cleaning job. With older people living with you who often have more vulnerable immune systems, it’s vital for the place to be as clean as possible.
Set Up a Ground-Floor Space
You’ll likely need a ground-floor space for your parents to spend their time in since many seniors have back, hip, knee, or other mobility issues that mean stairs are a problem or at least will become so in the future. Assess your property, taking safety and logistics into account to see where the best space will be to set your loved one up and if you need to do some renovation work, such as adding a bathroom or kitchenette, etc.
Since it’s not just a big adjustment for you but also your elderly parents when they move in, try to make the area feel more comfortable by bringing some of their furniture in. You’ll likely have to help them sell or donate many of their pieces, but adding some of their favorite things, such as a comfortable chair and bed, can make a big difference to how quickly and easily they settle in.
Add Mobility Aids
You may also need to put in multiple handrails, a ramp or two, and other aids to make your property suitable for your loved one. Many people require a sit-down shower, and you may need to install a new or modified toilet so your parents don’t have trouble getting up when they’re finished with their business. An elevated toilet with armrests tends to be the most practical option.
You may also need to install a TV and other devices with accessories or features for the hearing impaired or choose large-screen remotes or other pieces for those lacking vision. Talk to your parents about what they need and pay attention to how they move about and currently live for insights into what will be required for your home.
Install Heating and Cooling Options
The elderly often feel the cold and sometimes the heat more than younger generations and more than they ever have before. As such, set up appropriate heating and cooling options to keep people comfortable and reduce the risk of their getting sick due to temperature issues.
Depending on where you live and what the weather is like, you may find it’s enough to add some remote-controlled modern ceiling fans to rooms and some plug-in heaters. Alternatively, you might require more comprehensive reverse-cycle air conditioning or fire or gas heating products to be added.
Put in More Lighting
Similarly, it’s necessary to have adequate lighting inside your home and out so that your elderly parents can find their way around safely, especially in the dark or at dusk. You might like to install some dimmer switches and add lights in areas you haven’t considered before, such as extra ones on long hallways or along front or back external paths, etc.
Make Room for Pets
To help your parents have a happy transition to your home, be open-minded and make room for them to bring their pet along with them, if possible. No one likes to have to put a cat, dog, or other animal into a refuge or elsewhere if they don’t have to, and your parents are sure to be very upset if they have to say goodbye to their furry, feathered, or scaled friend. Help them keep a positive frame of mind by installing necessary features for the animal instead, such as an internal pet door and a fenced area outside.
Utilize Some External Assistance
It can be challenging to live with a parent again, especially if they have special needs such as mobility problems or dementia, etc. Don’t feel like you must do everything on your own. Talk to your parents about a budget for getting external assistance such as with cleaning, meal preparation or food delivery, driving, shopping, dog walking, and any other support that might make a positive difference.
The more you think about and plan for a parent’s entry into your home long-term, the smoother the transition should be for all involved.