Moving an elderly family member into your home is challenging on many fronts. First, you must figure out how to mitigate safety with the concerns of isolation and loss of independence. Additionally, you can’t ignore the fact that your family dynamic is going to change. The best thing you can do to start the process of taking in an aging loved one is to make them feel loved, wanted and safe in your home. Here are a few tips for getting your house ready for an elderly occupant.
Make Bathroom Modifications
The first area of your home you may need to modify for an elderly family member is the bathroom. Because of hard surfaces that become slippery when moisture builds up, the risk of falling is considerably dangerous. A shower stool and grab bars are a great addition to making the room safe for independent usage. Additionally, consider installing a landline phone for senior citizens in or near the bathroom so it’s accessible in case of an accident or fall occurring in the shower or bathtub.
Consult the Professionals
If making your home safe, accessible and comfortable for your family member will require a renovation, then you need a contractor who specializes in home care projects. A few changes you’ll want to consider include:
- Adding square footage to your home, such as living quarters or another bathroom.
- Retrofitting doorways and building ramps for wheelchair accessibility.
- Balancing your loved one’s privacy while ensuring easy access to necessary parts of the house, like the kitchen and bathrooms.
A professional can help you make the right decisions for your elderly loved one.
Remove Fall Risks
In some ways, making your home safe for an elderly inhabitant is like toddler proofing it. You probably don’t need to worry about grandma choking on small toys, but she could trip over one, causing a serious fall and subsequent injury. Therefore, you should contain children’s play items, dog toys and unnecessary clutter to spaces where your elderly loved one isn’t likely to wander.
Also, be mindful of floor and stair conditions and reduce the risk of slipping and falling by applying non-skid treads or area rugs with rubber backing. Additionally, sensor-activated lighting may be beneficial for preventing falls if your parent suffers from impaired vision or mobility.
Making sure your elder is happy and healthy under your roof is easier than you think. Just be attentive and willing to make the necessary modifications to meet the special needs of your loved one.