Preparing Your Home for Elderly Parents


 
If you’re faced with preparing your home for one or both of your parents, you are going to need a plan. The truth is, there are going to be many choices that you are going to have to make which will be important to get your home and your family ready for this new live-in situation. The good news is that with a little bit of planning and some hard work, you can create a livable situation for everyone involved.

We’ve compiled a few ideas and tips here to help you get moving in the right direction.
 

Room Choice

Choosing the right room for your Mom or Dad is going to be key. A few things to consider are:

  • Close enough to the bathroom
  • Easy access to shared spaces like the living room, kitchen, etc.
  • Proper furniture for physical abilities
  • Sufficient and accessible storage space for needed items

Safety & Home Remodeling

Elderly parents living with adult children

Preparing your home for elderly parents

  • Reduce clutter
  • Sufficient space to maneuver around the room
  • Proper lighting
  • Walk-in or roll-in shower
  • Lever handles on doors (instead of door knobs)
  • Safety rails on bed (if necessary)
  • Hand rails on walls or pull bar for assistance with getting out of bed

Belongings

Before you even begin going through your parent’s (and possibly, your own) things, you are going to need a clear-cut idea of how to go about it. Remember, you are filling a space previously occupied by your family (and stuff), with someone else (and their stuff).  Putting belongings into categories and deciding before-hand what will be done with items in the categories, can make it much easier.

  • Day-to-day: Things that need to be readily available for day-to-day living or items that might be required regularly.
    ideas: closets, under-bed containers, new built-in cabinets
  • Delicate items: Things you need to keep from damage like photos or important papers.
    ideas: Fire & water proof boxes or sealed plastic containers. (Not cardboard boxes.)
  • Long-term: Things you want to keep and pass on like antiques or other family heirlooms.
    ideas: Climate controlled storage. You could share this with another family to reduce cost.
  • All the rest: Things you won’t keep.
    ideas: Donations to Salvation Army, church groups or local shelters. Also, garbage.

As you are choosing what belongings need to be kept or stored, make sure you keep in mind the emotional and mental state of your loved one. Having their things rummaged through may be difficult for them. Be as sensitive as you can.

It’s going to have family impact

Taking in a new person to live with your family will disrupt the normal flow of daily life. This is especially true as the person requires more care. Meet as a family before your loved on moves in. Discuss what impact it may have and how best to deal with it. This is a great opportunity to get ideas for dealing with some of the other decisions you need to make as new caregivers.

When you’re having family discussions, don’t leave out any of your siblings if you have them. Getting their ideas, support and assistance is a good idea. This is especially true if the caregiving arrangement goes on for some time.

Most importantly, especially in families with children, take care to monitor the ongoing effects through this transition. You’re going to be pulled in lots of new directions by taking this step, but you’ll need to make sure your spouse and children adjust well to the new situation.

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Mark Hager About Mark Hager

By Mark Hager
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Mark Hager is an aging in place thought leader and advocate. He is the founder of AgeInPlace.com, CEO of Age in Place Networks, a leading authority in the aging in place niche and a trusted voice for both consumers and business owners serving older consumers. Over the years, Mark has provided help for thousands of consumers, organizations and small businesses.

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