As they get older, seniors may choose to move in with their children. This provides them with companionship and care they need as they age while also allowing them to maintain close contact with their kids and grandkids. Sharing a family home can also cut expenses for all involved. Given the advantages, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, it should come as no surprise that more parents are moving in with their children. That said, your house may not yet be ready for mom or dad (or both!) to move in. Before they join you, address the below points to assure their comfort and safety.
First, Think about Financing
Chances are, you’ll need to spend some money to get your home ready for your senior loved one’s arrival. And, sometimes, the changes you need to make reside far outside of your current budget. Fortunately, there are ways you can free up some money to help pay for these renovations and changes. Many homeowners, for example, refinance their homes to create some financial wiggle room for a number of different expenses, including remodeling projects. However, before you head in this direction, look for online guides and resources, such as this one from PennyMac, to thoroughly understand what’s involved.
Prepare added storage space
Your senior loved one will likely downsize their belongings before they move in, but you can’t ask them to get rid of everything, of course. As such, prepare to accommodate their belongings by expanding your storage capacity. A standard storage unit can cost anywhere from $60 to $180 per month, and these costs will quickly add up. It can be cheaper to simply have a metal shed constructed on your property. Steel is durable, making for a lasting and cost-effective solution. Plus, having this structure on-site is also practical because stored items can be accessed at any time.
Set up their bedroom wisely
Single-floor living is ideal for seniors who may experience decreased mobility and be unable to mount stairs without assistance. If you have a multilevel home, situate their bedroom on the ground floor. Ideally, it will also be near the bathroom, allowing them to easily access the toilet if they need to use it in the night. To maximize their comfort in their bedroom, install extra lighting to improve their vision.
Renovate the bathroom they will use
You don’t have to modify every bathroom, but you should make senior-friendly changes to the one that your parent will be using. Slips in the tub or shower can cause serious injuries to older adults. Install a zero-threshold shower so they don’t have to climb over a high tub ledge, and add a shower seat and grab bars for greater stability. If they have trouble getting up out of chairs, a raised toilet seat with grab bars on either side is also advisable. Finally, ensure any bathroom mats are securely affixed with no-slip adhesive.
Make way for mobility devices
If your mother or father uses a cane or a walker, you want to ensure a clear path for them throughout the home. Remove clutter from the floors and remove throw rugs they could trip over (or secure these firmly to the floors). For door thresholds, get a portable threshold ramp. If they require a wheelchair, you may need to undertake wheelchair-accessible remodeling that widens hallways and doorways to at least 32 inches.
Look for Ways to Make Mealtime Easy
It helps to get everyone on the same page when it comes to meals. Make a point to talk to your parents about what sort of foods they can or can’t eat, and modify your menus accordingly. Your parents may even be able to help with some of the evening cooking or with minor preparation so dinner is easier to put together. If mobility is an issue and cooking is difficult when you or your partner are at work, consider signing up for a meal delivery service so your loved one always has a healthy meal ready to go at lunchtime. There are even services specific to seniors’ nutritional needs like those offered by SunMeadow.
Consider outside spaces
You want your senior loved one to enjoy their golden years in your home. Seniors can benefit from spending time outdoors, as increased levels of vitamin D from sunlight can decrease the risk of certain health issues. If you have a porch or patio, get a cozy chair and sun umbrella for them to use. If you have a yard, consider setting aside a plot for them to use for gardening. This hobby is likewise beneficial for seniors and has even been linked to a lower prevalence of dementia.
Welcoming your aging parent into your home can be a wonderful way to nurture your bond as they get older. By taking these steps to prepare, you will be sure that they are comfortable and happy in their new home. This means that you don’t have to stress about their well-being while they can settle into their new surroundings with ease.