Prepping Your Home for Elderly Family
As the average age of the baby boomer generation continues to rise, more and more of the aging population are requiring assistance with daily living and health needs. While many people choose to put their elderly family members in assisted living and retirement homes, there are many others who decide to bring their family members into their own homes for care.
While this is certainly a more comfortable and familiar place for them to spend their future, this can be a very difficult task as they begin to rely on assistance more frequently. To make the transition easier, there are a few things you can do to your home to prep for an elderly family member who will be living with you around the clock.
If you’re not sure how to prepare your home, consider these tips that will help to elder-proof your home, and make it safe and more convenient for everyone living there:
1. CREATE A CENTRAL BEDROOM
For elderly individuals, one of the most important things you can give them when they move in is a bedroom that they are comfortable in. This will be their only private space to enjoy, so try to give them enough space to move around, and try to give them lots of natural light.
A central bedroom on the first floor is ideal, to avoid forcing them to use the stairs frequently throughout their day; essentially, a bedroom on the main floor is a much safer option. It is also helpful to have their bedroom close to a washroom for easy access, and that their bedroom furniture meets their physical needs.
2. MAKE THE HOME MANEUVERABLE
If the elderly individuals you’re housing have a hard time getting around, then it will definitely be important to reduce the clutter in your home and make it easier to get around in. This will be even more important if they have a walker or wheelchair that they use to get around for everyday tasks.
Larger projects you may consider include purchasing smaller pieces of furniture and removing carpet to increase the ability to get around. If you’re looking for simpler fixes, try re-arranging existing furniture so that clear paths are available, and host a garage sale to get rid of clutter that you don’t need anymore. There are also lots of storage options that you can utilize to keep things put away safely, including toy boxes if you have little ones who tend to leave toys on the floor.
3. HAND RAILS
Ease the maneuverability of your elderly family members by installing hand rails or pull bars in the walls. These are most important near bedsides, in showers, and along staircases. Hand rails will help to increase the safety of elderly people who have poor balance and strength, by assisting them in and out of showers and beds, and getting up and down stairs, when necessary.
For those who need to get up and down the stairs, you may also consider investing in a chair lift, which will help them get up and down the stairs more safely.
4. WALK-IN SHOWERS
Even though you may be much younger than the elderly people in your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be strong enough to lift or carry them around. For those individuals who can’t properly get in and out of showers and baths, it may be easier to invest in a walk-in or roll-in shower that they can manage on their own.
These kinds of investments are very helpful, because they may stop you from trying to do too much with your own physical strength. Avoid injury to both you and your guest by providing them with the tools to take care of themselves safely. If you need help assisting the elderly individuals in your home, then you may want to seek geriatric care, with assistants who are qualified in safely helping your guest with their daily activities.
5. PROPER LIGHTING
With old age comes a lot of changes in the body, including an increased difficulty seeing. While we may not think about it too often, your guests may require a lot more light to see what they’re doing on a regular basis. With this in mind, try to have a few lamps available around the main floor, and a few in their bedroom to help them see.
Quite a few lamps are now designed to have timers, so even if you forget to turn them on for your guests, they can automatically go on before you even get home from work. This will ensure that they’re taken care of even if you can’t get home to them right away.
Inviting elderly family members into your home is a very selfless act, and there is no doubt that your new guest will appreciate all that you’re doing for them. It is important, however, that your home is prepared properly for older guests who may have specific needs and daily routines.
If you’re seriously considering opening up your home to an elderly member, then you should do some research about how to prepare for it, and speak to their doctor about what will be necessary to keep them healthy and comfortable.