Aging in place is a growing trend thanks to advancements in medical technology. Older individuals have more options for living in their own homes or with family members while still retaining access to medical care and safe practices. For many families in the United States, homeowners are trying to set up their spaces to accommodate a parent or grandparent moving in with them.
Preparing the home for an older relative is not a simple task. There are many things to consider regarding safety and accessibility that will improve the quality of life for your family member, but you also want to avoid disrupting the lives of those who already live in the home too much. Finding a balance between making changes and maintaining the patterns that have already been established can be tricky.
But the goal is to flawlessly incorporate this older family member into your home so that everyone can be comfortable. So with that being said, here are a few suggestions you could follow to get your home ready for an older relative that will be moving in soon.
A Separate, But Connected Living Space
If you have the budget for it, building an addition could be the most effective way to incorporate an aging family member into your home. In many cases, your loved one may feel guilty about disrupting your rhythms with their presence, and even though you can do all you can to tell them that is not the case, it may not convince them completely. Creating an almost separate living space for the individual can help alleviate some of that tension for them. By building an addition or turning some unused rooms into a bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchen for their use, you can give them their own space in the house. This allows for some privacy while still maintaining the connection with the rest of the family.
Accessibility is a huge topic for older relatives, especially those who are starting to lose some of their mobility. To help them feel welcome in your home, you do not want to limit the parts of the house that they can access because of accessibility problems. If your home has multiple stories that will be used, then you could install a personal vacuum elevator if your loved one uses a wheelchair or struggles with stairs. Doorways between rooms may need to be widened to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Rooms or hallways with slippery floors might need to be remedied so that your older family member is not taking a risk by using that space. The more you can make the whole home accessible; the more comfortable the living experience can be.
Update The Bathroom
Bathrooms can be a particularly dangerous place for older individuals. Floors can be slippery, especially if they get wet, as well as bathtubs. Getting up and down from the toilet may also be a struggle. Updating your bathroom to focus on safety for older individuals is a crucial step in preparing the home for this stage of their lives. Raised seats on the toilet are an option, and a handlebar next to it will also be helpful. Replacing a regular bathtub with one that has a door can reduce the risk of falling while getting into and out of the shower. Flooring options that don’t become as slippery will also benefit your loved one. Make the necessary upgrades to protect the safety of your older family members.
Choose A Bedroom With A View
To accommodate the needs of your family member, choosing the right bedroom can make a big difference. If any of the bedrooms in your home have a particularly nice view, then maybe that can become the room for the older relative. They may be spending lots of time there, especially if they face health struggles, and having a nice view out the window or a private patio door can be extremely beneficial for their mental health.
Incorporate The Outdoors
Time spent outside has many physical and mental health benefits. Though your older relative has to be more careful about extreme temperatures and sun exposure, it is still crucial for them to get some fresh air consistently. You can create an outdoor space that suits their needs with comfortable outdoor furniture options. Dining as a family outside can be a wonderful experience that strengthens the familial bond and supports the mental health of everyone involved.
Think Of It As An Incorporation Rather Than A Disruption
Having an older family member move in with you is bound to cause some tension or stress. You and your immediate family may have a certain way of doing things, and so will the individual moving in. Shifting your perspective to view the change as incorporating them into your lives rather than disrupting them is the best way to approach this move. Together, you can all support and care for each other as a family unit. Prepare your home to accommodate this person’s needs, and the transition will be much easier and feel less like a disruption.