Having one or both of your parents move in with you can be a good idea for the whole family. It gives them the support that they need and gives you the reassurance that they are safe. Whether your parent(s) only need a little bit of help or they require around-the-clock care, it can be easier if they live with you. It’s also a great opportunity to spend more time with them and for them to spend time with your children if you have any. However, before you have a parent move in with you, you need to make sure that your home is ready for them. That could mean making some adjustments, particularly if your parent already has some mobility issues.
Here are some things that you can do to prepare your home.
Make It Easy to Get In and Out
Getting in and out of your home is one of the first things that you will probably need to think about. If your parent can’t even get in, there’s no point even thinking about the rest of your home. Start by thinking about any steps or changes in level to get into your home. These can be difficult to manage for anyone with mobility problems. One way to make things easier could be to put in some grab bars or a railing, which can be held for stability when entering the house. In other cases, you might need to consider installing a ramp.
Navigate Multiple Levels
If your home isn’t all on one level, you will also have to think about further steps and stairs. Small changes that have only a few steps or easy slopes could be adjusted with the same approach as outside. However, if you have a staircase, you will need a bigger solution. A chair lift for stairs is one solution that makes getting up and down the stairs a lot easier. It’s also much easier to install compared to an elevator. Another option may simply be to set up your parent downstairs, with both a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.
Think about the furniture in your home and whether it’s suitable for someone who may have trouble doing certain physical things. For example, sitting down and getting back up again can become difficult for many people as they get older. You might need to make sure that there is comfortable seating that is the right height and firmness to make it easier to get up and down. It’s especially important to think about furniture when planning their space, whether it’s just a bedroom or it’s a larger studio apartment or annex.
Adapt a Bathroom
The bathroom is the next place to turn your attention to if you want to make sure your home is ready for an elderly parent. Adapting at least one bathroom (if you have more than one) is a good idea if you know or expect that your parent might need help with mobility. Bathrooms can be dangerous, especially because they get wet and slippery, but you can make them safer. Some adjustments could include installing grab bars, having a shower chair or bench, or putting in a walk-in bath. You could even consider putting in a wet room.
Think About Communication
It can be helpful to think about how to improve communication between you, whether you are at home together or one of you is out and about. At home, it can be handy to have an intercom system or have a baby monitor for communicating between rooms. If your parent needs a lot of support, it’s helpful if they can call you for help whenever they need it. Of course, it’s also helpful for everyone to have cell phones. However, make sure your parent knows how to use theirs.
Check for Other Safety Issues
Walk through your home and consider other safety issues that might be there. There can be various things that could create an issue. For example, loose carpet could be a tripping hazard for anyone who is not so steady on their feet. If possible, try doing the walkthrough with your parent or perhaps a carer or home help so they can point out anything that could be a problem. It’s not always easy to spot the things that could cause issues so having some help is useful.
If you have one or more elderly parents moving into your home, get ready by addressing any issues relating to safety, mobility, and other potential things that might require your attention.