It’s becoming increasingly common for elderly parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other family members to move in with us when they can’t manage independently and need assistance. Some older people also sell their own place and join another household to save finances or for other purposes, including babysitting grandkids.
If you’re preparing to have an elderly family member move in with you, it’s vital to take time to get your home ready for their specialized needs. Even if the older person is in excellent health, you should still take steps to set up your home effectively. Here’s what you can do to prepare.
Declutter the Property
You’ll likely have to declutter your property inside and out to make enough space to have a new person move in with you. Your place probably has an abundance of “stuff,” and your guest bedroom may be filled up with bits and pieces that you and other members of your household don’t use very often, haven’t gotten around to throwing out or fixing, or are storing there because of some other reason.
Before you have an elderly parent or other person move in, you’ll need to spend time decluttering throughout. It’s wise to remove excess items not just in the bedroom and bathroom that your elder may use exclusively but in other spaces, too. The older we get, the more likely we all tend to be to lose our footing and trip, slip, and fall. Getting rid of as much clutter in all the rooms and even outside in the yard as possible will make your property less of a hazard and easier for your family member to navigate around safely.
Pick a Ground-Floor Space for the Family Member to Use as Their Own
When setting up a bedroom for your parent or other loved one, try to find them a space on the ground floor of your home. Many elderly people have mobility issues such as bad hips or knees or chronic conditions that make going up and down stairs challenging. If they can stay on the ground floor, this will help keep them more comfortable and reduce the risk of them hurting themselves at some point.
Set up their bedroom with some of their own furniture to make them feel more at home. They might already have a favorite comfortable chair and a bed, for instance, that they know suits them. If not, invest in a new organic mattress or other product that suits their sleeping style and the level of firmness they require. If you can set up your new housemate with their own bathroom or at least easy access to a toilet close to their bedroom, that will be a good thing, too.
Install Extra Heating and Cooling Solutions
Older adults often feel the heat and the cold more than others, so you may need to install some extra heating and cooling solutions to help keep your new housemate more comfortable. This is particularly vital if you live in an area that gets very hot or cold.
You may want to get a ceiling fan put into the bedroom of your family member or a fireplace or gas heater. Alternatively, consider installing an HVAC unit in their space. They may also need a small plug-in heater for the bathroom they use.
Bring in Some Helpful Mobility Aids
Before the senior in your life moves in with you, it’s worth adding mobility aids to your home. For example, it pays to install some handrails around your home, especially if you have steps at entrances and exits, and a ramp if needed. Some elderly folk need a sit-down shower, plus you may need to modify or update your toilet, so it’s not too low for the older person using it.
Other tips for effectively setting up your home include ensuring there’s enough lighting around the property, especially outdoor paths leading up to the home, and making changes to cater to your loved one’s pet. Rather than people having to give up their cherished dog or cat, etc., when they come to live with you, see if you can add appropriate fencing and pet doors or take other measures to make it okay for the pet to come too.
Getting a property ready for the addition of an older adult takes some time, money, and effort. However, once you see them happily settled in and you get the benefit of more quality interactions with them and fewer worries about them being on their own, you’re sure to see it’s all worthwhile.