Equipping Your Home for Elderly Relatives
- 06 Mar 2019
Nothing can prepare you for the change that comes with bringing an elderly loved one to live in your home. Particularly when you’re used to having space all to yourself and your family! Or, if you live alone, you must accept that walking around in various states of undress is probably a no-no for the foreseeable future! Whatever your personal situation, a major adjustment period is right ahead of you… and you won’t know exactly what to do until it happens. However, in the meantime, there are ways to get as prepared as possible...
Wave Goodbye to Clutter
Before you ask, this has nothing to do with Marie Kondo (but if she inspires you, go for it!). This is about making your home more accessible for elderly relatives who may have mobility challenges. Get rid of unnecessary clutter to create an environment that allows for the easiest movement. If you’re living in your parent’s house, be prepared that they may not like the idea of parting with their things! It’s not uncommon for older people to hoard household items if they grew up in, or lived through, uncertain economic times. Explain the need for more space and simplicity and start clearing… Just make sure you have no more use for whatever you’re giving away before it’s too late!
Say Hello to Gadgets
Who doesn’t love some gadgets? There are plenty available that can make your home infinitely safer and easier for elderly people to navigate. For example, if your home has more than one floor, a stair lift is an absolute must. A wide range of technology to counter any limitation you can think of is available. For example, hearing aids, electronic alert systems, and arthritis aids... the list goes on. Other devices such as dressing aids, uplift seats, and in-bed bathing systems can also be extremely helpful depending on your situation. Finally, installing grab bars in bathrooms and bedrooms will make movement easier and give your elderly relative more privacy and independence – who doesn’t enjoy more of that?!
Nail the Bathroom Basics
The more elderly we get, the less chance we will escape injury from a fall. Sometimes, even the chance of recovery is slim! So, getting flooring right, particularly in places like the bathroom (all those hard surfaces), is crucial. Avoiding marble or tiles is a good place to start, but you can also invest in non-slip mats and even vinyl for extra protection. Another great tool for the bathroom is anti-scald devices for water faucets that ensure someone can shower in comfort if the water gets too hot or increases temperature suddenly. (Haven’t we all been there?!)
Remember, this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming time… all the support and expertise you need is out there if you think you'd benefit from some professional guidance. Good luck!