There came a point in time when you left the nest and branched out on your own, but now your parents are coming home to settle into the nest you’ve created. This could be due to a variety of reasons, but among the most common reasons are changes in health, reduced ability to remain at home safely and independently, or loneliness after the loss of a spouse. If you’ll soon be opening your home and your heart to a senior loved one, here’s how to ensure it’s a comfortable transition for everyone.
Personalize Their Space
You have a lovely home, but it’s your home, so you’ll want to make room for your senior loved one to bring in their own comforts and personal touches. Start by clearing a room and giving them free rein over the design and layout, such as the bedspread, wall color, and décor. SFGate notes bedroom safety features are important here, too, such as a lower bed or hospital bed, slip-resistant flooring, a phone/intercom system, and extra insulation to keep out household noise.
Chances are they have their own furniture, so try to incorporate what you can. You might have to move out some of your own stuff or say no to some of theirs. Instead of an emotional parting of items or a pricey storage unit, think about adding a steel storage building to your property. It is sturdy, economical, and close by, and it could even serve double-duty as a workshop or hobby area too.
Before your parent makes the big move, go ahead and address accessibility accommodations. Where should you start? Look at their home first and take note of any modifications they currently use. Get input from their doctor, and take the suggestions to heart. You might even ask your parents what would be most helpful.
The bathroom and bedroom are two areas where accidents tend to happen, so look into installing grab bars, a no-step shower or accessible tub, additional lighting, and widening doorways to make room for mobility devices.
The kitchen is another area of concern, and your senior may spend a lot of time socializing here, or even helping out with meals. Daily Caring recommends making the kitchen senior-friendly by adding accessible storage, like pull-down shelves or slide shelving. Replace hardware with wide drawer pulls that are easy to grasp, and consider adding a small work table if the counter height isn’t appropriate.
If you need a financial boost to tend to these modifications, you can look to available grants. Alternatively, now may be the time to tap into some of your home equity through a refinance. If you opt for this route, remember that it should make financial sense and you should use a checklist to prep all the necessary documents before shopping around for lenders.
In some instances, the right choice is to move into a larger home to accommodate everyone easily. If this is an affordable undertaking, be sure to enlist the help of a local real estate expert to help you find the right size house for your needs.
When You’re Out
You won’t always be at home, and chances are your parents might want to stay home and relax instead of following along with your daily routine or errands. If you’re wary about leaving your senior loved one home alone, consider adding some smart home devices. Install an indoor camera (with night vision), a motion sensor to automatically turn on lights, a home security system, and smart home locks so you can lock the door behind them if they forget.
Think It All Through
Of course your senior parent is always welcome in your home, but living with you is very different, and this becomes a different type of responsibility. Consider all scenarios in order to ensure the decision you make is healthy for everyone. Discuss the situation with your loved one’s doctor, and depending on the circumstances, request a needs assessment to determine your loved one’s mental and physical status.
In doing so, you can gauge what caregiving areas you’ll need to focus on. Be sure to talk it through with the family at home, as well as siblings and relatives nearby. This can be a boon to you in the long run, especially if you coordinate care so you don’t get burned out.
Welcoming your senior parents into your home takes a lot of preparation. It’s a life-changing decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, once the transition is complete, your home will be filled with a whole lot more love (and maybe some babysitting assistance too)!