Deciding to move an elderly parent or loved one into your home can mean major adjustments for you and your family. It may be that their spouse has recently passed away. With a $20 billion annual US funeral market, this is a frequent occurrence. In fact, there may be some adjustment time for everyone, including your loved one, to get back into a normal routine. There are several basic things to consider including your home’s safety, your loved one’s mobility, and planning the transition.
Preparing for Someone with Limited Mobility
The answer to the question of accommodations for limited mobility will be different for every individual. Not all people with mobility difficulties will be elderly. Returning service members, such as Silver Star members, will also need assistance. As the third-highest combat decoration in the US Armed Forces, Silver Star members have experienced trauma in the course of their duties. To assess the situation, critically look at your home and your loved one’s abilities for the adjustments that will need to be made. This can include things such as, if your home is two stories, is it possible to create a bedroom downstairs that is more easily accessible? Other considerations include:
- The distance between commonly used spaces
- The width of doorways and whether it will accommodate wheelchairs
- The shape of your doorknobs and whether they are accessible
- The potential of decreased mobility in the future
>Looking at each area of your home will give you a better idea of what needs to be taken care of prior to your parent or loved one moving in. Things such as deciding which bedroom they will sleep in may seem like a simple decision but when you factor in their mobility and their needs, your decision may change. Also, realize that as your parent ages, their needs may also change. This may require installing a stairlift or expanding existing doorways. Also, if your parent uses a walker or cane, you need to consider the type of flooring that you have in your home. Unsecured area rugs can be a safety hazard when they are bumped with a walker. This is an important consideration as 11.6 million people use mobility devices such as a walker or a cane.
Additional Home Adjustments
Every individual has differing levels of mobility and needs. So, after a cursory inventory, consider other items that need to be changed. This may include lighting or installing outdoor ramps for easier accessibility. Walk through your home to identify any items that might impede movement throughout the home. Probably one of the most important rooms to consider that your loved one will be using in the bathroom. Bathrooms tend to be damp, slick places when wet. However, installing grab bars and heightening the toilet seat are simple and economical home improvements that will improve safety and comfort.
Consider the Transition Period
Realize that everyone in your family will need to make some adjustments when your parent moves in. Your parent, however, will experience the most changes. Be sensitive to their needs for privacy. Where you can, help them fit their normal routine into your home’s activities. Personal items, such as artwork and treasured items, will help your parent feel more at home.
While it may seem challenging at first to bring an elderly parent or loved one into your home, it is possible to accommodate their needs. It only takes some careful thought and planning.