If you’ve taken the brave step of deciding to move in an elderly relative, you will need to prepare your home to make it accessible for that person or people, whilst still serving you and your family. Here are a few steps to help make your home a safe and accessible environment for everyone. Start with our simple tips for living with elderly parents or relatives:
- Putting hand and grab rails around the house in convenient locations. For example, in the shower, next to the toilet, outside the front and back doors, by the bed. A double banister can also make things easier for someone who struggles with steps and stairs.
- Installing a stairlift or home lift is an investment that will not only give your new housemate invaluable accessibility between floors, but prepare your home for your own future. Home lifts can also add value onto a property whilst providing a useful means for transporting heavy and bulky items.
- Bathrooms in particular can prove difficult for someone with limited mobility. There are different options available, depending on your budget. A lowered toilet and walk-in shower however are particularly beneficial. Emergency chords can also be something to consider if you think they would be helpful.
- Someone moving in is a big deal – for them and for you. The best thing you can do is to give them a space they can call their own, that allows them to still have independency and privacy beyond a bed. When mobility is an issue, this space is best located on the ground floor with proper access. Encourage them to bring their own furniture and belongings to make it feel more like home. If possible, a private bathroom adapted to their needs would be a worthwhile addition.
- Even your relative has their own space, it will likely mean a lot if you make them feel welcome and wanted in the rest of the house. Little things like making sure communal areas are accessible and the kitchen is safe, will help them to settle in and keep everyone happier.
- As time goes on you may not be able to be present whenever that person needs your help. It may be best to have a discussion about an ongoing care plan that involves further assistance, either professional or from other family members. Being open and honest as well as practical is a good approach that can prevent future frustrations.