Caring for an elderly loved one is a big decision but seems like the obvious choice for many people when they consider how much their loved ones did for them when they were growing up–I mean, how long did you live in your mom’s basement after college? Sure, there’s the option of placing them in an assisted living facility, but so many senior citizens suffer from abuse in assisted living facilities, and you wouldn’t want that happening to someone that you love, especially if you have the ability to prevent it by keeping them out of those types of facilities altogether. Having a parent move in with you later in life will be nothing like when you shared a home during your childhood. At heart, they are still the same person you’ve known and loved your whole life, but their world looks entirely different now. What’s most important during this transitional period in the life of your loved one is that you are fully prepared to take on this responsibility.
Making a Space For Your Loved One
For your loved one, one of the most appealing aspects of moving in with you instead of going to live in a nursing home is that they’ll be living in an environment that makes them feel comfortable. This is in part because they’ll be living with you instead of among strangers, but they’ll also still have the freedom to fully express themselves and decorate their space however they would like, instead of spending the rest of their life staring at blank walls and stock art. You can make your loved one feel more welcome in your home by giving them their own room. In addition to this, you should help them go through furniture and decor as they’re moving out of their home, helping them select pieces that they want to fill their new space with. When you’re deciding which room to convert into a space for your loved one, you should consider selecting a room on the ground floor of your home. If your loved one is not consistently having to go up and down stairs to go from their room to the communal living spaces in the house, then their potential risk for trips and falls will be greatly decreased. It should go without saying that trips and falls are especially dangerous to older adults, since their bodies do not handle trauma as well and will take longer to recover from serious injuries like fractures. If the floor plan of your home does not include a ground-floor bedroom, and you are forced to give your loved one a room on the second floor of the home, then you should consider installing a stair lift, that way the issue of the stairs is eliminated altogether.
Elder-Proofing Your Home
Like how an expecting parent would make adjustments to their home to ensure that it is safe for their new child, it is important that you make adjustments to your home to guarantee the safety of your older loved one. There are so many everyday things that pose a threat to senior citizens that we might not even bat an eye at, one such hazard being area rugs. As we age, our coordination begins to grow weaker. If a younger adult trips on the edge of a rug they can usually regain their footing and prevent themselves from falling, but this is not necessarily the case with older adults. Equally as hazardous as rugs can be the slippery surface of the tile or wood floor beneath them. While carpet seems to be going out of style in most homes, it is one of the safest options for senior citizens since it eliminates the potential for slipping. Another potentially slippery surface in your home could be your shower or tub. It’s a good idea to place anti-slip mats in the bottoms of your tubs and install handrails in the shower and around the bathroom so that your loved one has something to grab onto if they lose their balance. In addition to taking these extra precautions, you should also consider installing emergency buttons around your home in the event that your loved one does suffer from a fall or other accident. It would also be a smart idea to have your loved one keep an emergency alert button on their person at all times. This way, if they experience a medical emergency when you’re not around, they’re able to get the help they need before it’s too late.