As our parents age, we are forced to make some tough choices regarding their living arrangements. Not all options fit our requirements, our lifestyle, our parent’s need, or our financial ability to pay for the arrangements. If you decide, for now, that the best arrangement is for your mother or father to come live in your home, then you’ve got another thing to think about
making your house a safe place for him or her.
If your parent is disabled, you have to pay extra attention to the layout of your home and making things as accessible as possible for them. There are some specific areas of your home you should take a close look at and do everything you can.
The entrance to your home needs to be as safe as possible. If you have steps, you may need to put a ramp over the top for the parent in a wheelchair or the parent who has hip problems and can’t lift her foot high enough to negotiate steps. Make sure a handrail is available, firmly attached and not wobbly. Check to see if the door is easy to open or if you need to oil the hinges or shave the frame to make it easier to open and close.
The bathroom may need special attention. First of all, make sure the water heater temperature isn’t set so high it could burn the skin. If you can, install a single lever style faucet so it’s easier for your parent to control the water temperature. Consider installing grab bars around the toilet and shower, and a special shower seat as well. The shower/tub should have a nonstick surface. If it doesn’t, you can add it. Also check the bathroom flooring to make sure it’s not slippery when wet.
The important thing about the bedroom is to make sure there is adequate lighting and no electrical cords or other items lying around that could cause tripping. Install nightlights in the bedroom, hallway, and bathroom that come on automatically when it’s dark so that your parent can find his way to the bathroom at night. If your parent is disabled, consider getting him a bed that has adjustable positions and can help him to sit up.
Your kitchen may need total rearranging in order to put the dishes, utensils, and pantry items within easy reach. If your parent likes to be self-sufficient, get some smaller, easier to use appliances, and look for arthritis-friendly design. If your parent is in a wheelchair, consider getting some pull out shelves for your bottom cabinetry so they’re able to access more kitchen items. Again, make sure there are no cords that could cause a trip and fall.
It’s not an easy decision to make
having your parent move in with you, but it might be the right one for you. Go through your house with an eye towards your parent’s health issues and make it as safe for them as you can.