By Linda Williams
For the first 18 to 21 years of our lives, our parents have care for us. By the time we reach middle age, the tide tends to turn. There comes a time when many of us will assume responsibility for our parents’ safety and well-being until they pass.
Some people will need to, or choose to, transition their parents to retirement homes if their busy schedules don’t allow for a caretaker role. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this decision, and sometimes is truly the only option, sometimes doing so isn’t always the most budget-friendly or safety-oriented option. Unfortunately, there might be financial or logistical problems that make nursing homes undesirable. In such cases, adult children might make arrangements and move their parents into their current homes.
If you are contemplating moving an aging parent into your home, you’ll want to take the steps necessary to create a comfortable and safe living environment for them. With that in mind, here are five things you should do to prepare for the big move.
Ensure you’ve installed a monitoring system for safety purposes
When your parents move in, there’s a good chance they’ll want some sense of privacy. Though they may be suffering from declining health or debilitating mobility restrictions, your elderly folks are nonetheless entitled to their privacy. Accommodate their needs and your concerns by installing a monitoring system and establishing a streamlined mode of communication.
After allocating room in your home for their new bedroom, you’ll need to find a way to communicate with minimal effort and in a way that doesn’t involve barging into their private living spaces.
To find that happy medium between privacy and intimacy, ensure your elderly parent has access to a quality cell phone from Lively Direct. Furthermore, it would be an excellent idea to pre-program your number and other essential contacts into their phone on their behalf. Knowing you are one simple phone call away should give your aging parent peace of mind.
To ensure a successful transition, you’ll need to balance privacy with a healthy dose of relationship building. When juggling work and personal responsibilities, remember to carve out time for one-on-one engagement with your aging parent. This 30-60 minutes per day will go a long way in improving their mental health that’s susceptible to deterioration when combating chronic illness.
While discussing your parent’s ability to communicate with you, you’ll need to remember emergencies might arise when your parent is out-of-sight, unreachable by phone, or potentially unconscious. In such cases, installing an accessible panic button could offer an extra layer of security for them. Remember, a heart attack might interfere with their ability to place a call. However, most people can find a way to press a red panic button before losing consciousness altogether.
Install support bars in the bathrooms
According to recent studies, the likelihood of a bathroom accident occurring is ridiculously high for bathroom-goers of all ages. For elderly folks, making a trip to the bathroom is like walking through a minefield.
To protect your parents against bathroom-related slips and falls, install support bars around the tub/shower and toilet areas for optimal safety. On more than one occasion, your aging parent will need something to grasp as they move about the restroom and complete the tasks at hand.
Clear the clutter
Older adults tend to lose agility over time. If your hallways and walking areas have obstacles present, i.e., armchairs, side tables, lamps, decor, etc. it could present dangerous situations for your parent as they move from room to room.
In the interest of their safety, remove any obstructions that could interfere with their ability to move about freely. Overall, it’s in your aging parent’s best interest to minimize the number of loose objects lying around your house. Whether it’s a dog toy left behind or a pair of shoes tossed mindlessly by the front door, these household objects could pose a significant risk to any elderly residents.
Additionally, when preparing for the big move, remember that these senior citizens won’t instinctively know where things in your house are located. Their ability to safely navigate from one area to another will be minimal, meaning you’ll need to instruct these elderly loved ones and offer your assistance whenever possible.
Address car safety issues
If your parent can still operate a vehicle, this relieves you of any burdensome transportation duties. At the same time, it could create some compromising safety issues.
Because it’s not easy for senior citizens to travel from point A to point B when weather conditions are less than ideal, your elderly loved ones might accidentally injure themselves after slipping in a puddle, or if in the north, a patch of ice.
To ensure they can maintain a sense of independence, shovel a walking path from their parking space to the front door or allow them garage access if even the lightest drizzle can put your aging parent in harm’s way. If you don’t own a garage, you might want to consider adding a carport.
Provide them with a comfortable bed
Seniors benefit from enhanced mental sharpness when they get plenty of quality rest. That’s why a high-quality bed with a well-reviewed, comfortable foam mattress is the ultimate blessing for pain-ridden senior citizens.
As you start looking for a bed, you might want to review the bed’s dimensions before purchase. Should you accidentally buy an elevated bed frame, your aging parent might not have the physical capabilities necessary to pull themselves into bed each night.
To ensure your elderly loved one enjoys a good night’s rest and pain-free mornings, search for a bed with extras like remote adjustment capabilities. Your parent will appreciate the extra consideration and the spine-aligning/pain-relieving settings.
Care for your parents as they cared for you in your childhood. By purchasing a senior-friendly mattress, installing support bars, and clearing unnecessary clutter, you can make your aging parent feel like a welcome resident in your home.