Preparing Your Home for a Senior: How to Make It Safe, Comfortable, and Inviting
By Ray Flynn, DiyGuys.net
Preparing your home to receive a senior relative is a big job. Many families open up their homes to parents or grandparents who can’t live alone anymore due to safety or health issues, and while it can be a better alternative to assisted living in a care facility, it can also take work, both physically and mentally. There are many details to consider when a senior will live in your home, from how to make modifications to keep them safe to making sure they stay active and vital.
Fortunately, if you create a plan for prepping the house, you’ll find that it’s not too difficult; you just have to take your loved one’s specific needs into consideration. If there are mobility factors, it will be imperative to ensure your home doesn’t present any fall hazards, such as throw rugs, steep stairs, or dim lighting. These issues can be easily fixed in many cases and won’t bust your budget. For instance, in darker rooms, hanging mirrors and using glossy paint on the walls and ceiling can make a big difference in the amount of light it gets without having to rewire the house. Bigger modifications, such as installing a walk-in shower or tub, will take some time and money, as well as the help of a professional contractor.
Continue reading for some great tips on how to prep your home for a senior loved one and make it a safe, comfortable, and inviting space.
Provide the Tools Your Loved One Needs to Stay Healthy
Part of preparing for a senior to live in your home is making sure they have all the tools they need to stay healthy and engaged. This might mean giving them access to a computer or tablet so they can stay in touch with friends and family via apps or creating an exercise area for easy, gym-free workouts. If you have a yard, you might consider letting your loved one take over an area for gardening, as this is a healthy and relaxing pastime that many seniors enjoy.
You can also think about how to help your loved one stay active. Just because your senior loved one lives in your home doesn’t mean you’ll spend all of your time with them, especially if you keep a busy schedule. According to MedicareAdvantage.com isolation is a common issue for seniors, and it can have many detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. You might encourage your loved one to volunteer in the community or get a part-time job, or you can help them find a social group to join. Knowing the signs of social isolation, which include a lack of energy and personal hygiene, can help you suss out the problem.
Make Your Home Safe
Every senior has different needs, especially where health is concerned. Your loved one may have mobility issues that require special equipment, or they may have a visual impairment that requires help with daily tasks. So, make things easier for them by making simple modifications, such as installing safety bars, a shower seat, and non-slip mats in the bathroom, painting the wall behind the toilet and sink a contrasting color, labeling items in the pantry, removing throw rugs, decluttering, and adding lighting to darker areas. Because falls are the most common cause of injury in older adults, it’s imperative to take any potential hazards out of the equation.
Comfort Is Key
Giving your senior loved one a comfortable place to live is essential in helping them maintain their physical and mental health. Think about factors such as their sleeping environment, the temperature controls, and the placement of important items — such as medication — around the house. Certain medications can cause seniors to feel cold much of the time, even in the hot summer months, so you might leave extra blankets in their room and in common areas.
Preparing your home for a senior loved one definitely takes a lot of consideration and planning, so if you can, start as early as possible. Make a list of the things you need, and remember to communicate with your loved one as much as you can. Get their input and ask about specific needs to make sure your home is a haven for them.