Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tips on How to Welcome Your Elderly Loved One Into Your Home

By Chloe Pearson

Life is full of transitions, and as we age, moving to get the care we need is one transition that is often inevitable. If you and your elderly loved one have decided that having them move into your home is best, this transition will impact several generations of your family. This change isn’t always easy, but by planning ahead and getting help, you can ease the transition for everyone.


Getting Your Home Ready

If your older loved one has limited mobility, you will probably need to make some home modifications so that he or she can live with you comfortably. The two primary issues to consider are accessibility and functionality. AARP recommends you start by getting guidance from a professional, such as an occupational therapist or geriatric care manager, who can help you determine which modifications you need. These needs will vary depending on your loved one’s abilities, but these are a few of the most common modifications to consider:

     Trip and slip-resistant surfaces - Fall hazards are the greatest risk to your loved one’s safety, so you might want to replace flooring with surfaces that are trip and slip-resistant.

     Bathroom accessibility - The bathroom is one room in the house that is an absolute necessity, and it also poses the greatest safety risks. According to CNBC, many people install “curbless” showers that your loved one can enter without having to step over anything and allow wheelchair access. Grab bars and raised toilet seats are two other must-haves for many people with limited mobility.

     Kitchen accessibility and functionality - If your loved one still cooks or needs the ability to help themselves in the kitchen independently, you may want to think about changes that will make the kitchen more functional for them. This can be anything from a kitchen remodel to lower counter heights and widen walkways to simple changes like moving certain items to a shelf or cabinet that is easier to reach.


Making the Move

Helping your loved one pack up and move from their home to yours can be a daunting task, and there will be a mix of emotions for everyone involved. To reduce stress as much as possible, allow plenty of time for going through their current home and deciding which items to keep and which ones to let go. Rushing this process could make it harder for your loved one to come to terms with their feelings about this big change. Planning ahead also allows you to budget for moving costs.


When it comes to moving day, consider hiring movers to help with packing, moving, and unpacking. Getting professional help will reduce the risk of injury to both yourself and your loved one and will free you up to focus on your loved one’s needs. This will also help lower moving day stress and make it easier for you to start getting your loved one settled in your home.


Easing the Transition

Having your elderly or disabled loved one move in with you naturally means there will be some changes to each of your roles in the family. To ease the transition, maintain open communication with your loved one about their needs and their feelings throughout the process. They may feel some loss of independence, so communicate with them about how you can make changes in your home so that they can be as self-reliant as possible. To help you manage your role as a caregiver without becoming overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from other family members or a home health aide.


More seniors are choosing to age in their own home these days and when that’s no longer a good option, moving in with a family member is often the best choice. Even when it’s the right choice, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. As a caregiver, don’t hesitate to reach out for help, from making home modifications to moving and caregiving, so that you can ease the transition for your loved one while also taking care of your own needs.


Photo credit: Pixabay