As children, we tend to grow up and then leave the family home. Going out on our own often happens naturally when going away to an out-of-state college, but it may happen later when choosing to get married. Once having left home and found our bit of independence, we tend to keep a discrete distance from our parents to let them get used to the fact that their little boy or girl is now all grown up. To see you as an adult and not a child normally requires a period of adjustment.
The opposite situation happens when realizing that your parents can no longer take the best care of themselves. Maybe one of your parents has passed away and the remaining loved one is finding life more difficult to handle alone, or you’re wishing to avoid them going into an assisted living facility by providing the care yourself.
Here are some suggested changes that can help smooth the life adjustment when they move into to your family home.
Create a Downstairs Bedroom
Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to reorient your home to create a new bedroom downstairs. Doing so stops your parents from needing to get up the stairs or you needing to install an expensive stairlift system. Stairlift systems are rather expensive even for more basic models.
Make sure that the bedroom feels as homely as possible for them. If they have a comforter and sheets that they’re able to bring over from their previous residence to make the bedroom closer to how their old bedroom was, then by all means do so.
Fit Night-time Lighting
Using a sensor-activated LED lighting system on the ground floor of your home turns on special lighting at night. The sensors detect movement and flip the separate lights on. This avoids them reaching for a light switch in the dark, risking getting off-balance and falling over. If they were to get knocked out reaching for the light and slipping, they won’t be able to call out for help, so it’s best avoided in favor of automatic lights.
It’s sensible to add at least one light to their bedroom and any other rooms that they may use in the night-time. For instance, the hallway, living room, bathroom, or kitchen areas are secondary locations that might need another LED light. When the light system is battery-operated, create a reminder in your calendar to check the battery level at regular intervals to ensure all the lights work properly.
Most of us must go out to work and we’ll then leave our parents at home to fend for themselves. In the case of an unfortunate accident where they slip and fall, they’re often unable to get to the landline to call for help. Depending on the size of the home, a neighbor may not hear their calls for help either. In that situation, you’ll be glad they had the ATC Alert system to rely upon.
The ATC alert is a monitoring device made for elderly people. It hangs around their neck and lets them contact the emergency services. At times when they don’t have a cellphone on their person, the monitoring device is a lifeline to get help quickly. The company behind the system is a 5th generation family business that has been providing products to help the elderly for over a century, so they’re very dependable.
Make the Bathroom Safer
Wet surfaces in the bath, the shower and the floor areas are all causes for major concern for elderly parents coming to stay. It’s easy to slip on a wet bath and get an injury. For this reason, adding non-slip adhesive mats to the bottom of the bath creates a sticky surface for the soles of the feet to grip onto. Metal hand rails fitted to the side or edge of the bath provide a place to grip that isn’t wet and lets them maneuver themselves out of the bath, step by step, in a safer manner.
Other areas of the washroom or toilet area should have a surface that prevents slipping. Also, think about their footwear. Will they be walking around barefoot, be wearing slippers or shoes? The answer matters for times when they’re only going to the washroom to use the toilet or wash up in the morning. In which case, their footwear must work well with the floor to grip it sturdily. If it doesn’t, then either change their footwear or the flooring to something more suitable.
Meal & Dietary Requirements
What your parents enjoy eating may be entirely different to how your family eats. Discuss this with them to get a clearer idea about whether they make their own meals, cook from frozen or make other arrangements. You should be careful to avoid a sudden change in their diet which could unsettle them and create stomach problems too.
They may have special dietary requirements based on doctor’s recommendations or a current deficiency that is being addressed. Be sure to create meal plans for them even if some of their meals must be prepared separately to the rest of the family.
What Do They Need to Still Feel Independent?
Your parents will likely still want to feel that they are in control of their lives. They will not give up their independence willingly. Talk with them about what their specific needs are. Routines that they’ve held onto for a long time will help to make them feel welcomed if they can continue with them once they’ve moved in. This could be something as simple as the newspaper they like to read, or the TV shows they enjoy watching each day. Find out the little things that they identify with and form part of their personal comfort zone. Be at pains to implement them to their liking in their new home. Doing so will help them settle in much faster.
Having your parents move into your home is a significant event for all the family. It may have come out of a gradual acceptance that they’re going to need your help in this way or it could have come as a shock. Either way, the sooner you create a workable plan that suits everyone, the easier the transition, and the happier the family will be once it’s completed.