The inescapable fact about getting older is that our parents are also aging. At some point, we will all be faced with providing for the continued care and quality of life for our elderly parents. Assisted living facilities can be great options for our elderly parents, but it’s possible, at some point, even those facilities won’t give substantial care.
There is also the cost of quality nursing facilities that must be factored. Many of us have no other option but to have our elderly parents move into our homes for their twilight years. It’s likely that most of us are nowhere near prepared for this eventuality. There are steps you’ll need to take to be sure your home can be a safe haven for your elderly parents. Here are some ways in which you can ensure that the whole family can live and work in harmony under the same roof.
Think about potential mobility issues
If you’re joining the 40+million Americans providing elder care at the moment, one of the most important issues is making your home safe. Most seniors will have some issues with mobility. Will your parents be able to maneuver the layout of your house? Do you have a room for them on the main floor or will they have to navigate stairs?
If your parent is wheelchair bound, a ramp will likely need to be added to the entrance of your home. You need to hire a contractor who understands how to engineer handicap ramps so they have the correct incline. Hand rails in bathrooms and bedrooms also may be necessary to ensure your parents have the ability to get around. Lift chairs in your living room can also help your parents get up and down without having to ask for help. Your parents may not love the idea of having to count on their children to care for them. Helping them with the transition includes giving them the feeling of independence.
Make sure your family knows their responsibilities
Having an elderly family member impacts everyone in the home. In the time of Covid-19, extra steps are needed to keep those most vulnerable safe. This means everyone who lives under the same roof will need to adjust their lifestyles as well. Some steps everyone may want to take include:
- Limiting friends who can come over
- Washing or sanitizing their hands more regularly
- Frequent cleaning of surfaces that are often touched around the home
- Paying attention to their own health, keeping distance if they feel unwell
- Taking measures to protect themselves outside of the home so they don’t transmit any illness
Most people who may contract Covid-19 will likely recover just fine, but statistics indicate that may not be the case for those over 70 years old. Extra caution needs to be exercised when having elderly people staying in your home. You have added responsibility to care for yourself so you don’t become a danger to others.
Be sure younger children understand
Children count on parents to provide stability and structure. Moving grandma and grandpa into your home may seem strange to them. As in all things, you need to simply talk to your children. Explain to them the reasons why it is important that you provide a comfortable and safe space for them. Let them know it’s okay to feel a little uncomfortable with the situation at first; that change can be awkward. But reassure them that by allowing your older relatives a place to live is a positive and kind thing to do.
Give them small jobs to make them feel like they are an important part of the transition. Children generally like some responsibility and to be needed. Let them know how proud you are of them for being such a great help. Children are resilient and will likely adjust to the changes in the household without issue.
It’s the right thing to do
Whether the transition of your elderly parents is a permanent or temporary situation, it’s for sure, the right thing to do. For many, parents provided a safe and happy home when you were children; it’s time to return the favor. The reward is in the quality time you’ll have to spend with your elderly parents.