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Age-Proofing The Home When A Parent Moves In

A medical monitoring system is an important step to creating a safe environment for parents when moving into a new home. Caregiving has changed in the past decade with more and more families opting to move Mom and Dad into the family home rather than moving them into an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

It’s the “Sandwich Generation” that is moving into caring for aging parents in the home while they are still raising their own children and pursuing careers.

If your family makes the determination that your parents can no longer safely age in place, decisions will need to be made on where, and with whom, they will live. Assisted living facilities provide amenities far beyond those found in a private home or apartment complex, but the price may be prohibitive for some families and they opt instead to have their parents relocate to their family home.

There are many adjustments that will need to be made by all parties involved when your aging parents move in, but one of the biggest might be to “age-proof” the home. Here are some items that will need to be taken into consideration before you move Mom and Dad in and others that will need to be addressed once they arrive:

  • Access to the house itself. If your home has stairs, can your parents navigate them? Consider too that they may be able to negotiate stairs right now, but what happens if they reach a point where they can’t? Are there alternatives to getting into and out of the house? Is it feasible to install a ramp?
  • How much available space do you have for your parents when they move in? Will there just be a bedroom or will they have a separate living and/or dining area?
  • Is there space on the first floor for your parents to help them avoid having to use stairs?
  • What about the bathroom? Is it a walk-in bathtub or will you need to retrofit to make it more senior-friendly. Will you need to install grab bars in the tub and toilet area?
  • Do either of your parents have mobility problems and need to use a walker or a wheelchair? Are your doorways wide enough to accommodate it? Will you need to adjust counter heights, light switches and sinks so they can reach?
  • Take a walk through the house with a critical gaze toward loose or slippery throw rugs, dangling cords, chairs that aren’t steady, etc.
  • Install motion sensitive lights so they won’t have to fumble around for light switches in an unfamiliar location.
  • Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the temperature in your house and bear in mind that your elderly relatives might want the home warmer than you’re accustomed to; that will mean an adjustment not only in lifestyle but could increase utility bills.
  • Consider setting your home up with a medical monitoring system so your parents have access to emergency medical care when you’re out of the house.

Financial arrangements and garnering input from siblings and other family members are also items that will need to be negotiated prior to moving your parents.