If you’re in a position where your parents are in their golden years and may have to move into your home, you’re going to have to make some adjustments. That doesn’t just pertain to the emotional and mental preparation it takes to start living together again harmoniously. The space itself needs to be changed to accommodate an older person, as not everything is necessarily built with the changes of old age in mind. So, before dear old mom or dad starts packing their bags, make sure you start working on these changes in the house.
Make sure the air quality is not a danger
Air quality is essential in general but becomes even more of a concern with age as the immune system lowers. The individual becomes more prone to contracting diseases and ailments from poor environmental conditions. It’s especially important if the senior has lung problems or is at risk for the relevant illnesses in that area. You’ll want to make sure the home is adequately ventilated, and there aren’t many irritants that could significantly affect them. Smoking is a big no-no, and you want to prevent the build-up of dust, bacteria, and allergens.
If you live in a house over the soil, you may want to get indoor air radon testing. In Indiana, some cases found radon trapped in the home because they were built so airtight. The danger here is that it is a natural gas that can be harmful to one’s health over time (even leading to lung cancer), but it is tasteless and odorless, so you can’t detect it on your own. Even without a senior who is more susceptible to those dangers, you may want to look into that, especially if you have crawl spaces.
Make slip-and-fall areas less risky
Almost two in four older people take a fall, but less than half end up telling their doctor about it. Three million elderly individuals are brought to emergency care for fall injuries every year, and many of these incidents happen right at home. Make sure your home provides some stability (literally) so they can retain their balance. Add handlebars to hold onto in crucial intersections and the bathroom. Put in non-slip mats in the bathroom and areas where the floor may be too slippery or smooth.
It’s also a good idea to get rid of hazards that may cause the fall, like loose rugs, long and tangled wires in the way, and any clutter that may not be easy to spot or avoid.
Provide more accessibility throughout the home
Aside from installing handlebars on the walls, you may want to consider adding extra seating so that the senior can rest as needed. If a wheelchair is in use, you will also want to add ramps in any steps leading up to doorways and such. For this, it’s essential to consider the incline and the material used so that it makes the travel more comfortable and safer instead of becoming a different kind of hazard instead.
You should also make it simpler for seniors to traverse the space even if they opt to do so on their own. Make essential items easier to reach in lower shelf spaces; try to incorporate smart systems if you can so that it’s easier to get some functionality automated. It can also make it safer if your parent or elderly family member needs to make an urgent call or ask for assistance.
Create avenues for independence
Older people are still people at the end of the day, and since they’ve gone through their whole adulthood already, there is still a modicum of responsibility that they will want to retain. Don’t go out of your way to make them feel trapped or belittled, even if they need more assistance than before. Your parents are still their people, so it’s essential to provide enough independence without veering into neglect.
A study from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that, time and again, what older people desire is to maintain their independence and their dwelling. Make sure you set up the necessary boundaries and give them space to have their own routines and interests. You do not have to sacrifice your care and support to provide them with the capacity to keep their security and individuality intact.
With these things incorporated in your home, you can make your home as welcoming and comfortable to live in for your aging parents. You don’t have to worry a lot with them safe and secure in your humble abode.