Home Improvement Tips When An Elderly Family Member Moves In

What should you do when an elderly family member is moving into your home? What home arrangements are necessary? While your home might be just right for your family, you might have to make adjustments should an elderly family member need to move in.

Essentially, there are two challenges you might face with regards to making changes in your living space. First,  your house may be too large, which will make it difficult for them to get around. Second, it may be too small which will reduce everyone’s privacy and also create cramped living conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at how to cope with both challenges:

House is Too large

While having a large home means that there won’t be a problem with spatial arrangements, an elderly family member may have trouble getting around it.

If the house is a two-story home, going up and down the stairs might be difficult, especially for a senior who has had a hip replacement, experiences pain in their knees, or has a bad back. In most two-story homes, the bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs and the living room and kitchen are downstairs.

While one solution would be to add a bedroom and bathroom to the lower floor, this might drastically reduce the available space in the living room and kitchen. Moreover, it would take some time to get all the renovation done. Additionally, besides the time and cost of renovations, adding an extra bedroom and bathroom downstairs might disrupt the layout of the house.

A more elegant solution would be to add a stair-lift or elevator. Some companies like EasyClimber can install either option for you in as little as one day. What’s more, the cost would be considerably less than making some major renovations.

Another potential problem with a large house is that it would be difficult to keep an eye on the elderly family member This might be necessary if the senior has Alzheimer’s or dementia. One option to resolve this problem is to install a surveillance camera system with live footage streamed to smartphones.

Finally, there may be some spaces hard for a senior to navigate. For instance, the house may have long corridors, big bathrooms, small steps leading to the back yard, etc. These problems could be addressed by installing handrails, handlebars, grab rails, ramps, and so on.

House is Too Small

If the house is too small, you may have to add an extension to the structure to give the elderly parent some privacy, as well as to ensure that your spouse and children are able to maintain their privacy. However, if there is not enough space to build these additions, or to create an in-law suite if an extra bathroom is necessary, too, then it might be better to sell the house and buy a new one.

Benefits of Moving a Parent into Your Home

If the elderly family member is fairly healthy, then moving them to an assisted living facility or nursing home is actually not a good option. For one thing, the price is high. An assisted living facility would cost about $30,000 a year while a nursing home would be double that cost. For another, the elderly family member might be miserable with such an arrangement.

An article in Caring.com by Mard Naman neatly summarizes the pros and cons of moving a parent into your own home: “If you decide to move a parent or other relative in with you, you won’t be alone: One out of every four caregivers lives with the elderly or disabled relative he or she cares for. This arrangement can have many positives. If your parent or other loved one is still relatively healthy, he may be able to babysit or otherwise help around the house, contribute financially, and get to know your children in a way that would never be possible with only occasional visits.”

Getting Expert Advice

It can often be difficult to figure out what arrangements to make when an elderly parent moves into the house. Fortunately, it’s possible to consult with occupational therapists that will be able interview the elderly family member and evaluate your home and recommend what changes to make to improve safety.

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