Are your parents getting to the age where you worry about them living alone? Sometimes the loss of a spouse can create concerns for an elderly parent. If you are considering bringing a parent into your household, here are a few ideas to make the transition easier.
Spend time before the move talking about goals and expectations. Does your parent have an active social life and will only join you for dinner three or four times a week? Will they have their own space or will some of it such as a bathroom be shared with other family members? Knowing the situation ahead of time can help limit misunderstandings.
Be sure to let your parent or parents know how much space they will have. Measure it so that their furniture decisions will be realistic. If possible, plan for providing their own bedroom, bathroom and sitting room. Be sure to include a personal television so program differences are taken care of.
Do a safety check in your home. Since falls are one of the most common sources of medical problems for the elderly, look for tripping hazards. Make sure that all of your rugs have non-slip pads under them, and check all of the flooring transitions from room to room. Consider adding safety bars and non-slip pads to the designated shower or bathtub.
Provide as much storage space as possible for personal items. It’s hard enough leaving a home and giving up almost all of their possessions. These valued items may not look important to you, but they may have a strong emotional value for your parent or parents. Something like a well-seasoned cast iron pot or a set of wrenches can be hard to part with, so find space as much as possible. If necessary, encourage them to rent some storage space.
Does your mother like to make a big Sunday dinner? Is your dad good in the garden? Don’t force them into a passive role in your home. Let them help out based on their ability and inclination. The more you incorporate them into your daily life, the better the situation will work for all of you.