Home Modifications to Make When Caring for Aging Loved Ones

Most senior citizens loathe the idea of moving out of their homes into a nursing home or similar facility.

This is understandable, especially since nursing homes are clinical settings for the disabled and elderly who can no longer care for themselves. If your loved one can still perform daily activities independently, there is no need to put them into a nursing home.

On the other hand, the idea of them living alone doesn’t bring much peace of mind, either. Anything can happen— a fall, a medical emergency, etc.

This is why some families choose to move their aging loved ones in with them. This keeps them in a home setting as opposed to a clinical one, and they’re also surrounded by family.

Considerations and Modifications

People choose to move their aging loved one in with them for a variety of reasons, with safety likely being the number one reason.

Many have heard the horror stories of mistreatment of patients in nursing homes and don’t want their loved on to experience that.

Others may have too much anxiety about their loved one staying home alone— especially if they live farther away.

Maybe your loved one’s home is no longer safe for them to live in alone (e.g., too many stairs, or maybe the house is too big).

Maybe the house is too expensive for them to continue paying for— everyone’s situation is different. But what is likely to be similar across all situations is the need for certain home modifications to be made.

Placement

First and foremost, when moving your aging loved one into your home, you must decide exactly where they will be staying. Depending on your resources, you can choose to build on a new home addition.

Some seniors may like the idea of an extra home addition, as they’ll be able to have privacy, as well as stay close to family.

Maybe you just have an extra bedroom, or you’re able to create a comfortable space. Just keep in mind that your older loved one may be more comfortable downstairs, as opposed to walking up and down the stairs on a daily basis.

Either way, it’s important to make sure that your loved one will be safe and comfortable.

Bathrooms

elder bathroom

Bathrooms are likely the most renovated area for seniors, whether they choose to stay in their own homes or move in with a family member.

The bathtub can be a major hazard for the elderly, as this is where a lot of slips and falls occur. Modifications for this area include safety bars on the side of the tub, safety strips on the bottom of the tub, or even replacing the entire bathtub with a walk-in bath.

Other Modifications

There are several other home modifications that may be beneficial to your loved one. The main thing to remember is that while you want them to be comfortable, you also want them to be safe.

Every senior citizen is different, meaning that they won’t all need the exact same modifications, or any at all. If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, then you may want to think about including ramps and updating your flooring to make it easier for them to get around, and even widening doorways.

If you have a busy schedule, you may need help caring for your aging loved one. The help of a home health aide. A home health aide can assist your loved one with any necessary daily activities while you’re away.

Many families also use this option for their loved ones when they choose to stay in their own homes.

The bottom line is to make the decision that will make your loved one the most safe and comfortable. Look into quality nursing homes if they can’t care for themselves.

If they’re healthy and active, staying in their own home will be beneficial for them— with proper home modifications. And, of course, if they want to move in with you, this will improve their quality of life too. Just remember that it’s okay to ask for help when caring for your aging loved one.

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