As Baby Boomers age, many are finding it more cost effective to live with their adult children. While there are many benefits to having your parents move in with you, making room for them in your home can be challenging. Here are two tips for preparing your house to meet the needs of your elderly parents.
Turn Their Room into a Comfortable Retreat
Your parents have likely lived independently for decades, so moving in with you may have a negative impact on their self-esteem, especially if they are suffering from health problems that have robbed them of their mobility or mental acuity. One way you can help them retain their dignity and make them feel they have some control over their lives is to turn their room into a comfortable place where they can retreat from the rest of family and/or feel self-sufficient.
For instance, you can easily create a kitchenette space in a bedroom by adding a storage cabinet, mini-fridge, and microwave. This lets your parents keep and prepare snacks and meals when they may not feel like joining you at the dinner table or just want something to nosh on.
Filling the room with their furniture and knickknacks is another way to make the space feel like their own. If you don't have space in your house for the things you had to remove from the room, you can always put them in a storage unit until you can either use or get rid of them. A storage unit is also a good place to keep your parents' things rather than get rid of them altogether just in case your parents want them later or you find use for them in your home.
Senior Proof the Halls and Stairs
It's a well-known fact that people develop mobility, eyesight, and hearing issues as they get older. Even if your parents only have mild problems in these areas, it's still a good idea to prep your home so that it's easier and safer for them to get around.
For example, lighting is always a big deal. You may want to increase the wattage of the bulbs used in hallways and around stairs and install pathway lighting so your parents can navigate to different areas in the dark if needed. Place handrails and non-slip matting in the bathtub if you don't already have it, and consider replacing heavy pots and pans with something a little more lightweight so it'll be easier for your parents to lift.
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