Where would your elderly parents prefer to live? In 2011, the AARP polled its members about the concept of aging in place. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone they surveyed over the age of 75 said they wanted to live their final years at home.
But while there are more seniors today who want nothing more than to age in place, it’s also true that many of those same seniors can’t take care of themselves in their homes without help.
Maybe they have stairs they can’t climb, for instance, and bathrooms or kitchens they can’t reliably reach as a result. Maybe they need help paying their bills or taking their medications on a regular basis.
Because of scenarios like this, many adult children with aging and infirm parents are choosing to move their parents into their own homes. And indeed, while that’s a situation that can cause certain stresses and unexpected difficulties, living with and caring for elderly parents in your home can also be a very rewarding experience.
The following are important considerations that you, your family members and your senior parents should all discuss—preferably during a relaxing, stress-free family meeting—before agreeing to move your parents into your home.
- Are your parents’ care needs minor enough that a day nurse or other professional caregiver won’t be necessary?
- Will your work situation allow you to spend extra time caring for your parent or parents, perhaps at unexpected times of the day or night?
- Is your financial situation strong enough to support the addition of one or two new household members?
- Will your parents contribute to the household’s finances in any way?
- What services are available in your community—such as meal-delivery services, senior-friendly social activities, or in-home assistance—that you or your parents might take advantage of, should the need arise?
- Will your home need to be renovated in any way to accommodate your parents? Will you need to add ramps to your home’s entrance, grab bars in the bath, and lighting strips along the stairs and hallways?
If you are planning to move your parents into your home, speak with a trusted lawyer about putting together a Durable Power of Attorney document (which allows you to handle any health, legal or financial responsibilities on behalf of your parent) and an Advance Directive document, which specifies which actions should be taken for your parent’s health should they become unable to make those decisions for themselves.
Retrofitting Your Elderly Parents’ Home
Many adult children are making the choice to retrofit their senior parents’ homes in such a manner than their parents can safely and comfortably age in the houses they’ve known all their lives. This can be an ideal situation for both parties involved, especially given the fact that neither the adult children nor their parents need worry about losing their privacy or any personal space.
The one obvious drawback, of course, is cost. If your parents’ home does need a substantial retrofit, the following are some of the main modifications you may need to consider.
- Showers and bathtubs will need to be safely and easily accessible. At a minimum, grab bars should be installed.
- Are there any doors in your parents’ house that aren’t wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass through? Even if they don’t use a chair now, that could change sooner than you might expect.
- Any existing doorway thresholds should be removed if possible. Thresholds can make wheelchair access difficult; they can also cause dangerous trips and falls.
- Safety lighting should be installed at various points both inside and outside the home. The front porch and any back exits and garages should have automatic lighting. Strip lighting leading from bedrooms to bathrooms and kitchens should also be installed.
You might also be interested in reading about these 6 handicap accessibility tips for your home.
What About Dangerous Stairways?
Stairways can be especially tricky and dangerous places for seniors who’ve chosen to age in place in their own homes. Handrails should be professionally installed on both sides of any stairways, without exception.
And if your parent is beginning to have trouble walking up or down stairways without trouble, a stair lift from Pennsylvania Stair Lifts could literally be a life-changer. Perhaps even a life-saver.
We can advise you on the installation and maintenance of a stair lift or platform lift. And if you aren’t yet entirely sure that your parent’s life would be vastly improved with the addition of a stair lift, you can even rent a model from us temporarily before buying a permanent lift.
Visit the following page of our website to learn more about Pennsylvania Stairlifts and its history, and then visit our Product Gallery to read about the various stair lifts we offer for purchase or rent. We’re proud to make steps easy, and we encourage you to contact us today.