The Best Advice for Bringing an Elderly Loved One into Your Home

Today we have another article from June Duncan, author of the new book entitled ‘The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers’.  Today’s article is:

The Best Advice for Bringing an Elderly Loved One into Your Home 

June Duncan
Author and Caregiver


Moving an aging loved one into your home means a major lifestyle change for you both.  Things are even more complicated if your loved one has a disability.  However, with some thoughtful planning, you can make the transition go smoothly.


Image courtesy of Pixabay


Altering your abode.  Chances are you are going to need to make some changes for your home to provide the safety and support your senior requires.  If you’re unsure where to start, one recommendation is bringing in a specialist to do some evaluations.  The AARP collaborated with other organizations to develop the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.  Working alongside an occupational therapist, these experts can assess your home and your loved one to ensure living areas provide safety and security.  They then join forces with a contractor to implement changes.  


Home modification do’s.  As explained by The New York Times, some home modifications are straightforward and helpful to people of all ages.  Your senior will likely benefit from a zero-step entry, so installing a ramp or otherwise eliminating steps will be a boon.  It’s also helpful for those pushing strollers or anyone suffering even a temporary mobility concern such as walking with crutches.  Contemporary grab bars are attractive and provide support to your loved one in the bathroom, and textured floors offer traction in the kitchen and bath.  Kitchen counters that contrast dramatically from floor colors are wise, since aging eyes often don’t perceive depth as well.  Some experts suggest installing a section of kitchen counter at a lower height so users can do food prep in a seated position.  Many homeowners opt for lever-style faucets to accommodate reduced dexterity, as well as adding easier-to-reach storage and drawer-style dishwashers.  Handrails provide support and reduce fears of falling, and improved lighting can help those with failing eyesight or issues with disorientation.  


Home modification don’ts.  According to some studies, one of the key elements in home modifications for accessibility is improving quality of life and independence of your senior.  It’s important to make choices that will promote your senior’s safety but enhance the ability to remain independent, and doing so can help delay further deterioration of his or her capabilities.  You don’t want changes to be overly restrictive.  Make choices that promote self-sufficiency along with safety.  


Making the move.  Moving itself can be a big chore, especially if you and your loved one are feeling stressed about the transition.  Hiring a professional moving service for both moving your senior out and into your home is a great way to reduce risks of injury, lower stress levels, and allow you the opportunity to oversee and prioritize the care of boxes coming into your home.  You can even hire services that do the packing and unpacking for you.  U.S. News & World Report warns there can be hidden costs involved, such as hourly fees or the number of personnel involved in the process.  Ask for details, check references, and get full estimates in writing before selecting a mover.  You can even save yourself some trouble and use a service such as HireAHelper, who supplies customer reviews and other resources to simplify your efforts.   


Don’t burn out.  As a caregiver, it’s important to manage your responsibilities in a way that keeps you from becoming overwhelmed.  Some professionals advise establishing a support network and staying connected as one of your keys to preventing stress buildup.  Reach out to friends and family for help with errands and tasks, and find local agencies which provide supportive services.  Set realistic goals for yourself and tend to your physical needs such as getting sufficient sleep, eating properly, and exercising.  Also, many caregivers benefit from engaging with a support group.  You might find talking through issues with those in similar situations provides comfort.  


Bringing your senior loved one into your home is a big change.  When a disability is involved, the situation can feel especially complicated.  Thoughtful planning is the key to making the transition go smoothly for you both.