When your loved ones ages, they may begin to have special needs that make it hard for them to care for themselves. They may develop cognitive issues that make it hard for them to make decisions or that make them prone to wandering away from the home. Or they may develop mobility issues that make it hard for them to maintain their balance or even to walk from room to room. When this happens, they may end up needing special care or monitoring to ensure that they stay safe.
You may decide to care for your elderly loved one or have them move in with you. If you do, you will likely find that you need to make some changes to your home. Here are just a few of the ways that things are likely to need to change, depending on the needs of your loved one:
Addition of a Stairlift
Even elderly people who are mobile often have a hard time getting up the stairs. But if the bedroom is upstairs, there needs to be a solution that doesn’t involve someone carrying your loved one up the stairs each day. Getting a stairlift, like an Easy Climber, can make it easier for your loved one to get up and down the stairs with no problems. A stairlift gives your loved one freedom of movement and the dignity of independence.
You’ll need to consult with a contractor to make sure your stairs can support the lift or to see if some modifications need to be made. Most lifts are designed to fit the average staircase without any changes.
Different Bed or Bedroom Location
Some elderly people cannot feasibly get up and down the stairs even with a stairlift. Or you may not be able to put in the stairlift for reasons of functionality or finances. In that case, you may need to move your loved one’s bedroom downstairs. If no room is available, you may need to transform another room into a sleeping space. For example, that unused formal dining room may become the bedroom with the assistance of a curtain or a room divider.
You may also need to invest in a specialty bed, such as one that lifts to make it easier to get in and out or one that offers additional support. Talking to your loved one’s doctor can help you understand what kind of bed is needed.
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for someone with mobility issues. Getting into the shower can lead to a fall and a head injury. Even sitting down on the toilet or getting up from it can prove challenging. You may need to install some bathroom aids to give your loved one the freedom of movement while also ensuring that they are safe.
Some popular bathroom aids include handrails in the tub or shower, a raised toilet seat, and a shower seat. You may need to add other aids depending on your loved one.
Different Furniture Layout
Getting around your house can feel like maneuvering an obstacle course to someone with mobility issues. You can make it easier on your loved one by reducing the clutter in your home and arranging the furniture in a more open layout. You may need to get rid of some furniture, and you may need to move other pieces so that there are clear paths through each room.
Don’t forget to add bumpers or guards to pieces that have sharp edges, such as coffee tables, wood couch or chair arms, or brick fireplaces. Even a small bump up could lead to a serious injury for some.
If you aren’t sure about what changes you will need to make to your home to accommodate your elderly loved one, consider talking with a home health aide to get some suggestions. Professionals are available who can inspect your home and give you tailored recommendations based on the characteristics of your home and the needs of your loved one. Remember: You should make your home as safe yet as comfortable as possible for your loved one. Everyone wants to maintain their independence and dignity for as long as they can.