Assisted living facilities are expensive and allowing a parent to live alone as they battle memory impairment or mobility issues isn’t a safe solution. As a result, many children open their homes to elderly parents.
If you’re welcoming an elderly and infirm relative into your home, it’s important to be prepared. Their safety will be in your hands, so make sure you take the necessary steps, as outlined in this guide.
Step One: Get Your Finances in Order
Your household expenses will increase. After all, you will have another mouth to feed and another body to heat, but that’s not all. You also have to consider the modifications and other costly changes that could leave a substantial hole in your savings and monthly budget.
Assess your situation by looking at your savings and disposable income; compare what you have to what you will need, and make sure there will be enough left over. If not, you may need to ask for support from your elderly relative and other loved ones. You can also consider selling some unnecessary items, removing superfluous subscriptions from your budget, and tightening your belt.
You may be entitled to some benefits from the state or from certain nonprofit organizations, including the VA. It all depends on what your financial situation is like, how much money your relative has, and whether or not they qualify through age or former employment.
All these things should be checked in advance.
Step Two: Buy the Right Mobility Aids
You’re probably going to need some mobility aids around the house. The extent of what you need will depend on your relative and the help that they will be getting every day, so you should discuss it with them.
For instance, if you live in a multistory house and their bedroom is upstairs, think about a stairlift, home elevator, or, at the very least, a secure handrail. If they have problems standing, sitting, and walking, place grab bars in key locations (stairs, chairs, toilet). Additionally, look into lift chairs, toilet seat risers, walk-in bathtubs, and more.
It can get very expensive very quickly, but there are ways to save.
If they will only be there for a few weeks or months, you can rent a lot of the equipment that you’ll need. If they don’t have major mobility issues, simply opt for a few basic bars and rails to support them. Buy used instead of new, look at support schemes, and shop around. You don’t have to blow your savings just to keep them safe and secure.
Step Three: Prepare a Bathroom
If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, consider designating one for your parent. That way, you can install the necessary mobility aids, keep the floors dry, maintain optimal temperature, and ensure that your kids aren’t leaving trip hazards around.
It’ll also give them some personal space and allow them to feel like they belong. A bedroom is one thing, but a bathroom is another, and if they have both they’ll feel more like they are living independently.
Step Four: Consider Storage
You’re not only gaining a new housemate; you’re also gaining all the junk that they have accumulated during their lifetime.
Ask them to bring only the essentials—the stuff that they can’t afford to be without. The heirlooms and sentimental stuff can go in storage either in your garage or a storage unit. As for everything else, it needs to go. You probably have your own junk to worry about and don’t need someone else’s clogging up your closets and basement.
Step Five: Consider Monitoring Systems and Alert Systems
Medical alert systems work best when the user lives alone and needs someone to keep an eye on them, but just because other people live in the house doesn’t mean these systems are useless. What happens if they have a fall when everyone is at work or school? What happens if they wander out of the house and get lost?
These things need to be considered and if they pose a serious threat, you should look into medical alert systems and monitoring devices.
Step Six: Find Ways to Accommodate Them
Your parent is used to doing things their own way and they’ve probably been doing things that way for longer than you’ve been alive. Don’t expect them to suddenly adapt to your ways as soon as they move into your house.
Step Seven: Do a Walkthrough
Put yourself in the shoes of your loved one and walk around your house. Think about how their mobility issues and memory impairments impact their ability to climb the stairs, prepare food, use the toilet, sit down, stand up, and perform other activities.
If you can realistically imagine them going about their day without any issues, then you’re ready to invite them into your home.