When a loved one gets older and is unable to care for themselves, you usually have two options regarding their care. Moving them into an assisted living facility, like a retirement home, is one option. However, you can also convert your home into a senior-friendly living space so that you can provide their care for them yourself.
If you wish to learn more about the benefits of doing this, as well as how you can implement aging in place solutions in your own home, continue reading.
The Benefits of In-Home Care
Providing aging in place solutions in your home can be difficult at times. But this doesn’t stop millions of people from across the globe from taking their parents into their own homes after they’ve reached a certain age. After all, you never know what kind of care they are receiving at certain facilities. Therefore, if you want to be in charge of everything — from what they’re eating to how much medication they are receiving, at-home care is the way to go.
Secondly, you’ll never have to worry about missing your parents or loved ones. Sure, they may be a short drive away when living in a retirement home. But they’ll be even closer if they’re living just downstairs.
Having a parent live at home with you also relieves the stress of paying for their boarding costs at a retirement home.
Seniors also get more freedom when living with you. They can have a pet or as many guests over as they would like without worrying about visiting hours.
Lastly, having a senior living with you is incredibly fulfilling. If this person took care of you while growing up, this is a thoughtful way to return the favor. Your kids will also get the chance to grow up around your loved one, and hear all of the knowledge and wisdom they have to share.
Ways to Renovate Your Home for Senior Living
You don’t need a brand new real estate property to offer aging in place solutions. There are certain ways you can convert and optimize your current home to provide your loved one with exactly what they need.
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of living with the special senior in your life, here are ways you can modify your home to make it more accommodating and comfortable.
Add a Wheelchair Ramp to the Exterior
This is perhaps one of the easiest projects you can start with, as there’s no heavy construction involved. For this project, you have two options. You can install a preassembled ramp, or you can build your own using this guide.
Putting Your Own Ramp Together
Gather your tools. You will need a circular saw, a drill, deck screws, painters tape, a wood stain, and of course, raw lumber.
Next, figure out where you want to place your ramp. For safety measures, no ramp should exceed 30 inches in height. The width should exceed 36 inches to fit a standard wheelchair.
After drawing up your plan for the ramp with these dimensions in mind, saw the lumbar and assemble your ramp.
Add a Chair Lift for the Stairs
If you live in a two-story home, consider adding a chair lift to give them full access to the home.
This is a great example of aging in place solutions, as it gives your loved one more independence. They can buckle themselves into the lift on their own while you’re at work.
If you fear they may fall, consider an on premise phone system they can use to contact you while you’re out of the house.
Add a Bedroom Downstairs
Aging in place solutions should also make your senior’s life more convenient.
Going up and down the stairs is exhausting. If you wish to make your loved one truly feel at home, clear a bedroom for them downstairs. This cuts down on the number of times they must travel between the two floors. It also eliminates the risk of falls during the night, which can lead to critical injuries.
Clear out a guest room for your loved one. If you don’t have space, create a room, especially for them. Add a partition to your office and make a cozy bedroom. Look into expanding the home if you currently don’t have enough space downstairs. An in-home addition can give them sufficient room and privacy.
Add Guard Rails
Add guard rails to the outside of the home to make walking towards the front door a breeze. Even if your loved one doesn’t use a wheelchair, this will still help them with their balance.
Widen the Hallways
If your loved one is unable to walk, ensure that your hallways are wide enough to fit a wheelchair through if you wish to implement more aging in place solutions. Consult with a home builder or contractor before you begin this project since you want to keep the integrity of your home intact.
You may also widen the doorways to give the senior in your life more mobility and freedom.
Lower Your Kitchen Counters
In the same vein, lower your kitchen counters to suit someone in a wheelchair if you’re looking to implement more aging in place solutions.
Again, consult with a contractor before beginning this project.
Add Sturdy Locks to the Doors and Cabinets
Living with Alzheimer’s is truly one of the most devastating things that can happen to a senior and their family. On top of having this devastating illness, your loved one may also be a danger to themselves at times. Therefore, take the right precautions and install sturdy locks on the windows, doors, and cabinets.
Aging in place solutions should also take your senior’s safety into account.
Install security cameras in and around the perimeter of the home. Home security has come a long way. Now you can check your cameras on your smartphone while you’re out of the house. This technology allows you to check in on your loved one at all times.
Ensure Your Alarms and Monitors are Working
This tip can keep your entire family safe, but if you have a senior living with you, make sure the fire alarm systems and carbon monoxide monitors in your home are working properly.
Converting the Bathroom
Implement aging in place solutions into your bathroom as well.
This project will require a more hands-on approach since you’ll have to reconstruct your tub and renovate the surrounding areas. But just take it one day at a time and start with one of these projects.
Install Slip Proof Flooring
Most slips and falls can happen in the bathroom. Even with a sit-in tub, the floor still poses a threat. A single fall can cause unbearable back pain.
You can add bath rugs as a form of bathroom furniture, but there’s still a small risk since the floors get slippery when wet. Therefore, just install the new flooring so your loved one can bathe comfortably and without as much supervision.
Examples of slip-proof flooring include vinyl, ceramic, and porcelain tile.
Add Gripping Tape to Slippery Handles
If you think your relative can slip while getting out of the tub, purchase grip tape to help them get in and out of the tub with ease.
Add Safety Arms to the Toilet
This is another easy project — buy steel handles to fit over the toilet. These are typically preassembled.
Add an Anti-Slip Coating to the Tub
Don’t neglect the tub when trying to make the bathroom a fall-free zone. You can use anti-slip paint to coat the entire bottom and side of the tub to provide more gripping power.
Create More Tub Space or Add a Standing Tub
Seniors have various tub options. Obviously, a traditional shower may be too dangerous. However, nowadays, you have the following options.
- the walk in tub
- bathtub transfer bench
- a bathtub chair
- side-in tub
- roll-in shower
Add Medical Alert Systems in Each Room
Even with security systems and locks on the doors and cabinets, these measures can fail — which is not something you want to hear. Therefore, install medical alert systems in each room.
Adding Personal Touches
Lastly, make sure your loved one is comfortable by adding a few personal touches. If you’re struggling, trying to find inspiration, consider these next few projects.
Frame Their Favorite Photo
If you can think of a favorite photo of theirs, get it printed onto canvas or frame it.
Create a Playlist for Them
If your loved one misses the simplicity of the era in which they were born, create a playlist they can listen to whenever they’re alone.
Adopt an Emotional Support Animal
If your loved one is a big animal lover, consider adopting a senior dog to keep them company when you’re out of the house running errands.
Install Proper Heating and Cooling
Once you reach a certain age, it becomes harder to regulate your own body temperature. Your sweat glands change, leading to the inability to produce as much sweat. Make sure your senior is always comfortable by installing proper heating and cooling systems within your home.
If your furnace or air conditioning is on the fritz, call someone right away to come and fix it to offer the complete package when it comes to aging in place solutions.
Ensure There is Fresh Air Within the Home
Dehumidifiers can soak up excess moisture in the air, making it easier to breathe. Consider purchasing one to keep in the home. These machines can also help with allergies and breathing issues like asthma. If you’ve noticed your air quality is poor, even after using a dehumidifier, move onto the next step.
If it Feels Stuffy, Call an Air Quality Professional
If you fear you may have poor air quality, contact an air quality consultant. If your relative is spending most of their time indoors, you want to make sure the air is pure, as not to cost them their health.
Add an Easy Way to Communicate Within the Home
If your loved one is undergoing hearing loss treatment, install a speakerphone in the house so they can hear you when you call them for dinner or whenever it’s time to give them their medication.
Other Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Senior in Your Life
Aging in place solutions involves much more than a few home renovation projects. Aside from prepping your home for your relative to come live with you, you will also have to implement these other life changes. If you have children around, sit them down, and discuss this new living arrangement with them.
If you have a teen with a license explain to them that they may have to drive their grandparent to certain appointments, much like a car service would.
In conclusion, preparing your home for the senior citizen in your life is necessary, as it can help them live a higher quality of life. These aging in place solutions will require some sacrifice, but this will also be an incredibly rewarding process too. Implement these tips into your daily life, and it will also help make the transition seamless for everyone involved.