While everyone prefers to live independently for as long as they can, there are circumstances that can make it necessary for an elderly parent to move in with their child. If you find yourself in a situation where you are going to be living with your parent(s) in your home, there is a lot that you have to figure out. You also need to make several adjustments so that you can accommodate them and so their stay can be as comfortable as possible.
If you do not feel you want to move your parents into a nursing home, this checklist for moving elderly parents into your home can help you go over some things to change in your home so your parent can be as comfortable as possible.
Figure Out Your Finances
Figuring out your finances before having your parents move in with you is probably one of the most important items on this checklist for moving elderly parents into your home. Everything that you will need to adjust will come back to your budget and if you can handle the costs or not. In a report titled Valuing the Invaluable, researchers showed that most Americans with their parents spent about $7,000 yearly on their care. This included the costs for renovations, transportation, medical care, and other expenses. Is your budget flexible enough to handle these costs or will you be receiving help from siblings and other relatives? These are some things you need to consider.
When it comes to renovations, you can have your parents contribute. If they pay rent, you can claim that income for tax purposes. If you are taking care of more than half of their expenses for the year, and they have an income that is less than $4000, you might claim them as a dependent when you file for taxes. The same goes for professional care needs.
If you worry about leaving your parents alone as you go to work, you can hire a caregiver and claim that as an expense under dependent care when you file your taxes. If your parent has a medical aid plan, the provider can also pay you to take care of them. Discuss your tax questions with a CPA.
Another important aspect of assessing your budget is understanding that your parent’s state of health might change months or years from now. All that needs to be considered as you make any changes like renovations and such. Some renovations might be costly, and you need to consider your parent’s prognosis before you go ahead with them.
Below is a shortlist of some design build services and renovations you might need and how much they cost.
- Adding a ramp for ease of access – $1,000
- Automatic lift installation – $3,000
- Converting a room into an extra bedroom – $1,500-$5,000
- Adding a seat and grab bar in the shower – $2,000-$3,000
- Adding a grab bar to the toilet – $200
- A new master bedroom suite – $100,000
- Extending the doors for a wheelchair/walker – $500-$1,000
When assessing your budget, try to be realistic and accurate. Understand the level of care that is required as soon as your parents move in and if that will change in the future. Some costs might increase with time. Consider this when reading through this checklist for moving elderly parents into your home.
Renovate for a First-Floor Bedroom
When staying with an elderly parent, it’s important to understand that they might not be able to move about the same way that you can. If your bedrooms are higher than the first floor, you might want to create another bedroom for them on the first floor. That brings us to the question, how should an elderly-friendly bedroom be designed?
When a person ages, their joints become weaker, and in some instances, it is painful to move. Try to ensure that the bed in your parents’ bedroom is higher than the regular one. This will ensure that they don’t have to bend a lot as they get on and off the bed. Experts recommend that the bed should be at least 25-36 inches from the ground.
Slip Resistant Flooring
A slippery floor spells a lot of trouble for the elderly. Their motor skills are not as sharp as they used to be, and this increases their risk of falling. You should install a slip-resistant floor in their bedroom to make it easier for them to move around. If you decide to use wood flooring, ensure that it is either engineered wood or solid wood so that they get a good grip, especially if they use a wheelchair.
At any age, the lighting in the house has to be properly positioned and be of the correct intensity to ensure that we do not strain our eyes and that we can see everything clearly. Elderly people have more stringent light requirements since their eyesight might not be as good as ours. This means that at their age, having good light becomes more important. You can also install focus lighting in their bedroom to enable them to locate things easily. If you can’t do the installations on your own, you can contact a reliable residential electrical service and they will assist you.
Remodel for an Elderly-Friendly Bathroom
Each year, many senior citizens suffer from falls and a lot of those unfortunate events take place in the bathroom. Falling can occur because of cluttered floors, slippery surfaces, and the absence of support bars. The elderly are particularly at risk because of reduced coordination, weaker eyesight, and decreased strength. It is therefore important when moving in with your parents that you contact a bathroom remodeling company to ensure the bathroom is elderly-friendly. This should be in the top five items on your checklist for moving elderly parents into your home.
The first thing you might want to do is add some safety rails and grab bars. These rails are installed around the toilet and bathroom and they come in different styles. It’s simpler and easier for someone who struggles to walk to get around holding on to something.
Bathtubs, in particular, can be tricky for elderly people. You should consider installing a walk-in tub. These tubs have doors that you can open and close as you get into the tub. This way, there is no need for your parents to lift their legs and risk falling in the process. Some walk-in tubs come with in-tub seats and rails as well.
If your parents prefer to use the shower, you can install a shower bench. This bench enables them to sit down as they bathe, and they are designed with stability in mind. Some can be adjusted height-wise and others are fitted with armrests. Before you go out and buy one, consider the weight capacity and size of the bench in terms of depth and width. This will help ensure you won’t get something too small or unnecessarily big.
Lastly, it’s also important to ensure that your floors are not too slippery. This can be very dangerous for someone who is struggling to walk or stay balanced. The safest pick for an elderly-friendly bathroom would be a rubber floor. Floors are very important on your checklist for moving elderly parents into your home.
Make Your First Floor Wheelchair-Friendly
There are several adjustments that you need to make if your parent is going to be in a wheelchair. First, address the door width. To accommodate a wheelchair, the doors should be at least 32-36 inches wide. It can be a hustle to try to adjust the width of every door on the first floor or in the house.
There are some options that are available if you are unwilling to do that or if the budget doesn’t allow it. You can just remove the door. This will add some extra width to the opening and allow for easier passage. Another option would be to install offset hinges. This allows the door to swing in such a way that it will not obstruct the doorway, thereby creating extra space.
If you try both methods and you still don’t have enough space, the next option is to just widen the entrance. Another important factor to consider when making your home wheelchair-friendly is lighting. Consider the position of the light switches and ensure that the way the light is positioned doesn’t affect someone moving at a wheelchair level. You can also illuminate floorboards to provide extra guidance.
The flooring in your house needs to be wheelchair-friendly. It has to be slip-resistant, easy to maintain, and easy to maneuver in a wheelchair. Usually, people use vinyl, laminate, or carpet flooring options to make a home wheelchair-friendly.
Provide Tools That Ensure Safety
When you move in with your parents, you can provide a few tools to ensure that they are totally safe in your home. This should also be high up on your checklist for moving elderly parents into your home. The following list should give you hints of what you might need to add depending on your particular situation.
- Personal Alert System – this can be a smart electronic wearable device that can alert you if your parent needs help
- An over-the-bed table
- Bed railings
- A medication organizer or an alarmed dispenser
- Adaptive shoes and clothing
- You can gift your parent a talking wristwatch if they have poor vision
- Kitchen tools for opening cans and peeling vegetables easier and safer
- Specialized eating utensils
- A reacher tool for seniors with limited mobility
- Mobility aids if they have difficulty getting around the house. They can use a cane, walker, or wheelchair.
- Baskets to help carry items
Depending on your parents, or the way your home is built, you might need some of these items or some of them might be unnecessary. The important thing is to pick what applies in your situation and leave what doesn’t. If they are still driving, ensure that you have auto roadside assistance on speed dial. You can also add additional tools like a garage door opener so that they don’t struggle to park.
You know your parents and home better; therefore, you should be in a good position to decide which tools they need and the ones they don’t.
Put Together a Schedule for Appointments and Services
If your parent has to visit a doctor and/or physical therapist, they need dental clinic services frequently, or they have anywhere else they should go regularly, it would be best if you draft a schedule. This is another important thing to add to your checklist for moving elderly parents into your home. Nowadays it’s quite easy because you can create one on your phone calendar and also synchronize it with your computer. That way you will get a reminder whenever they need to go somewhere and you will avoid having them miss important appointments.
Ensure Your Parent Is Comfortable
There is no comprehensive checklist for moving elderly parents into your home. At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether or not they are comfortable. If you live in a cold area, ensure that you have proper residential heating and if it’s too hot, make sure that it’s cool inside the house. The bottom line is you should do everything you can to ensure that they have everything they need and that they are not stressed.
Add Special Touches to Make Your Parent Feel at Home
Since you know what your parents love and what their favorite hobbies are, it shouldn’t be too easy to add some extra features that will make them feel at home in your house. Maybe you know their favorite colors and music. You can add these to your checklist for moving elderly parents into your home.
You can also add sentimental items that remind them of happy times like photos and any other things you might think of. For instance, if they had a rug they loved, but it’s now old and torn, you can look for antique rug restoration and they will bring it back to life.
Having your parents move in with you is not an easy step. There are a lot of things to consider, and there are several adjustments that you will need to make. You have to consider what your schedule is like. If you have children and you work full time, it’s even more complicated. You might feel you can take care of them on your own without help, but if your schedule doesn’t allow it then you’ll have to consider getting some help. This means extra costs and you will have to figure your way around how you can handle those costs without ending up in debt.
The most important thing when coming up with a checklist for moving elderly parents into your home is to be honest with what you can handle and what you can not. In other words, you should know your limits. There are some things that you might not be capable of doing, even if you can afford the time. For instance, your parent might need help bathing or dressing. Are you comfortable handling it without any help? If not, then you have to look at some options as well.