An assisted living is a place for older adults or senior citizens who need or seek help with activities and chores of daily life, such as getting to the bathroom, cooking meals, keeping the house clean, and visiting doctors for appointments. An assisted living may be a good option if you need extra personal care for your loved ones. If you look after your elderly parents or loved ones, then you must have had a word with them about their living conditions. It is one of those inevitable conversations that you have with them, especially when they are getting older, and it is never that easy. There is likely a chance that your parents don’t want to leave their most cherished room and want to remain there for the rest of their lives. This is also known as “aging in place.” They naturally prefer home over assisted facility because they find their home cozy and comfortable as they are familiar with the surroundings and have fond memories. But the issue is that most homes are not designed that could cater to the specific needs of older people. As per the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the U.K., mishaps with senior citizens happen at home mostly as compared to assisted facility. But the good news is you can still turn their home or yours into an assisted living facility for them.
Following are few tips that can make aging in place possible.
Make adjustments in the bathroom
As per the National Aging in Place Council, the bathroom is one of the most common places for accidents for elderly people.
They usually trip or slip because of excess moisture. These falls my cause fatal or non-fatal injuries for seniors, so bathroom should be the first thing to begin the adjustments with. Change the showers or tubs that need a step to enter as they can be dangerous for the elderly. If your pocket allows, you can invest in a good walk-in tub. Walk-in tubs come in different price ranges, starting from $1,800 to $6,000 and above, excluding installation charges. Although they are pricey but they lessen the chances of dangerous falls and slips. Similarly, if your parents have difficulty using toilet seat, you can consider installing a higher seat so that they don’t struggle with getting on and off the toilet. Also make sure there is a plenty of light in the bathroom, especially night lights, so that they know the whereabouts of bathroom.
The kitchen is one place that is full of hazardous corners for seniors and also one of those places where many people spend a whole lot of time fixing meals for them. So this corner should be next on your modification list. First things first, figure out how convenient it is for them to open and close the drawers and kitchen cabinets, especially if your parents have arthritis too. Pulls that come in D-shape have a good grip and are much easier to grasp. You can consider getting pull down shelves also. With these shelves, the access to grocery items becomes much easier. They come in a price range from $250 to $400. Another important thing to keep in mind is the stove. Check if it’s an electric stove or a gas stove. Are the controls or knobs of the stove in front or do they have to bend over to reach the control at the back? Similarly, the display should also be clearly visible to them. Also make sure that kitchen is well lit and have enough lights. Get rid of any fused bulbs and arrange additional lighting if the kitchen and adjoining areas are dark.
Ideally, seniors should have a bedroom with an attached bathroom on the ground floor of the house to avoid the hassle of using stairs frequently. As people age, climbing stairs can be hazardous for them, so make sure you change their bedroom if you are to turn the house into an assisted facility. However, if there is a space issue and you have limited rooms that are already in use of other family members then you can install a stairlift. These stairlifts are very helpful as they lessen the risk of trips and sudden falls. Although, they can be pricey, starting from $3,000 to $5,000 but worth an investment.
Other things to keep in mind
- Make sure your parents’ room doesn’t have unnecessary furniture and fixtures. Rooms with a lot of clutter will be difficult to manage.
- Ensure that the pathways and sidewalks around the room doesn’t have loose gravels, cracks or any uneven surfaces as this may increase a tripping risk.
- Make sure the room has a natural source of sunlight, not only it will keep the room naturally bright but it will also be a source of Vitamin D for them.
The decision you take today to make your home an assisted facility for your parents can save them from unwanted injuries and accidents and will give them more years of happiness and good health in a place they cherish the most. So, what are you waiting for, don’t just wait and make the most out of these tips for a better life for your parents in their very own home.