Whether we are aging ourselves and planning ahead or looking at options for more appropriate living conditions for an aging loved one, there are lots of considerations to be mindful of. Long term care plans aren’t all about insurance and healthcare, but about daily living, accessibility, proximity to the important parts of life such as friends, relatives and other support networks. If you are thinking about making your home a little more senior-friendly, this article will look at some of the important factors that must be considered.
Location, location, location
If you are moving a loved one away from the existing community and resources that they used to rely on every day to live in your home, perhaps in a new location, then it’s important to consider how those things can be mirrored and supported in their new home. Seniors want and need to be as independent as possible so it’s imperative that access to services like grocery shopping, medical facilities, and social groups are given due thought.
Planning for the big move
Before they can be transitioned, you need to have a future proof plan. If they are going to be living independently or in an annexe close by to your main home then you need to consider a home maintenance plan and explore accessibility to the home for wheelchairs and walking frames.
Ensuring the structure and layout can be upgraded
Ideally, the new accommodation will have minimal stairs, or the space to install specially designed stairlifts, the room to incorporate access ramps internally and externally as required and you should ensure that all surfaces are as level as possible to minimize potential slips and falls.
Bathrooms can be a real hazard and your loved one may be moving into your home without the requisite safety features available. Grab bars should be in place on staircases and in the bathroom. The floors should be non-slip and mats should be installed in showers and baths to avoid dangerous falls.
Planning ahead and future proofing
It’s important to think about potential future outcomes and the onset of dementia. This can present a new set of hazards for the elderly, especially if the layout of the home is complex. Try to make things easy to access, obvious to navigate and ensure all utilities are easy to reach (and any dangerous household chemicals can be safely secured) in case memory issues and confusion start to become an issue.
There is plenty of help and advice available if you are looking to support an elderly relative. You will be able to find organizations that offer both support and advice in terms of accessing funding for installing any supportive equipment and occupational therapy visits to determine where you may need (and be eligible for) help and support.
There are lots of reasons why you might want to make your home safer and more accessible for an elderly family member, usually it’s a question of safety, and with a little planning, some additional specialist equipment, and some professional help and advice you’ll easily be able to integrate your loved one safely into your home environment.