Preparing your home to make room for a senior loved one to move in is often a big process that requires a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to plan ahead to make sure all their needs are covered. Not only do you want to make sure they’re comfortable, but you also need to consider their physical safety.
For instance, my home used to have stairs at the front porch, and we added a ramp to help my mom walk to the door without tripping. We also added a set of grab bars in her bathroom to help her stay steady when she bathed. These were affordable modifications, but they can get costly if you don’t plan well. Thankfully, it is possible to make your home safer for an elderly houseguest without dipping into the kids’ college funds.
A Quick Conversation
Start by talking to your loved one to find out what their specific needs are. Many seniors have health issues or are on strict routines for the benefit of their health, and getting to know as much as you can about their schedule and habits can help prevent problems down the road as well as keep them happy and healthy. When we sat down with Mom, I found that her doctor advised her to walk outside a few times a week. Our solution was to build a few benches along the pathway of our small garden so she could still enjoy getting out but would have a place to rest when she felt weak.
By having a simple conversation to get to know their needs, you can help them create a healthy routine that will be easy to maintain. Go through each room in your home to look for potential safety issues and to make sure you have everything you need to make your loved one comfy, then look online for coupons and discounts that will make buying the items you do need easier. Our most helpful tool was a few strips of material that hide cords on the floor in the living room. We found them at Lowe’s for less than $25.
It took me a while to figure out how to make the rest of the house safe on our income. But here’s my advice, based on my experience:
Find the Best Deals on Everything You Need
When preparing your home for someone to stay for an extended amount of time, it’s important to make sure you have everything they’ll need to be comfortable, from clothing to new items for the bedroom. This can be costly, so look online for deals and savings, such as Macy’s coupons and promo codes that will help you save money on everything your loved one needs to make their stay in your home as easy and comfy as possible. Don’t forget bedding and soft bath towels so you can keep the guest room well-stocked.
Make It Safer
Many seniors have needs that require changes to their surroundings, so talk to them to find out what you can do to make your home a safe place for them. Stairs can be difficult for many older adults, and dim lighting, clutter, and throw rugs can contribute to falls. Go through each room to inspect for potential hazards, and think of budget-friendly ways you can make some changes. Simply cleaning up and getting organized can help, as can adding an inexpensive grab bar or seat in the shower. You might also think about accessibility in the kitchen. We replaced hard-to-pull handles with levers that made it easier for Mom. She has arthritis, so the old style was too hard for her to use by herself without causing pain.
You don’t have to do an expensive renovation to make things more accessible for your loved one. In the kitchen, for instance, you can move essential items to a lower cabinet or label canisters in the pantry so the contents are easily identified. Move furniture around in the living room to make mobility easier, especially if your loved one uses equipment of any kind. Think about how to make daily tasks simpler so they can remain as independent as possible.
Talk About Their Specific Needs
When it comes to making sure your loved one follows a nutritious diet, it’s essential to ensure your pantry and fridge are stocked with their favorite healthy foods. Talk to them about their dietary needs and learn about any restrictions so you’ll be prepared; get a feel for their likes and dislikes and ask them to contribute to a grocery list so they won’t have any trouble finding the things they love when they’re hungry. You can even learn how to prepare specialty meals, such as a low-sodium dinner. When you can, take advantage of coupons and in-store savings to ensure these additions don’t wreck your food budget.
Preparing your home for a senior loved one doesn’t have to be a costly process — or a stressful one. By doing a little research about their needs and keeping communication open, you can ensure that they have everything they need to stay comfortable and happy.
–by June Duncan, guest blogger, author, and caregiver
Visit June’s website: riseupforcaregivers.org.