Modifying your home for older family members

family in garden

It’s becoming increasingly common for older family members to stay with younger relatives instead of going into a care home or assisted living facilities. If you want to modify your home to accommodate an older family member, it is important to create the right environment for their needs.

Chat about their Needs

You’ve probably had a lot of discussions up to the point of agreeing with your family member that they will move in with you. This may have come as the result of a fall or additional needs, that they can no longer look after by themselves. You’ve decided with them that they will move in, and now it’s time to talk about the changes that you will need to make.

You’ll want to chat with them, and perhaps their doctor, about what they will need in the future. This can be a consideration initially and over time, as you want to think about the long-term implications too. Everything from time alone in the home to day to day activities should be accounted for. You may need to make some decisions on adaptations together, like whether you will go for a walk in shower or bath, or whether you will need any mobility aids. Age UK Mobility understand your individual needs, and can offer a home assessment in order to discuss requirements.

Think about Responsibilities

If your relative requires care or more help, then you may want to think about splitting up this responsibility between family members. This ensures that you will be able to give the family member the same standard of care, no matter who is at home. Small chores like bringing them water and medicines can be handled by almost anyone in the family, so ensure everyone has a role to play.

You may also want to think about a schedule, to make sure that your relative is not alone in the house for too long. This can cause stress and strain, especially if they need something while they are home alone. Just making sure that they know when someone will be back to help out if they need it can take a big strain off their minds.

Give them Space

While you want to be able to help your family member when they need it, you also want to be able to give them space too. This is a key part of everyone continuing to get along with the new living situation, as otherwise you may find that it becomes too close for comfort. Having areas of the home for your relative will allow them to feel like they still have their own space.

Small items like personal kettles and fridges can give them a bit more freedom too. If you have the space to give them areas for sitting and watching TV or reading on their own, they can utilise these when they feel they need more space. This can be a difficult line to follow, as you want to get the best of both worlds, but you’ll know more about what their needs are as time goes on. This can allow you to live in harmony, while still being able to help out when needed.

*This post is in collaboration with Age UK Mobility*

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