How to prepare your home for an elderly loved one

Written by realestateview.com.au in Renovating

When we design our homes and canvas lifestyles, our loved ones play an undeniable part in the process. The little ones can often govern the flow of a home, but our elderly family members also require the same consideration when preparing a home for their arrival. Whether you’re accommodating your loved one for a short or long period of time, here are some small but significant preparations you can make to ensure a welcome home for both parties.

Localise the amenities

Ask yourself, what is aged care to you? When you begin to understand that, only then can you start viewing your home as a space that provides care and restoration. You may not have the luxury of adding a bathroom here and there, but there are other amenities you can localise throughout your home. Introducing a relaxing space, small kitchenette and washroom will afford your loved one some independence to administer their own daily tasks. It also allows for fewer bottlenecks, with the localised amenities catering to different areas of your home. This thought process is behind the ‘granny flat’ movement that has been globally embraced, popular for its ability to balance privacy and proximity. 

Reassess your furniture and flow

After living somewhere for so long, it’s understandable that you won’t view your home with the same critical eye of a third party. However, when preparing your home for a loved one, you will need to do just this to avoid any furniture or flow issues that have the potential to complicate your loved one’s movements. If you’re partial to a bean bag or an egg chair, it could be time to swap these options out with something a little more structured. The same goes for textured rugs, sharp and small furnishings, and other items that might test the mobility of your loved one. This is why many families turn to respite care following surgery or change in lifestyle, with mobility and safety a chief priority. Take the time to wander your home with fresh eyes, and you can even involve your family and elderly loved one in the audit to ensure all voices are heard.

Full disclosure and open communication

Every family unit thrives on communication. From trivial tidbits to the important updates, it’s necessary that everyone is on the same page and can coexist accordingly. Using a whiteboard schedule will assist with coordination, and so will having discussions around security and emergencies plans should they occur. Medication and appointment attendance should also be something shared with the household so that your loved one feels supported and taken care of. We’ve all experienced the tug-o-war that is sharing a family car, so highlight days and instances that could be problematic and decide what the process should be to prioritise your loved one’s health and recreation.

Light a brighter future

One can grow accustomed to just about anything, and lighting is the greatest example of this. What might be sufficient lighting for you and your family may not be ideal for your loved one, not to mention that it could be unsafe. Bathrooms and kitchen should be the place to start, for obvious reasons, and then you can take on bedrooms and communal spaces. The right lighting will go a long way toward easing the mind and movements of your new inhabitant, and it certainly won’t slow down the rest of the family. You can also enhance the lighting outdoors, and even install sensor lighting for peace of mind.

Welcoming an elderly loved one into your home is an incredibly special time and one that you want to be totally prepared for. An equal and comfortable environment will set the backdrop for a lifetime of memories and happiness together, built on respect and independence.