When you have all grown-up and your parents that are still alive, you know that they do not get any younger, and at some point in your lives you, as a child, will start to think about the best choice for your parents to grow old.
Of course, a great number of elders live a long and somewhat healthy life just by themselves, but that does not mean that your parents do not have a possibility of getting some serious physical or health diseases. In any case, as a concerned child, you need to think about different possibilities.
As statistics say, 90 percent of people older than 65 years old want to spend as much time living in their homes as possible. But that does not imply that they do not have any conditions that need to be thought of before making a decision regarding a place of living.
Take as much time as you and your parents need before choosing the option that would fit your situation the best way. And while you do that, we want to tell you a bit more about renovating the home of your parents to fit their needs.
Possible Options for you
We know how hard it is to decide on this issue, as sometimes, what is best for the health of your parents is not the choice upon which they would agree. And to make the other possibilities not regarding a nursing home more feasible, we made this article.
However, before going into that, think long and thoroughly about your own capabilities, budget, specificities of parents’ health conditions, and so on. Those parents that have some little troubles with memory or physical condition can stay at home longer than those that, for example, have some difficulties in regards to movement.
To make this decision-making process easier, we are now going to provide you with a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the choices you have. The decision is yours, but we think that this information may help you.
This option is the most undesirable by parents, and by their children (at least in most cases). Being a caring child, you would only choose nursing homes in severe situations, when your parents can no longer be left at home or when you are not able to take care of them due to some reason. And of course, bigger amounts of money would be spent.
However, if this is your case, please be very gentle with your parents when explaining what is going to happen.
What might help to ease this process is the following:
- Promising to visit them each week or more.
- Choosing the best nursing home that there only is.
- Making parents understand that they cannot take care of themselves anymore, and the fact that they need some help is not humiliating at all.
- Taking them to your home for weekends and holidays.
Living Together With Children
This is the option that we think lies in between the other ones, as it is the following:
- Cheaper than nursing homes.
- More controllable as you are living under the same roof.
- In addition, now the parents have a bigger chance to bond with their grandchildren.
In this case, some renovations are necessary: not only for your parents but also for you, as they will make a new way of living much more convenient and comfortable.
When deciding on choosing this way, please try to avoid your discomfort regarding talking with the parents, as they are going to adjust to a new way of life just as you are, and for them, this process can be even harder to psychologically accept: no one likes to feel old and helpless.
What might help in this situation is talking not only about the process but about some advantages as well. For example, grandchildren will spend more time with parents, and the children as well, which will help you all to better connect with each other.
In addition, many seniors have their own daily routine and personal things that are dearest to the heart, and you would not want to break their usual pace and style of living. Try to compromise with each other!
A few disadvantages
Some disadvantages are that you would need to spend more time and effort now, as you have another person to take care of in the house. This means less time for yourself and your partner.
Also, some psychological discomfort by the thought of overcrowding the space can appear but do not worry, it will go away once you all get used to each other’s company. If not, some hired help may ease your burden, and many elderlies actually like to be left alone for quite some time of the day.
Leaving Seniors in Their Home
This option is the most preferable by the parents, as they get to live where they are already comfortable, where not a lot of changes need to be made.
Think about upgrading their house to meet new needs, as this will save you money on nursery homes and treatments in cases of some accidents. Moreover, when parents are completely comfortable in their home, they have lower chances of getting depression or anxiety connected with aging and being more vulnerable than before.
It is only logical that you would not want your parents to somehow hurt themselves when being inside the house, so modifications are the right choice for this option. Look for some suggestions that we have below.
Going Back to the Remodeling
As we have already understood, aging cannot be as pretty as we have imagined: eyesight is getting weaker, coordination is not as good as it was before, health problems start to occur more frequently, and so on.
To make the lives of your parents much easier, here are some general tips for you:
- Brighter light bulbs everywhere in the house are a must so that your parents would have better vision and fewer chances to fall down or stumble over.
- More ways of communication, such as phones, should be put around the house so that your seniors will be able to contact you or the ambulance right away.
- Door knobs with levers should be installed, especially for those with arthritis.
- Temperature controls in the bathroom are a great life hack for avoiding accidental scalds.
- Smart home devices, such as cameras and motion detectors, are a good way of securing the house and making your parents feel more calm and protected. And a remote light control will also prevent unnecessary searches in the dark.
- Take out all of the carpets if a wheelchair is used so that movements would be easier to make. This step would also make it easier for your parents or some other help to clean up.
- Some elderlies tend to clutter their house with unnecessary things, so it is your job to get rid of them to avoid any possible injuries and other accidents.
- Gas stoves should be replaced by electric ones to avoid burns or gas leaks.
Basically, make any of their everyday actions safe, fast and easy, so that they would feel more secure, comfortable, and less depressed.
Some More Details on Remodeling and Illnesses
When it comes to parents with some health troubles, more steps need to be made aside from those described by us above, as more than 35 percent of seniors have some serious conditions.
Some of you might be afraid that remodeling the house in such a manner is a job worth a lot of money. However, it is not always the case, and not all of the products are that pricey. In any case, all of them described by us will serve you for a long time, so it is always better to spend money once than every couple of months. Now, let us talk about more specifics.
When Memories Get Lost
It is quite a widespread thing for seniors to lose their memory ability with time, and forgetfulness becomes their usual characteristic. What you need to do is help your parents prevent any gas leaks and floods.
Here is what you can try:
- Place calendars and notes with important information in places which your parents are visiting every day.
- Cover the radiators and electric outlets so that no unnecessary burns would happen.
- Motion detection taps are a must. Seniors can forget that they turned on the water and simply flooded themselves or their neighbors.
- Put some notes and labels on every important room, such as the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen, so that your elderly would know where they are and can more easily remember what they wanted to do.
- Spring-loaded doors are another must so that the doors would close themselves automatically in cases when it was not done by the seniors.
- The stoves should have an automatic turn-off feature so that no fires and gas leaks would happen.
When There are Problems With Eyesight and Hearing
If this is your situation, what you need to think about is preventing threats from intruders, injuries, and fires.
Here is a list of ideas for you:
- Screen readers on the phones might help those with bad hearing, as they will allow your parents to see what is said by the caller.
- Think about adding additional light to some unusual places, such as under the sink or in dark places in hallways.
- Fire alarms should have sound and light features preinstalled in them.
- Attaching a smart doorbell will allow your seniors to see who is approaching them.
- Light switches should have a glowing function so that your parents would see them in the dark.
- Many seniors are not very good with technologies, so you would need to make sure that their phone is of good sound and picture quality and is set up with maximum volumes and brightness.
- Another thing that you might not have thought about is the wall colors: paint them as bright and white as possible so that more light will be available.
- Motion detection lights are always a great idea, as your elderly would not have to turn on every lamp when moving around the house.
When Mobility is Limited
In this case, your main concerns are connected with falls and slips.
To avoid that, here is what needs to be done:
- Beds and their frames should be placed lower than usual so that a quick reach could be made.
- Grab bars, and a walk-in tub should be adjusted to the bathtub and the shower.
- Handrails and lighting over the stairs should be placed.
- Chairs and couches should be stable to again avoid any falls.
- Doors should be quite wide.
- Specific lifts can be adjusted to the stairs.
When the Balance is no Longer as it Used to be
Most seniors have balancing problems when aging, especially those with bad eyesight and arthritis.
It is up to you, as their children, to prevent any unnecessary falls and slips, and what can be done are the following steps:
- Grab bars, as well as no-slip mats, should be placed in a toilet and bathroom.
- Put some fluorescent tapes on the edges of the stairs.
- Furniture should have high armrests for the easier grab of the elderly.
- Some items should be taken away from the floor so that more spacing would be provided.
What Else can be Done?
Aside from some health issues and tips for remodeling with them in mind, there is a lot more you can do for your parents.
For example, try to persuade them that everyday cleaning of the house is a great idea, as it lets them move around more, as well as prevent an occurrence of any allergies. This simple task can increase their physical and mental well-being and help to create a great routine.
Another thing that they can do is a regular inventory of their foods and medications so that they would not eat or take any expired products, which also can cause some additional visits to the doctor.
However, physical problems are not the only ones with which elderlies are faced. Mental issues, such as the feeling of vulnerability, loneliness, or even depression, are common things among seniors.
To escape that, they can participate in some group activities, such as that of elderly homes, where there are a variety of events happening almost every night. What they can also do is sign up for some swimming or reading clubs.
You can also participate in making their social life more varied: try to spend some evenings with them, simply eating dinner and talking, watching films, reading books, or going through some old photos. Try to involve grandchildren as well.