Preparing Your Home to Live with a Senior Citizen

Multigenerational living is the new norm on TV, and it’s becoming more popular in the real world as well. Having your grandparents live with you isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you get to create more memories this way, all while making sure they are in good hands.

Before taking on this responsibility, you should make sure your home is capable of housing a senior citizen. Chances are you will need to make some minor changes to reduce the risk of accidents. Let’s discuss the most important rooms, and the best ways to make them safer.

Doors, stairways, and walkways

Here you will want to use nightlights so they don’t stub their toes, and can see in the dark. Keep these in hallways and bathrooms.

Clear away the clutter so they have less chance of tripping over your stuff. If you’ve got loose electrical wires, tape them down.

The elderly do better with lever handles vs. traditional round handle doorknobs. They are much easier to grip for them, and don’t require twisting of the wrist. There’s even a bonus – if their hands are full, they can still manage to open them!

Something you may take for granted is the ability to go up and down stairs without rails. Throw your grandparents a bone and add some rails on the stairs.

Lighting and room temperature

As you get older your vision tends to fade, so do them a favor and increase the lighting in your home. Focus on brightening the areas in their closets, bedrooms, kitchen, and living room.

Change the switches to rockers, this way they can turn them on if their hands are full. Rocks also don’t need strong motor skills to operate.

Smart lights are very helpful too, whether they be timed, or motion sensor, this means they don’t have to be searching for the light switch.

Grandparents like to have their room temperature on their personal preference, some like it warmer, some like it cooler. Install their own air conditioning unit/heater in their bedrooms giving them total control of their own temperature.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are often wet and slippery, so add a couple support bars for them to hold on to.

Another nonslip item is a nonslip bathmat for the tub. Even as a young adult I have found myself nearly slipping in the shower and it would have been quite ugly had I not caught myself.

Make sure the toilet paper is easy to reach so they don’t have to twist around to grab it.

If your toilet is low to the ground, get yourself an adjustable toilet seat. This will help them get on and off the toilet with ease.

Kitchen

Make sure all the items a senior citizen could need are within reaching distance. Don’t put things out of reach or make them get on a stool to grab them. Reorganize your drawers and cabinets if needed.

Change the cabinet handles to D shaped, this way they are easier to grasp.

Install an induction stove. These stay cool to the touch and reduce the risk of burning them. The stovetop itself won’t get hot, lonely your pots or pans will.

Add pull-down shelves so the items at the top of the shelf are now within reach. Along with this you get more storage space and your grandparent won’t be asking you to get them things all the time.

Keep them safe

Living with an old person poses many challenges, but don’t let it be a hazardous place for them. Simply modifying your house will help them out a great deal, making accidents less likely and your home more navigable.

Of course the above listed is quite extreme, you don’t have to do everything suggested. It could become quite costly; maybe just a few changes will go a long way. If you believe in Darwinism (survival of the fittest), they’ll be fending for themselves. Regardless, I probably wouldn’t buy a brand new stove, or install adjustable shelves for them. It’s your call, good luck!

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