Though Americans may associate multigenerational households with other countries, during the past decade, a large number of aging parents and children have decided to share living spaces. According to Pew Research Center, about 64 million Americans are members of multigenerational homes, which may include grandparents and even great-grandparents who join daily family activities.
Inviting an older relative to live with your family may not be the right choice for everyone, but for those who wish to save money and forge better relationships between the generations, it may be a great option. Consider the following ways to prepare your house for a senior family member before he or she moves in to maximize safety and comfort in your home.
1. Removing Fall Hazards to Promote Safety
Your senior parent or grandparent may be perfectly healthy and not prone to falls and trips, but he or she will still be moving into an unfamiliar space. Do your best to remove objects with sharp corners and any hazards that could contribute to a fall before the move takes place.
2. Ensuring Your New Resident Has Personal Space
No matter how much your aging mother loves her small grandchildren, she likely doesn't want to see them — or listen to their squeals and screams — around the clock. Make sure that your newest resident has enough space in which to rest and relax, and ensure that he or she has a place to retreat to if the house becomes too loud.
3. Remodeling Key Rooms for Accessibility
If your senior loved one has a disability or mobility issues, consider remodeling his or her room and bathroom to include accessibility features. This could mean widening the doorways for a wheelchair, putting non-skid tiles in the bathroom, or adding handrails next to the toilets for stability. If your family member has accessibility measures in his or her current home, try to outfit your home with similar ones for a smooth transition into the new living space. Get in touch with a contractor if accessibility is a new topic for both you and your relative or if you're not sure what to add to make your home easier to navigate.
Of course, paying for accessibility features will not come cheap. It’s important, therefore, to also look at financing options to ensure that your loved one gets the necessary upgrades for his or her space. Find out what is refinancing, either your own home or your loved one’s, and how it can potentially cover any renovations that need done.
4. Adding Brighter Lighting to Dim Areas
Even if your senior family member doesn't have poor eyesight, increasing visibility by adding brighter lights in areas such as staircases, bathrooms and hallways could prevent a painful fall. When you're considering these home upgrades, check with your mortgage lender to determine whether it's a good time to refinance your mortgage. This will replace your old loan with one that has a higher balance, and you will be able to use the difference to finance necessary home modifications or medical care.
5. Asking Your Senior Loved One for Suggestions
Your senior family member will likely have a few upgrade ideas when he or she transitions from living independently to living with you. Consult with Lifestage, a senior advisor in Spokane to pinpoint areas of the transition that may be especially difficult.
Remember that your senior loved one will probably have mixed feelings about leaving his or her place of residence and moving to your family home. This period will likely be difficult in various ways for both you and your senior family member, and good communication can help it happen more smoothly.
Guest Author Libby Howell http://grandparent.info/
Image via Pexels
Ty Strahl is the areas leading senior adviser. Her job is to help you navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.