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How to make your house grandparent-friendly

November 30, 2020 | 33 Comments

Our parents and grandparents were there to look after us as we grew up, but now, as they get on in years, it’s our turn to step up. When your parents start aging it can get harder for them to keep up with modern life, adjusting to the new norms and so on. Depending on their mental and physical health, it can also be harder for them to take care of themselves, far from anyone they know and love. One solution is to have them move in with you, but how to make sure your home is prepared? Here are some top tips to make your house grandparent-friendly!

Keeping things social

If your parents live far away, they often miss out on social interactions. Depending on where they live or how old they are, their friends may have moved on or moved away. Although it is a grim fact to consider, in the case of grandparents, it is more likely that some of their friends have already passed away. As a result, it can be lonely living far from their family, which when bringing them into your home, can be of immense help to them.

Of course, there are plenty of options out there that you can use such as Belmont Village Senior Living which offers seniors the perfect place to be taken care of. Places such as this also provide incredible social opportunities alongside a ton of events and activities daily to keep everyone occupied. Sometimes nothing compares to living with one’s own family though, especially if your grandparents themselves want that. However, the average home is often not prepared to make seniors comfortable. Some of the home’s arrangements might even prove to be dangerous for them, so we are going to discuss a few important factors that can help you with making your home safe and comfortable for your grandparents.

Replacing furniture

If you do decide that having your parent(s) or grandparent(s) move in with you is the best way forward, then you may have to consider making a few adjustments. For instance, if they are going to take over a guest bedroom, you may want to consider the bed they will have. Something low to the floor, and super soft may be great for your other guests, but an older adult is going to have a very hard time getting out of that in the morning. Similarly, a bed that’s too high will also pose difficulties. As you might have guessed already, height adjustable beds with medium firm mattresses are best suited for the elderly. Keep in mind that your grandparents might also have arthritis, or at least their joints will likely not be in the best of conditions. This is why medium firm mattresses provide their lower backs with the support that they need in order to have a night of restful sleep.

Aside from the bed, they will most likely need a particularly comfortable and ergonomic chair as well in their room. Lying on the bed all day is definitely not healthy, so they should have the option to work, read, chat, talk, knit, etc. from the comfort of an easy chair – preferably one that also rocks.

Reorganize living spaces

Another aspect to consider is the available living spaces. Areas such as the sitting room may need to be changed up a bit. If you have a lot of clutter or items everywhere, you should consider reducing this, or finding storage space so that there’s a clear walkway around the house for your elderly guest – they’re often not as maneuverable as we are! Decluttering in general is a good idea for everyone’s safety, and it even provides stress relief, so make that a priority before your grandparents move in.

You can also consider making things in the kitchen a lot easier too. Basics such as tea and coffee should be placed in easy to reach places so that they do not need to stretch or climb to get into cupboards. The same goes for cutlery and dishes. It’s best to sit down with them and make a list of items that they may need to find regularly in the kitchen. This will help ensure that you can be more specific and effective with your kitchen rearrangements.

You may also need to consider making areas of the house more accessible too, such as installing handrails for the front steps, up the stairs and in the shower. If need be, you may need to change entrance access to ensure your parents aren’t going to trip and fall. A stair lift might be the best way to ensure that their tired joints are not overworked. The bathroom is a dangerous place for older generations, as no small number of people slip, fall, get injured or even die every year inside slippery bathrooms. Keep the floors cleaned at all times. Do not let water, shampoo, soap, cleaners or algae sit on the floor. Keep the floor dry and implement anti-slipping measures to provide added grip.

Change up the meal plan

A final thing to consider with your new live-in guest is meals. You may be used to cooking up gourmet feasts, but remember, a senior may not be able to handle the same level of spice as you can. Often their tastes are a little more limited, and you may have to cater to a specific diet. In some cases, softer foods will be required so we suggest sticking to simple, basic options which you can add condiments too after, ensuring everyone is happy.

It is difficult to generalize food when it comes to seniors, given that people age differently, not to mention the fact that their systems may or may not be used to the type of food that your own family is used to. See if the present meal plan of your home can be worked with slight alterations for the new elderly addition(s) to the family, but sometimes, cooking food separately for them is not going to be optional. This is especially true if they happen to be afflicted by diseases that require special meal planning. Given that grandparents are seniors, if not super seniors, such diseases are not uncommon either.

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