Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care, and today I am talking about multigenerational living. Now we're going to talk about how to prepare your home to accommodate your parents.
Experts say the popularity of building additional living quarters on to new or existing homes will grow as baby boomers age. Increasingly, they believe that boomers will want to provide a safe environments for their parents or for their adult or teenage children. In fact, a 2007 survey by The National Association of Home Builders found that 62% of the architect sampled said they would expect second master suite to increase by 2015 in custom and upscale homes. For some families there is the possibility of adding on to an existing home to include what's commonly called an in-law apartment. These units are usually attached to the main home, but have separate access and egress. Most, at least, have a private bed and bath and some include additional living and kitchen areas.
But for many families having mom or dad come to live with you means having them right in the same living quarters with the rest of the gang. So what can you do to make sure your home is ready for mom or dad to move in? Most people don't think about the hazards a typical home can hold for an older adult. But the dangers can become frighteningly evident after a senior moves in.
So before your senior loved one moves in, you should consider consulting a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist or CAPS has earned a special national education designation which means they have learned how to design or modify homes for aging in place. Most CAPS professionals are remodelers, but an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants. In general, they will help make sure your home will be a safe and comfortable place for your parents.
According to ageinplace.
com, there are a number of things to keep in mind when assessing modification needs. First, if your parent is currently using a cane, walker, or wheelchair, be sure to determine that doors are wide enough to accommodate them, or the sinks and counters are at levels they can access.
Next, look at room features or hallways that can be difficult to navigate or ornamental fixtures that are hard to get around that may need to be removed or modified. Also, give thought to new or existing flooring. High pile carpeting, area rugs, or flooring that has a slippery surface can be a trip and fall hazard.
If your parent has a hard time getting up or standing, look around in bathrooms, kitchens, and sitting areas to see if there are sufficient spaces for grab bars. If your parents have reduced hearing, it may become necessary to have phones and doorbell chimes in multiple rooms.
Also, make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are near where they sleep and spend most of their time. You can also consider replacing older detection models with ones that have visual indicators or louder alarms.
As our parents age, it may become difficult for them to open drawers or doors, hold items that maybe heavy or turn and hold a fixture. Some items to look for modification include making sure cabinet drawers and doors have D shaped handles and that all door knobs and faucets are lever handles.
If vision is a problem, ensuring proper lighting is one of the best things you can do for your parents. It's also good to make sure floor transitions are easily distinguishable, such as having contrasting colors between levels and rooms.
The last thing to do to make sure every one in the home remains safe is to have a plan for emergencies. This not only means what to do in the event of a fire, but also what to do if your parent experiences a medical emergency. Make sure all family members, especially young children know about dialing 911.
It's also important to make sure all of your parent's medical information such as health conditions, doctor names, insurance, and enlisted medicines is readily available to emergency personnel. Everyone who lives in the home should be able to point them to it. So a good place to leave it is in an envelope on the refrigerator.
Also, if there are young children and there is a medical emergency, make sure someone can remove them from the room and reassure them. You might also need backup child care if you need to accompany your parent to the hospital. This may all seem a bit scary and daunting, but with proper planning, having your senior loved one live with your family can be a loving and rewarding experience.