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agingparentmovingIt’s a fact, as we get older so do our parents, and along with our aging parents can come some problems. More and more of us are facing tough choices with our aging parents regarding their living arrangements.  Some of us choose to send our parent(s) to a nursing home where they’ll get around the clock care, others decide to hire help that can come to the parents’ home, while still others of us decide to bring the parent to live with us.

If you’re considering tucking your parent under your own roof, and that parent is disabled, there are many things you need to do to prepare your home for their safety.  This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point in helping you figure out just what you should to make your home ready.

With a clipboard in hand, take a tour of your house from the front entrance to all interior spaces and take notes.

Entrance
Check to see if the walkway is even for ease of walking, that the steps are not too steep, and that the handrail is adequate.  Does the door open easily and is the whole area well lit?  If your parent is in a wheelchair, the walkway needs to be wide enough to accommodate it and you may need to install a ramp.

Kitchen
Take a look at the electrical outlets and make sure there are several within easy reach.  Keep dishes and utensils within easy reach too.  Pull-out shelves in the bottom cabinetry make for easier access.  Buy small appliances that are made for people with arthritis as they are easier to use.  Are all the bigger appliances accessible?  Can your parent reach the microwave and the controls on the oven?  A fire extinguisher is a must for the kitchen, whether your parent is living with you or not.

Bath
Make sure your water heater is not set too high as this could cause potential scalding. A single lever faucet may be a better choice to allow them control over the water temperature.  You should install grab bars around the toilet area and shower/tub.  Consider adding a seat in the shower as well.  Put a non-stick surface in the shower/tub and make sure the bathroom flooring won’t get slick and slippery when wet.  Everything they need should be within easy reach.  If your parent is in a wheelchair, create knee space under the sink and insulate the hot water pipe to prevent burns.  Have a nightlight that turns on automatically at night.

Bedroom
You can install grab bars wherever they are needed.  Consider getting a hospital-type bed if they need some help getting to a sitting position.  Make sure there is adequate lighting and no exposed cords or drapery to trip on. Are the bedroom and closet doors easy to open?  Keep the path to the bathroom well lit and clear of stuff at night.

The decision to have your parent move into your house is not an easy one.  Take the time to make your home as accommodating and safe as you can before you lay out the welcome mat.

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