Renovation tips for hosting aging parents

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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As people age, they have to consider whether they want to continue to live alone or find some help. If you have enough space in your home, you might be able to host your aging parents. They can live with the family they love and you’ll have peace of mind knowing they are safe. However, your house might not be equipped to offer the comfort and ease your parents need. Here are some must-have features you should include in a remodel if you plan on moving in your aging parents.

First floor bedroom

Some older adults don’t like to deal with stairs, as it can be a dangerous and challenging task to climb them. For this reason, you should consider adding a bedroom to your first floor. Many homeowners convert an office or unused family room into a bedroom, though you could also invest in an addition. Either way, be sure the room has two exits, as per building codes. Adding another door or installing windows that open wide both count as a second exit.

If the room doesn’t have locks on the door, consider them for privacy. Also, create a comfortable space in the new room such as a cozy reading nook where they can relax in private.

Bathroom

The first floor bathroom should be equipped for use by elderly adults. This means you’ll need to install grab bars near the toilet and tub, add non-slip mats and strips, and ensure the lighting is bright. Non-slip strips are adhesive pieces of plastic that stick to the bath or shower floor. They ensure your parent will not fall while cleaning.

You may even consider switching out a standard tub for one that has a side door or a wheelchair-accessible shower. These tub options are easy for seniors to use because they don’t require a person to climb over a wall.

Staircases

All of your staircases, whether they be indoor or outdoor, should be well lit and have railings. If your parents don’t see a hazard (such as a dropped object) on the stairs, they could slip and fall. Railings offer support. If the stairs are indoor and carpeted, be sure the rug is secured to the floor and that it’s not frayed or falling apart.

Regularly inspect your stairs for corners that might have come up or objects that have been left there. Some homeowners even opt to install a small elevator to make multi-floor travel easy for their aging parents.

Kitchen

Prepare your kitchen for your senior parents by creating clear pathways and accessible counters and tables. A wheelchair should be able to sit comfortably beneath a table so that your parents can dine with you. Furthermore, make sure everything is in reach. Your parents shouldn’t have to stretch to get the mixer or bowls they need to cook. Consider adding pop-up platforms and switching out cabinet knobs for easy-to-grip bars.

Decks

Your outdoor living spaces can become as functional as they are beautiful. If your parents use a wheelchair, you may want to add a ramp to the front and back doors of your house. However, they aren’t the most striking feature. Decks built in conjunction with ramps will make the wheelchair-accessible design seem natural. This addition will allow your parents some independence as they’ll be able to come and go on their own.

You might also want to consider attaching a deck to your parent’s first-floor bedroom. This will allow them to enjoy the outdoors when they first get up in the morning or before they go to bed.