Tips to Turn Your Home Friendly for Elder Family Members

Your family members are getting older. Daily routines and activities are getting harder for them to do. You may be facing a cross roads for their care. You want the best for them yet want to maintain their independence and dignity.

The following options are limited and can be emotional:

-Move them in with you, which may disturb your current family functioning, and care for them yourself. This may be the most disruptive lifestyle option.

-Move them into assisted living or independent living communities where others can care for them. This is the most expensive option.

-Convert their current home into a more comfortable environment for them. This option helps bridge them from functioning until they absolutely need assisted care-giving.

Most are reluctant to move out of their home into a community even an independent community because of financial reasons or reluctant to leave their current community and/or home.

Making some changes in their current home is a temporary fix but can help maintain their independence until they are no longer able to function on their own.

Some options to look at when making their home more comfortable for their later years include:

-Wheelchair/Walker accessibility/maneuverability

-Arthritis-related needs

-Ba-thing/bathroom accessories

Doorway widening:

When accommodating wheelchairs and/or walkers, you may want to look into widening doorways. If the doorway is not in a load-bearing wall, this can be a moderate construction project.

1. Remove current door, door frame, hinges and door jamb.
2. Cut into the drywall and possibly studs (2x4s).
3. Replace the inner studs with existing or new 2x4s.
4. Re-frame, re-hinge and re-install the door jamb with a wider door.

Ramp installation:

Wheel chairs may require installing ramps. These are typically pre-made with various heights and widths and just involve the purchasing and placement of them. You can also create your own with 2×4, 2×8 or 2×6 for the triangular frame and plywood for the slanted flat surface. You can furnish/dress it in desired flooring to mesh with the home’s design.

Arthritis-friendly faucets/handles:

Arthritis is a common problem among the elderly, and installing arthritis-friendly faucets and door handles can help with the comfort and ease of every-day accessibility.

Grab bars/railings:

Grab rails/hand railings are also helpful in trouble spots such as the bathroom, small/large stairways, next to the bed, in the tub/shower. These are available in a variety of colors, styles, lengths and base materials.

Shower/Tub Seats:

Shower/Tub seats are another helpful tool for routine activities. These are best used with shower hoses for bathing/showering purposes.

There are a variety of products available to help accommodate your family members in their older years. Their age-related problems do not always mean that they have to move out. For detailed instructions or product availability, contact your local handyman for recommendations and information.