Housing Considerations for an Aging Relative

An older woman discusses real estate options.

Many families struggle with the best way to adapt housing to help an aging relative. Whether this means making modifications to keep them in their own home, moving a parent into your home, or moving with an aging parent into a new place altogether, there are many factors to consider. Fortunately, you can take steps throughout the entire process to make the experience easier for your aging relative.

The first step is to have an open discussion. The best thing you can offer to yourself and your aging relative is a candid assessment of the situation. Even if a sudden illness or a financial setback seems to be forcing a decision, it’s worth exploring how that decision will impact the entire family.

Creating a Safe Environment

If the aging relative is in overall good health, there are many things that can help seniors continue to live independently. If you need to make modifications in the home for an older adult, consider hiring professionals with accessibility improvement experience who can complete the work successfully.

  • Decluttering helps clear out rooms and walkways, giving older adults more room to move, hopefully reducing the possibility of trips and falls.
  • Create a more open environment, ensuring all hallways, stairs, and paths are well lit and clear of random objects.
  • Moving kitchen items that are frequently used to lower shelves can prevent older adults from reaching and losing balance or using stools or stepladders to reach what they need.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent accidental burns.
  • Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles that are easier for older adults to grasp.
  • Thoroughly inspect the stairs looking for uneven steps or wobbly floorboards. Apply non-skid treads on the steps if necessary. You can also paint stair tops contrasting colors, making them easier to see.
  • Install grab bars around the tub, shower, and toilet. You can also get a unique shower chair or bench and a raised toilet seat.

Moving an Aging Relative

Moving is a stressful life event, and it can be even more stressful for older adults. Aging relatives may need a lot of help and support during a move, but they are usually the expert on exactly what they need. Also, be prepared for the emotions. If the move requires a significant amount of downsizing, it can be emotionally and physically challenging. You can eliminate some negative emotions by making sure your aging relative has a fair amount of control over as many aspects of the move as is reasonable. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful. Also, engage in regular talks about current feelings and fears of what may come.

Your communication, patience, and support will help make the transition smoother for your aging relative. The most important thing to focus on is their physical and emotional health.

If you are moving an elderly relative to a new home, Zippy Shell is a terrific moving and storage option for you! Zippy Shell can service both local and long-distance moves, no matter how big your move might be. If you need time in between your move or aren’t ready to move just yet, we offer flexible storage options as well. Go online and get a free quote today and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you and your family!