You go to visit your mom/dad/parents for the holidays and realize they aren’t feeding themselves properly or taking their medicines regularly. It occurs to you that this might be the time to think about having them move in with you. There are obvious things to consider like will we get along, what level of care will they need and can I provide that and how or who will pay for it? But another thing to think about is what changes to your home you will need to make to accommodate such a living situation. The following are the 7 things to think about before you make that decision:
- Do you have an extra bedroom that can be used, can you convert another space in your home into a bedroom or do you need to put an addition with an “in-law suite.”
- If you aren’t adding on to your home, is there a bathroom near or on the same level as their living space that gives them privacy.
- If there is a bathroom nearby, does it have or could you add the following: grab bars near a toilet and in a shower, a comfort height toilet, doorways that are at least 32 inches wide (preferably 36”) if they use a walker or wheelchair? Does it have an anti-slip floor tile? Are the toilet paper dispenser and flush handles in a location that a person wouldn’t need to twist to access?
- If they are in a wheelchair or walker, are the hallways wide enough (minimum is 32” but 36” is better), is there a ramp into the house if there are stairs? If the bedroom will be upstairs are they able to climb the stairs or do you need to put in an automatic stair lift? Or are very sturdy railings needed.
- Are the door handles into the house, bedroom, or bathroom round? If so, can you replace them with a lever door handle?
- Is there adequate lighting since we need much more lighting as we age. Can the light switches be replaced with rocker switches to make it easier to operate?
- If you are putting on an addition, can it have a separate HVAC system so your parents can control their own temperature?