A Guide on How to Care For Your Elderly Parents in an Accessible Home

By accessibleproperty

June 17, 2022

No one likes to think about their parents' ageing but we all get older and it’s important to prepare for the future. If your elderly parents are struggling to live independently, you’ll need to start thinking about the next step, whether that’s moving into sheltered accommodation or a care home or perhaps having them move in with you.

Having your elderly parents live with you is a big decision that will affect all of your lives, however, it can also be a positive change with a lot of benefits too. If you decide this is the right choice for your family, then be prepared to make some necessary changes to your existing home to make it more accessible.

Five Ways to Make Your Home More Accessible for Your Elderly Parents

Here are some home adaptations to consider before your elderly parents move in.

Make your home accessible

The first step is to ensure that your home is fully accessible from the outside. Depending on your parents’ health and mobility, this might mean installing ramps, grab rails on either side of doorways and adequate outdoor lighting to prevent trips and falls when leaving and entering the house.

Make your stairs safe

At the very least, you should ensure in any stairs in your home have properly fitted carpets, are well-lit and that they have handrails or a bannister that runs the full length of the staircase. You may also want to consider additional adaptations if your parents’ have mobility issues, such as installing a stairlift.

Adapt your bathroom

This is where lots of accidents happen in the home due to a combination of wet, slippery surfaces and the need to climb in and out of the bath or get on and off the toilet. Make sure your bathroom has grab rails near the toilet, sink and bath/shower to help reduce the risk of falls. If your parents have specific mobility needs and you have the budget, you could even renovate your existing bathroom and install a walk-in bath or even turn it into a wet room.

Safety and security

These days, there’s plenty of technology that can help make your home safer and more secure for your elderly parents, such as CCTV and alarms, for example. Camera doorbells will let your parents know who is calling and intercom systems allow them to speak with and even admit visitors without needing to rush to the door or travel up and down the stairs.

Special considerations

If your parents have any specific needs, such as visual impairment or if they’re deaf or living with long-term health conditions such as dementia, then you may need to make special adaptations to your home to accommodate these.

The Administration Side of Caring 

As well as the practical adaptations, you need to take care of the admin side of things too. Make sure you know who your parents' doctors are, and keep track of any upcoming hospital appointments, investigations and their current medications. You can set up repeat prescription reminders or get medications delivered to ensure they won’t run out.

You should also know where to call if your parents have a fall or an accident either inside or outside the home. If your parents are injured in an accident that isn’t their fault, you may want to consult with a lawyer.

Don’t Forget Your Mental Health

When your elderly parents live with you it’s easy for them to become your number one priority and you’re likely to spend a lot of your time and energy thinking about their health and wellbeing but don’t forget your own mental health. Carers are at increased risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression due to the demands they face so be sure to take time for yourself and ask for help when you need it. After all, you can’t care for your parents if you’re not well yourself!