Relationships & Marriage
How to Care for Aging Parents in Your Home
Making space in your home for aging parents isn't always easy, but it's something you might have to face as you look out for them. It's difficult to see your parents age, but the best you can do is make them feel loved, cared for and considered in your home.
Keeping them happy may mean adjusting things about your life or household, but it'll be worth it. You'll enjoy moments in your home with your aging parents daily, ensuring they're safe and happy.
1. Avoid Tripping Hazards
Falls are a common worry to look out for when you have an older adult in the home. Even something like a pet lying down in a hallway can prove to be a tripping hazard. The best way to make your parent feel welcome is to eliminate many of these hazards — which might be as simple as teaching your pet not to lie down in congested areas of the home.
Small area rugs can become a tripping hazard, as the corners can lift or it can slide out from under someone's feet. One simple solution would be to stick to larger area rugs or even carpets. Alternatively, you could secure the rugs or their corners to the floor. Doing so would allow you to keep the aesthetic of your space while making it safer for your parent.
2. Change Your Meal Schedule
You don't need to adjust all your mealtimes to suit your parent, but you should aim to ensure they eat proper meals. Older adults may not get the proper nutrition they need when living alone. They can have well-balanced meals with you, especially if you're already cooking for the rest of your household. If you won’t be there a certain evening, ensure there are leftovers they can microwave or a frozen meal they can heat up.
If they like to cook, leave them ingredients they can use to make a meal. Remember to check on your parent to see if they need assistance when cooking. They may be able to handle certain tasks but might not be up to others — and safety should be everyone’s first priority.
3. Consider Upgrading Your Home
If your parent has moved in with you permanently, you may need to brainstorm ways to make them feel at home. For example, they may not be as mobile as they used to be. Forcing them to climb stairs every day to get to basic needs, like the kitchen or a bathroom, might hurt them more than help them.
Since falls make up over 30% of injuries in the U.S. every year, finding a different measure — like adding in ramps or a home elevator to make transportation a little easier — can show your parents you care about their comfort as well. Adding in some changes will also help your parents feel more valued and not like they burden your home. It might help them feel welcome there just as much as your other family members are.
4. Keep First-Aid Handy
Whether you're traveling or staying at home, a well-stocked first-aid kit is a must for any medical emergency. As your parents age, you'll need to watch out for them a little more. That action entails taking care of cuts and scrapes as they appear, as well as being prepared for any emergency. For example, bandages and antiseptic are must-haves for any first-aid kit, especially when your parent might find themselves injured out of nowhere.
If you don't know how to administer first aid, you should take a class or find appropriate resources online. Knowing something as simple as how to help someone who's choking could avoid a life-threatening situation. Be prepared for medical emergencies — even if you don't think you need to be.
Show Your Parent the Same Care They Showed You
Caring for an aging parent is different from caring for a child. Still, your parent cared for you when you were young, and if they live with you now, they may need your help with certain tasks. You don't want your family to feel like a burden in your own home.
As such, you can take on easy tasks to help them feel more welcome. While it might mean changing your home up, it's worth their safety and comfort. Work with your parent to see their concerns, and together, you can create a home that makes both of you happy.
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