My parents are aging. We are aware that since we are the closest family to them that as they age they will want to age in place with us. With that is mind we are starting to take care in remodeling the house. There are many contractors that offer age in place remodeling for this purpose alone. I contacted a local contractor who put me in touch with a specialty contractor for aging in place remodeling and we were on our way.
One of the first changes we did before the contractor was hired was simple. We needed a new refrigerator so when we were shopping for one we decided it would be best to find a model with the freezer on bottom. We also went ahead and started to stock up on plastic plates and cups to avoid glass breakage should anything be dropped. I know it would be too hard for one of them to clean it up and if we weren’t home it would leave room for injury.
We hired the contractor to come in when the bathroom age in place remodeling needed to be done. It was decided that the safest bathing method would be a roomy walk in shower with a seating area. The contractor showed us several designs and we agreed on one that would provide everything that was needed and alleviate any need to bend. The toilet we decided to install a high rise style. This would alleviate the need for a removable toilet seat. I felt it would offer a bit more dignity to the area for them also.
The contractor was able to give us some advice after spending time in our home doing the age in place bathroom remodel. He mentioned that we needed to eliminate all of the random throw rugs we had scattered throughout the house. He told us if there were ones that we wanted to keep down it wasn’t the safest option but we could use double sided tape to tack the rugs down.
The one thing I wanted to keep in mind with this transition is our family’s needs for space and my parents need for autonomy. They found ways to do the things that they could still do and were able to ask for solutions to do the things that were hard. My parents needed me to wash their clothes but wanted me to let them fold and put them away. The washer and dryer live in the basement and the stairs pose to big of a risk for them. I still let the kids live life and have friends over, as did my spouse and I. Instead of excluding them though we invited them in to our social circle and welcomed them. Making them feel a part of our lives instead of an unwelcomed addition made life easier for all of us.
I hired the contractor to come back out when my mom started to use her walker more frequently. It was a must to have a wheelchair ramp installed. The handicap ramp was also helpful to my father as his knees were starting to ache on the decent from the house.
It is important that as our parent’s age and want to age in place instead of moving into assisted living that we create an environment as safe as possible for them. We need to make the time they have here mean something. It is necessary to make the little changes that help their bodies keep up with the spirit that still lives inside. My parent’s bodies may be aging but they are both sharp and still wanting to be a part of life. My goal as they age in our home is to facilitate that.