Design tips for welcoming an elderly relative into your home
While it might not occur to you on a regular basis, your home's layout and design is likely best suited to younger people who continue to enjoy mobility. However, this can be a problem if you're planning to make room for a grandparent or elderly relative to move in with your family. Some seniors require homes with specific features that allow them to move about easily and relax comfortably without putting too much strain on their bodies. Luckily, you can make your humble abode much more accommodating for your parent or grandparent with these helpful design tips.
Through the front door
Whether you have to climb 2 stairs or 10, the front steps can be a major challenge for seniors who have difficulty walking, so your first focus should be on making your entryway more accessible. A ramp will make using a wheelchair or walker to move about far kinder on your relative's body, so consider installing one in place of your front steps or at another doorway to your home. You may need to redesign your door to be wider and swing inward to make passing through more convenient as well.
Open furniture arrangement
In social areas such as the living room, dining room and kitchen, you may need to reconsider your furniture layout. If your design has any tight corners or narrow passages, these can be very difficult for an elderly relative to navigate safely. Ideally, you should arrange a large sectional sofa and comfortable accent chairs so that they don't impede on the living room's entryway and allow your relative to sit down without crossing the entire space. Similarly, you may want to position your dining room table so that your family member's usual seat is away from the wall.
Your bathroom will need a few tweaks in order to accommodate a senior comfortably. Consider lowering the sink countertop for easier access. You may want to place hand-railings in key places around the room so your relative can keep his or her balance when using the toilet and shower.
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