Reports revealed that a significant number of the ageing population in Australia desire to continue staying at home than be transferred to an aged care facility. This is understandable because one in four Australians actually own a residential property. This means it will be convenient and practical for them to stay at home rather than be cared for in a nursing home. However, even with excellent health conditions, older people will require assistance in one way or another. Thus, it’s best to ensure that they remain happy, comfortable, and safe while staying in their own homes.
Preparing Your Parents for Aged Care
It’s wiser to discuss aged care with your parents before they reach the age of 65. This means, before they officially join the elderly population, you need to start sharing ideas on how to assist them when they get older. Some families decide to transfer their parents into a nursing home. This way, skilled staff will be able to help them 24/7. At the same time, they will be able to interact with other people of the same age. However, some parents don’t want to leave their homes even when they reach a certain age where they need professional assistance. When this happens, you need to ensure you have time to assist them with their needs.
Improving Your Parent’s Home for Ageing in Place
If your parents decide to age in place, you still need to make all the necessary preparations to ensure their comfort and safety. Besides hiring professional caregivers or nurses, you also need to consider making a few changes at home. You have to start making improvements in your parent’s home to ensure that they will not experience accidents such as slips and falls. Here are a few suggestions to help prepare their home for aged care:
- Hire a professional to assess the property’s safety— Look for an expert home contractor specialising in ageing in place concerns. You have to ask professionals to conduct a thorough inspection to assess and evaluate the overall safety and functionality of the property. Make sure to check every part of the house, especially kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
- Discuss home improvements with occupational therapists— Understand your ageing parents’ needs by discussing home improvements with occupational therapists. These experts know what older adults need daily. They can provide you with expert advice about designing the property so that it will be an ideal home for your ageing parents.
- Prioritise repairs and installing safety features—Before performing renovation and remodels, you need to address damages at home. Make sure that everything is in perfect condition and address repairs immediately. Consider adding safety features as well, such as installing handlebars or replacing doorknobs with lever-type ones. This way, the elderly can easily grip knobs and handles without struggling too much.
- Invest in safe and high-quality furniture—You can also invest in high-quality furniture such as bedside tables and convenient cabinets or storage furniture. Don’t forget to prioritise having aged care chairs as well. This will help ensure that your elderly relatives feel safe and comfortable doing things that require long hours of sitting.
- Install enough lighting—Ageing parents may suffer from poor eyesight, so you have to ensure enough lighting at home. Install bright light bulbs to illuminate dark rooms and corridors. Make sure that the switches can be easily accessed, so your parents will find it easy to turn the lights on or off.
Make sure that your parents get regular checkups so you can monitor whether they need to take medication or have a diet change to protect their health. They may forget about these things, so you have to find a way to remind them about their appointments. You can also plan fun activities with them, such as going on vacations or having a mini gathering at home. Help them find a way to stay physically active as well, so they can avoid developing chronic heart diseases, regulate blood pressure, and address other health concerns.
There will be times when you think it’s wiser to have them go to a nursing home than stay alone at home. However, you need to respect your parent’s wishes and ensure that you support them with their choices. You can’t expect them to leave home, especially if they feel they can still care for themselves. The only thing you can do is help them have the highest quality of life while staying at home. Visit them often and ensure they remain physically and mentally healthy while they age in place.