How to prepare your home for elderly relatives before they move in

Not so long ago, it was common for different generations to live together so elderly relatives could be carefully looked after by family in old age. Today, it can still be a great all-round solution. 

Many of us don't want our elderly loved one to move into a nursing home, so having them move with you can be a possible option. 

Here are some tips to help get your loved one set for moving into your home. 

3 things to consider before moving an elderly relative in with you

1. Is your home the right fit?

Consider the space and layout of your home. Which room will your elderly relative move into? It is accessible, will they have privacy or be too isolated? Ideally they will need a large room that offers independence including a bathroom. Stairs can also be an issue, particularly as your loved one gets older. You may need to consider getting a stairlift if there are no suitable rooms on the ground floor.

2. How will you cope with the changes?

Having a relative move into your home isn't always going to be easy. There will be times where you both feel your privacy and independence has been impacted, particularly if your relative is a parent who may step back into the role of wanting to know your whereabouts! 

You'll also need to care for them perhaps by helping with getting dressed, moving around and taking them to appointments. Make time to reflect on how these changes will impact you emotionally and practically to avoid any tension and additional stress.

You may wish to make a plan with other family members such as your siblings or cousins who can help you financially or with practical adjustments such as driving them around. There are various ways you can get additional support to help you cope with elderly relatives moving in. Find out more about how a companion could provide on-demand assistance in your local area.

3. How will they adjust to their new location?

Chances are that your relative will be moving to a new town or street, therefore they might not be completely familiar with your neighbourhood. Consider if any shops, libraries and cafes are within walking distance or can be accessed via public transport. You may also want to help them find local activities and clubs to take part in to make new friends if they are moving further afield.

Preparing your home 

Take care of legal and financial matters

It’s possible your loved one will still be able to look after their own health and financial choices after they move in with you. That said, it may be wise to speak to a solicitor about their options. Your relative may wish to make a lasting power of attorney, so you or someone else has the power to look after important decisions for them as they age.

Check your alarms and detectors 

Burglar alarms. Smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide sensors. These precautions are important for all of us and they’re especially vital if an elderly relative will soon be moving in with you. Make sure yours are up-to-date and in full working order and, if you’re missing any, be sure to install and test them before your loved one moves in.  

Safeguard your home’s layout

Take a good look at your home’s layout and furniture placement to make sure it’s free from risks and hazards. Elderly people typically need a little more space to move freely around. If your loved one is in a wheelchair or uses a stick, they’ll have even more need for plenty of room. Watch out for any furniture that’s crammed closely together, or is placed somewhere unexpected. Rugs and electric cables can cause trips and falls, so move them safely behind furniture or tape them down to be on the safe side. 

Slip-proof your bathroom

It’s worth giving particular attention to one of the most important rooms in the house – the bathroom. Floors and surfaces can be slippery with water, so it’s vital to add safety measures. Think about installing grab-on bars or arm rests beside the shower, bath and loo. Make sure the lighting is bright, so your loved one has a clear view of their surroundings. And top it off with an anti-skid matt on the floor of the bath and/or shower. You may even wish to install an alarm cord in case they get stuck.

Find a companion for the busy times

Many hands make light work. Ease the worries of your elderly parent or relative moving in with you by arranging for a local companion to pay them regular visits or to take them out and about. Companions can also help out with day-to-day chores, like shopping, cooking, cleaning and organising medicines. This can make a real difference, especially if work and other responsibilities mean you’re often out of the house. By finding a friend for your loved one, you’ll be taking the pressure off yourself while helping keep your relative connected, healthy, happy and inspired.

Get started 

Find a companion with the companiions app. Download it today and sign up to get support from a vetted and trustworthy local from just £12 an hour.