Do you have a senior family member who is quickly approaching a time in their life they can no longer live by themselves? As a family member, you and the senior have several options and preparing your home for a senior relative is one of them.
We know all too well as they age, their abilities become more and more limited. Living alone can become very dangerous to them. Some seniors do choose to live in assisted-living facilities, but for many families, this is not an option nor the only choice.
Preparing Your Home for a Senior Relative
Not all homes are prepared or equipped for a senior. Depending on the senior's ability to navigate one's home and how the home is finished, certain features and precautions are to be considered in preparing your home for a senior relative.
Largest Risks: Falls and Slips for Seniors
It is shocking to see the national statistics of US seniors over age 65, about one-fourth will fall or slip every year. Medicines and certain conditions affect coordination, balance, and vision. Traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, cuts, and torn muscles are some of the tragic outcomes of falls.
Parts of the home are sure flags for concern of the residing senior relative. Staircases, step-ups, and step-downs into rooms are major concerns. Are the handrails solid, is a chair-lift for stairs a consideration, or are ramps needed in inside and outside of the home? One fall can harm the senior causing recovery to last months or even years.
Knobs, Pulls, and Handles
Many aging seniors suffer from painful and weakened joints from diseases and illnesses like carpal tunnel and arthritis. Turning door handles or pulling cabinet knobs can be painful or even impossible for some seniors. Changes to the hardware might include levered door handles or larger cabinet pulls. Broken hardware should be replaced as well.
Bathrooms may pose the most difficult areas for seniors to navigate. Tubs and showers with slick surfaces and curtailing designs form obstacles for seniors. When wet, the bathroom conditions worsen 10 fold. Without extra grab bars, showing seats, and non-slick features, the bathrooms pose real concerns for seniors.
Bathroom remodeling can be expensive. As Realtors® we are all well aware of the costs to remodel or redesign a bathroom. Using ADA Compliant features adds to the remodeling costs. The Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines for safe showers and bathrooms may provide the homeowner preparing for a senior with ideas and suggestions for a safe transition.
Other Decisions in Preparing Your Home for a Senior Relative
The senior relative probably has a current home. Do you as a family sell the home, rent it out, or allow another family member to move into it? Many families do sell the relative's home because they need money to help with assisting the senior in their home, create cash for an assisted living facility, or pay for the changes needed in preparing your home for a senior relative. And as we saw above, these changes can be quite expensive.
Some homes can be easily cleaned and placed on the market. Others may need some or even extensive repairs before the home is ready to be listed. Many relatives are not ready to invest in repairs or mentally prepared to take on hiring contractors and painters. Another option that is not considered often is to sell the home to a real estate investor. This approached removes all the anxiety, stress, and decision making about the relative's home. The transaction is fast and results in a cash sale.
Many relatives cannot accept the thought or financial obligation of a senior relative going to an assisted-living facility. They prefer to have the senior come live with them. With this decision comes many considerations including prepping the house for an aging senior with limited abilities. Lastly, what does the family do with the senior's current home? If you are facing this situation in life, hopefully, these ideas and other suggestions can benefit you and your family.