Outfitting Your Home For Elder Care


by Randy McIntire

Over the next decade, an entire generation of baby boomers will begin to reach their golden years. For many of their adult children, the cost of health care or long-term care will be too much. After all, most of the baby boomers have several siblings to help care for their parents, but many in the younger generation won't be able to count on that. Instead, it will become increasingly common to see baby boomers moving in with their adult children.

What does this mean for you Generation X-ers who will soon have to invite your parent(s) to move in? For starters, it means you should buy a nice, big house. It will be very difficult to maintain some semblance of privacy if you're trying to raise children and take care of your parents at the same time; particularly if you live in an apartment or a small house. Ask your parents to contribute some of their savings toward the purchase of a larger house, fit for the whole family. Don't feel bad about asking this, because by taking on your aging parents, you will be saving them (and yourself) thousands of dollars.

Once your family has settled into a comfortable environment, you will want to make sure that your parents occupy a place in the house that is accident-proof. Try to put them on the first floor, if possible. If not, ensure that they can make it upstairs safely by either installing an elevator or a stair lift. Give them their own bathroom. You'll want to outfit their bathroom with grab bars, a non-slip bathtub mat, and a bath seat or bath lift if it becomes necessary.

You will want your parents to have enough of their own space that they can decorate their own surroundings and basically live as though they are alone in their own home. This means they should have their own living room or den. Remember those arguments you used to have over the TV remote when you were a child? Nobody wants to relive that.

There are several great things about this situation. For one thing, you're now living in a bigger house than you would have bought otherwise, which means you'll see a greater appreciation in value. Also, you'll probably become closer with your parents than you were growing up. Who knows, after some time they may even warm up to your taste in movies and even video games. If you have kids, you'll always have a babysitter in the house! That will save you thousands of dollars each month, as well.

Try not to become depressed thinking about the likelihood of your parents moving in with you. With a large enough house and a few special arrangements, you can live your life almost as you normally would. The key difference is that you'll have peace of mind regarding your parents' health, and your financial position going forward will be bolstered heavily by taking on your parents.

Randy McIntire is a technical writer specializing in mobility devices for seniors and the disabled. Randy's particular area of expertise is stair lifts. For more information about bath lifts, visit medical supplies.