Decorating Tips for Welcoming Aging Parents into Your Home
As parents age, the tables turn--in that we, the child, take on the responsibility of becoming a caregiver to the people who once took care of us. Sometimes, that entails mom and dad moving into our home. Of course, this transition will require some adjustments--especially, when it comes to decorating. Here are some tips that can help the elders in your life feel welcome and comfortable in their new residence.
Learn their wants and needs
What will they need to be happy? It seems like such a simple question, but the answer will be extremely important. Obviously, your parents will have to downsize before moving in, so it's imperative to figure out what things they hold dear, and what things can be sold, donated, or passed on to other family members.
When it comes to any renovations you may need to do, take your parent's physical limitations into consideration. Aging bodies have different needs, so you'll need to imagine life from their perspective.
Making the home accessible
Not everyone has the luxury of designing their entire home around their new residents--and thankfully, you don't have to. In many cases, a few simple modifications are all it takes to make the space easier to live in. Here are some design ideas to consider whether you are completely redecorating or simply tweaking your existing interior.
Easy on the hands. For the young, turning a doorknob is an easy task. For an elderly person, however, it can be quite a chore. Consider replacing regularly used doorknobs with lever-style ones. This style of hardware is also best on faucets.
Safe stairs and floors. Two-story homes can be especially dangerous for older people. If stairs are an issue, make sure they have a sturdy handrail to offer adequate support. In regards to flooring, make them as slip-resistant as possible. Add nonskid mats under area rugs, or when possible, remove the rug completely. Trips are as dangerous as slips, so pay attention to tricky areas, like thresholds, where mom or dad could loose footing and fall.
Adequate lighting. Aging eyes require well-lit spaces, and dark areas, are an invitation to a bump or fall. Adequate lighting in the bedroom and bathroom is important, but in addition to that, staircases, hallways, and entryways also need attention.
Better bathrooms. A few simple upgrades can help your parents to maintain a little independence when it comes to getting around the bathroom. A walk-in shower, hand-held shower head, and grab bars in both the shower and by the toilet can make bathing a safer experience.
Incorporating personal touches
Being comfortable is one thing, but feeling at home is another. To ensure your parent(s) feel this way, be sure to incorporate personal touches. Custom bedding or window treatments, a newly reupholstered chair, and family photos in decorative frames are just a few ways you can make them feel even more loved and welcome.