When different generations live together under the same roof it can be a very rewarding experience for all members of the family. Sitting down together to have a meal, talk, or watch a movie is a great way to keep a family close. However, everyone likes to have their own space now and then, so if you’re planning a home renovation to accommodate grandparents, here are some tips to ensure that the new space is comfortable and senior-safe.
Kitchen: If your renovations include a small kitchen, keep it simple with a counter top range, microwave, toaster and electric kettle. Heavy items should be stored in lower cupboards, and a non-slip footstool should be handy for easy access to upper shelves.
Bathroom: When possible, it would be ideal for grandma to have her own bathroom. Walk-in showers are easier than tubs for elderly people to get in and out of. For added safety install some slip grips on the floor and put in a shower bench and hand held showerhead. A toilet riser base, plus a grab bar on the wall, will make life easier and safer for grandma too.
Fall Prevention: Falls are one of the biggest worries for seniors, and the major tripping hazards are pets, wires and rugs. For this reason, thick cushioned carpeting is preferable to slippery rugs or hardwood flooring. To reduce the risk of accidents keep rooms and high-traffic areas clutter-free.
Furniture Safety: Secure bookcases and heavy furniture to the walls and try to avoid furniture with sharp corners; choose round or oval tables if possible. Grandma will likely want to keep some familiar pieces, but depending on the size of her new place in your home, it may be wise to share excess furniture with other family members, put it in storage, or even sell it.
If a grandparent is relocating to an entirely new area to move in with you, try to make the transition as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Consider looking into senior programs in your community. A good starting point may be your local Recreation Centre. Everyone likes company in their own age group from time to time, and if grandma is happy, you’ll be happy too!