9/1/17

When A Senior Loved One Comes To Live With You: Making Them Feel At Home


By on 9/01/2017 08:05:00 AM

As your elderly family members get older; it can be challenging for them to live alone due to health, strength, and mobility issues. More families are choosing to accommodate their senior loved ones, instead of, or before, them going to live in a residential care home for expert help and assistance. The comfort and reassurance your older parent or grandparent will feel from your generosity and opening up your family home to them will never be forgotten. You’ll also have peace of mind; knowing where your relative is, and knowing that they are getting all the love, support, and plenty of home-cooked meals that they require each day. However, just like yourself; your family member will be used to a certain way of life and may find the transition a little difficult, to begin with.

You’ll want your loved one to feel as comfortable as possible during their stay with you and settle in to become part of family life. The following are some tips and ideas for those who will be welcoming an elderly loved one into their home to live and wants to do all they can to make the change as positive and effortless as possible for both parties.

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A Separate Space. Your older family member will probably be used to their independence and living alone. Therefore, it’s important that they don’t feel overwhelmed and crowded as they move into their new environment. Creating a space, however big or small, where they can relax, unwind, and enjoy time alone is the best way to give them a sense of freedom in the house. Bring as much of their furniture and belongings from their previous abode, and incorporate it into their bedroom and the living areas of your home. Adding familiar touches to their new environment will ensure that your loved one settles in comfortably and it won’t feel like a stark change or way of life for them.

Even though it’s your house, and your family member will be very aware of it; you should get them involved in the decorating process of their own area of the house. Maybe they just have a bedroom to call their own, or they’re lucky enough to benefit from a separate annex or granny flat; whatever their new space offers them, they’ll want it to be to their taste and design. You may disagree on wallpaper and paint colors, but remember that these are temporary additions that can be changed with ease, and they’ll make a major difference to how your relative feels about their new space.

Your elderly loved one will likely be used to a routine when it comes to reading the morning paper, doing a puzzle, walking their dog, or watching their favorite TV shows. Therefore, try to accommodate these things into their new space as much as you can. Giving them their own bookcase, television,  or bench in the garden will help to ensure they keep up their routines and remain young at heart. Their separate space away from the hustle and bustle f the rest of the family will become their sanctuary where they can go to bed or relax when they need to, and won’t be disturbed by the rest of their younger relatives. It’s vital that you do all you can to provide an independent space for your loved one so that they keep their sense of self, pride, and dignity which they deserve during their golden years.

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Some Home Comforts.  When it comes to feeling comfortable at home; it’s the little touches that can make all the difference. As previously mentioned; bringing as many items from your loved ones home and adding them into their new environment will add a sense of comfort and security. Family photographs, ornaments, and books should all have a place in your home, so be kind and create a familiar space that your relative will recognize and settle in to with ease. A cozy bed, full of fresh sheets, pillows, and blankets will ensure that your family member gets a great night’s sleep and can rejuvenate at the end of each day. If they have a favorite armchair of comfy seat; add it to a quiet space in the home where they can enjoy the TV or relax with a book (or a nap). Provide cozy touches like candles, warm throws, and plenty of soft furnishes so that your loved one remains comfortable and understands that it’s their space to unwind in.
Add some thoughtful touches too; making sure your loved one can still contact friends and their other relatives on their own terms is an important part of them feeling independent. Look into hard of hearing phones if your relative suffers from hearing loss; adding one to their bedroom or living space will not go unnoticed, and they’ll appreciate your effort. If their sight is the issue; you could introduce them to a Kindle, iPad, or similar tablet that will provide larger text when they’re reading fiction or nonfiction. Giving them additional positive elements will ensure that their new accommodation is a great place to move to, and their quality of life will improve as a result.

Giving your elderly relative access to their own tea kettle and coffee making facilities is another way to ensure they feel comfortable and confident in getting themselves a hot beverage. They can grab a drink first thing in the morning, in their nightwear, or if they wake up in the night and don’t want to disturb the rest of the family. Mini fridges and snack baskets in their bedroom or living area is a great way to give them the five-star treatment, and they’ll feel truly welcomed into their new home.

Hang their artwork throughout your home, set up their chess board in a communal area, and add their favorite house plants or fresh flowers for extra care and attention. Making an obvious effort with the decor and interior design and giving your place a home makeover will help to reassure your loved one that they’re not a burden and you’re all feeling positive about the transition. You’ll have the chance to revive your home space with new prints, textures, and design, so don’t look at it as a job; get the whole family involved and make it a fun experience for everyone.

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A Warm Welcome.  Aside from having their own, separate space; your family member should feel welcomed into family activities and time together. You’ll want to ensure that they feel they are an integral part of the home and you all enjoy their company and conversation. Try to cook and eat as many meals at the dining table together as possible. Watch their favorite shows on TV with them, and play their beloved board games with them on a weekly basis. If they’re able; get your senior relative involved in the childcare in the home with younger and older kids. Your children will learn a lot from their grandparents and often form a strong bond through reading books, telling stories, and playing games together.
Always invite your loved one out on family expeditions and trips; even if they can’t make it or don’t feel up to it, they’ll appreciate the invite and continue to feel like a part of the team. When they do accompany the family on picnic in the park, road trips, and getaways; make sure you’ve made allowances for mobility and health issues, and take all the items to make them feel comfortable and enjoy a great time together. Your older family member has probably helped to raise you and looked after you on several occasions, so make sure you’re doing the same for them in return, and you’ll both settle into family life quickly and with ease.

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About Angela

Angela is a freelance writer and blogger, blessed with 3 daughters, 4 cats, 1 needy dog, and 1 very supportive husband.

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