A family is an important part of Indian culture, especially when it comes to our elders. They are considered the head of the household and are supported by their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.
We turn to them for advice and ask them to help us resolve our problems, ranging from relationship to money to everything in between – and they always know what’s best. As a result of the respect we give them, it is considered dishonourable to simply send them off to an old age home when they are no longer able to take care of themselves.
That’s why many people invite their elderly parents to live with them and celebrate time spent together. Show your elders you love them by creating a home that’s suitable for the entire family!
You may need to remodel areas of your home, such as the bathroom.
Elderly people may struggle with the fittings of your home as it currently stands. For example, they may be unable to get themselves in an out of the bath – which is why the bathroom is one of the first many people choose to remodel when making the home suitable for older family members.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a stylish and attractive bathroom for the whole family to enjoy.
Choose tiling and flooring that fits the decor style you love – as well as some eye-catching hardware such as taps and shower heads. The only compromise will be the addition of a walk-in shower area, or the installation of handles and grips to aid them as they use the facilities. You’ll still get to enjoy your own style, but your relatives will be safer too!
Remember that they may not be able to deal with stairs.
Many people reaching old age find it difficult to get up and down the stairs. One option is a stair lift. However, this is not an option for everyone.
If you’d prefer, why not simply swap a downstairs room with an upstairs room? For example, move your lounge area or study upstairs – leaving space downstairs that will become your elderly relatives’ bedroom.
The furniture you place in their room will need to be suitable for their needs.
Just like with the bath tub – any furniture you provide for your elderly relatives will need to be easy to get in and out of.
Chairs and beds should not be too low or uncomfortable – or placed in awkward locations or angles. There are many furniture manufacturers that create pieces specifically for the elderly, so take these into consideration too.
If you’re worried about whether these pieces will fit in with your home, you’ll be pleased to know that they are more stylish than ever, as manufacturers are realising the demand for furniture that’s both supportive and on trend.
Give them somewhere to spend time alone.
Although your relatives may love spending time with the family, they will also need somewhere to get away from the bustle of family life and take some time for themselves.
Depending on their interests, they should have a space that allows them to be alone once in a while. In addition to just their own bed, they may also want their own shelves and storage, their own chair to sit in, and anything that relates to their hobbies or interests.
This may all be in their own bedroom if it is large enough; however, they might like their own separate study or reading area too, if the home allows.
Make sure they can get out of the home easily.
If your front door or the back door to your garden has steps leading up to it, you may wish to replace them with either step that isn't as steep, or a ramp with a reasonable gradient. This will make it a lot easier for your relatives to get in and out of the home as they age, as getting older often reduces balance and stability, making them more likely to trip or fall. You could also add a railing for them to hold on to further ensure their safety.
If you’re worried about this changing the look of your home, consider the ways it could be enhanced, for example with surrounding flower pots or outdoor lighting.
It may be your home, but let them have a choice in the way it looks.
If you were asked to spend the rest of your life in a home you didn’t like, you’d probably feel a little frustrated – perhaps even sad at not being able to express yourself through your surroundings. Of course, the same can be said for our elders.
Although the home may belong to you, now that they’re living there they should have a say too. If their mobility is limited, they will likely spend more time in it than you will!
While you don’t have to redecorate your entire home to their taste, make sure you ask for their opinions and preferences when decorating their bedroom or other personal spaces.
Celebrate family life through your decor.
If you have a close, loving family, your elders will no doubt enjoy having reminders of them around the home. Turn family photos and memories into decor by featuring them around your home. You could place photos, drawings or accomplishments in stylish frames that suit your interior theme, or simply place keepsake items on a mantel or shelf for them to look at and appreciate.
These are just a few ways you can make sure your elders feel welcome and loved when they come to live with you – and they’ll be far happier with you than in a home for the elderly. Additionally, be sure to take care of any changes or needs that relate to their individual health or abilities, and take any safety measures that are necessary to keep them safe.
Do your elderly relatives live with you? How did this affect your home and what changes did you make to ensure their comfort? We’d love to hear about your experiences, so share them in the comments section below!