If your parent is having a procedure that proves to be too difficult for her to recover at her own home, or if she simply cannot live safely at home alone any longer, you may find yourself preparing for her to move into your home. Chances are, you are feeling nervous and worried. You may be feeling excited to have her near. You may also be angry or upset that this move is happening. While you work through your emotions, you must also focus on how to make your home work for your mom and for your family throughout this new living situation. Make the move and subsequent months a bit more bearable by preparing ahead of time.
Choose a bedroom
First things first - Mom needs a place to sleep. Find a room that can serve as a bedroom that will work for her physical abilities. If stairs are an issue, you may have to convert a downstairs study or dining room into a bedroom so that Mom doesn’t have to traipse up and down stairs several times a day. The bedroom needs to accommodate Mom’s bed; if Mom uses a medical bed, be sure that the room is well equipped to handle the extra space required.
Make the bathroom safe
Most falls for seniors take place in the bathroom. Assure that the bathroom that your mom will be using is safe. Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Consider a shower bench and a removable shower head as well. While all this durable medical equipment may not mix well with your current home decor, you can rest well knowing that Mom is safe from trips or slips while in your home.
While you are in the bathroom, add some slip-free flooring or decals to the shower and get rid of rugs that can slide. If Mom uses a bedside commode, be sure that you have that equipment in her bedroom and that she has plenty of room to safely get from her bed to the commode without needing to step over cords or other fall hazards.
Make the whole home safe
If your mom has dementia or other memory issues, you need to take extra precautions to keep her safe while in your home. Work with your mom’s doctor to find out any specific issues that she might have such as wandering, waking up in the middle of the night, or resisting care. You can find helpful tools such as door alarms or cabinet locks at your local drugstore or online through distributors who specialize in memory care adaptive equipment.
Create separate space
You haven’t lived with your mom for decades, and while you may be happy to help her out, it is still wise to create separate space to retreat to if you are getting on one another’s nerves. It is bound to happen, and giving her a comfortable space to retire to if things are getting heated is a wise move. Make her bedroom feel homey and happy. Assure that she has a television or radio in her room, as well as Wi-Fi access if she prefers.
Rally the troops
Once Mom is moved in, you may want to get used to asking for help from friends and family. Chances are, you are working full time and may even have children of your own still living in your home. In addition to shuffling your kids to activities, keeping up with work duties, and caring for your mom, you might find tasks like making dinner or cleaning up seem daunting. Ask family and friends to drop off meals. Get everyone on a schedule by using a Facebook group or an online calendar. Consider hiring a cleaning service for help a few times per month. Find friends who will carpool and share drop off duties for your child’s activities or for your mom’s medical appointments. If you try to handle everything on your own, you run a high risk of becoming stressed out or sick, which is no help to your mom at all.
Even before your mom moves in, call a local senior care community or agency to plan for respite care. Planning time away from your home, whether a weekend vacation or a quick trip to the coffee shop for some much needed quiet, is imperative to keeping your relationship with your mom a positive one. Respite care provides you the time that you need to recharge and prepare for the week ahead, and provides your mom time to interact with new caregivers.