For many adult children in the Chicago area, making the decision to have mom or dad move in is a difficult one, especially if the parent requires medical care or day-to-day assistance. To make the transition smoother for everyone, consider the following tips before moving an elderly parent in permanently.
1. Be honest about your care-giving abilities. Prior to mom or dad moving in, adult children need to consider if they can honestly take care of their parents. According to Lisa Sneddon, president of Chicago-based Senior Living Experts, Inc., having an elderly parent move in is a big responsibility and encompasses a variety of issues. “People need to ask themselves, ‘Can I safely lift mom or dad? Do I even know how to take care of my parents?’ It’s challenging, such as when parents need assistance using the bathroom and bathing,” Sneddon said.
2. Make a slow transition. If possible, have your parent spend the night or a weekend before making the move permanent. “Having mom or dad stay for just a night or two at a time is a great way for the adult children to see if they can handle the level of care that their parents need every day,” said Sneddon. “Always consider options for down the road too.”
3. Roll out the red carpet — or ramp. If a parent has mobility issues, consider building a ramp leading to the front or back door. A ramp provides independence and safety for someone who uses a wheelchair, scooter or walker, or for someone with hip or back problems. Check with your local municipality regarding rules and regulations for new ramps prior to construction.
4. Install new safety features in the bathroom. A slip or fall in the bathtub could end in disastrous results for an elderly parent. Paul Bors, president of Handyman Matters Chicago, suggested installing grab bars for use in shower stalls and raising the existing toilet seats so it is easier for a parent with mobility issues to use the bathroom. According to Bors, other changes to the bathroom could include adding non-slip flooring in the shower, installing hand-held shower nozzles and putting in shower/bath benches.
5. Make small changes around the house. To ensure that doors are easier to open, Bors recommended using door handles instead of door knobs. Other accommodations could include louder rings and larger caller IDs on telephones, kitchen appliances that can be gripped easily, and an intercom system installed at the front door.
The following local businesses may be able to help you get started:
3020 W. 167th St.
Markham, IL 60428
Chicago Ramp offers a variety of lifts and aluminum ramps for residential and commercial applications. Ramps may be custom-designed, or existing ramps may be removed or modified.
1130 W. 37th St.
Chicago, IL 60609
ElderLuxe offers a variety of luxury items specifically for senior citizens, including mobility scooters, walking sticks and canes, and shopping trolleys. Other products offered include kitchen gadgets with an emphasis on ergonomics.
Handyman Matters Chicago
5251 N. Central Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
Handyman Matters Chicago offers a variety of home-repair services that include drywall and plaster patches, fencing repair, plumbing and bathroom remodels. Handyman Matters Chicago can also assist homeowners in remodeling tubs and doorways so they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSChicago.com/YourHome.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.