When it comes to advice for living with older relatives it is important to remember that a lot depends on their health and wellbeing. If you have a family member with dementia and you are effectively their carer your experience will be markedly different to someone whose older relative is fit, well and healthy. But some general pieces of advice work for living with all older relatives and I hope you find my 5 top tips to be useful.
You need space in your togetherness
You may absolutely adore living with an older relative and find them great company. But too much of a good thing can be too much. Make sure you sometimes get time to yourself to watch a movie, eat dinner or get out and about. They won’t take this as a rejection if you make it a regular thing from the start and who knows – they will probably need regular space for themselves too.
Make your home accessible
Even if your older relative is mobile now do try and anticipate their needs. Stairs for example can be extremely hard for older people.
Install straight stairlifts to make your home easy access and to help them retain their independence as much as possible. You don’t want to have to assist them each time they go upstairs and having a stairlift means you don’t need to start thinking about building bathrooms and bedrooms downstairs.
You might want to put up grab rails too and consider a shower stool. Basically anything that keeps your older relative safe and reduces the risk of falls is well worth considering.
Make them feel at home
If your older relatives sees a few pieces of their furniture and few ornaments around the place they will feel much more at home. Perhaps you could hang a couple of their paintings or favourite photos too. And perhaps they could decide how their bedroom is decorated?
Involve them in decisions
It’s really important if you have an older relative living with you that they are involved in household decisions. You could ask them what items they want putting on the shopping list, what kind of stair life they might prefer? You might want to ask them about which chores they’d like to take on or what bulbs to put in your garden pots. Involving them in decisions both big and small will really help them feel part of the family life.
Make the most of it
Time spent with an older relative is precious and inevitably limited. Make the most if it by asking them to share their wisdom, their recipes and their family stories. This is a unique opportunity to learn what you can and have quality time with your kith and kin.
Advice for Living With Older relatives is a collaborative post