When someone so much as mentions nursing homes, dark, dystopian images immediately spring to mind: Law and Order episodes where nursing home doctors took advantage of their patients, horror movies where nursing homes are frequented by demons and ne’er-do-wells, and depictions of depressed older adults fighting going to a nursing home with all of their ability.
Nursing homes don’t have the best reputation in our culture, being seen as places where older adults are sent when they can’t take care of themselves and abandoned to the mercy of unmerciful caregivers. While this stigma is mostly unwarranted and is the result of fearmongering and the use of nursing homes as a horror archetype, the reality is that nursing homes can harbor abusers and be hotbeds for harmful activity. And the hardest part is that you’ll never really be able to tell which nursing homes are looking out for their patients and which aren’t, making it difficult to make an informed decision, especially if your older adult needs more care than others.
However, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that nursing homes don’t have to be your older adult’s destination, that you can renovate your home in small ways to facilitate their care in a loving, inarguably safe environment. As your older adult continues to age, they will lose certain faculties, making it harder to take care of themselves. By adding facilities to your home that will cater to your older adult and providing round-the-clock care yourself, you can provide better care than any third-party facility.
Without further ado, here are some easy home renovations you can do to make it easy to take care of your older adult at home.
Slip-Proof Your Home
As your older adult continues to age, they may find that they are increasingly mobility challenged and that, should they fall, they suffer extensive injuries. Therefore, one of the best things you can do as their primary caregiver is safely and securely slip-proof your house.
You might want to consider putting blunt, rubber bumpers on a lot of the sharp edges in your house, such as on furniture or railings, to ensure that if your older adult does fall, they don’t suffer severe injury. You might also want to install railings in areas like the shower to give your older adult something to hold onto in that potentially slippery environment, as well as give them more room by upgrading your shower to a walk-in with a level entrance (to avoid them tripping on any unnecessary stairs). As a final, potentially more expensive measure, you might want to either replace your flooring with a less-slippery material (such as vinyl or linoleum), or consider carpeting your entire home, both to give your older adult more traction as they walk and provide a built-in cushion should they fall.
Making Your Home More Easily Accessible
If your older adult is mobility challenged, they may find it more difficult to access your home’s facilities on their own, therefore, you might want to consider some more expensive renovations to make it easier for them to go about your home.
If you live in a home that’s more than one story, you might want to consider installing ramps to the second floor and basement, making these areas wheelchair accessible, or perhaps installing a chair-lift or elevator. You might also want to consider making more subtle changes to how your home functions, like raising your toilets or installing pull-out shelves in your cabinets. Even taking advantage of the full spectrum of services your existing smart-tech provides can make it much easier for mobility-challenged older adults to function as before, enabling them to perform many functions remotely.
By making your home more accessible for your older adult, you will be ensuring that they stay happy and healthy in a familiar environment, freed from considering the more troubling possibilities associated with staying in a nursing home. While at-home care is not an option for everyone, as most of these renovations will require a pretty hefty fee, you may find it is both cheaper and safer than a traditional care facility.