Caring for an elderly parent can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. Once your parent moves in, you'll have new commitments to keep, their lifestyle will probably have to dramatically change, and the entire household will need to settle into a new way of life. But the overall experience doesn't have to be an unpleasant one – here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make the transition more comfortable for your parent, which in turn will make your job as a caregiver a little easier:
Install a Stair Lift
One of the best ways to accommodate your parent for years to come is to install a stair chair lift for them to use. This will allow your parent to get around your multi-story house without having to ask for help when the journey becomes overwhelming. Stair chair lifts don't get in the way of those who want to walk up and down, and they are easy to use, so your parent can make it function on their own accord. Even if there isn't a need for a stair lift all the time right now, you'll be thankful it is installed if your parent is injured and experiences limited mobility. And you won't have to worry about making a quick investment when your parent can no longer use the stairs with their own legs at all.
Contact a professional supplier, such as All-Star Lifts, and inquire about which lift is best suited for your home and your parent.
Create a Studio Atmosphere
To help give your parent a sense of having their own apartment, and to ensure that you'll still get the privacy you need throughout your home, consider turning the bedroom they'll be using into a studio apartment of sorts. Put the bed up against the wall lengthwise so big pillows can be set along the wall during the day to create a sitting area. Put a coffee table in front of the bed, add an entertainment center in the corner, and set up a small "kitchenette" by installing a floating shelf to hold a coffee pot and a microwave. Put a mini-fridge under the counter and stock the kitchenette up with paper plates for snacks and coffee cups for tea and other drinks.
Schedule a Weekly Family Night
It's important to make sure that everyone in the household spends some time bonding together on a regular basis so everyone feels connected as a unit. This will make your parent feel more comfortable when they need to ask for assistance from someone who is home, and the bond should encourage everyone in the home to happily help out when they can. Something as simple as watching one movie together each week will do the trick. The idea is to get everyone together to laugh, make jokes, tell stories, and get to know each other on a more intimate level. With the help of these techniques, you should find that everyone in the household will be able to focus more on spending quality time with one another as opposed to focusing on the changes that are happening in the home.
Encourage and Enable a Social Life
Even if your parent is not able to get around on their own, a rich social life is an important aspect of life that they shouldn't miss out on. Encourage your parent to invite friends over for tea time once in a while – you may even want to volunteer transportation for the events. Alternatively you can get out with your parent and join a knitting or reading group so they have an opportunity to meet new friends in the neighborhood. Schedule an outing at least once a month for your parent if they don't already have an activity in mind. Simply choose something fun and invite them along!