By Harry Cline (newcaregiver.org)
If you’re welcoming your senior visually impaired loved one to come live with you, you’re probably wondering what you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable for them.
Making home modifications for your loved one who lives with vision impairments can be a straightforward process. Here, we present some steps you can take to ensure your home is outfitted to support your senior loved one’s needs.
1. Renovate Your Basement
Your senior loved one will appreciate having their own private living space in your home. If your basement is currently unfinished, you can renovate it in order to create a cozy bedroom for your loved one! While you might be tempted to attempt this project on your own, hiring a contractor will eliminate much of your stress. Plus, you’ll probably be happier with the final results!
As you make your budget, remember that the overall costs of renovating your basement will vary based on a few factors, like where you live, your desired materials, and which features you want to add. If you want to have your basement carpeted, make sure to account for the costs of subfloor installation, too, as basement carpeting can often develop mold without it.
2. Establish a Snow Removal System
When you live in a cold area, you need to be very proactive about preparing for heavy snowfall and low temperatures. This is especially important if your senior loved one will be living with you. To make sure you’re ready for snowy winter days, The Family Handyman recommends buying a shovel with an appropriately sized aluminum blade, stocking up on rock salt, and even investing in a snowblower.
You’ll also want to check on your heating system before the winter chill sets in. Test out your heat well before it gets cold outside, and if you notice any issues, contact an HVAC contractor as soon as possible.
3. Eliminate Falls Hazards
Unfortunately, the average home often harbors many fall hazards for seniors, and this is especially true for someone living with vision issues. But there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the risk that your loved one will fall in your home. The Mayo Clinic suggests installing brighter lighting, tightening stair handrails, keeping the floors clear of clutter, and removing excess furniture.
4. Update Your Bathroom and Kitchen
A typical bathroom and kitchen can be difficult for seniors to navigate. To ensure that your loved one can easily maneuver around your kitchen, you could lower the countertops, install a motion-sensor faucet and wide drawer pulls, and even add a kitchen island for food preparation.
When it comes to updating your bathroom with high-quality bathroom renovations, you can add grab bars on the walls next to your toilet and install a shower seat. For larger projects, like installing a walk-in tub or sink and vanity, call on local pros to get the job done right. Qualified installation experts are able to achieve the final result that represents the highest industry standards.
5. Add Entrance Ramps
Do you currently have stairs at the entrances to your home? If this is the case, you may need to add a ramp that your loved one can use to get in and out of the house. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, make sure to tackle this project early so that it will be completed before they move in. And if you’re not too confident in your DIY skills, you’ll definitely want to hire a contractor for this project—after all, you’ll need to be certain that the ramp is structurally sound.
Paying for Upgrades
Now that you know how to renovate your home, it’s just a matter of paying for these updates. You have a few options, including cash out refinancing or a HELOC loan. Cashing out is when you take out a new loan with a higher balance and get to pocket the difference in cash. This can be a great way to obtain funding you may not otherwise have, but make sure you understand how cash out refinancing will impact your monthly mortgage payments.
Know When It's Time for Outside Help
It can be difficult to determine when it is time for your senior loved one to receive professional care. However, there are a few signs to look out for that will be more noticeable since they have come to live with you. One indicator is a decline in their overall health, including mobility and cognitive ability. Other signs include constantly forgetting to take medication, losing weight, and neglecting personal hygiene.
It is important to have open and honest conversations with your loved one and their healthcare team to determine the best course of action for their care. You can hire in-home care to help with daily care needs, but when it comes time for additional help, you may need to look for nursing homes in your area.
Some facilities help residents transition from lesser care areas to higher care nursing care, which can make things easier for your loved one as they age. Talk to your loved ones about these options and schedule some visits to make the choice that’s right for your family.
Find the Right Ways to Care for Your Loved One
If your senior loved one with vision issues is moving in with you, it can take some time for everyone to adjust to this new arrangement. Preparing in advance is essential. By taking care of these key home modifications first – including making the kitchen and bathroom accessible – you can make this transition easier for your whole household. If you need extra funding to make these updates, consider refinancing your home.
Vision and Eye Health provides unbiased and objective information about looking after your eyes, eye problems and diseases, eye medications, eye surgery, and pretty much everything related to the eyes.
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