There comes a time for every family when we transition from going to our parent's or grandparent's homes for the holidays to hosting them ourselves. Cleaning, cooking and hosting is a lot of work for our older family members, so it just makes sense to update the tradition. But while it might make sense to host the holidays yourself, have you thought about whether or not your home is age-friendly enough for your older loved ones?
First of all, take a look at access. How is the parking at your home? Will your older loved ones be able to easily navigate your front steps? Do you need to tighten those bolts on your handrail? Is your entryway slick? Do you need to clean up slippery leaves? Is there room to get a walker from the door to your dining room table? Sometimes an easy rearrangement of the furniture and stationing someone outside to help seniors navigate your entryway can be enough to make access safer and easier for everyone.
Secondly consider seating. While you might love your slouchy couch, it can be challenging for older adults to get in and out of low-sitting furniture and they might not want to ask for help. Could you borrow some sturdy folding chairs from a friend? Could you host everyone in the family room instead of the living room? What’s the best space to keep everyone together, but make sure everyone is comfortable. While we’re on the subject of seating, do you have enough dining room chairs? Do they have non-slip pads on the bottom? Do they need seat cushions? You don’t want to up-end your house for the holidays, but sometimes simple adjustments can make a big difference.
Finally, step back and see if you need to make adjustments for safety, especially when it comes to possible trip hazards and handrails. If you are prone to get your foot caught on that shaggy rug in your living room, chances are good that it’s not friendly for older adults or walkers. The same is true for cords – or pets – that you may have stepped over a hundred times. Also, depending on the needs of your individual family members, you might want to consider picking up temporary support rails for your bathroom.
These are just a few of the ways you can ensure your home is ready for family members of all ages without a complete redesign of your space or a huge investment in age-safe modifications. Have a great holiday season!
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