Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In





Preparing Your Family


Decades ago, having Grandma or Grandpa come to live with the younger generations was fairly common, and it often worked well.

It did for my family. When my brother and I were teenagers and our little sister a toddler, our grandmother can to live with us. Grandma was crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and could no longer live alone.

My parents built a house that would accommodate the different generations, with some privacy for all, and Grandma came to live with us. The home wasn’t huge by today’s standards, but it was nice and well designed for our needs. The arrangement worked.





One big reason it worked was that Mom did not work outside the home, which was common in those days, so there was nearly always someone home with Grandma.

Also, I was a born caregiver and filled the caregiver’s shoes for both my toddler sister and my crippled grandma – with joy. Alas, I didn’t know then that decades of my life would be spent as a caregiver, but that is another story.

These days, having grandma move in with the family is still an option for some families, but it has become more complicated.

First of all, there are fewer families with a stay-at-home adult in the home. This is where a great deal depends on Grandma’s health.

I know of one family where the dad is single. He has custody of his two young sons most of the time, and his mother has moved in. For the most part, Grandma is actually a help with the boys. Yes, she has her issues, and there has been some adjusting on all sides. But with Dad’s odd hours and Grandma still fairly capable, it’s a situation that works well for all.

At least for now. But, what if Grandma’s health began to fail? What if Grandma was in mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease? Would this still work?

It might. If the whole family is well prepared, the arrangement could still be fine. In this instance, the kids are getting used to having their grandmother live with them while she is still quite healthy. That should help with the transition, as they grow older and Grandma grows more frail. There will be some switching of roles, I expect, as time moves forward.

How you would prepare for an elder to move into your home would depend somewhat on the age of the children, if any are still living at home. Also, it would depend on the elder’s health.

Should the kids expect that Grandma is in charge when Mom and Dad aren’t home, or should they be taught that they will be in the role of caregiver? There’s a big difference and this needs to be discussed with the family ahead of time.

Often, as in the case above, there is a single adult child with children when the elder moves in. Sometimes, of course, there is a marriage to consider. All of these dynamics should be acknowledged and openly addressed, preferably giving examples of issues that could pop up and throw everyone off kilter.



To avoid emotional overload when an elderly parent moves in, first take a look at your historic relationship with the elder.



The relationship that existed between parent and adult child needs to be scrutinized. What are the motives for having the parent move in?

My personal feeling is that if parent and adult child never got along, preparing for such a move would mean some therapy for the adult child to determine why he or she wants this arrangement.

There could be a huge temptation here to try to force a relationship to work that never worked very well from the start. Is the adult child still trying to gain Mom’s approval? That would, to me, signal danger. Is it guilt? That, too, would signal danger.

If, however, you always got along really well with your mom, and your husband and kids love her dearly, you may be simply doing what comes naturally. You want to take care of your mom, she needs some help, and having her move in with you is the next natural step.

If you work outside the home, then the day may come where you have to hire some in-home help to care for mom. For many people this works beautifully.

Expectations, to me, are huge in this arrangement. If we go into it with our eyes open to our motives for wanting Grandma to move in; if we are realistic in what we are expecting to happen when we live together, then there is a better chance that everyone will cope with the changes fairly well.



Consider Everyone in The Home


If you desperately want your mother to come and live with you because she needs you, but your husband doesn’t like the idea, it seems wise to me that you would hash this out before taking such a step.

As with an adult child trying to create something good out of a relationship that never was good, some outside help with counseling prior to making a decision to have Mom move in would be a good idea. Maybe, once your husband knows how much this means to you, it will be okay.

But talk it through thoroughly before making the change. Having Mom move in has the potential to destroy a frail marriage or family relationship.

Most caregivers dive into caregiving because they want to help. They don’t always consider that this help may go on for years. And that it’s not just about love.

Having a parent move in with you can be a good move financially, for both you and the parent. After all, you are only paying for one residence. But another person means more expenses for food and utilities. It may even mean building on to a house or hiring outside help.





Figure out who pays for what ahead of time. Having the financial arrangement drawn up by an attorney ahead of time may be advisable.


Then there would be fewer problems should the elder need to move to a nursing home and be placed on Medicaid.

Records will make a big difference here, so if you start out knowing who pays for what, and have it written down, you are ahead of the game.




Have A Plan for Down The Road


Have a talk about end of life issues. The idea would be kind of like a prenuptial agreement. Be realistic that the day may come when your elder needs more care than you can give, and that important decisions should be made in advance.

Find out about care options, such as hiring someone to come into the home to help. However, know ahead, that the day may come where your elder will need 24-hour nursing care.

Plan for what you consider the best, but know that the outcome may not be as you wish. Live a day at a time, but have realistic ideas about what you can do for your elder. Know you may need help. Then, if you, your family and your elder are all at least somewhat compatible and have plans in place for backup care, go for it. If planned for realistically, the arrangement could work out very well. It did for my family.

Adapted from an article by Carol Bradley Bursack



Prepare Your Home


Whether it’s a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, low vision, or simply old age, eventually everyone reaches a time in their lives where they need to rely on someone to help take care of them.

Depending on their specific situation, that could mean moving into a retirement community or moving in with a loved one. Either destination can be a big change for the retiree, but when they move in with you, it can be a stressful change of lifestyle for both parties.

Let’s be honest: when we care deeply for our elderly loved ones, we want to make sure they are taken care of. If that means them moving in with us, then so be it.

For many, the idea of sticking them in a retirement community to live out the rest of their days means watching daytime television, consuming Jell-O by the gallon, and trying to tell an orderly who doesn’t speak English that they need to use the restroom. These are all misconceptions – planned living communities really are not so bad!

However, many people still do not consider that to be an option. But in the back of everyone’s mind, they also think of how an elderly relative moving in disrupts your life.

For the seniors, they do not wish to be a burden on their loved ones. They do not want to feel as though someone is obligated to take care of them and they like the ability to do everyday living tasks without any assistance.

For you, the caregiver, the idea of having someone else to take care of can leave you apprehensive due to your lack of knowledge or experience. You may be concerned about the appearance of you home and how it may change when an elderly or disabled person moves in, but at the same time feel lost or bad about exploring other alternatives.

Fortunately, manufacturers of independent living products have developed items that are beneficial to both parties. Products that allow seniors to handle everyday living without the need for assistance are also being designed to look less clinical and not require a permanent installation.

With the right independent living products, seniors maintain an independent and safe lifestyle while you feel less burdened and your house retains its normal appearance.



Bathroom SafetyPreventing Falls Makes Everyone Happier


As we get older and our legs, arms, and hands begin to weaken, the bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house.

Bathrooms combine moisture and linoleum floors, and rarely give you a soft surface to land on if you fall. Getting on and off the toilet or getting in and out of the tub can put an elderly person at serious risk.

To get on and off the toilet, doctors recommend an elevated toilet seat with armrests. While there are models that can be clamped in place and do not require any hardware, they may not be sturdy enough if the person using it is overweight.






Combining the seat and arms with a hydraulic lifting system for extra assistance, an ergonomic airlift bedside commode is easy to install and can be used as both a raised toilet seat and a stand alone commode.

A bracket is attached to the toilet using two bolts once the existing seat is removed. It slides and locks into place on the bracket and, by simply lifting a lever in the back of the seat, it can be removed for cleaning or to be attached to the stand alone commode frame. Hydraulic struts mounted in the seat provide an additional boost to help your new house guest gently lower down onto your toilet, and get off the toilet, and can be adjusted depending on their weight.

An airlift bedside commode features a large, comfortable seating surface and ergonomically designed armrests, and often includes a “guest seat” standard toilet seat. The guest seat can be mounted in place of the airlift using the same bracket and is ideal for when you have company over.


To get in and out of the shower or bathtub, grab bars are essential for safety.

When most people think of bathroom grab bars, the first things that come to mind are a handyman and a big power drill. There is also a newer option; portable suction grab bars can provide your loved ones with a medically safe, sturdy, and completely portable way to steady themselves when getting in and out of the tub or shower.

The suction grab bars secure themselves to completely smooth surfaces using twin suction cups with over 160 pounds of force. Simply clean the surface, apply the suction cups firmly, and flip the levers on the back of each cup. While these are not recommended for pull ups, gymnastics, or hanging a basketball hoop, they will provide a safe, reliable grip to prevent falls.

You may also want to consider a shower chair or bath bench for additional comfort, safety and support.



Mobility ProductsGet Up, Get Down, Move Around


If your home has a step or threshold at the entryway, it can make getting in and out the door difficult for your new house guest.

Since getting rid of the threshold is out of the question, and escalators are expensive to install, a threshold ramp is the easiest, safest, and most cost effective solution.

A rubber threshold ramp is an affordable ramp that is not clinical-looking, does not make noise like metal, and does not require a handyman with a drill to install.


Simply cut the threshold ramp to the desired length and width and lay it up against the threshold. It does not require any sort of permanent installation and can be moved out of the way when desired.


Drive Medical Four Wheel Rollator with Fold Up Removable Back Support, RedIf your loved one does not have a walker right now, chances are they will need one at some point, or they need one now and just don’t know it.


Whether they need a walker for use in the house, on the go, or both, you can easily find a versatile and easy-to-use model that will suit their needs.




The Drive Medical Four Wheel Rollator with Fold-Up Removable Back Support is the No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon, with 2,490 customer reviews.

If you’re seeking a safe, convenient aid to improve your daily mobility, a Rollator can be the ideal solution. Wheels make a Rollator a superior option over a standard walker, eliminating the need to lift the device and allowing you to walk with an easy, smooth gait. Walk around town, the mall or your home with ease using this durable, lightweight rollator by Drive Medical.

Easily folds for transport or storage.

Rollators are excellent for traveling over uneven, outdoor terrain, making them great for your active, busy lifestyle. And with the built-in padded seat with backrest, you’ll always have a convenient place to rest.

The backrest can be folded up for a more compact rollator when folded or be completely removed with the brass push button release.

The large, removable basket is perfect for carrying your personal items when you’re on the go. The 7.5″ casters are non-marring so they do not leave black scuff marks on your floor.

It’s designed and built for maximum comfort, durability and ease of use with quick folding ability.

The handle height is easily adjustable with a twist of the lever and can be locked into place so you have the proper posture when walking.

Deluxe loop locks are easy to use and can be pulled towards you when breaks are needed when walking. Just push the locks down before you wish to sit on the rollator to lock the unit into place.



Example:  Unionline Leather Power Lift Chair

Hip surgery, knee surgery, and arthritis can make getting in and out of a recliner or living room chair difficult.

Rather than have to help your loved one up or risk them straining to the point of an arm or shoulder injury, a lift chair is a great way to enable them to sit down or stand up with ease.

At first glance, lift chairs appear to be standard recliners; but with the flip of a switch, the chair’s powerful integrated motor comfortably reclines the chair or lifts the occupant out of it.

The motor is very quiet, operates smoothly, and has an optional battery backup for power outages. Lift chairs are available in an assortment of styles, fabrics, and colors so they can match virtually any room design and can fit people of almost all sizes.





The BedroomRise and Shine, Sleepyhead


Everyone loves their privacy, but if your elderly loved one needs help getting in and out of bed, has problems staying in bed, or is difficult to wake up when needed, privacy can become a thing of the past. With the right independent living products, however, seniors can go about their normal morning and evening routine with little help at all.


Whether the issue is getting in and out of bed, or just staying in bed, a variety of easy-to-install bed rails are available to help with each consumer’s individual needs.


If the issue is staying in bed at night, the Standers EZ Adjust Bed Rail is the ideal choice.




Easy to install and even easier to use, the EZ Adjust Bed Rail can be adjusted to three different lengths (26″, 32″, and 42″) and folds down when not needed.

If they need help getting in and out of bed, two bed rails are available that are easy to install and very versatile.

The Medline Bed Assist Bar With Storage Pocket features a padded, cane-shaped top attached to a board that slides between the mattress and box spring. A strap attaches to the bed frame to hold the board in place and an included organizer keeps useful items at hand.






The Smart Rail System Bed Rail installs on the bed in a similar fashion, but also features two legs that rest on the floor for additional support. The padded handle can be rotated outwards at any angle to make getting in and out of bed easier.

Unlike other rails of this nature that swing at set increments, the Smart Rail’s unlimited rotating ability insures that your loved one gets the ideal angle for support without putting too much strain on your wrist.








Is it time to wake up? If they are a heavy sleeper or cannot hear well, chances are that a gentle knock at the door or that alarm clock that they have had since the first George Bush was president will probably not do the job.

The Sonic Boom Alarm Clock series features alarm clocks in a variety of styles with different features designed to keep any heavy sleeper from sleeping through their alarm. Each one includes a bed shaker which, when placed under the mattress, shakes enough to wake the heaviest sleepers and send most California residents running for shelter.



The tone volume can be adjusted between “subtle” and “wake the neighbors” and is available with or without an AM/FM radio.

The Sonic Boom line of alarm clocks also feature a battery backup for power outages, a snooze button (no one knows why a heavy sleeper would need that), and large digital or analog displays. Some of the clocks are also designed to work with other Sonic Alert devices to notify them when the phone or doorbell rings and to use a flashing lamp as a signal.



Independent Living Products Provide Peace of Mind


When an elderly person has to move in with you, regardless of whether you are their child or grandchild, the sudden change can be difficult for both parties involved. Whether it’s a matter of your loved one giving up their independent lifestyle or you experiencing a big change in your home, the situation can be stressful.

However, the right independent living products can help keep your house relatively unchanged while your loved one maintains an active, safe, and independent lifestyle.


Adapted from an article by Richard Chandler



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Shower Chairs and Bath Benches


Detailed Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches






Shower chairs are designed to help make showering easier and safer. Showering can be difficult for many older people with a disability or chronic illness.

For people who have problems bending or standing for long periods, shower chairs can provide that extra bit of stability they need to remain independent.

Caregivers benefit from using a shower chair, too; shower chairs reduce the likelihood of caregiver injury and the need to physically support a person in the shower.

A quality shower chair, used in conjunction with a shower hose, allows a person to safely shower with minimal assistance.



What Should You Look For in a Shower Chair?


Shower chairs range in size and style. The type of shower chair you choose will depend on a person’s health, capabilities and needs.

Shower chairs are designed to fit neatly in a shower recess. For use in a bath tub, a transfer bench may be a better option.

It’s important to measure your shower recess or bath before purchasing a shower chair as you may have problems if a shower seat is too wide. A shower chair’s legs should fit on the flat base of the bath without wobbling.

Some shower chairs can be neatly folded for storage, while others are lighter and more portable.  Below is a good example of a Foldable Bath Bench; its lightweight aluminum frame is resistant against corrosion. This seat has angled legs with suction tips for stability and safety, as well as side handles on the seat for added support. This seat folds for easy storage and travel. The weight capacity is 200 lbs.



               Foldable Bath Bench




Another good option is this AquaSense Folding Bath and Shower Seat, below, which can hold up to 250 lbs.


AquaSense Folding Bath and Shower Seat with Non-Slip Seat and Backrest, White




Shower chairs with comfortable backs can be ideal for the frail aged who need extra support. A padded seat can make the shower chair much more comfortable. 

Armrests are also an important feature because they help with transfers and can provide added support and stability when standing.

This Lumex Platinum Collection Shower Chair has armrests and a comfortable, cushioned seat and backrest. The padding is water-tight and easy to clean. An answered question on Amazon claims it has a 300 lb weight capacity. The seat height is also adjustable, which can be set to make transfers on and off the chair as easy as possible.

As you’ve probably noticed, shower chairs have varying weight capacities, so ensure you know a persons’ weight before purchasing a shower chair.

Some people may require a special bariatric shower chair with a higher weight capacity.




This Drive Medical Premium Chair (below) is height-adjustable, comfortable, and can accommodate up to 350 lbs. This particular chair is Amazon’s #1 best seller in the category and has over 1,000 reviews with a 4.6 star rating.


Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms




Some shower chairs also function as wheelchairs and commodes, such as this MedMobile 2-in-1 Shower Wheelchair Commode. This chair (below) has drop-down armrests, detachable footrests, locking 5″ castors and a commode seat.  The weight capacity is 250 lbs.


MedMobile 2-in-1 Commode / Shower Wheelchair with Drop-down Armrests, Locking Rear Castors, Detachable Footrests and PU Commode Seat




Bath Bench


For some people having a seat inside the bath isn’t enough. You may need assistance getting over the side of the tub, whether you plan on using a handheld shower or sitting under your shower’s jets once inside.

In this case, consider a bath bench.  Bathtub transfer benches make “transferring” in and out of the bathtub safe, simple and comfortable.


Drive Medical Transfer Bench


Transfer benches make getting into the tub easier and safer, reducing the chances of a fall. Sliding across a transfer bench is much safer than stepping over the tub wall. The right transfer bench can increase the comfort, safety, and hygiene of the person you care for and – as a bonus – be back-friendly for you. 

Despite being called a transfer bench for shower or bath, most styles are more like chairs, offering you the comfort of a wide seat and back for support.


Among the features to look for are:


  • Comfortable cushioned seat and backrest
  • Rustproof aluminum-frame construction for comfort and stability
  • Height adjustable legs that adjust in 1-inch increments
  • Back that easily adjusts or reverses to accommodate right or left transfers
  • Built-in handles (usually in the backrest) to make positioning easier
  • Extra large suction cups on legs to provide added safety
  • Handheld shower holder
  • Integrated soap tray
  • Removable outside handle that helps you balance
  • Non-slip finish on the seat
  • Drain holes on the seat
  • Bench with a weight capacity that secure accommodates your weight
  • No-tool assembly if desired


With a transfer bench, you sit down at the end that is positioned outside of the tub, then swing your legs over the side of the tub and center yourself on the bench, eliminating the need to actually climb over to get in. Think of it as an extension of the typical shower chair.



A good example is the Drive Medical Transfer Bench  has a convenient 3-position backrest, is height-adjustable and has a weight capacity of 400 lbs.

Drive Medical Plastic Transfer Bench with 3 Position Backrest, Gray



Cotton Craft - Jacquard Double Woven Velour Beach Towel 32x63 2 Pack, Summer of Siam Multi Stripe, Thick Plush Luxurious Velour Pile, 450 GSM, 100% Pure Ringspun Cotton, Brilliant Vibrant Colors

Tip – A colorful towel on the seat that contrasts with the tub floor can help reduce fear of falling for those who have dementia-related problems with depth perception or for those with low vision.






Helpful Video –  how to safely use a bath tub transfer bench:



You can purchase a shower chair or bath bench from medical supply stores and online.


Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some helpful information. 

I welcome your comments below.





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Modifying Your Bathroom for Critical Illness



As my mom’s liver cirrhosis progressed, she became increasingly weak and unbalanced. 






If she felt well enough to leave her bed, her time was spent on the couch in the family room.  She began to use a walker to avoid falls, and of course my dad was always around to make sure she was moving safely.  When it came time to shower, mom was nervous about losing balance, but wanted to maintain her privacy, so she would bathe with the door unlocked and my dad sitting on the bed just outside the ensuite bathroom.


Eventually, they decided to make some modifications to the bathroom in order for mom to feel safer and maintain her independence with personal grooming.  The company he called helped my Dad decide to make some changes to the shower and add a seat and some grab bars.  While they were at it, my Dad had the bathroom counters and sinks changed to update the whole look. When it was finished, the bathroom was lovely and fresh (not like a hospital, just modern and safe).


Unfortunately, mom spent a lot of time in the hospital after the renovations, so she was not able to make as much use of the upgrades as my dad had anticipated and hoped.  Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do at the time, and it made a difference in my mom’s quality of life when she was home.


In this post, I want to cover some considerations and options for modifying your bathroom to accommodate someone has chronic balance and/or mobility issues.  If you or a loved are feeling unsafe using the bathroom, it is important to assess and minimize your risks.  Sometimes, even something as simple as installing a grab bar can make the difference between a safe shower and falling hazard.


Aspects to Consider


Independence in the bathroom is one of the most challenging tasks for accessibility and safety in the home.  No matter the disability, the bathroom is almost always one of the most challenging rooms to maneuver in. It is difficult to feel at home, let alone safe, if you don’t have secure access to your own bathroom. Achieving safety and independence with bathroom modifications is not only possible, but also customizable and can be attractive.


Modifying a bathroom is, by definition, a very personal project. It includes making alterations to a living space to meet the needs of physical limitations that people may be living with so that they can live a much more independent life.  A customized bathroom space will depend on an individual’s needs, preferences, and space available.  Also, a modified bathroom doesn’t have to look start or institutional; it can be as luxurious as you imagine it to be (and your budget allows).  You can install beautiful tile, stylish sinks and modern fixtures.  The look of your bathroom doesn’t have to suffer in order to accommodate accessibility, independence, and safety.


When modifying the bathroom, keep your focus on altering spaces for safe movement and creating a safe flow.


 Grab Bars



Whether it’s for a person with a disability or the elderly, grab bars are one of the simplest ways to provide support and balance. They can be useful almost anywhere in the bathroom:


  • for getting on and off the toilet
  • for in and out of the tub
  • for stability in the shower or at the sink
  • as handrails for navigation about the space


You can choose from:


  • standard wall mounted grab bars
  • swing up grab bars
  • Super poles
  • handrails


Balance is a tremendous challenge for the seriously ill, disabled and the elderly.  It can be a simple adaptation that can save lives and provide a sense of security when navigating through the bathroom.



Barrier Free Showers


Barrier-free showers are showers without a curb that are designed for easier entrance and exit. The floor of a barrier-free shower is level with the rest of the bathroom floor in order to eliminate the step or climb into the shower that can be difficult to navigate for anyone with a mobility issue.


Selected for its barrier-free design, ease of installation, structural base and integrated wood backing, this roll-in shower is ideal for residential use. The design minimizes the chances of being installed in a non-barrier free manner, having grab bars installed without proper backing, and also reduces installation costs by installing directly on floor joists, sub-flooring and concrete surface.



Doored Bathtubs


Doored bathtubs allow users to enter the bathtub without having to climb in. When the doors are swung open, an entryway a few inches above the floor is created. Once properly seated in the tub, water temperature adjustments are made easy with oversized faucet controls. Doored bathtubs may include hand-held showerheads, stationary showerheads or Jacuzzi water jets.


Doored bathtubs often have a low threshold door to enable easy entry and exit. They can be ordered with or without the upper surround wall. A bather can sit comfortably in a slightly reclined position or shower while standing or sitting. They are carefully designed to accommodate the user without sacrificing installation space and look polished in homes and institutions.  They are also available with a removable lift access cover or full front and side panels that can be installed either against a wall or in a corner.


Bathing can be incredibly challenging for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. Doored bathtubs are often designed with contoured seats for a safer transfer from wheelchair to bath and vice versa. Doored bathtub users can take a seated bath or use the seat as leverage and balance.


Water Containment Solutions


Keeping water inside a shower/bath increases the safety factor of the whole bathroom.  You can find many options by contacting a company that specializes in bathroom modifications.


Collapsible Water Dam – Selected as a high quality option to control water spillage in barrier-free and roll-in showers, the collapsible dam is 1” high with strong self-adhesive bottom.


  • Provides for water retention yet collapses when rolled over by a walker or wheelchair
  • Helps reduce maintenance in barrier-free showers



Corner Setting Half Height Bi-fold Shower Door – Half height design allows a caregiver to assist the user in showering, while controlling water and keeping caregiver dry.


Once closed, the doors create a water barrier, ensuring that no water runs out of the shower, and controlling water splash. When opened, the doors allow full access to roll-in showers, walk-in showers and full barrier-free showers. These types of units are available in different sizes.


 Remember that if you or a loved one are unsteady, safety hazards in your bathroom deserve the highest consideration.  The bathroom is the site of many accidents and falls. 


Have you modified your bathroom for safety and accessibility or are you considering doing so?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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