Welcome to Bringing Parents Home. We are here to help you with the transition of bringing your elderly parents into your home.
A resource for caregivers & families

The chair is one of the most important objects next to the bed your parent needs ot

have that fits them comfortably and securely. If your parent is short in stature you

will need to look at the depth of the seat and make sure it is not too deep or too

shallow. The back support is important for a comfortable long-term situation. Your

parent may like the rocker/recliner type of chairs, make sure they are able to get in

AND out of the chair safely. If the chair rocks it may be difficult for them to use the

arms as supports in getting out of the chair safely. You could look at adding blocks

of wood to shorten the forward motion and making it more stable and convenient to

get out of the chair.

 

If your parent has limited ability to move side to side and get up and around a side

table will become a very important item for them. It is a place to hold all the items

they need or want access to frequently. Storage and accessibility are the 2 most

important considerations. Is the surface area large enough? Are there storage areas

large enough to hold the various items (scissors, tape, stapler, letter opener, hobby

items, etc.)? Is it easy to retrieve items from the storage area while in a chair? You

can look at conventional side tables and shelving systems. There is a new side table

that was designed for meeting the needs of an elderly person with limited

movement. It gives room for storage, easy to reach electrical outlets and cables (for

cell phone charging, hair curling iron, etc.) it has a roll out top to let you parent gain

access to storage from a sitting position.

 

Lighting of the room is very important. With wired and IR remote control options its

easy to set up area lighting and general room lighting that your parent can control

from the comfort of their chair.

 

Audio Visual considerations are very important for your parent to control remotely.

With the various items available (TV, DVD, Digital library like iTunes, etc.) limiting

the number of remote controls is very important to improve ease of use and

conveyance. Also when hearing is impaired, using auxiliary speakers are helpful.

Remote speakers can bring the sound closer to them and you will be able to keep the

volume at a reasonable level for the rest of your home.

Your parents most likely cherish their furniture and being able to bring some of

their items to adorn or be used by them will make the transition much more

pleasant. They have many items that have some very deep and fond memories.

Plants are important to many and provide a great on going activity. Watching and

anticipating the growth of flowers and plants can provide a very comfortable and

easy means of daily exercise. Having a potting area and easily accessible water is

very important. You may want to set up a temporary potting table or area as the

season and space permit. This can be a very fun and cost effective alternative to a

structured physical therapy program.

Reachers are for most elderly are very helpful tools. There are 2 main issues to be

considered…1. Quality of the device. A poor quality reacher will result in frustration

and possibly damaging items. 2. Availability is critical for use. The reacher needs to

be positioned and stored in a sturdy, secure spot that is easy to reach and retun it to

when the task is completed.

Communication with fiends and relatives can be one of the most enjoyable activities

your parent can have on a daily basis. Accessibility to a Phone, either a landline or

cell phone should be one of the most important considerations in their living area

(and bedroom). A cell phone is a very handy and important tool for safety and peace

of mind. Many types of cases protect the cell phone from damage and can make the

handling of the phone more convenient. Look for a phone with large dialing

numbers and features for the hearing impaired and use with hearing aids.

Meals and adequate hydration are critical issues to be considered. Many times your

parents will not be able to eat at the family table so considerations for living area

and bedroom eating needs to be thought of and planned ahead of time. If they know

there are easy to use and convenient alternatives available to them, they will feel

more comfortable and at ease to have meals served. Many over the table and bed

trays are commonly available. Sturdy construction and ease of storage need to be

the 2 main considerations. You can modify a small microwave table to be a sturdy

eating surface and storage area that can be used for all kinds of functions

 

Eating utensils, plates and glasses/cups can be purchased economically that are

more convenient for the elderly to hand and use. Glass products are heavy and

dangerous if dropped. Plastic items are much more safer and can be just as sturdy.

Many of the “handicapped” utensils are well suited for the elderly to use and makes

it more convenient.

In a sitting area if there is a door that can establish the sitting room as a more

individual environmentally controlled room from the rest of the homes heating and

cooling you may wish to replace it with a glass door so your parent will nto feel

isolated from the rest of the home. Environmentally they can establish a

temperature that is much more comfortable for them as the elderly normally feel

more comfortable with a room temperature close to 80 degrees.

Make sure you have their mail re-routed to your home. In addition you may initially

ask a number of their friends and relatives to write a weekly newsletter to update

your parents. This way they will fell as connected or more so than previously.

In addition to the written word, the use of Skype and Facetime to connect will be a

welcome alternative when they can no longer get out and around to visit friends and

relatives. With the size and lightweight of a tablet, it is much easier for your parent

to use sitting in a chair or laying in a bed vs a laptop.

It is important to have a trash or waste receptacle of some sort close and within

reach. It’s often overlooked but during the course of a single day there are tissues,

wrappers, etc. that need to be disposed of and to have a receptacle close at hand

makes it easy and convenient to work at their own pace and not feel like they are

making a mess that they have to wait for someone else to come and clean up.

Something as simple as a waste receptacle makes them feel they are caring for

themselves.

Door size is one very importan consideration especially if your parent uses a

waliking aid (walker or cain(s)) or wheelchair. Normally moset exterior doors are

36” wide and its easy to get in and out of a home. However thre are no standards for

interior door width. Most interior doors are 32” wide or less. You also need to

consider the trim and the actual door as this narrows the opening. Often times a

walker or wheel chair will get caught on the door or trim. A self-propelled

wheelchair needs additional space for your parent’s hands to be on the outside of

the wheel chair. Also, depending on the weight of your parent they may have a

wider wheelchair and this will make passage thru a interior door a lot more difficult.

One option is to remove the doors, BUT everyone wants privacy in the bathroom

and bedroom. Depending on your situation and the construction or location of the

doorway you can move a door, widen the doorway, etc. to make it much easier for

them to navigate without difficulties and making it much easier and safe for them

and you.

If your parent is in a wheel chair or uses any waking assist devise, transitioning or

transferring into or out of a chair can be difficult and unsafe. Depending on the

condition of your parent you may need to make a number of modifications in the

area around the chair or even a different type of chair. Lets look at the different

options and conditions. If your parent uses and cane you may need a solid taller

table or railing on one side of the chair they can use to balance when sitting and also

to hold onto and help pull themselves up when getting up from the chair. – – insert a

number of pictures of options- – if your parent uses a walker this in of itself can be

support for transitioning. However based on the stability and ability of your parent

a walker can be unstable and unsafe. One of the most helpful and less obtrusive

situations is to use a self-raising chair to help with getting down from a standing

position or rising all the way up from a sitting position. These chairs can be a safe

and effective alternative. The only negative to this type of seating is they do not

rock or swivel and depending on the needs of your parent they may feel confined

with this type of situation.

As most of the time your parent may be alone in the living room (or any room,

bathroom, bedroom, etc.) it is important for them and you to have a means of

communication in case a situation arises where they need help. There are now a

number of devices that are very convenient for your parent. If they have a lot of

mobility you can position a simple remote doorbell button within reach or placed in

a wearable pouch. You can then place the doorbell near you in your kitchen,

bedroom or where ever within range you happen to be. If you are worried about a

fall or situation where they cannot have the ability to reach an alarm device, some of

the wearable alarm devices are a good alternative. Some of the newer cell based

devices have fall algorithms that will trigger a call and the agency can call you on

your cell or house phone. These services are billed monthly and may incur

additional charges per call. If you are concerned about your parent getting up and

around without assistance and possibly causing harm or injury to themselves, you

can install a motion detection device or use a baby nursery video monitor.

Its important to have fluids available and you may have to have a sipper cup or

other container that they can easily handle and if dropped or tipped not spill. Many

of the newer re-usable water bottles have convenient means of securing fluids and

still making it easy to sip or drink. You may have to consider the type of dispensing

used. Tipping a heavy bottle up of sucking on a straw may or may not be easy for

your parent’s particular situation.

One option for adding security and safety is to install a remote entrance-viewing

camera. Many of these products and send the video signal to a cell phone or tablet.

If someone is at the door and you parent “wants to know” who is at the door this

type of system may offer a cense of security and comfort. Knowing who is at the

door will help them determine how they need to respond.

Temperature control of their environment is critical and with many of the new WiFi

thermostats are handy if they live in a zoned area. They can control the thermostat

remotely from their tablet or cell phone. Additionally it gives you the ability to pre

warm or pre cool their room(s). If there is no zoning you may have ot look at a

remote heater or individual room air conditioner. Many of these devices offer

remote control options.

As with any room, the living room is much more warm and inviting if there are

bright large windows and a good view for them from a sitting position. If you have

the ability to place bird feeders for them to enjoy it will make sitting in one place for

hours on end much more enjoyable.

If your parent is able to get up and around, but with limited distance you may want

to consider installing a microwave and small dorm refrigerator. Having the ability to

get snakes and drinks for themselves will be convenient for everyone and helps with

a cense of self care.

In any room where your parent may navigate it is important NOT to have rugs or

any loose flooring materials. They may help the look and feel of a room but they are

very dangerous. Any slight elevation between flooring materials in door thresholds

are a concern and as discussed earlier there are ways to minimize the effects and

render the situation more safe.

When considering the type of chair your parent may be spending hours in it is

important to consider many aspects. First is the fabric. You should look at the type

of material for the situation. Fabric or leather, you will have to consider a number of

things to determine which is best for your parent’s condition? The size of the seat

will also be an important factor. The depth of the seat, can they place their feet

solidly on the ground, does it provide a solid back support. The width of the seat,

will you need to use pillows for additional support? Can they easily reach a side

table from the chair or do they have to stretch and lean…creating a unsafe situation.

Do they prefer a swivel and / or rocker? Does their condition allow for a swivel or

rocking chair? Again you need to consider how much energy and support they need

in transferring in and out of a chair.

Wi-Fi, TV, apple TV, cable, and adequate audio sound levels are all very important

considerations in providing a comfortable and enjoyable environment. Depending

on the interest level of your parent you will have to look at providing ease of use and

accessibility.

Shelves and storage of books and personal belongings is important in bringing their

home into your home. Having a display area is important as well as a storage area

that is easy to gain access to. You have to consider the limited rang your parent may

have in accessing items from the shelving. You may look ay tabletop shelving or

hanging wall shelving in a mid range.

The condition and color of wall treatments will bring a cense of warmth into the

room. You may want to paint the walls prior to bringing your parent home or if they

are already living with you the new low odor paints are the best option.

In a situation where they may be living out of a chair the most of the day

accessibility to items needing electricity and adequate AC outlets are a must. You

will not be able to re-wire the walls but you can accomplish this thru a number of

ways. Extension cords and multiple plugs on a power or surge strip are the easiest,

but these have to lay on the floor and bending over to plug or unplug is a dangerous

situation for your parent. –- images—tab with different low voltage plug