In this final piece of our blog trilogy, How to Move an Elderly Family Member Into Your Home, we’re covering the impact a move can have on everyone’s daily schedules, personal and boundaries and how to maintain physical privacy.
Planning, shopping for and preparing meals for an entire household can create some big challenges. Adding more people and different pallets can make that even harder. Being prepared to compromise is important from the very start.
Quite often, older generations have food preferences that aren’t what you want the rest of your family eating (ie: sweets, frozen or prepackaged foods, high in carbs and sodium, etc). Food allergies may also limit what certain members of your household can eat as well as dietary preferences like being vegetarian or vegan.
The Swap Game: Substituting or hiding ingredients in family favorites is a great way to reduce sodium intake and sneak some veggies in there. Try opting for a part-skim ricotta and mixing in shredded veggies along with low sodium tomato sauce and substituting ground turkey for the ground beef in a classic lasagna.
Timing of your family meals can be difficult as elderly folks tend to have meals much earlier than their younger counterparts.
Snack Attack: If family members are used to eating sooner, having healthy snacks on hand AND moving your usual meal times up just a little can keep everyone’s blood sugar levels in range and avoid hangry outbursts from seniors and teenagers alike!
Creating a schedule that works for you and your other family members may change the way you’re accustomed to doing things.
How can you compromise when it comes to:
Games or other events
Sleep schedules also play a significant role in when our bodies and minds are prepared for different activities of daily living.
Make It Known: Having a centralized location for daily, weekly or monthly events that everyone can see like a wall calendar, white board or google calendar will keep everyone on the same page and avoid missed appointments and unmet expectations.
Boundaries are essential, especially when merging households. Being emotionally prepared when entering into conversations will help you and your other family members be respectful of each other’s boundaries.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that they are your elderly relatives or parents and not children. Communication should be open, respectful and flow both ways.
Having breaks from each other is also important so you have time to invest in your other relationships outside of being caregivers.
Setting physical boundaries within your home is a great way to preserve space that belongs only to you and offers your elderly family member privacy within their space while moving into a new environment.
Letting each other know you are entering their space is important. Ringing a bell or doorbell installed on the outside of their room or portion of the home can prevent issues of intrusiveness.
Privacy with bathing and dressing is another important aspect of your loved one’s care and comfort levels with you.
Remember: only assist if absolutely necessary. If needed, bring in outside help in order to honor their privacy with hygiene and self care.
Your Next Steps
To gain a better understanding of your loved one’s needs as they become accustomed to your home, book your medical and whole home evaluation with our OT specialist on the Live In Place Safely team.
We hope this three-part blog series has helped you and your loved ones feel more confident and prepared for this upcoming move and familial dynamic shift.