Almost 20 per cent of Australian households are multi-generational, with three or more generations living together under one roof. And as the population ages (there are around 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and over), that number will grow. If you have an ageing parent, keeping them in their home or moving them into your own can be the most convenient way to go. But you may need to make some changes for safety’s sake.
Light it up
Updating the lighting in your home is one very simple way to make it safer and more comfortable for your ageing parent. Add nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways for safety. Then make sure there is appropriate, bright task lighting wherever your parent needs it: near her reading chair, for example, or in the kitchen. And ask your electrician to make sure the controls for the lights, thermostat and so on are easy to reach and use.
Ideally, you would have a step-free entry into your shower stall and a bench inside for seating. “We recently built a custom shower for a client, and the biggest reason for doing it was to add a built-in bench,” says Nate Bruen, owner of a renovation business. If that kind of renovation isn’t in the cards, a free-standing shower seat is a budget-friendly option. Grab bars are essential when caring for ageing parents, especially if they will need to step up into the shower or bathtub.