How to live comfortably with an elderly loved one

One thing no one ever warns you about is the heartbreak that comes with watching your loved ones age.

In what seems like a blink of an eye, your parents are not as strong as they once were and unable to completely look after themselves. Just as they carried you for a large part of your life, this is your opportunity to return the favour at a time of need. If you will soon live under the same roof as your elderly loved one and can’t quite picture what that would look like, find out how you can do so comfortably for both of you.

Dual occupancy homes

Taking on the responsibility to look after your elderly loved one is admirable, but such a noble act should come with boundaries so that both parties can be satisfied with the arrangement. Exploring dual occupancy house and land packages is a great way to understand how you could integrate your life with your loved one, in a beautiful new-build home.

Like any house and land package, it’s not a one size fits all and residents are encouraged to collaborate with the building and design process to create a great home that best befits the family. The most popular dual occupancy house and land package solution are the four bedroom homes with a two bedroom granny flat attached. The ultimate arrangement where both you and your relative can live freely but also supported.

Respect their privacy

When you start living with your elderly loved one it’s important to remember that the home is also theirs, regardless of ownership. Through no fault of our own, we tend to project manage our elderly loved ones, thinking we know better and subsciously taking away their autonomy. These good intentions do nothing for the confidence of your ageing relative. They do need physical help at times, but try to do so without stripping them of their privacy and individuality. It is still them, and they still wish to be treated as an equal.

Make changes or additions to your home

Just because you are welcoming of your elderly loved one, does not mean that your house is. Yet. There are some simple changes you can make to your home to make it a little more elderly accessible, and there are bigger changes you can make if the circumstances require.

Talk to your loved one and their GP to understand where they fall on the spectrum, and what you can do to ensure the best quality of life. If you are accommodating your relative in a granny flat, that will be easier to contain the curated living space. Try to avoid unnecessary furniture or complicated clasps and fixtures. If you are in doubt have your relative assist with creating this space.

Contingency plans

Regardless of how healthy your elderly loved one is, you always want to be preparing for anything. This is especially critical if you have children also living under the same roof. Have a family meeting to discuss the who, what and when of any accidents or health scares that may eventuate. Laminate a list of emergency phone numbers to stick on the back of your phone. That way your relative or children are able to act efficiently and quickly if a situation arises.

Your loved one should not see this time in their life as accepting defeat or burdening their family. And a willingness to transform your home to accommodate them is the perfect way to show just how important it is that they spend their golden years with you and your family.