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Best Housing Alternatives For Aging But Able Parents

By: Jason Markum

It’s a fact of life, we all get old. The older we get, the harder it becomes to take care of ourselves. As adult children, we tend to want to keep our elderly parents close by so we can care for them and make sure they have everything they need and are comfortable. But forcing them to leave their homes can often be cruel, especially if they are still able to take care of themselves for the most part.

So what are some the options for aging parents who are still able to care for themselves, at least mostly?

Well, first of all, there are usually community services to help elderly people with simple daily things that may be harder and harder for them to handle on their own. These services usually include things like housekeeping and home repair. Sometimes they include mail deliveries and things like that. They can also include telephone check-in calls and emergency response systems, including those pager alert systems and watches that you can press in case you have fallen and can’t get up.

If your aging parent needs a little extra attention, then there are shared housing programs. These often help aging parents by splitting living costs as two or more older adults can occupy the same house and look out for each other in any number of ways. They each have their own private space, which is important. It’s also very important to match personalities when searching for a roommate for your aging parent. Older people tend to get set in their ways and clashing personalities can be a recipe for disaster. So make your search carefully, and consider asking for help from your local senior services Center.

Another option is to create an apartment within your elderly parents house and rent it out! This sort of arrangement makes sure that there is always somebody around to keep an eye out or an ear out in case you’re aging parent has an emergency. One popular form of this arrangement is to rent out an apartment over the garage, or convert the basement into a standalone apartment. You may also set up an agreement that makes the tenant responsible for yard work and maintenance work around the house freeing up your aging parent from having to do these chores that they may not be able to perform anymore.

If all else fails you may simply have to renovate your aging parents home. These sorts of renovations usually include removing staircases, widening doors to become more wheelchair accessible, lowering counters and tables replacing hard to turn doorknobs and things of this nature. Many times a few thousand dollars in renovations can give your aging parent several more years of living in their own home… and it’s certainly less expensive than a nursing home!

The most important thing to do when making any sort of choice about your aging adult living circumstances is to speak with your parent, and open a dialogue and conversation. Don’t try to force them to do anything they are not willing to do so long as they are still physically able to take care of themselves, at least for the most part. Just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean they are any less capable, it just means they need a little extra help now and then…

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