With the cost and quality of care homes facing increasing scrutiny more and more families are taking in their older relatives rather than outsourcing the care. This arrangement works both ways as families with younger children will always appreciate an extra pair of hands and pair of eyes to see if mischief is being managed. Alternatively, grown up children can move back in with their elderly parents and use the time there to save up a deposit to eventually buy their own house – a win win situation.
Mobility around the home will dictate if any changes will need to be made as the household expands. Simple steps, such as adding a sturdy handrail on the stairs and securing loose carpets and rugs, will help make the house safer for everyone, but especially those with balance issues. More advanced options, such as a walk-in bath or hand rail by the toilet, will need to be properly assessed to be certain they’re fit for the job.
The exterior of a house needs to be taken into consideration too. New steps to lead up to a front door will become a necessity in colder weather, with an integral handrail to help when the ice and frost set in and make everything slippery. Driveways may require resurfacing as broken old concrete will be susceptible to mini potholes once the surface water in winter freezes and stretches existing cracks into dangerous holes.
In summer however it’s worth checking that the back garden is just as safe as the house. Crazy paving patios might have been all the rage 30 years ago but years of neglect will have created an uneven and dangerous surface – not to mention an ugly one. Freshly laid even timber decking will both look stylish and create a safe and level area for table and chairs in the garden. For the absolute minimum in maintenance choose composite or plastic decking that can be laid and then forgotten.
However it’s not just the practical element of co-habiting that needs addressing. Making sure everyone has their own designated personal spaces and there are strict rules on sharing the TV privileges will avoid endless battles between Coronation Street versus CBBC! Ultimately, it’s not the furniture or the garden that makes a house a home it’s the people, and having the whole family under one roof is a wonderful way to live.