There are myriad reasons why your parents may need to move into your family home. These reasons range from one of your parents passing away and the other being unable or unwilling to live alone, to their needing more care than you can provide unless they are under your roof, to their not having enough money saved up to continue to age in place or to move into an assisted living facility. Regardless of the reasons why you are opening your doors to your aging loved ones, you will want to find a way to make them feel welcome and at home in their new living space.
If you find that you’re trying to move your parents from the home in which they’ve lived for decades into a small space – in some cases a spare room in your home – there will likely be the need for downsizing of their possessions. Rather than trying to move all of their belongings from their home into a space at your house, spend some time with them going through their possessions and determining what they absolutely cannot live without or what you may be able to give to another family member as a gift to keep in the family.
Here are some tips to make the transition easier and to make the room in which they will be living in your home more of a home-like feeling for them:
- If the room is small and they will be using it as a combination living room/bedroom setting you will want to make the best use of the small space. This can be done by painting the room a light color, make it feel brighter by using light, airy curtains and by using light colored bedspreads and furniture coverings.
- If you’re hanging paintings in the room, forget the rule about hanging them at eye level (this makes a small room feel even more cramped) hang them higher because this creates an illusion of a larger space.
- Use large, intricate mirrors to make the room seem visually larger. Place a large mirror on a wall opposite a window to “double” the feeling of the space.
- Using end tables, chairs or beds with legs rather than styles that are chunky and sit on the floor can make a room feel more airy and open.
- You don’t have to downsize furniture to accommodate a smaller room. Make certain the furniture in the room is comfortable and usable. If your parents like larger pieces of furniture, opt for light colored covers to brighten the space.
- Resist the urge, or help them resist the urge, to clutter the space up with knick knacks or collectibles. Filling every available space with memorabilia will instantly make it seem smaller.
- Look for pieces of furniture that can do double duty. For example, look for end tables or ottomans that also provide storage space. Use a bed skirt to conceal storage containers under the bed.
- Use lighting that is on the wall or ceiling, rather than cluttering up the space with table lamps. If necessary install motion activated lights or those on sensors that will turn off after a specified amount of time.
Moving your aging parents into the family home will certainly take adjustment on everyone’s part but with some thoughtful planning it can be a smooth transition for everyone.