When aging parents move into your home, the decision often happens quickly and compassionately with a rough adjustment period. Often the catalyst for making such a move is a sudden illness or a hospitalization that prompts a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation facility, a nursing home or your house. For many reasons parents and their children often find shared housing preferable to adult-care facilities, but not without preparation. Start here to make that transition as seamless as possible.

1.  Take safety precautions. Install a ramp or chairlift if stairs in your house could present a hazard to your parent, and move all unnecessary clutter into storage. Have special knobs put on the stove for parents with memory loss who could potentially leave burners on and forget. Place grab bars both in the shower unit and near the toilet. The shower grab bars require installation steps before the new unit is set into place. Grab bars beside the toilet may assist aging parents in using the restroom independently and safely. Remember not to put any glass doors on the shower unit of an elderly person’s shower for safety reasons.

2. Call a plumbing contractor. The first thing to consider when bringing an elderly parent into your home tends to be the bathroom accommodations. Fortunately, plumbing contractors in residential areas are familiar with the necessary renovations needed to accomodate aging parents. Even with just a few days to prepare, a few simple adjustments can prevent bathroom dilemas.

3. Remodel your bathroom to accomodate your parent’s needs. For a quick transition, there will be no need to tear down walls. You will be basically replacing essential items in your existing bathroom space. For example, the tub becomes an obstacle for an elderly parent to step over in order to enter the shower area. Walk-in showers made for regular bathrooms come in kits perfect for remodel jobs and movement-limited parents.

4.  Make seated showers the best, easiest option. Accessorize the shower area with a hand-held shower head, which will enable an assistant to help an elderly person shower more easily. Some showers will have built-in seating to accomodate a seated shower, but a shower chair can make a huge difference for a struggling parent. 

5. Change your toilet. Choose one of a height and functionality that works well for your parent, and of a shape that’s easy for you to clean as elderly parents can be less tidy in the bathroom. Consider a bidet-style toilet seat along with a comfort height toilet— both requiring installation by a plumber — to help keep your parent clean without too much extra work.

6.  Replace faucets with a design featuring a higher spout and lever handles to simplify use.When choosing a replacement faucet, you need to know if the holes in your sink require a four inch spread, an eight inch spread, or a single lever control.

The following local businesses may be able to help you get started:

Alvin Hollis
1 Hollis St.
South Weymouth, MA 02190
(781) 335-2100

Alvin Hollis of South Weymouth is committed to your home comfort, and its trained service agents can help you cut the costs of high energy bills through efficient products for your home renovation.

Dan Maybruck Plumbing & Heating Inc.
9 Herring Pond Rd.
Plymouth, MA 02360
(800) 881-2959

Dan Maybruck Plumbing and Heating Inc. has been taking care of homeowners plumbing problems in the Plymouth, Cape Cod, and southeastern Massachusetts area for more than 30 years. The company has earned a fine reputation for its installations and maintenance of plumbing systems.

Towne and Country Plumbing and Heating
P.O. Box 2580
Duxbury, MA 02331
(781) 934-2451

Towne and Country Plumbing and Heating in Duxbury Massachusetts services the Duxbury and surrounding area of the South Shore 24/7. This plumbing contractor has been servicing the area’s residential and commercial residents for 24 years with repair, remodel, and property management services.

Related: Signs Your Home Needs a Professional

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSBoston.com/YourHome.

Maryann Scheufele is a Childrens Book Author, Children’s Literature Examiner for Boston, Massachusetts licensed English Teacher grades 5-8 and 9-12, mother of five grown children, grandmother, Bathroom Designer by Trade, and resident of Plymouth in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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