Choosing home care for an ill or elderly family member is a noble and big decision and one that requires so much home planning, preparing, and maintaining. After all, our loved one deserves nothing the best, regardless of their condition. The health of your loved one hinges on the health of your home, and here are some ways to ensure that your house is a good place for your loved one to heal, rest, recover, or spend the final moments of their lives.

Preparation

1. Make sure your house is spotless. More than just a regular dust-up, make sure every area of your home has been wiped down, sanitized, and disinfected. Remove clutter like books, magazines, electric cords, or cables, especially from hallways and walking paths.

2. Organize the supplies, items, and tools that the hospice and home care team may need. Invest in shelves and containers where the caregivers can easily access everything they might need to care for your loved one. Consult with the patient’s doctor to know what kind of supplies you need to stock up on and what the hospice care service will provide.

3. Set up an information center, or a notebook, for the care team. Make sure it’s a place where the caregivers can write down notes and see your reminders and notes since you may not be able to see each other regularly. List down all the phone numbers they must know about and give them an updated list of numbers to add on their speed dial. Double-check that all the medications are labeled properly, with the right dosage listed down. Chances are the team is already on top of all of this pertinent information, but it couldn’t hurt if you give them constant reminders. Map out all the emergency routes and escape plans in case of an emergency like a fire or an earthquake, and discuss it with them at length.

seniors spending time together

4. Ensure that all the safety materials, like hand railings on the stairs, grab bars, and safety frames are secure and sturdy. Tape down your rugs with adhesive underneath to keep them in place. Make sure that there is no safety hazard in your loved one’s room; that anything that’s hanging on the walls will not fall on them, and that there’s nothing on the floors that would cause them to slip. Install safety frames anti-slip mats in every toilet of the house.

5. Fix broken things around the house. Check the driveway and the yard for signs of a crack, and do the same for the exterior walls. Make sure all the windows can easily be opened and closed, that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly.

Maintenance

1. Maintain your home’s indoor air quality by regularly checking your HVAC system. Make sure that all the filters and air ducts are always dust-free. Make a habit of checking if your home’s temperature and humidity are just right for the season. Consider consulting with an HVAC expert to make sure that all the systems are working properly and so that you’re able to fix or replace in advance anything that could become a major problem in the future.

2. Just as you have done spring cleaning before your loved one came into the home, you should also keep your home as spotless as it was before they came in. If you live with kids, teach them to clean up after their messes, especially if they’re the type to leave behind toys and dirty plates. Make sure that the clutter remains hidden and that the cords and cables are intact and put away where they won’t cause anyone to trip.

3. Build a healthy relationship while setting good boundaries with the caregivers. In general, caregivers have been trained to build a healthy relationship with their clients, which often extends to the client’s family as well. But you should also do your part in making sure the caregivers are comfortable and that there is mutual trust between both parties. Stay abreast of your family member’s condition, but don’t hover around the caregivers either. A healthy relationship between the client’s family and caregivers will only benefit your ill or elderly loved one.

If you have decided to bring home an ill or elderly family member, make sure that they receive the best kind of care in your house. Whether they’re in recovery or the final moments of their lives, then they deserve an environment where they can breathe clean air, move comfortably, and find peace, solace, and even small pockets of joy. They deserve nothing less.