Growing old with dear mama at home | Inquirer Business

Growing old with dear mama at home

By providing accessible elements in your home, you enable your senior parents to move about independently

By providing accessible elements in your home, you enable your senior parents to move about independently

(Editor’s note: In honor of the most special women in our lives, we asked four architects to design homes that could fit their needs—mothers in their golden years, working moms, first time mamas, and maternal figures who serve as custodians of cultural harmony in our homes. We pay homage to them through these designs and we hope that they continue to shine their light in our homes, inspiring us to become the best versions of ourselves. Happy Mother’s Day to our queen—Mama, Inay, Mommy, Nanay!)

For many of us, our moms are the forces behind our success.

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Taking care of us since birth, our mothers taught us how to walk, how to write, and basically how to make it through each day. They supported our basic needs, our little whims, and our education. At the very least, they gave us life and shaped us to become who we are today.

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That is probably why in the Philippines, taking care of our aging mothers is important. While the task may be difficult especially if our mothers are already riddled with memory loss and other ailments, we still strive to provide for them.

Thankfully, there are a couple of things we can do to make their everyday tasks easier. In terms of our home, we can modify its elements to suit their physical abilities. Here are some ways we can alter our home to accommodate our beloved nanays in their golden years.

If able, it would be wise to widen your hallways to accommodate wheelchairs

If able, it would be wise to widen your hallways to accommodate wheelchairs

Provide grab bars in bathrooms

Once in a while, people lose their balance. For our senior moms, this can be dangerous as it can cause crippling injuries. To prevent accidents, it’s wise to install grab bars in showers and bathrooms. You can opt to install DIY suction-type bars or have screw-type ones for a more reliable hold. Coupled with textured, non-slip strips and seats in the shower, you can be rest assured that your moms will be able to go to the bathroom anytime without risking their lives.

Eliminate awkward steps and tripping hazards

Sometimes, a change in floor elevation or finish can cause people to trip and fall. If you have the budget, revamp your home to eliminate thresholds and other possible tripping hazards. At the least, however, remove throw rugs and replace them instead with non-slip mats to avoid elderly mom sliding unexpectedly on the floor. It would also help if you avoid using slippery floor wax and opt for the non-slip varieties instead.

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Put their bedrooms on ground level

If you’re in the process of building a home, it would be wise to build your mom’s bedroom on the ground level. This allows them to avoid the stairs as much as possible, as this is where a lot of falls take place. Ideally, their bedrooms should be designed in a way that all light switches, pathways and beds are wheelchair friendly to allow them to move on their own. It might also be wise to invest in an intercom system that will allow them to reach you easily in case they need assistance.

Replace tiles with carpets

Replace shiny, slippery flooring with carpeting and skid-free mats

Replace shiny, slippery flooring with carpeting and skid-free mats

Tiles may also be a cause for concern among elderly mothers, especially if you have the shiny, slippery kind in the kitchen or in the bathroom. If possible, opt for carpeting to prevent falls and to provide a cushion. You can also use rubber matting instead in wet areas for a more budget-friendly modification.

Add lights

For moms experiencing vision problems, it would be helpful to install night lamps and other light sources to allow them to move about easily at night. Lights are ideally installed near bathroom doors and bedrooms, with the switches easily reachable for someone with a walker or wheelchair.

Provide ease of access

Moms deserve to be taken care of especially in their golden years

Moms deserve to be taken care of especially in their golden years

Replace standard door knobs with lever-type handles to help senior citizens keep a firmer grip on them. If possible, install a lift or ramp inside your multi-leveled home to help your mothers move quickly to and from various levels. The width of corridors and doorways can also be increased to accommodate wheelchairs.

Shower them with love

Most importantly, you should make time each day to bond with your mom, whether through a quick phone call or a face-to-face conversation. Time is probably the best gift that you can give them, as they will surely appreciate a chance to be with you amid your hectic schedule. This prevents depression among the elderly, and keeps them updated on your life even if they can’t be with you physically throughout your day.

Overall, our mothers are probably some of the best people we will meet in our lifetime so remember to love and cherish them, especially if they are still with you today. Whether expensive or practical, it will surely help them if you make changes in your home to suit their capacities.

Hopefully, your children will learn from your actions. This ensures that you too, in your golden years, will be taken care of and loved for the rest of your days.

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References: Patrick De Boeck, Marcus Aurelius, and Julie Aagaard via pexels.com

TAGS: Accessible home, elderly, mom, mothers

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