Having a family is a blessing but with a fair share of challenges. It can be a source of joy and warmth and bring much-needed companionship. While the average family size, according to the Census Bureau, it’s common to have over five members in the same house. People living under one roof are bound to have different needs, preferences, and lifestyles that must be accommodated.
Therefore, as the homeowner, it is your responsibility to ensure your home is comfortable and welcoming to the whole family. Creating an accessible, well-maintained home that is safe for family members of all ages requires careful planning and consideration. In this guide, we will discuss various tips on how to take care of a big family home.
1. Accommodating Elderly Family Members
Living in a big family home often means having elderly family members around. Due to old age, these family members often have unique mobility requirements. That means when considering how to make your home accommodating to the whole family, you have to factor in their needs.
One essential aspect of accommodating elderly family members is making the home accessible by installing grab bars in bathrooms near the toilet, shower, and other house parts for support, balance, and stability. You can also install handrails on either side of staircases to prevent accidental falls.
Ensuring adequate lighting throughout the house could also reduce the risk of falls. Install motion-activated lights in hallways and bathrooms for added safety. Elder law allows caregivers to tweak the property owned by older Americans for their wellbeing.
Another way to improve elder accessibility is through investing in non-slip bath marts. These are especially crucial for areas prone to getting wet, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Accessible bathroom features like a walk-in shower with a bench, raised toilet seats, and handheld showerheads could also make bathing and toileting convenient. This consideration will make your home safer for elderly family members and reduce potential risks to the whole family.
Adaptive furniture like adjustable beds or chairs with armrests can help you better accommodate your older family members. Choosing furniture that is easily accessible and comfortable for them greatly improves their quality of life by reducing fatigue and discomfort and preventing back pain. If your elderly family members have health issues, you could also consider installing a medical alert system. These systems come in handy during an emergency, providing your loved one a way to quickly and easily call for help.
2. Ensuring Newborn and Infant Safety
Family growth entails welcoming newborns and infants into your home. While these little ones bring joy and happiness, they require special attention and care. Having infants in the house requires you to take all the necessary measures to keep them safe.
One of the ways to ensure their safety is by babyproofing your home. Babyproofing involves identifying potential hazards and taking steps to reduce or eliminate them. These include covering electrical outlets, securing furniture and appliances that could tip over, keeping small objects out of reach, and installing baby gates on staircases.
These measures will protect young children from accidents such as falls, burns, or poisoning. Childproofing caters to the whole family by having everyone at ease. According to Home Advisor, babyproofing your house will cost between $190 and $622.
Another essential step to make your large family home safe for newborns is installing baby monitors. These devices will help you keep an eye on your little ones even when they are in a different room. Additionally, eliminating choking hazards and storing away any toxic substances will make your home safer for little bundles of joy.
With a newborn in the house, you should also be cautious with pets. While pets can be great companions, they may also be a risk to newborns and infants. It is necessary to have a safe space for your pets that is out of reach from the little ones. Consider having designated areas for your pets or installing baby gates to separate them.
Alternatively, ensure all interactions between pets and infants are well supervised to avoid accidents. Your pet should also be up-to-date on vaccinations. This measure will help prevent the transmission of diseases to your little ones.
3. Essential Home Repairs and Inspections
Living in a large family home means that the wear and tear of everyday use can take a toll on your property. That is why it is essential to conduct essential home repairs and inspections. Such measures ensure you catch any issues before they escalate into bigger problems.
When conducting home repairs, preventative maintenance inspections is key. It involves regular check-ups and upkeep to identify and fix any issues before they become major problems. Some areas that require preventative maintenance include your plumbing. Regularly check for leaks and fix your drainage system to prevent burst pipes or water damage.
It is also important to schedule regular inspections of your electrical systems and appliances to identify potential hazards and ensure everything is in good working condition. Regularly inspecting home gadgets and systems keeps your home in good condition and saves you money in the long run. It also gives you peace of mind, knowing that your home is safe and welcoming to the whole family.
One crucial area to focus on is your home’s exterior, specifically the siding. Siding not only enhances the appearance of your home but also acts as a protective barrier against harsh weather conditions. Therefore, if your siding is damaged or worn out, it is crucial to invest in professional home siding services. According to Forbes, siding repairs will cost you an average of $500. Such repairs will make your home look more welcoming and prevent potential damage to the interior.
4. Pest Control and Water Damage Mitigation
Pests such as ants, mice, and cockroaches are a menace. That is why it is important to seek effective home pest control services to keep vermin and other unwanted visitors at bay. Additionally, you can practice preventive measures to reduce the risk of pest invasions. For example, you could lock away all your food substances or store them in airtight containers. Regular pest inspection and treatments prevent infestations and protect your home from health hazards.
Living as a large family can also lead to the accumulation of clutter. As such, it could provide heeding and breeding grounds for pests. Therefore, it is important to declutter your home and keep it tidy regularly. A well-maintained, lit, and organized home can also help prevent pest problems. For instance, cohabiting with pests puts your family at risk of salmonella, rat but fever, asthma, and allergies.
Water damage is another common issue that large family homes face. According to Ruby Home Luxury Real Estate, water damage affects about 14,000 people daily in the U.S. Put differently, approximately 1 out of every 60 insured homes file a claim for freezing or water damage yearly. Water damage can cause cracks in floors and walls, creating pathways for ants and rodents. Therefore, you should address water damage immediately by draining standing water and sealing leaks to prevent pest infestations.
With many people using showers, flushing toilets, and doing laundry, there is a higher chance of clogs, water leakage, and burst pipes. Such damages can lead to mold growth and structural integrity problems. These factors can pose safety and health risks to the whole family, especially the young and the elderly.
That is why it is essential to have a list of reputable water mitigation companies you can call in case of emergencies. These companies use specialized tools and techniques to quickly remove excess water and dry out your home, preventing further damage.
5. Electrical Safety
Electrical systems are an essential part of any home, but they can also pose potential hazards if not well-maintained. This is especially true in a large family house with many electrical appliances. Mishandling electrical apparatus can cause home electrical fires, which, according to The Electrical Safety Foundation, account for around 51,000 fires yearly.
Home electrical fires also account for $1.3 billion in property damage, over 1,400 injuries, and nearly 500 deaths. One way to ensure safety is by conducting a regular electrical repair. These include fixing any faulty outlets, replacing old wiring, and checking the safety of your electrical panel. It is also important to have an annual inspection done by a licensed electrician to identify potential safety hazards.
Another way to ensure electrical safety is using tamper-resistant outlets. These are designed to prevent children from inserting objects into the outlets, reducing the risk of electric shock. You could also install AFCI circuit breakers in the kitchen and living areas. These breakers detect any abnormal current flow and cut off power to prevent fires.
You could also use a bulkhead connector to reduce the risk of electricity-water contact. Such connectors are typically essential in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor outlets. Installing this connector will ensure electrical cords remain safe and dry, preventing potential accidents. Alternatively, you could use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) for the same purpose. These function by shutting off power in case of a ground fault, preventing electrical shock.
6. Wheelchair Accessibility
Sometimes living as a large family means having members who are elderly or with disabilities that require the use of a wheelchair. In such instances, it is important to ensure that the house is completely wheelchair-accessible. A simple way to achieve this is by considering wheelchair ramp installation on all steps in the house. This measure will provide smooth, uninterrupted, and safe access to different areas of your home, including the front entrance, patios, and decks.
Choosing single-story living is also an important consideration when making your home accessible to the whole family. This consideration eliminates the need for stairs, which can be challenging for wheelchair users to navigate. However, if you live in a multiple-story building, consider installing a stairlift. This option will make it easier for elderly or disabled family members to move between floors without assistance.
Ensuring your home has wide enough doorways and hallways is another essential aspect of wheelchair accessibility. Such a factor provides convenience by making it easier for wheelchairs to pass without restrictions. Widening doorways and hallways may require some minor renovations, but the convenience and safety provided are worth the effort.
It is also important to install slip-resistant floors. Slip-resistant floors provide friction against which wheelchairs can grip, ensuring safe movement. There are different options for slip-resistant flooring, including carpet tiles, vinyl, linoleum floors, or rubber tile squares.
7. HVAC and AC Maintenance
A reliable heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is crucial for maintaining a comfortable living space throughout the year. Such a system not only provides comfort but also reduces health risks such as asthma attacks and allergies. In large-family homes, this feature is handy, considering older adults and newborns might be vulnerable to harsh weather. However, with constant use, the HVAC system will also need regular maintenance.
To ensure your HVAC system operates efficiently and effectively, it is important to conduct regular maintenance. These include changing air filters periodically and cleaning vents and ducts. You will also have to lubricate moving parts as the manufacturer recommends to reduce friction and wear, extending the life of the equipment. Many HVAC systems undergo contract manufacturing which makes it easy to get assistance from the subcontractors.
HVAC maintenance also requires regular ductwork inspection for leaks, cracks, or blockages. Remember, leaky ducts can waste energy and reduce indoor air quality. House Beautiful recommends having AC contractors check your HVAC system at least twice yearly. Besides maintaining your HVAC system, it is important to consider installing multiple thermostats to control the temperature in each area, ensuring comfort without wasting energy by heating or cooling unused spaces. Such a measure will prove of great benefit to the whole family through its cost-effectiveness.
Maintaining a large family home requires various measures to ensure safety and comfort. Making a large home accessible, safe, and comfortable is not merely about practicality but crafting a space that embraces each family member’s unique needs and lifestyles. A welcoming home tailored to the whole family becomes a sanctuary where everyone, young and old, feels truly at home.