Younger generations often adapt and become advocates for environmental consciousness. That doesn’t mean older generations are resistant to the new methodologies and practices that are better for our planet, it may simply mean they are less aware of the easy ways it is possible to help make the earth healthier.
Two of the biggest ways to help change the attitudes of your parents if they are from an older generation is to introduce some of the easy changes that will benefit them and the earth. Then discuss ways aging in place may be possible while also being good for the environment and their overall happiness and well-being.
There are so many small changes that can quickly and easily be implemented into your parent’s lives that will not only be great for the environment but will also improve their lives. One way to start the process is to offer to do a little landscaping for them. By choosing native plants and grasses and implementing water saving protocols it is possible to reduce the amount of money they must spend on water and lawn maintenance. While this is an obvious boon to them, the decreased water usage, fertilizer, and fuel needed to maintain a lawn is fantastic for the environment.
Another way to immediately change how your parents interact with the environment is to introduce them to environmentally friendly cleaning products and light bulbs. Many people become accustomed to using the same products year after year and are not even aware that better options exist. One of the benefits of choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products is they are often easier on aging skin and help improve indoor air quality, which can help alleviate respiratory issues. And long-lasting, energy efficient LED light bulbs are great for the environment, but they will also reduce the number of times your parents must climb a ladder to change a light bulb and they will save money on their electric bills over time.
Aging in Place
As people age they begin considering where they will live. Often, people believe they need to move to a new home due to the inaccessibility of upper floors or because they worry that the home will be too large for them to care for. While moving to a new location is certainly an option, many people will resist this because they want the familiarity of their family home. Fortunately, with some carefully chosen renovations, it is easier than ever for your parents to age in place. As a bonus, renovations can be used to reduce their existing carbon footprint.
Sometimes in a multistory home, the upper floors can be much warmer during summer months. So once the insulation rating and the windows are upgraded, your parents likely will want to reoccupy those floors. If there are only a couple of steps between levels, this can be accomplished with a custom ramp. For larger distances, stair lifts or home elevators can make a huge impact on stair safety and accessibility for those with mobility issues. Companies like EasyClimber offer a number of affordable solutions that are more attractive and easy to install than previous iterations.
Another important consideration is the safety of the bathroom. Most older homes have a standard tub in each bathroom. This can be difficult to navigate as one ages. Renovating this room to include a walk-in shower, handicapped accessible toilet, and handrails throughout can make it a much safer and more functional environment. When choosing new fixtures in the bathroom, the low-flow models can make a huge difference in water consumption and can save substantial amounts of money and help conserve water at the same time.
If your parents decide they are interested in aging in place, encourage them to select energy-efficient upgrades. Not only will these be better for the environment and their wallets, but they may also qualify for a tax incentive or rebate that can help pay for some of the changes. Be sure to check for local and federal rebates and programs.
It can be a challenging transition for some children to realize that they need to become caretakers and educators for their parents. While the change in roles may be difficult, it is important to recognize and appreciate that you do have valuable insight and knowledge to share, and to do so is a way to show your parents how much you love them and the planet.