What do you do if you move in with an elderly relative and you want to keep them happy while you care for them? Are they active? Have they lost a loved one?
These are just a few of the questions I had to answer when we recently moved in with my 94-year-old father-in-law. I have got to say to start out with, he is totally easy to get along with so I do not have a major problem that way. And he still goes to work every day (yes he is 94) so we do not usually get in each other's way. But, even with the most congenial person, moving their things to make room for your own can be an exercise in tact.
The smallest things can upset the balance in an older person's routine. We are still trying to integrate our dishes with his. There is so much I cannot remove from the cupboards because it has been there for over 50 years or at least since my mother-in-law was alive over eight years ago. The trick is a combination of watching to see the places he uses most and making sure I disturb those portions of shelves as little as possible. In addition I place my things in with his and gradually remove items I know he is not using.
But to my original dilemma -- where to put my toothbrush -- we have found that clearing out a small space by first removing items either expired or over ten years old from bathroom cupboards has helped. If your relative is a neat freak, you may not have this luxury. In that case, it is best to consult the relative on where there might be space for your toiletries. Most of the time, if you are moving in to keep an eye on their health, they should be willing to allow you some space. If they are in the early stages of dementia or alzheimer's you will probably want to consult their physician or an expert in the field as to how to handle this.
Do you have some tips? I am open for new ideas. Believe me, I need all the help I can get!