Everyone would like to age in their home and live there all their lives. Unfortunately, life is not a straight line and various factors may make it necessary for your aging parents to leave their home or to have someone move into their home to care for them. It’s a loaded decision that needs careful thought.
You may feel it’s best to move your parent into your home. Before you do this, consider the following:
What is your elderly parent’s state of health?
Is your parent relatively healthy and only needs company and perhaps minimal care? In this case, depending on your family setup and your relationship with your parent, moving in with you may offer a bonding opportunity for all family members. It’s beneficial for both children and grandparents. A 2017 study by Ann Buchanan of the University of Oxford, UK, found that children who are close to their grandparents are better able to handle life’s traumatic events.
Inter-generational contact is also good for grandparents. A 2017 Berlin Aging Study pointed out that grandparents who babysit live longer than those who don’t.
However, if your parent is in poor health, how will you provide care? Do they need nursing care? Can you provide this care now and in the future or will you need to hire a caregiver?
How is your relationship with your parent?
How well do you, your spouse, and your children get along with your parent? Can you live in the same house peacefully with your parent, spouse, and children? Consider if living together with your parent will strengthen or weaken the bond between family members.
Could living with your parent cause a strain in your marriage? You need to make a realistic assessment of the situation and make an informed decision. You might need counseling sessions for everyone before the move, and perhaps regular family meetings.
Consider the situation in your home
Do you have enough space to accommodate your parent/s? Is your home safe for seniors or do you need to make adjustments? Remember, your parents may be agile now, but could lose mobility later. Who or how will you fund any modifications that need to be made to your home? Consider whether your parents or siblings can contribute to the renovations needed.
If your parent is in a wheelchair, you will need to accommodate this and other needs. If possible, you might consider putting up a cottage or guest wing for your parent/s to allow them to receive visitors privately. Your aging parents need a social life, while at the same time you need to respect the privacy desires of every family member. A great deal of what you do will depend on your individual circumstances, including your budget.
What outside help is available?
In the beginning you might, as a family, be able to care for your loved one. However, as time goes by and your parent’s health declines, they may need more care than you can give. Prepare in advance for this eventually by sounding out siblings who might be able to help when needed.
However, in the long run, you would be better off hiring a trained caregiver or nurse aide. You may not be comfortable or competent bathing or dressing your parent. Consider home care help, daycare for adults, or other options available.
Depending on your parent’s health, you may need to hire a live-in or daily caregiver. The downside to this is that you have to learn to live with strangers in your house. Some will blend in and become family, others may not.
Every family is different and every situation is specific to the concerned people. So, how you handle the question of having your parents move in will depend on your particular situation. The above are just guidelines to help you in making these important decisions.