If we can offer one piece of advice on the topic of moving a parent into your home, it is to think the decision through carefully and discuss the pros and the cons of a new living situation with everyone concerned. That includes your spouse, children living at home, other caregivers and the elder him or herself.
Here are some of the important factors to consider in making the decision:
- Studies show that most older adults prefer not to reside with their children, particularly if it takes them away from their community of friends and familiar places. Do not underestimate the comfort and security a senior finds in being located in his own neighborhood, near his church, the bank and even a long-time barber.
- Will your home accommodate another adult? Consider space and privacy, as well as safety. For example, can your parent walk up and down stairs? Are the hallways well-lit? Do you need to install grab bars in the bathroom?
- Know your parent's preference. Don't assume that your parent would like to move into your home. After years of living independently, residing under someone else's roof may not be of your parent's choosing.
- Think through the potential challenges of creating a multigenerational household. Discuss roles and responsibilities with everyone who will be living together, including your spouse, children and parent.
- Do you have an easy relationship with your parent? If you have held resentments or been prone to arguing in the past, chances are that living under the same roof will exacerbate any tensions between you.
- Your lifestyle may change considerably, especially if your parent requires regular supervision. Are you prepared to share your personal time and space? Do you have plans for respite?
- Consider how you will pay for the extra expense of boarding and caring for your parent. If appropriate, talk to your siblings about sharing the cost.
- Examine all of the options. If your parent can no longer live independently, what are the other alternatives for providing the necessary care, such as hiring in-home services? Present all of the options for the elder and other caregivers to consider.
Seniorlink, provides eldercare management services to aging adults, family caregivers and employers through its nationwide network of credentialed care managers.