If you have aging parents, you may have been faced with them struggling with their normal daily activities. If they live alone, this can be an especially distressing issue to face. You want them to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible, but if the time has come for them not to live by themselves any longer, you will likely need to decide whether or not to move them in with you. Let’s look at some key points to consider when making this decision….
Should you care for them in their home or move them into your home?
Here are some questions to ask yourself beforehand:
Do you get along well with your aging parent?
Is it easy for them to ask for help or assistance?
Will taking on the role of caregiver cause more stress? Remember—your assistance is meant to bring relief, not added stress.
Remember that as time goes on, your aging parent will likely need even more help.
Who should take part in the conversation about whether to move a parent into your home?
Firstly, ALWAYS include your parent in the discussion! This is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. It will affect both you and your parent, so they should feel included in the conversation. Nobody wants to just be told what will be happening without being included in the decision-making process.
Second, include other family members, such as your spouse and any children who are at home. Since the decision to move an aging parent into your home will bring about changes that affect all of you, make sure everyone feels informed of the potential changes. Likely, the caregiving will be a family effort, so working together as a team will ensure a smooth transition.
Finally, include your parent’s doctor and any other medical team members. It’s wise to get the counsel of the doctor who handles your aging parent’s care. Ask questions and find out from a medical perspective how this decision may affect their well-being. Change can be hard for the healthiest of people. Imagine if you had memory problems or the sense of being a burden to your family. You can see why it’s important to handle this decision with love and compassion and a large dose of patience.
Consider changes that may need to happen in your living arrangement.
Having your parent move in with you means that privacy becomes a potential issue that needs to be considered. Make sure your privacy is guarded, but also theirs! Try to have their living quarters in an area that feels private but is still easily accessible. Make sure there is easy access to the bathroom, and if they are confined to a bedroom, assure them that they will have their own TV, stereo, books, and any other items from home that make it seem more like their own place. Also, consider special needs such as wheelchair access.
Think about the following when setting up your parent to live in your home:
Safety. Think about rugs, fall hazards, etc.
Cost. Do they need home health care visits or a nurse? Do they need items such as medical supplies, etc.?
Time. Do they need 24-hour care? Are you able to give this level of care? Are there other family members who can help and will it mean extra expense?
Stress. Are you ready to take on caring for your aging parent, knowing that your social life may suffer and you will need to be devoted to the time and commitment that it takes to be a caregiver?
Being a caregiver for an aging parent can be stressful, but also incredibly rewarding! There’s no greater honor and privilege than giving back to the parents who have raised us and cared for us since we were born. Just remember that you need to also care for yourself! Neglecting your own needs hurts everyone and can have a negative impact on your own health and wellbeing. Decide ahead of time what your limitations are and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help!
If you have any more questions or could use help with caregiving for an aging parent, call Home Helpers.