Should You Move Your Elderly Parent into Your Home?
If you have elderly parents, you want to take care of them and make sure they’re well looked after. Sometimes that can mean they don’t live on their own anymore.
For some older people, remaining in their home past a certain point can be dangerous. There are hazards in the home that can lead to falls, cooking accidents, or other injuries. It may also get lonely if your parent lives alone.
If you’ve gotten to a point where you’re thinking your parent shouldn’t live on their own anymore or you’re just thinking about the next step, the following are things to consider and know.
The Benefits of Multigenerational Living
Your parent may want to move in with you, or you might be pushing for it not necessarily because they can’t live on their own anymore, but perhaps you want the benefits that come with living in a multigenerational household.
For example, it helps your parent avoid isolation, but depending on the health of your parent, they may be able to help you with things around the house, such as childcare or cooking.
It can be mutually beneficial in some situations to have your parent move into your home. Some of the things to think about on your end include:
- Do you think you’ll be able to get along well?
- Do you have unresolved issues that could create a difficult living environment?
- How much help, if any, would you expect of your parent, and is that reasonable?
- How will your parent contribute to household and living experiences?
- Will having your parent move in alter your work schedule?
- Does your parent feel open to the idea of moving?
Your parent will have to think about a lot too. For example, would moving in with you take them away from their friends or activities? Does your parent like being around people a lot? What level of financial contribution would they be willing or able to make?
Would You Need to Make Changes to Your Home?
Your home might not be equipped to meet the needs of an elderly relative, so would you have to invest time or money to make it more accommodating? Are you willing to make needed changes? You have to think about not just the needs of your parent currently, but what their future needs might be.
Are there chronic illnesses that could lead to a deterioration of physical health? How could that be addressed in changes made to the home?
Along with safety considerations, what about privacy? Is there an area of your home where your parent could live and enjoy some sense of privacy and also give you privacy?
Some of the changes you might make to your home can be simple and inexpensive. For example, maybe you add grab bars in the bathroom or railings in the halls.
Others can be very expensive. As an example, changing out your doorways and bathrooms entirely can be extremely costly projects.
Even simple things like uneven floors can be very dangerous to an older person.
Added into your budget will also be ongoing household expenses. How much more food will you have to buy, what will you spend on medicine and transportation too?
Even if your parent is paying some of the expenses, you’re also having one more person in the home using electricity and water.
Are You Realistically Able to Care for Your Parent?
You’ll have to be honest with yourself before you take on the responsibility of having your elderly parent move in with you. If they’re in good shape and not dealing with any chronic health conditions, it could work well for years to come. If not, however, it could be something that quickly becomes too much for you to handle.
If your parent has a progressive health condition, what might that look like in terms of care in the future?
Are you physically able to provide the care your parent might need now and down the road?
What’s your schedule like, and are you comfortable taking on such a big role in the life of your parent?
It’s okay to know what your personal limits are. Not everyone is cut out to be a caretaker.
You also have to consider the needs of the rest of your family. How will your parent moving in affect your spouse and your children?
It’s possible that having your parent move in could affect your marriage. You’re adding a new personality to the household and perhaps putting a lot of pressure on everyone in the family.
Would having your parent move in negatively affect your career?
You also have to think about the existing relationship you have with your parent. If it’s one with a lot of conflicts, it may not be a good idea to live together. It could be difficult for both of you, so again, be honest with yourself as you assess this.
There is so much stress placed on caregivers, and often what ends up happening is that they lose their jobs, whether because they quit or they’re fired. There are so many demands that can take up your time so you might not be focusing on your job like you were before.
You can’t forget that your parent has a say in things too. Older people often get frustrated when they feel like their family is trying to take over their life, or take their independence away from them.
If it’s possible, talk with your parent and be honest with them about your feelings as far as them continuing to live with you.
Your parent isn’t your child, and you have to remember that in your conversations and also if your parent ends up moving in with you.
Having your parent move in with you is a big decision and one that can never be taken lightly. There are logistics like getting your house ready and managing finances, but also emotional factors to think about.