Aging adults may be unable to live independently because of chronic illness, arthritis or dementia. If you’re thinking about having a parent move in with you, here are some things to discuss:
What Type of Care Is Needed (or Will Be in the Future)?
Consider what type of care your parent needs now (or what might be needed in the future) and whether your family can handle it. Talk to your parent’s doctors about his or her current health needs and prognosis.
If your parent requires help managing medication and traveling to frequent medical appointments, ask yourself if you and other family members can provide the amount of assistance needed. Your work schedules might make it impractical or impossible.
If your parent needs assistance to use the toilet, bathe and dress, consider whether you and other family members would be comfortable helping, as these situations might be awkward for everyone.
If your parent has dementia or a history of falling, leaving them home alone could be unsafe. You may need to hire an aide to take care of your family member while others are out, or have your loved one wear a device that summons help in an emergency.
Is Your House Compatible With Your Parent’s Needs?
Your house might need to undergo changes to accommodate the needs of an aging adult. If your parent has trouble climbing stairs and the bedrooms are on the second floor, you might need to install a stair lift or convert a first-floor room into a bedroom. In addition, you may need to install bars near the toilet and in the shower. If your parent uses a wheelchair and the hallways aren’t wide enough, your house might need significant renovations.
Can You Afford to Have a Parent Move in?
Consider the financial implications of having a parent live with you. If your loved one has savings, or would need to sell their home, that money could be used to pay for renovations and living expenses. Your siblings might also be able to contribute financially.
Some caregivers reduce their hours or quit their jobs to care for a loved one. If your current income is critical to your family’s survival, explore options that will allow you to continue working. Your parent’s insurance or other programs might cover the cost of aides or modifications to the house or even provide transportation to medical appointments.
How Would Relationships Be Affected?
Consider the relationships between all family members. Any existing tension could be amplified by the stress of having an elderly relative move in. Even if you all get along well at the outset, having your parent move in can be a major change for everyone.
Discuss Things Openly and Honestly
It’s natural to want to help someone who cared for and raised you, but you have to be realistic. Think about the type of care your parent needs now, as well as in the future, and consider whether your family is equipped to provide that level of care.