FOUR CONSIDERATIONS FOR CARING FOR AN ELDERLY PARENT
As a responsible child raised by loving parents, you may feel obligated to return the favor if they require assistance as they age. It’s not uncommon for an elderly parent to move in with their adult children; however, this is not a decision that should be made without planning, consideration and several honest conversations. There are many factors to ponder, especially as it relates to your parent’s health, finances and sense of independence.
Assessing Level of Care
It’s crucial to take stock of your parent’s needs. Do they need someone to occasionally check up on them to make sure things are fine, or is constant supervision necessary? Loss of independence is a major concern to the elderly, and you owe it to everyone involved to honestly assess the level of care needed. Consider level of health, mobility, need for social interaction, cognitive function and living conditions as you think about the next steps. Don’t presume that you are able to provide the care that they need. Hiring an in-home healthcare provider or living in a Residential Care Facility may be better, more feasible options.
After careful assessment of current quality of life, moving in might be the best move. Before you proceed, contemplate how this change will affect you, your parent and others in your household. It might seem like a no-brainer to have a grandparent around, especially for the mutual benefit of young children, but everyone will need to adjust to the changes of having elderly people in the home. You will likely have to make changes to your home to accommodate an aging parent’s needs, which can vary from simple and inexpensive to complicated and costly. Some seniors may have certain health conditions that affect their interactions with family members, especially children who may be too young to fully understand.
Counting the Costs
There will be significant costs associated with having a parent move in. On one level, there is an additional person in the home impacting your monthly food expense as well as energy bills. Beyond this, there will also be costs associated with home modifications, in-home care. Your parent may have funds to help cover some or all of the increased costs to your monthly bottom line. There may be some government or retirement benefits to help defray expenses.
Examining Your Relationship
Your relationship with your parent will be tested when living together. You are now an adult and it’s important that your parent recognize and respect your right to establish rules in your home. You should also remember that your parent has changed too and you can’t expect them to have the same views, personality and attitudes that you were familiar with as a child. Seek to maintain open communication with them as you both navigate this new normal.
You appreciate your folks for the love and care they’ve provided over the years. If they live long enough to require some form of assisted living or care, it’s important to step back and consider their true needs, which you may or may not be equipped to provide. Having a parent move into your home is a major step that will impact everyone involved.