Seniors living with their children is a big decision. Taking the step to move an aging parent into your home is something that will affect both you and your senior parent. This wonderful decision should not be made lightly and will have a lasting impact on you, your parent, your spouse, and your children.
How to Decide When It is Time
You’ve already made the decision to move your parent in with you when the time comes, but how do you know when that is? The simplest answer is when an aging parent can no longer reasonably take care of themselves. Depending on your parent's physical and mental health, there can be many warning signs that they are in need of home care.
Wandering. If your parent tends to wander off, both physically and in conversation, it may be time to consider providing home care for them. Wandering is symptomatic of dementia and can pose a great risk to your parent and those around them.
Aggression. Is your aging parent quick to anger? Are they prone to hyperbolic reactions? If this describes your parent, it may be to time to consider home caregiving. Seniors that anger easily can be unpredictable and may put themselves in situations that are unsafe.
Safety Oversight. If your parent seems to be negligent of safety precautions, it is definitely time to strongly consider home caregiving. You need to have the peace of mind that your parents will not hurt themselves. Seniors that move in with their children are less likely to injure themselves doing tasks that they are unable to safely perform on their own.
Illness or Injury. A senior who is experiencing a new or worsening illness is in need of home care services. If an illness or injury is causing so much distress that the aging parent is not comfortable being left alone, this is a sign that it is time for them to move in with you.
Advantages of Inviting Your Parent into Your Home
There are advantages and disadvantages of having your aging parent share your home. Sharing a living space with your parent can be a rewarding experience for you and your family.
One advantage to moving your aging parent into your home is that you can make up for lost time. If you left the nest early, you may be able to make up quality time together that you may have missed. If you were once far away and are now only a room down the hall, you have the opportunity to appreciate a lot of the little moments that bring you and your parent happiness.
Additionally, moving an aging parent into your home gives your children an opportunity to get to know their grandparent better and build a strong, meaningful relationship with them. Your parent will relish the chance to pass their wisdom along to their grandchildren.
You can also consider the economical benefit to you and your parent from moving in together. Your parent no longer has to worry about paying their bills or managing their assets. Furthermore, you can enjoy the benefits of being able to purchase bulk perishable food items with less fear of them going to waste. Additionally, if you or your parent decides to liquidate their assets, you can set aside funds to cover any costs associated with the care of your parent. However, tread carefully in this regard. A lack of financial sensitivity can create friction between you and your parent and perhaps other family members as well.
Disadvantages of Living with Seniors
Inviting your aging parent to move in with you is a major decision. This cannot be said enough. Be honest with yourself and your capabilities. How much can you reasonably commit to the home care of your parent?
Additionally, think of the stress it may put on your spouse or perhaps children. Is your home life stable enough for this to be a good idea? Ask people who you are close to, but are outside of your immediate family if they think it is a good idea. You want an outside, impartial person to give you some perspective and to avoid looking at the prospect through rose-tinted glasses. Living with your aging parent can be a great experience, but it can also be a large burden if you are not well prepared.
Offering home caregiving to your parent is a big change for everyone involved and not necessarily just time commitment changes. You have to consider what your relationship with your parent currently is. Do you get along with them? Will they be able to abide by the rules of your household? Will having your parent in your household put your spouse and children at risk? For many this is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is imperative that people considering this life changing event have carefully thought about all of the potential advantages and disadvantages applicable to their specific situation.
Consider Hiring a Home Caregiver
Fortunately, you don't have to take this step alone. Maybe your parent already has a home caregiver but needs full time attention. In this case, your parent is already familiar with a home caregiver and could move in with you as a way to provide more home care coverage.
If the move needs to happen for financial reasons, a part time home caregiver that comes to your home is more cost effective than a full time caregiver in your parent's home or an assisted living facility. Using a home caregiving service can allow you the flexibility you need to honor your commitments while taking on the additional responsibility of caring for seniors. Home care doesn't have to be full time. Home caregivers can work around your needs to deliver a sensible home care strategy.