Living with elderly parents
Moving in with older relatives - or having them move in with you - is certainly a big decision and not one that should be taken lightly. Living with elderly parents, whether in their home or yours, can be a wonderful experience. It gives you a chance to bond with your parents and spend precious time together. However, it can also lead to some tension. It's important to consider your options carefully before deciding to live with your elderly parents.
For this reason, we've compiled some key questions to ask yourself before deciding if you should be living with elderly parents.
1. What care will they need?
Ask yourself this first - what mental and physical care do your elderly relatives need?
Your relatives may still be fairly independent, healthy, and active. This can be a good time for them to move into a new environment and adjust to your home and family lifestyle.
However, if the decision to move in with elderly parents is the result of a fall or health issue, it's important to understand the care that they will need. Talk to your relative's doctor to learn about the care your parent needs now and the care they are likely to need in the future.
2. How much care can you provide?
After you've got a clear idea of your relative's needs and medical issues, you must ask yourself: How can I care for them? You should consider how much time you'll be able to spend at home and any assistance that other relatives could provide.
Think carefully about your time and schedule. You may have work commitments, a family to look after, as well as your own personal care needs. Really think about your elderly parents' specific needs and which ones you can take on.
If they need help washing and dressing, will you have the time to help and are you comfortable doing so? For the tasks that you aren't able to help with, is someone else available to provide support? Will you be able to hire in-home help if necessary?
3. What changes should you make to your home?
Before living with elderly parents, you may need to make some changes to the house. If your bathroom is downstairs and they struggle to get downstairs in the middle of the night you'll need to consider if this could prevent them living with you. There may be solutions to issues like this, such as a stairlift, railings, a wet room shower. Read our '3 Tips For Preventing Falls In Older People'.
You must ask yourself whether there is enough room for all of the family to live comfortably with each other. Is there a spare bedroom that your elderly parents can call their own? Can you afford to make any necessary changes to the house?
4. How will you cover financial costs?
If they can afford to help with money, let your elderly relatives pay 'rent' towards the bills, food and necessary renovations. Often, they will want to help with the financial costs of their care and feel like they are contributing to the family. Just make sure you discuss and agree on how you will manage finances before they move in.
These conversations should include other family members like your siblings. If you are taking your parents to live with you, how can they help financially?
5. Can your relative(s) adapt to family life?
Relationships with parents can be a challenge, especially during stressful periods of change, so it's important to communicate honestly. Do you have any concerns about living together under one roof? Do your parents have any worries about moving in with you? Will your relative(s) fit in with your current family routine and lifestyle?
It's important to also ensure they will still have their own independent social life. Will they be far away from their friends? If so, can they drive or use public transport to visit people? Is there enough of a local community so they don't feel lonely when you and your family are at work and school?
If your elderly parents need some support to maintain their independence, a Careline Alarm could be the solution. Our life-saving alarms consist of a base unit and a comfortable pendant button. The user wears the pendant around their wrist or neck. Whenever they need help, they simply press the button. Our 24-Hour Care Team will answer their call for assistance and take action quickly.
You can also order a Careline Alarm online today.
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Editor's Note: We updated this article on 12/02/21 to include up-to-date information.
Originally published 03/08/17.