What You Need to Know Before Moving in With Your Elderly Parents
Your parents are in the twilight of their years, and they need an increasing amount of assistance due to their failing health. Sometimes, there is also the issue of lack of finances due to inadequate retirement planning, so moving in with elderly parents is a must. Like a dutiful child, you are thinking of allowing your parents to move in your home, or you are toying with the idea of moving back in your old family house, especially if they don’t want to leave the home and its memories behind.
This situation is a delicate one, regardless of who does the moving. The final decision to cohabitate with your aging parents is something that will affect your family dynamics. It may even impact your career, finances, and physical and mental well-being. Adequate preparation is necessary if you are thinking of moving in with your elderly parents. Consider the following points below before you make a final decision of allowing two or even three generations to coexist in one home.
Assess the Entire Situation
You have fond memories with your parents because they spent quality time with you and gave you the opportunities to have a fruitful life. As a result, you want to give back since they are no longer in their prime. Now, the important question is, is there a necessity for your parents to live with you? Do they even want to give up their independence?
Sometimes, visiting in-home care helps, or they may wish to move to an adult home community, where they can socialize and spend quality time with people their age. Before you jump the gun, think of the following points below.
Consider Mobility Issues
Aging bones are brittle, and joints are no longer flexible. You can make adjustments like adding a chair lift, installing shower bars, or putting in better lighting to help your aging parents. However, if your parents have a difficult time navigating simple tasks like moving up and down the stairs, then in-home care or moving with someone may be necessary. The last thing you want with brittle bones is an accident that can potentially escalate into something bigger.
Evaluate If They Can Handle Daily Chores
The elderly are known to have arthritis, so doing daily chores may be cumbersome for them. Some have poor eyesight and arthritis on their hands, so it is a struggle to cut vegetables or meat and to cook. You can avail services like meal delivery boxes to help them out. Others have aching backs, so they can no longer maintain their homes. For hygiene purposes, you can hire a cleaner to come twice a week. You can also buy an android cleaning robot for the daily dusting of the floors.
Assess Cognitive Functions
As people age, it is normal for their memory and other senses to fail. That’s one of the natural parts of life. However, if your parents are afflicted with deeper cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, then they cannot be left alone. Sometimes, the elderly suffers a stroke or a heart attack, or they develop dementia.
In these instances, someone needs to keep an eye on your parents all the time to make sure they don’t inadvertently harm themselves. If you go with the in-home care approach, you need a reliable service provider you can entrust your beloved parents with while you are out.
Another option is placing them in a nursing facility, especially if you are busy with your career, and no one is left in your home all day long. They can also move in with you, especially if you are working from home or you are staying home to raise your kids.
Determine Mental Health
In close relation to cognition, you must analyze the mental and emotional state of your parents. Do they seem happy living alone? Do they feel neglected? Do they have friends around them? If your dad is suddenly a widower, can he cope living by himself?
These are vital questions to ask because one of the most significant predictors of a happy senior life is their mental health. Those who are depressed, anxious, and feel sorry for themselves are most likely to be grumpy, stubborn, and negative. They feel stressed, and as a result, more health issues crop up.
Thus, apart from addressing physical ailments, you must also take your parents’ emotional and mental health into account. Will living in an assisted living community make them feel happier? Will moving in to spend more time with you and their grandkids give your elderly parents a better quality of life?
If your parents are still agile, it would be therapeutic for them to spend time with your kids. Studies show that playing with grandchildren extends the life of the elderly. As an added perk, you get free babysitting, or if you do hire a babysitter, you can rest assured that someone is always present to keep an eye on things at home. Most of all, your children can learn a lot by being around your parents.
Talk to Your Parents
While your parents are still agile, it is essential to have this sensitive conversation with them, along with your siblings. The sooner you do it, the better it will be, so all of you will not be caught off guard and unaware in case of an emergency, and you need to cohabitate again.
Ask specific questions about their preferences because they may have different opinions from yours. When you have this talk, you must have measurable metrics as your guide to your future decisions. For instance, you can say, when you can no longer do this activity, then you must hire a caregiver, live with me, or join an adult home facility.
Making advanced preparations are not selfish, but in fact, these steps are crucial to the future of your family. The last thing you want to do is to make an impulsive knee-jerk decision because of unforeseen health issues.
Your parents do not want you to have a hard time. No one wants to feel like a burden to their children. Thus, talking ahead helps because you can make plans so that your parents don’t suddenly show up at the door, shocking your spouse and children, ready to move in. Similarly, you don’t want to feel trapped in what is supposedly a temporary situation that somehow morphs into a permanent living arrangement.
Discuss Things Over with Your Spouse and Children
As courtesy and respect, if you are married with kids, you need to ask your partner and older kids how they feel about your parents moving in with your family. Their daily routines will be affected by the new addition/s in your home. Sometimes, because of differences in values and upbringing, in-laws find it hard to get along.
Focusing on these sensitive issues before you let your parents move in means you don’t trample on anyone’s feelings. It is essential to have the cooperation of everyone in your family. This kind of living arrangement works out best when there is respect. Honoring other people’s feelings right from the start is vital to your success in cohabitating.
These are the crucial things that you must consider before asking your parents to move in with you. As much as you love your parents, you must also protect your own family now. If your spouse feels uncomfortable with the idea of having in-laws lurking in the background, then you must respect this feeling, or it will create friction in your relationship.
As an alternative solution, you can hire in-home care for your parents, or you can place them in a nearby assisted living facility like Bethany Home Care. Setting them up in a place near you means you can frequently visit with the grandkids.
Make Sure There is Ample Space
If you do decide to take in your elderly parents, you must make sure that you have loads of extra space in your home. Everyone in your household should have some measure of privacy because it is so easy to become annoyed and frustrated when people infringe on your personal space.
If you don’t have enough rooms, will you be building one, or will you ask your kids to move together so you can free up a room? In addition, if you have small kids, do you think your parents can cope with the amount of noise they make? These may seem like trivial, simple matters, but they do become significant concerns once you face living with each other day in and day out.
Double Check Your Finances
Can you afford another mouth to feed on your family income? Taking on one or two heads is a serious financial concern because your overhead costs will go up. Apart from food, you will have higher utility bills.
Consider if your parents are contributing their pension as a part of your family budget. Who will take care of their medications? Moreover, you may need to spend some money to accommodate them into your home, such as widening doors, adding a walk-shower, installing grab bars, etc.
If you are working from home, but there are days that you must go into the office, you may need to hire in-home help. Make sure you are aware of the hourly costs so that you can factor the amount into your family’s financial planning.
On top of that, you need to double-check your laws because they may reduce their social security benefits if they live with you. In the same token, you must also verify with your accountant how your parents can affect your taxes, especially if you claim them as your dependents.
What to Do with the Old Home
If your parents are homeowners before they move in with you, then you must decide what to do with the home. You may need to have a discussion with your parents and siblings regarding what will happen. Will you rent out the house or sell it? Who will get the rent money, or who will get the profits earned from the sale? If you go the rental route, you must also decide who will manage and maintain the home.
Another option is, if you are renting with your husband and kids, you can opt to transfer to the old family home. This option will give your parents the care that they need without having to sell anything. It’s also advantageous for you because you no longer need to pay rent. However, before you decide, you must first determine if you want to uproot your family, especially if your old family home is in another state.
Prepare Yourself Emotionally
You must fortify yourself because moving in together may not be as easy as you think. Brace yourself for a rough transition because you haven’t lived with your parents in decades. Even if they agreed, your spouse and children might end up complaining once your parents are living in the house.
As much as you all love your parents, they are set in their ways. They usually don’t like to adjust, and they prefer to do things their way. Are you prepared for old issues to crop up? Even if you are an adult, it is inevitable for your parents to think you are still a child. There is a high chance that old patterns of toxic behavior will resurface.
Make sure you are mentally and emotionally ready to handle the rough waters. Practice excellent communication skills, so you can be diplomatic even when discussing hot issues. Remember, elderly folks are sensitive, so you don’t want to show any disrespect and hurt them with your words. You must double up your efforts to be empathetic because they may be feeling insecure about their loss of autonomy and independence.
Before you make your final decision, you must find time to discuss everything and iron out the details, not only with your immediate family and your parents, but also with your siblings. Everyone must be on board for a smooth transition.
Now is the time to extend your patience to your parents. Imagine, you used to rely on them for everything, and now the roles have been reversed. It is important to be kind because someday, you too will grow old and grey.
If you think you cannot handle the responsibility of caring for your parents directly because they have special needs, then you have no other choice but to consider an aged-living facility like Bethany Home Care. You must pick a reputable center so that your parents can live out their remaining years in a happy place that is committed to uplifting the quality of their lives.