The natural order of things for a very long time has always been that once our parents reach a certain age and need assistance with their day to day living, they would simply live with us and enjoy their twilight years around their children and grandchildren.
However, the modern world has led us to believe that this could be a grave mistake (see what I did there) - one that would only lead to stress and exhaustion - so instead we pack them off into a retirement home and be done with it!
Well, we’re here to tell you that moving in with your elderly parents, or having them move into your home, can be one of the best decisions you could ever make! With this in mind we have put together a few key points to consider to help make this the best possible decision for all involved:
What kind of care will they need?
Before you make any major decisions, it’s important to know what type of care they might need and how those needs will change over time, this will help you to be fully prepared for what is required. Will they need help physically, mentally or medically? Once you have this knowledge you will be able to make sure all your needs are covered.
How much assistance and supervision are you able to give to them?
Be realistic, know your limits and consider your current schedule. As much as we love our parents and we believe in our own superhero powers, we are only human, and many of us will also be looking after children, households and careers too. There is wisdom in admitting you will need help!
How well do you really get along with each other?
Take an honest look at your relationship, and trust me when I say, if you have never gotten on particularly well together before don’t expect that it will all of a sudden be easy sailing. It will help everyone to go into the situation with eyes open and honesty about our expectations. Talk about how you’d all like to be treated when an issue pops up that needs to be resolved.
Is your home older-adult-friendly?
Ideally your elderly parents should be living on a single floor building so that they will not have to worry about stairs. Other factors to look at include, ramps and wide doors for wheelchairs, a bathroom with a shower they are able to access easily, their own space to sit and watch TV (space away is for them and for you).
Will other members of your family be able to contribute?
Always speak about finances first! Do not assume that either your parents or siblings WILL be able to assist you – that will only lead to arguments and heart ache. Find out exactly who is able to do what and possibly look at putting it all down onto a document so that there can be no confusion.
Speak to your spouse, partner and children about your parents moving in
Well, this goes without saying but it’s easy to ask everyone and for everyone to say “yes” without taking time to see how everyone’s feeling and what concerns come up (especially from children) once the idea has had a chance to sink in. You will need on-going buy-in from all sides to give it a good chance working out well. It’s an awesome opportunity for your parents and your kids to forge a strong relationship. If your kids are involved in caring for their grandparents it will help teach them a sense of compassion and empathy.
Look at how your household runs and how your parents will fit in
This is something that is often overlooked, or simply not spoken about, and it can have the potential to lead to conflict. It can be hard for some elderly parents to realise that they have to follow rules, but we cannot treat them like children either. Do you allow smoking and drinking in your house, do they have pets that will also move in, do their day-to-day habits align with the routines that you have established in your home. Speak about the issues that grate on each other, they may seem trivial individually, but when left to accumulate every day they are often left unresolved.
Social lives and ease of movement for your parents
While you may think that your company will be all your parents will need, I hate to tell you this but they will need to get out and see other people and do things on their own! Change isn’t easy as we get older and moving to somewhere very new can be very lonely without friends. Are there places and clubs they can go to meet and socialise with people their own age? Are they able to get out on their own or will they need assistance to get around? Suddenly finding yourself sitting on your own at home all day could lead to boredom, frustration and upset!
While it can be a huge adjustment for all, living with your elderly parents has many, many unexpected benefits. For many they have been able to connect with their parents in a way they never were able to when they were younger, and build a deeper relationship. Caring for the parents or loved ones who raised us can also be a way to show the love and appreciation we feel for all they did for us but maybe never recognised or said out loud as kids.
Given the choice, most of us would prefer to stay at home instead of moving to a residential care facility when we get older. With the proper support and care, even those with advanced care needs can usually remain at home provided that the care is supervised by experienced and knowledgeable professionals.
The CareCompany provides flexible and reliable home-based care that gives you the support they need and the support you need to go about daily life with peace of mind.
Whether it’s temporary or on-going support you need (for example after a medical procedure), daily care or regular companionship, or even specialised dementia care – we’re here to help!