Perhaps one of the most honorable decisions adult children can make is to open their home to an elderly parent. Our parents raised us when we were children, so it’s natural to reciprocate when it becomes less safe for Mom or Dad to live on their own. Yet there are a number of issues to discuss with family before answering, “Should my parent move in with me?”
Do you or one of your siblings have enough room? If assigning a room for Mom will lead to modifying of the children’s rooms, such as doubling up siblings to share a bedroom or requiring a family member to begin sleeping on the sofa, it’s vital to weigh this disruption against the advantages to the senior parent.
Will home modifications be needed? Walk through each sibling’s home who may be looking into moving Mom in, and imagine it from the viewpoint of an older adult. Are walkways clear between the older person’s bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc.? Are there any stumbling risks, like throw rugs? Will further safety equipment need to be put in, for instance grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, or other home medical equipment? Are there stairways to manage? Is the home accessible for a wheelchair?
Will a family member be at home during the day? Isolation and the risks inherent with an older person being alone will still be a dilemma if the other adults in the residence are working outside of the home.
Is everyone in the family fully on board with the plan? Although you may be fully dedicated to your aging parent’s new living arrangements, reluctance or resentment on the part of your spouse can result in stress and relationship troubles. Ensure that each of the siblings considering providing care talks over the idea honestly and openly with the other adults in the home before making this change.
Are you prepared to take care of increasing care needs? Although Dad may have the need for just a little extra help now, the progression of certain diseases and the typical frailties involved with growing older will change the level of care needed in time. Contemplate with your siblings such possible complications as incontinence, bathing difficulties, wandering, and falls.
Yet another important point to consider is the impact that giving up status as “head of the household” can generate, as it is significantly challenging for some older individuals. It will take some advance thoughtful planning to figure out how to best help the older adult preserve self-esteem, self-reliance and a sense of control.
If you and your sisters and brothers are unsure about your ability to provide the best care for an aging loved one, another alternative that may be best for both the senior and your family is the addition of a home care provider, such as CareFor. Our skilled care managers and senior home care professionals work together with families to make sure that seniors remain safe and thriving in their homes – whether that involves just a few hours each week of companionship to foster socialization, personal care support for safe bathing and dressing, assistance with household chores and meal preparation, or full-time, live-in care. We offer an in-home evaluation to learn more about the senior and to suggest a plan of care to address all concerns. To learn more about our care at home in Austin and the nearby areas and the surrounding communities we serve, contact us at (512) 338-4533 to learn more. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.