When your aging parents begin to experience ongoing health issues, mobility challenges or general difficulties in caring for themselves, important senior care decisions should be made.
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Do your aging parents need help with activities of daily living and require some assistance with their current health condition? If your answer is yes, then it maybe time to consider looking into different senior care options, including the possibility of moving your aging parents to your home. Senior care options such as assisted living, nursing home, hiring an in home caregiver may be necessary if your aging loved one needs round-the-clock senior care, or moving them into your home with you and your family.
These are not easy senior care decisions, and there is a variety of factors to consider. Aside from an array of logistical considerations, you must reflect on your values and ideas regarding where your aging parents should spend their final years. You must also weigh your parents’ desired level of independence against their ability to perform the tasks required when living alone.
Many adult children of aging parents feel a familial obligation to share their home with their parents and avoid senior housing options, regardless of whether or not this is the best living situation for everyone involved. With the recent economic downturn, financial concerns have also driven many families to automatically opt for moving elderly family members into their homes.
Sometimes sharing your home with your aging parents truly is the best option; however, this is not a decision that should be made in haste or without considering the pros and cons of co-housing. Here are 8 important questions you should answer before deciding whether or not moving your parents in with you is the best option.
1. Type of Senior Care
What is your aging parent’s current physical and health condition? Does mom, dad or both parents have serious medical conditions? If your aging parents do not have any serious medical condition, moving your parents in may be a good option.
What is the most cost-effective option for your particular situation? Do your aging parents have income that can be used to pay for senior housing? Do your aging parents have enough money for their senior care needs if they move to your home? Can your household income cover the addition of one or both of your aging parents if they move to your home?
Keep in mind that moving your aging parents or loved ones into your home can be very costly. However, if your parents will contribute and pay for some household expenses, it can help lighten your financial burden.
3. Mobility Issues
Does your home have stairs that will make it impossible for your aging parents to move freely through the house? Can you or your aging parents afford to modify your home to meet their senior care needs? These are some of the questions that will determine whether or not your house is senior-friendly.
Do you get along well with your aging parents? Do your parents get along with your partner and other family members living in your home? Consider your relationship with your parents. Do you enjoy each other’s company and be able to solve any issues in the past successfully? If you have a good relationship with your parents, then moving your parents into your home should not be an issue. However, if you haven’t gotten along with your aging parents in the past, it may be challenging.
Be sure to talk to your aging parents about this to make sure that you’re ready for this. You can make this as an opportunity to be closer to your parents. But if it doesn’t work out, then you will have to think of a back-up plan like looking into other senior care options.
5. Routine and Lifestyle
How would you and the family members already living in your home have to change your routine or lifestyle to accommodate this new arrangement? Will you still be able to provide your partner and children with the attention and care they need while also caring for your aging parents? Will family members resent these changes?
6. Preparedness and Time
Are you equipped to care for your aging parents at the level required? For example, if your parents require assistance with activities of daily living, will you or someone in your family have the time and skill set to accommodate those senior care needs at all times? If you work full time, be sure to carefully assess your situation as well as your aging parents’ situation.
Do you have a flexible work schedule? Are you ready to cut back your work hours in case your aging loved ones require supervision or assistance? Take the time to answer these questions. Remember, moving your parents into your home is a serious decision and may cause a major change in your life.
7. Availability of Help
Do you have siblings or relatives in the area who can assist you in caring for your aging parents or covering the additional expenses of moving your parents to your home? Caring for aging parents may require a lot of time and patience. Having someone who can help you care for your loved ones is very important as it may help avoid the stress of caregiving or caregiver burnout.
8. Independence, Privacy and Activities
How will you provide for your aging parents and other family members in terms of privacy and independence? Will your parents have access to activities and opportunities to socialize with friends or other seniors?
Are there senior centers or adult day care facilities in your area? Senior centers and adult day care facilities provide senior programs and activities to entertain the elderly during the day. Usually senior centers provide free services to seniors or will charge a low annual fee for all their activities and programs. On the other hand, adult day care provides personal care and socialization for seniors.
Before you move your aging parents into your home, you need to determine if this is the best option for you, for your family and for your parents. The things to consider that are listed above are only some of the questions you should be asking yourself before making this important senior care decision. If sharing your home with your aging parents is not an ideal situation for everyone involved, it may be time to consider other senior care options that might better meet your needs and the senior care needs of your parents.
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