It’s not uncommon to see parents move into their children’s home. This opportunity allows our aging loved ones a sound, safe environment. It’s a win/win by way of combining finances, too.
Yet, there are challenges due to their age and health.
One must consider their well-being while providing appropriate care and nurturing. This article explores what you’re getting into and how to adjust to parents moving into your home.
Think About These when Housing an Aging Parent
Dropping in from time to time to see your parent(s) is an enjoyable experience (for most). Mostly so because there’s much to catch up on and it’s nice to see them. Now, consider them being around every day – how quickly tensions may arise and relationships strain.
Problems between parent(s) and children happen on several fronts:
- Political differences
- Adherence to house rules
- Misaligned family values
- Lifestyle choices
Your parents have lived a long life of independence. Bringing them into the home may make them feel restricted. Or, they may consider themselves a burden. Sometimes, they may attempt to take control of the power dynamics. These situations are bound to create a rift despite them being a loved one.
It’s important to:
- Provide personal space
- Encourage socialization
Your role becomes both companion and caregiver.
It’s important to give them flexibility and independence to manage themselves. But, also reduce the odd chance of self-harm caused by their physical abilities and mental instability.
Preparing Your Home for an Aging Parent
Youth and vitality, let you get away with nuances around the home. You don’t have a second thought grabbing a cup off the top shelf. Or, fly up and down those flights of stairs. It all changes when aging family members are a part of your home.
Work your way around the home
Remove trouble from the everyday activities:
- Install a lift provided by Easy Climber if you have a problematic second floor
- Swap the tub for a walk-in shower to prevent slips and falls
- Add extra lighting (like nightlights) to walkways and common rooms for better visibility
- Setting anti-slip mats and railing in high traffic areas like the kitchen or bathroom
Don’t forget the outside
Consider the accessibility to the home:
- Install ramps and rails if stairs are present outside
- Level walkways or stepping stones to prevent trips
- Add a home security system for safety and privacy
- Fencing an area (or yard) if they’re bringing pets
Adjust for everyday activities
Don’t overestimate their abilities:
- Place items the lowest level such as with cabinets and closets
- Switching to door handles vs knobs to accommodate strength
- Smart home devices with voice commands for accessibility
- Using monitors to keep in check when they’re in other rooms
There are many of these items you’ll learn only after they’ve arrived. Keep a journal and hold regular discussions to find ways to improve their quality of life in the home.
What If It Doesn’t Work Out?
We have best intentions bringing parents into our home. But, tensions may become too high and relationships strained to their limits. This tends to happen when the parent attempts to take control or if their ideas misalign with family values. It happens.
Likewise, there may be a point where your caregiving reaches its end. They may need professional assistance such as the services provided by a retirement home, senior living facility, or hospice.
- Discuss concerns and ideas
- Share options and financing
- Seek counseling or professional services
Sometimes caring for your aging parent(s) simply doesn’t work as you imagined. It’s not giving up, it’s providing the appropriate environment for their physical and mental well-being. Communication is the key component to help them understand the decision is in their best interest.
Have you taken in an aging parent? Share your experience or thoughts in a comment below.