One of the most commendable and admirable choices adult children can make is to open up their house to an aging parent. Our parents raised and took care of us when we needed help and support, so it seems like a no-brainer to return the favor when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are a number of considerations to think about before taking this step. The St. Joseph home care experts at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care outline some of the key questions to consider before living with an elderly parent:
Do you possess sufficient space? If setting up a room for Mom can lead to shuffling the kids’ accommodations, such as doubling up siblings to share a space or necessitating a person to sleep on the sofa, it is very important to weigh this disruption alongside the health benefits to the senior.
Are home modifications necessary? Walk through the home and try to see it through the viewpoint of a senior. Are pathways clear between the senior’s bedroom, bathroom, kitchen area, etc.? Are there any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs? Should you put in grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, or other home health-related equipment? Are there any stairs to maneuver? Is the residence wheelchair-accessible?
Will someone be at home each day? Isolation and the potential risks of being alone will still be a problem in the event that you and your spouse are working outside the home.
Is everyone fully agreeable with the idea? While you could be entirely convinced of your aging parent’s new living arrangements, feelings of hesitancy or bitterness on the part of your spouse can add pressure and create relationship issues.
Are you ready to handle increasing care needs? While Dad may need a little additional assistance now, disease progression and the normal frailties related to aging will change the degree of care needed over time. Consider such possible complications as incontinence, bathing difficulties, wandering, and falls.
Another consideration is the fact that giving up status as “head of the household” is incredibly difficult for some older adults. It will take some advance careful planning to find out the best way to help the senior maintain self-esteem, autonomy and a sense of control.
If you’re feeling unsure about your ability to take care of your elderly loved one, another possibility may be better suited to both the senior and your family. There are very effective alternatives to living with an elderly parent, such as engaging the services of an in-home care provider, such as Home Sweet Home In-Home Care. Our knowledgeable St. Joseph home care team partners with families so that your loved one remains safe and healthy in his or her home – whether that involves a few hours each week of companionship to promote socialization, personal care assistance for safe bathing and dressing, help with household chores and meal preparation, or full-time, live-in care. We provide a free in-home consultation to find out more about your loved one and to suggest a plan of care to manage all concerns. Call us at 269-849-9252 to find out more.