Exquisicare Senior Living is a member of the Westend Seniors Activity Centre’s, Friends of WSAC business program. Their mission is to to provide real loving homes for our elders so they can live with safety, security and love, through all the remaining phases of their life and to provide comfort and assurance to the families of our residents that their loved ones are treated with the highest level of care, compassion and respect.
Wendy Hoover has been a guest speaker here at our centre, providing educational Toonie Talks and providing our centre with a number of articles that deal with aging parents, dementia and other topics that Exquisicare deals with on a daily basis.
Guest Blog Post – “Should I Be Living With My Parents If They Are Old?”
By Exquisicare Senior Living
People who live with their aging parents are usually driven to do so because of a burning desire to take very good care of them by offering long-term care—instead of moving them into an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
However, you have to weigh this question yourself before making a decision. According to statistics, one out of four caregivers lives with the elderly or disabled person they are caring for. This arrangement is filled with lots of positives. They may be able to help you care for your young children, contribute financially and living with you may forge an even better relationship with you and your family.
It might be a cheaper option compared to a nursing home or an assisted-living facility but the price you pay in time, fatigue, and stress might far surpass those costs. In decades past, the idea of adult children living with older parents and acting as caregivers was the norm.
Most women were stay at home moms so were able to be there to help with aging parents. Today, it has become a more complicated option as most households have two working parents and busy lifestyles raising children who are in lots of activities.
Here are some things to consider:
What Kind Of Care Or Support Does Your Parent Need?
This is the number one question you should be asking to determine if you want to live with your parents. Are their illnesses physical, mental, or chronic? An aging parent who is still relatively healthy and independent can moved in and still be independent. They can easily adjust to your home and familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Their presence will not require too much of your time and can even help out with your kids.
Most people don’t consider living with their own parents until the parent experiences a serious health challenge. At this point, living with parents can become a burden. It is important to familiarize yourself with the illness and you should know how the illness might pan out in six months, a year, or even two years. A consultation with your parent’s doctor a good idea. In addition, it is a good idea to anticipate their possible future health issues, using family history or the health history of your parent. By spending some time considering their health care needs will help you decide if you are up for the job of being their caregiver.
How Much Support Can You Provide?
If you want to assess how much care and assistance you can provide to your parents, consider the following:
Be realistic about what is within your power. You have to know what you can do and what you can’t do. You should also consider that the level of care your parents will need may increase as time goes by. Are you ready to increase the time and energy that is going to be needed. We all want to be there for our parents but sometimes our own responsibilities makes that very difficult to do.
Does your schedule accommodate your parent?
Raising a family and having a full-time job is a busy time in all of our lives. The time you devote to your aging parents can have an effect on the energy you will expend on other things. This means you might will need to find the right balance between work, your immediate family and the time and care for your parents.
Everyone has limits, know yours. Are you comfortable helping your parent if he/she needs help with bathing and dressing? Are okay if she is incontinent? You might have to change diapers and help clean everything she wears.
As parents age, they become more forgetful. This may mean that you will need to take a very hands on approach and be in charge of making sure they take their medications as needed, they are eating properly and handling things like their finances.
What Is The Relationship Between You And Your Parent?
Some parents and adult children argue and never agree on even the tiniest of things. Some are good friends with each other. All families have conflict, but how quickly do you reconcile with your parent when there’s any sign of conflict between you two? These are the factors to consider when deciding to live with your parent. If the two of you don’t ever agree, the relationship won’t change because you are living together.
Certain diseases like Alzheimer can alter someone’s personality. Will you be able to handle situations where your parent becomes aggressive or overly emotional because of their illness.
The past and the present relationship you have with your parent will determine the ease of transitioning into your home. It may not be easy, but you need to be honest about your relationship before you can determine if you can live with your parents.
Is Your Home Friendly For Aging Parents?
If you are bringing your aging parent into your home, you may have to make some renovations to accommodate them. If you are still raising young children, it may be that your home is not ideal for an aging parent. If your home has lots of stairs is your aging parent going to be able to move freely within the home? Will they need a bathroom that can accommodate a walker? Does your parent need a raised toilet?
Consider The Financial Impact
Often, people take on the roll of helping their aging parent without considering the financial cost. Having a parent live with you can be financially beneficial if your parent is financially buoyant as they can contribute to the monthly expenses of the family.
Somethings to consider…in most cases, an extra person in the house means extra costs in your utilities. Does your house need renovations to accommodate your parent? Will you need to cook separate meals?
Sit down and make a list of the costs and then create a budget. Talk to your siblings and other relatives to see if they will be helping with the finances. Money can be a major conflict for families. Having an open conversation BEFORE your parent moves in will save you from the conflicts later.
Will Any Of You Be Able To Adjust?
Will you and your family members be able to adjust to the lifestyle of the aging parent who is moving in? Will the aging parent be able to adjust to your family’s lifestyle? Consider outlining what is expected of each person in the household, how conflicts are going to be dealt with and clearly communication what lines that should never be crossed.
Some older people adjust very easily. Some find it a bit hard. Your children might also find it hard to adjust to new settings since there’s someone new living with them.
Multi-generational living can be a wonderful experience. We hope the tips above will help you to have an honest, open conversation with your parents and help you determine if living with your parents is a good idea.