One of the harder facts to accept as we get older is that our parents are also aging. You may have noticed them experiencing more health conditions, starting to forget things and struggling with other daily tasks. The current coronavirus crisis has only highlighted this, as family members from different households have been banned from seeing each other under social distancing guidelines. This may have made many of us reconsider our living arrangements going forward – but should you actually take the step of moving an elderly parent in with you? There is a lot to consider with a decision like this, so make sure that you and your partner and children have fully considered all the implications. There is a lot to recommend multi-generational living, but going about it in the right way will prevent any unnecessary misunderstandings.
Think About Your Home
First and foremost among your considerations – is your home suitable for an elderly parent to move into? Even if they don’t have any additional needs at the moment in terms of mobility, it’s a situation that may develop over time. It’s worth thinking about how it might be possible to adapt your home to suit their needs. Is it possible to extend your house and create a semi-self contained apartment on the ground floor? Could it be a case of ensuring that there are grab bars and a seat in the shower? You can easily find a website where you can purchase items of equipment to overcome these needs
Think About Transport
You may have thought about the housing needs of your parent, but how about transport? They will have medical appointments, social activities and other elements in their life that they may need transporting to and from. Are you prepared to cover this as well – and if so, how does their schedule match with yours? This can easily become a point of stress, especially if you also have kids that need ferrying from one activity to another and a job and social commitments of your own to manage.
Think About Time For Yourself
Undoubtedly, you love your parent and you want to see them thrive, enjoy the support of family life and be fulfilled. But these things are also important for you. Caregiver burnout is a very real thing, especially for the so-called ‘sandwich generation’, who have children and parents under one roof and are likely to be working themselves. It can leave you spread extremely thin. It’s okay to acknowledge this – needing time to recharge your batteries shouldn’t make you feel bad, it’s an essential – but having a proactive plan to manage it before the situation escalates is a good idea. Setting a clear timetable with space for you to relax is important, as is negotiating who will do what household tasks, so not everything falls to you. Also, look for local support groups or respite care facilities that may be able to reduce the load on you.
Having a parent move in with you can be a highly enriching experience for the entire family, and there are a lot of positives for both you and your parent. With a little careful planning, you can make it stress-free and full of love.
*Collaborative post i