As a parent, you are the head of the family unit. This means you are responsible for yourself, your children and your home – which is quite a task for any person to take on! In addition to this, your parents, as they get older, may fall under your wing of responsibility too. If your parents reach an age where they can’t autonomously care for themselves, or perhaps they become ill or sustain mobility problems like arthritis, they become your responsibility. You are saddled with the heavy task of helping make decisions with them, understanding their needs, and providing for their care. Although of course you are happy to do this for your parents, this can be a tough task when combined with the responsibilities you already have.
For many people, the solution seems simple: you can move your elderly parent or parents into your family home. This means you can spend more time with them, take care of them, and keep a watchful eye over them. Plus, it saves a lot of money on caring expenses. Alternatively, you and your family could move into their home, which would involve you becoming a live-in carer for your elderly parent. This is a big decision to make, and warrants careful consideration. Here are some things to consider.
The Impact On Your Kids
Your kids might love the idea of Grandma and Grandpa moving in full time – or they might not. If your children are highly routine-oriented, they might be upset by such a drastic change. If you are considering moving your elderly parents into your family home, expect that the family dynamic will shift. You could expect acting-out behaviour from kids who don’t deal well with change – although this will be temporary while things settle in.
This is not the only consideration to make, though. If your parents are struggling with dementia or are chronically ill in general, their suffering might rub off on your kids. Although children shouldn’t be wrapped in cotton wool and need to learn that life is not always pretty, seeing their grandparents confused, sick or stressed could make them feel anxious and upset. It is important to discuss all these possibilities before you make the final decision which is right for your family.
Your Routine Will Be Stretched
Of course, adding further responsibilities to your life will stretch you thin. Even though you feel happy to incorporate your beloved parents into your family framework, this will disrupt the delicate balance you have created and make life more difficult for you. This isn’t anything to feel guilty about – it’s a valid concern that you might have for your own wellbeing. If you, as a parent of young children who might also work a full or part time job, take on more responsibilities, will you be okay? This is an honest question you need to ask yourself.
How will moving your parents into your family home stretch your routine? Firstly, there’s the simple fact that there will be more people in your home than usual. That means more food to prepare, more cleaning to do, and more time organising everybody’s activities. If one or both of your parents need supervision due to illness, then you, your partner or your kids might have to sacrifice some time and effort to be with them. There are many things in this area to consider before you take the plunge.
Your Financial Wellbeing
Family comes before money, and that’s how it always should be. Nevertheless, it is very important to create a budget plan if you decide to move your elderly parents into your home. This is because, of course, your bills will increase incrementally due to increased food, cleaning and other supplies needed to house one or two extra people. If you run a tight ship financially, you should consider how it will affect your family if you need to loosen your purse strings indefinitely to accommodate your parents.
How can you budget for this transition? It’s time to have a frank and open discussion with both your parents and your partner if you have one, in order to honestly and sensibly budget your money for the transition. Perhaps your parents are able to chip into the family pot for their own expenses, or perhaps they will rely on you financially as well as physically. Be sure to get this all out in the open before you decide to make the move.
At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what is right for your family.