Probably among the most noble and admirable choices adult children will 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 reciprocate when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are a number of considerations to take into account before taking this step. Generations at Home details a number of the key questions to think about:
Do you have sufficient space? If setting up a room for Mom will result in shuffling the kids’ accommodations, such as doubling up siblings to share a room or necessitating a person to sleep on the couch, it is important to weigh this disruption versus the health benefits to the senior.
Are home modifications necessary? Walk through the house and try to look at it through the perspective of an older adult. Are pathways clear between the senior’s room, bathroom, kitchen, etc.? Are there any trip and fall risks, such as throw rugs? Should you install 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 during the day? Isolation and the potential risks of being alone will still be an issue in the event that you and your spouse are working outside of the home.
Is everyone completely agreeable with the idea? Although you may be entirely convinced of your aging parent’s new living arrangements, feelings of reluctance or bitterness on the part of your spouse may increase stress and relationship challenges.
Are you in a position to handle increasing care needs? While Dad might need just a little additional assistance now, disease progression and the normal frailties related to aging will change the degree of care needed with time. Think about such possible complications as incontinence, bathing difficulties, wandering, and falls.
Another factor is the impact that giving up status as “head of the household” may be incredibly difficult for some older adults. It takes some prior thoughtful planning to ascertain how to best help the older adult maintain dignity, independence and a sense of control.
If you’re feeling unsure about your capacity to take care of your senior loved one, another alternative may be better suited to both the senior and your family. One option to think about could be the addition of an in-home care provider, like Generations at Home. Our skilled caregivers partner with families to ensure your loved one stays safe and thrives at home – whether that involves just a few hours each week of companionship to encourage socialization, personal care assistance for safe bathing and dressing, help with housework and meal preparation, or full-time, live-in care. We provide a complimentary in-home assessment to find out about your loved one and to suggest a strategy of care to manage all concerns. Contact us to find out more.