Your parents were probably the safety net for you to boomerang back to during your young adult life, and now that they are aging, you figure it is time to move your elderly parents in with you. It is important to keep in mind that multigenerational living can have a pretty big impact on yourself, your parents, and your family.
If you do it the right way, this can be a marvelous bonding experience, as you'll get the chance to get to know your parents in a new way, your parents will feel less isolated and your kids can learn valuable lessons about family connection. No matter how close and loving your relationship is, however, having extra members of the household can change the dynamics of your family.
Here are the top things you should consider when your elderly parents move in with you.
1. Have "The Talk" with Everyone
It is crucial to have an open and frank discussion about all the issues such as expectations, fears, and finances with your spouse, parents, children, and siblings. Try to walk through as many "what if situations" as you can and decide on the best course of action to be taken for each one. Even though you love your parents and the idea of them moving in may sound great, things will not be exactly the same as when you were a teenager since you have added a husband or wife, children, and work responsibilities during the course of the last twenty years. Don't forget to take the time to involve your children in the process, let them know that this is the right thing to do, and discuss what they can do to help their grandparents out.
2. Assess your Living Space
Just as with childproofing, you may have to assess your home to ensure your parents' safety. This depends on their current health situation and the amount of care they need. Each room in the house will require its own set of considerations to make sure that your elderly parents can live safely and happily.
When considering the bedroom situation, make sure that your parents have easy access to common areas like the living room or kitchen but that they have a sense of privacy. Even though you will all be living together, it is always good if you can provide your parents with some space of their own. If your parents can't handle the stairs, a ground floor bedroom is ideal or you may want to consider installing a stairlift.
Depending on your parents' levels of mobility and strength, you may want to consider upgrading your bathroom with some handrails or walk-in tubs. The experts from UpliftingMobility.com explain that a raised toilet seat is also something you should look into. They offer wider and longer seating space as well as greatly reducing the effort needed to stand up after use because they are higher than regular toilets.
If your aging parents have difficulty walking, you may need to make your home accessible to wheelchairs. This may involve adding ramps or widening doorways and purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle for when you need to travel.
3. Look for Some Help
If your parents are in good health physically and cognitively, then they may not even need too much assistance. Most of the time however, when elderly parents are moving in with their families it is because they are in some kind of decline, and this only tends to get worse over time.
With all the other responsibilities in your life, it will be a huge burden for you to do all of the work alone. Fortunately, there are some really useful and experienced caregivers and other assistance that you can reach out to.
Having someone to assist your parents is beneficial when you have a fulltime job or have to take care of your children. A paid caregiver can support your parents with transportation, cooking, and housework so that they are provided with the care and support that they need whilst you take care of your other responsibilities.
Family and Friends
People who love you and your parents will always be there when you need them. Whether you need physical, emotional, or financial support, they'll be more than happy to help. Reach out to your loved ones whenever things are getting too much or you need a night off.
Living with an elderly parent can be a special time for everyone involved. Although there are many things to take care of, don't forget that your ultimate goal is to keep your parents happy and healthy. It may be mentally draining and exhausting at times, but the memories you can make together will be easily worth it.
WRITTEN BYDaria Brown