SHOULD I BE LIVING WITH MY PARENTS IF THEY ARE OLD?
Living with elderly parents can help you cut down on some expenses like paying extra rent for their apartment. 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 but has some negatives as well.
If the parent you want to live with is still full of energy and is very healthy, they may be able to help you babysit at home. Living with your parents also means they might be able to contribute financially and forge a very good relationship with your family. Nonetheless, the option of living with parents is not advisable for everyone.
It might be a cheaper option compared to a nursing home (which costs around $80,000 a year) or an assisted-living facility (which costs an average of $43,000 a year), but the price you would pay in time, fatigue, and stress might far surpass those dollar marks.
In decades past, the idea of adult children living with old parents and acting as caregivers was very understandable and fair. Many families needed bigger housing apartments to accommodate their aging grandparents. It often worked out well both for the adult child and the aging parents.
It worked well partly because many moms never had any reason to move out of their homes and the children could offer essential in-home care. They were always there for the aging parents unlike what is obtained in the society today where women work as much as men.
While some families still accommodate their older parents, it has become a more complicated option. Living with your parents can cause tensions between them and your children. It can have negative implications. To avoid these tensions and negative implications, there are some factors you need to put into consideration.
These factors are often overlooked. However, the factors have been provided here for you to give a good assessment of the situation and know what decision to make. Read on to find out more:
What Kind Of Care Or Support Does Your Parent Need?
This is the number one question you should be asking and finding answers to if you want to live with your parents. Are the illnesses physical, mental, or chronic? An aging parent who is still relatively healthy and independent can be moved in while they are still independent.
They can easily adjust to your home and familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Their presence will not even require too much of your time as they are still in good condition and can even help out with the kids. Most people don’t consider living with their own parents until they experience some serious health challenges.
At this point, living with parents can become a burden. It is important to familiarize yourself with what illness they are experiencing when moving your parents to live with you. Also, you should know how the illness might pan out in six months, a year, or even two years.
A good consultation with your parent’s doctor will give you a clue on their health status. Even if your parent has no signs of chronic illnesses like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, you still have to anticipate the future of their health using family history or the health history of your parent.
You can as well choose to live with your parents until their condition deteriorates and you are no more able to provide the support they need. This might not be a perfect ending, though.
How Much Support Can You Provide?
Caring for your aging parents is a great way to show your gratitude towards their care for you when you were solely dependent on them. When you take care of your own parents, you give your children the perfect image of what commitment means in a family relationship.
Your children become prepared for the time when you will be in the position of your own parents. However, you have to look beyond what your children will think. You have to focus on the present situation too.
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 have to know that the level of care your parents need will always be higher with time. Are you ready to increase the time and energy devoted to them every year? Think about it.
Does your schedule accommodate your parent?
Building a young family and having a full-time job is a time-consuming quest on its own. The time you devote to your aging parent can have an effect on the energy you will expend on other things. Notwithstanding, it is possible for you to be able to accommodate your parent and still live very well. You might just need to find the right balance between work and family, which is not always an easy thing.
Everyone has limits, know yours.
Are you comfortable with your parent if 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. If you are okay with the idea, fine. As parents age, they become more forgetful. Your strength may be that you are very good at organizing and remembering things. You will be very valuable in such situation as you can remember what dose of medication is required of her and other things your parent might forget.
What Is The Relationship Between You And Your Parent?
Whether she’s your mother or he’s your father isn’t the issue. The issue is the significance of your relationship with 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 in that moment of deciding to live with your parent.
Certain diseases like Alzheimer can alter someone’s personality. This can be far worse. Will you be able to handle such situation when it presents itself? The past and the present relationship you have with your parent will determine the ease of transitioning into your home.
Is Your Home Friendly For Aging Parents?
If you are still raising kids, chances are your home is not ideal for aging people. Better still, you can place your aging parent on the first floor so that there will be less need to climb the stairs.
If you are bringing your aging parent into your home, remember that you might have to make some renovations to the living space, the bedroom, the environment you live, and even the food you eat.
Consider The Financial Impact
Deciding to provide care and support to one’s parent is great. However, most people dive into it without knowing the financial cost. Having a parent live with you can be financially beneficial if your parent is financially buoyant. In most cases, an extra person in the house means extra housing utilities.
You might even have to make renovations to the house as said earlier. You might also need to cook separate meals for your older parent. Costs such as doctor trips and medications will definitely take a toll on your finances. Figure out how much you are likely to spend before making a decision.
Detailed planning can make all the difference, especially if you stick to it. You should also know if your siblings and other relatives are ready to help with the finances. If they are open to helping you, the job will be easier.
Your Spouse And Your Children
For your children, this might be a perfect opportunity to see grandma and listen to her stories. This could be a good time for your parent to form close ties with your children. To your spouse, it might be a different thing. It could even be that your spouse is open to your parent living with you, but your children are not so cool with it.
You will have to do some convincing. Children have to be convinced there is a great reason why their granny will be living with them. The best way your children could benefit from your parent’s stay is if your parent is still relatively healthy and can do some chores, tell them stories, help them with schoolwork, and get them prepared.
As you most likely won’t be buying a new home, a child might have to leave their room to share with another. Make sure the whole family is prepared for this situation before you proceed.
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? This can be made easy by outlining to everyone involved what is expected of each person and the 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. It is better to inform each person what is accepted within the home.
Before deciding to live with your aging parents, try considering the seven factors listed above. Ultimately, you should make it a point to plan for what you consider the best for your family. It is not just about you. It is about your parent, your spouse, and your children. The outcome won’t always be what was envisaged.
That is why it is advised that you take a realistic approach toward living with your parents. Multi-generational living can have its benefits and it can cause tension among people. If everyone can adjust to the new environment, there would be a considerable level of ease within the home.
Million U.S. Baby Boomers Taking Care Of Someone Older Than 50 (Family Caregiver Alliance)
Be realistic about what is within your power. You have to know what you can do and what you can’t do.