Each year, several middle-aged adults make the decision to move their aging parent(s) into their home with them. This can be for any number of reasons, but the main reason is because they fear that their loved one can no longer live safely in their own homes. Whatever the reason, this is a huge transition for families as certain changes may have to be made for every member of the family.
Before making this decision, one should ensure that this is the best option for their aging loved one. This means that all other options should be ruled out, as moving in with family has been decided by both the caregiver and elderly individual to be the best option. Once that has been decided, there are two other major considerations that need to be made.
Ensure the Home is Safe and Comfortable
One of the most important things that you should do when your aging loved one moves in with you is to ensure your home is safe for them to live in. Oftentimes, elderly individuals live in older homes that require a lot of maintenance, making it an unsafe living space for their age. A home renovation may be too expensive, therefore moving in with a family member is a more feasible option.
While your home may be a safer living environment for your aging loved one, it should also be an environment that is comfortable for them. For optimum comfort, they should have their own bedroom— preferably on the ground floor— and maybe even their own bathroom, if possible. Bathrooms are a common place where falls can occur for the elderly, so a tiled bathroom floor will have to be replaced with a vinyl floor, which is waterproof and not as hard as tile.
Other rooms in your home may need to have their flooring updated as well. In addition to tile, hardwood floors and thick carpeting are not ideal flooring types when you have an elderly family member living with you. Hardwood floor is too hard, while thick carpeting/long-pile can snag on walkers and wheelchairs, and it can also increase the risk of tripping and falling.
Dynamics With Other Family Members
Moving your aging parent(s) in with you creates a multigenerational home, so there’s a possibility for conflict. One of the best solutions is to try and create separate living spaces if possible— but not so separate that your aging loved one is isolated from the rest of the family. This is especially important if you have young children, as their toys can create a dangerous hazard for older family members.
If you have older children or teens, you won’t have to worry about toys scattered across the floor as much, but you may have to assign some extra responsibilities to them, especially your older teens. They may have to help out with extra chores around the house, especially if more of your time is devoted to caring for your aging parent. Of course, these extra tasks should be appropriate to their age and their abilities.
Finally, caring for an aging family member is stressful on you as a caregiver, especially if you’re already a caregiver to your own children. Even if you’re fully prepared to take on this huge responsibility, it’s still possible to experience stress and burnout. For this reason, it’s important to also take care of yourself and seek extra help if necessary. Home health aides and other professionals can be a big help for you as you care for your aging loved one and your own family.
More and more families are forgoing the assisted living arrangement for their aging loved ones because of the incidents of nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, many elderly individuals have experienced some form of nursing home abuse, whether it was physical, sexual, verbal, or even neglect. If your loved one has experienced this, a lawyer can help you with your nursing home neglect case.
Taking in an aging parent is no easy feat, especially when you have a family of your own. For this reason, you must make sure that this is the best decision not only for your aging parent(s), but also for you and your family. This arrangement creates a new family dynamic, affecting everyone living under the same roof. You should also make sure that you’ll be able to provide the type of care that your aging loved one needs.