As the average age in the United States continues to climb, adult children often find themselves juggling many roles, including caring for a parent, raising a family of their own, and working outside the home. For these sandwich generation caregivers, one potential source of relief that is often discussed is moving a parent in with them.
Doing so can eliminate some of the extra errands and household repairs adult children often do for an aging parent. It also gives the family peace of mind knowing their loved one is safely under the same roof as them. But is this solution really the best one?
Here are five issues you and your family should discuss before making this decision.
1. How do other family members feel about this idea?
While this solution can be convenient for the primary caregiver, some family members might not be as excited about the idea. Will one of your children have to give up their bedroom to their grandparent? How do they feel about that? Do your spouse and parent get along well enough to live together? Having an in-law move in isn’t the same as having your own parent in the house.
Finally, how does your parent feel about this solution? Are they in favor of this move?
2. Are you prepared for the loss of privacy?
Having three generations of your family under one roof can give everyone an opportunity to bond and build memories. The flipside of this is that it can lead to a loss of privacy that is tough for everyone, but especially so for married couples and the senior. Unless your home has a separate in-law-type suite, moving a parent in with you likely means sacrificing privacy.
Even your children are likely to feel a loss of personal space. While the kids might enjoy the time they spend with their grandparent during vacations and weekend visits, it’s not the same as having them become a permanent member of the household.
3. Can your home safely accommodate your parent’s needs?
Many homes aren’t very senior-friendly. Doorways might be narrow, bathrooms may lack a step-free shower, and an abundance of stairs can present hazards. While you might feel like this is a safer decision because you can see that your senior loved one is okay, your home might be just as challenging of an environment for an older adult to navigate on their own. This is especially true for seniors who have mobility issues or vision loss.
4. Can you afford this solution?
Some of the costs associated with moving a parent in are often overlooked. Home modification expenses—creating a barrier-free shower, widening doorways, and building ramps—can add up quickly. Then, there are the added expenses caused by adding another person to the household: water, food, transportation, and other personal incidentals.
Another cost adult children often fail to consider is a loss of wages. As a parent grows older and their need for assistance increases, family caregivers may need to cut back on their work hours or quit working entirely. This loss of income can come at a time when the caregiver’s own children are heading off to college and the family is incurring more expenses.
5. Are there alternatives that may be a better fit?
While a parent might need to stay with you for a few weeks if they are recovering from an illness or surgery, there may be better long-term solutions to consider. An aide from a home care agency can help with meal preparation, transportation, and personal care. The average daily cost for home care is $131.
Another option to consider is an assisted living community. This offers a level of senior care designed to provide older adults the assistance they need while allowing them the independence they value. If you’d like to try assisted living out, you may want to consider a short-term respite stay for your loved one.
We hope this information helps you make a decision that keeps your senior loved one safe and happy now and in the future.
If you have any questions about senior living or the type of care that might be the best fit for a loved one, please call the Sunrise community nearest you. We’ll be happy to help!
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