In America, one in ten parents with children under the age of 18 are also caring for a parent or grandparent. At some point, these families had to decide the best way to provide care for older adults. Many families have forgone nursing homes and assisted living facilities and live together instead. If your family is considering this option, there are two routes for providing in-home care for aging parents: moving into their home or moving them into your home. Here we’ll look at a few things you should consider for each situation.
Moving in with an Aging Parent
Moving in with an aging parent can be a good option for families where the adult children don’t have mortgages yet or live in the same town. The biggest benefit of going this route is the ability to keep an elderly parent in their home, which allows parents to stay in their comfort zone and maintain a feeling of independence. This can be good for their mental health, especially if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s. The best way to decide if this option is right for your family is to have an open, honest conversation. If you’re not sure how to bring up the conversation, the AARP offers a family planning guide that can help.
When considering the route, start with practical questions: is your parent’s home big enough, and is it financially workable? From a financial aspect, you may be looking at having to cut hours at your job or even quitting. When discussing finances, remember that caregivers can often get paid to take care of family through Medicaid’s CDPAP program. You’ll also want to consider what effect the move will have on your children if you have them. Studies have shown there are many benefits associated with strong grandparent-grandchildren bonds, which may outweigh smaller concerns.
Moving an Aging Parent Into Your Home
When considering moving an aging parent into your own home, you’ll need to consider what modifications you must make to your home to make it safe and comfortable for your parent. What this looks like depends entirely on your parent’s needs but could include wheelchair accessibility, ground-floor bedrooms and bathrooms, and handrails on stairs.
According to Forbes, you’ll also want to look at your finances and figure out how to meet the expenses of an aging parent in your home. They suggest not only looking at basic household expenses, such as food, but also at what the cost would be for respite care if you’ll be the only person caring for your parent. Caregiver fatigue can be avoided by making plans to have someone come into your home to help care for your parent a few times a week.
Have a Real, Open Conversation
No matter which option you’re considering, the first step is talking with your parent, if they are able, along with siblings. You’ll also want to include all significant others, as any decision made will affect them too, and children. Having an open, honest conversation is the most important part of deciding the best way to care for an aging parent. You may think the best option is moving in with your parent, while he or she may prefer to maintain independence and have a home health nurse visit instead.