If your parent or parent-in-law has reached an age where they are struggling to care for themselves, you may be spending a lot of time commuting between homes to help them get through their daily routines. You may also be thinking about moving them into either an assisted living facility or your own home.
Whatever you have chosen to do, it can be a difficult time in your life and theirs. When an elderly person loses the ability to do the things that they used to do with ease, they may become frustrated and easily irritable. Commuting back and forth between your home and theirs can be time-consuming, and can also raise concerns about what would happen if something went wrong while they were home alone. An assisted living facility may make your elderly relative feel as if they have lost all of their independence, or worse, could make them feel abandoned. Of course, moving them into your own home comes with its own set of challenges.
Having multiple generations living under one roof comes with a specific set of challenges, especially if you have never anticipated having to care for a parent or parent-in-law. Even your children, who may at first seem excited to have one of their grandparents move in, will need to make adjustments.
If you have chosen to move your elderly relative into your own home, there are several things you and your family can do to prepare for this transition. While it may seem like the easiest choice out of all of the options, there are definitely things that you should do to prepare.
Typically, the major reason for moving one of your parents into your home is so that you can assist them with things that they cannot do themselves. When they move in with you, you will become their primary caregiver, so keep the following in mind:
1. Respect the Transition
You and your family are not the only ones who will be dealing with a major change. The elderly typically have a hard time losing their independence and adjusting to a new situation. Make sure to give them space, and try not to be overbearing in the way you provide care. Let them do as much as they can reasonably do without hurting themselves. Let them maintain any routines that they may have previously had.
2. Get Help
There are many professional caregiving services that will come to your home on a daily or weekly service, depending on the needs of your elderly parent. Make sure that your parent has social support as well; look for senior day programs or other activities geared toward seniors in your area.
Don’t discount the help of getting them a walker. A rollator walker can be of incredible assistance as it can help your senior parent be mobile and able to do things for themselves. This will make them independent and happier as they won’t feel like as much of a burden.
Dealing With Children
If you have children in your home, you need to make sure that they understand why their grandparent is moving in. Discuss the following things with your children before the arrival of your elderly parent, and get them involved with caregiving.
3. Attention Dispersal
When your elderly parent arrives, you may not have as much time to spend with your children as before. Make sure to discuss with them the importance of what you are doing. They may also find that their grandparent is now occupying a space that they used to play in. To keep them from feeling like they have been abandoned in favor of their grandparent, have them get involved with caregiving. Younger children will enjoy doing activities like crafts or reading with their grandparent. These activities benefit your elderly parent as well, as they typically enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. Older children can help by driving their grandparent to appointments or to other errands.
4. New Connections
Having your elderly parent in the home means that your children get to spend invaluable time with their grandparent. Encourage your children to establish stronger bonds with their grandparent by reading together, discussing and sharing music, and telling family stories.
Dealing With Your Spouse
Communication is essential in any marriage. This is especially true in households where an elderly parent is residing as caregiving activities can take extra time than everyone is used to.
Make sure that you and your spouse discuss how your schedules will change and what your new meal routine will be. Make sure to include a discussion about how your privacy will be reduced. Make sure that you and your spouse come to an agreement on all aspects of care before deciding to move your elderly parent in.
6. Make Time
It can be hard enough to make time for your spouse in a traditional household. However difficult it may be when an elderly parent is also in the house, it is still extremely important to set aside this time. If possible, plan to have weekly or monthly date nights. These can even be in the house after everyone else has settled in for the evening. If you find there simply is not enough time in the day, try to do one small thing together every night, like taking a walk or watching a movie.
As long as everything has been discussed and decided upon by all parties, there should be no large or surprising problems when your elderly parent comes to live with you. In fact, it is a situation that can be advantageous for everyone.