Having an Elderly Parent Move In With You: The Ultimate Guide

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

You might already be asking yourself “Do I need to ask my parent to move in with me?”. Determining whether you should move an elderly parent into your house takes some thought. Here is how to decide whether it’s the right call.

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Your elderly parent has been staying alone for years and had been just fine. But, recently you may be noticing some changes that are starting to bother you. Maybe your mom just seems weaker or your dad is having more trouble getting around than he used to.

You realize it’s time to explore other options. Perhaps as a proud and independent parent, he/she might have made it clear that they don’t want to be taken to a nursing home. Assisted living may be too expensive.

Should you consider moving them in with you? Maybe. Here’s the information you need to make an informed decision.

How to Know It May Be Time to Move the Parents in With You

Based on the report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 25% of family caregivers stay in the same house with the aging relative they are caring for. For privacy and pride reasons, most senior parents would prefer living with their grown children over facilities.

However, if you suspect that your aging relative requires help, check out these warning signs:

  • Home is untidy and dirty
  • Piles of dirty laundry and dishes in the house
  • Not taking their medicine as per prescriptions
  • Broken appliances that are not being repaired
  • A frail or disheveled appearance
  • Unpaid bills just lying around
  • A home without enough food

Is your relative showing any of these signs? Then it might be time to have “the conversation” with him/her about moving in.

Often the kids will appreciate having the grandparents around more even if they don’t realize it until later in life.

Pros of Having an Elderly Parent Move in With You

There are definitely some positives that can come from living with elderly parents.

Spend More Time with Them

As we all become adults and continue living our busy lives, getting quality and enough time to spend with elderly parents might become an issue. Having a senior loved one live with you can offer you both the pleasure of connecting daily.

It also allows you to care for your elderly parent the way they initially cared for you. If you have your kids, it sets a good example of the significance of taking care of family. It gives your kids the opportunity to know their grandparents on a more intimate level.

RELATED: Sibling Taking Advantage of an Elderly Parent?

Save Money

Generally, the economic challenges that most older folks experience make this option seem like a more affordable choice. Although in some situations it is, it relies on your aging relative’s needs. Ensure that you know how much assistance they’ll require and if you’ll have to seek outside assistance to satisfy their requirements.

Consolidating mortgage payments, rent, or utility bills, and other home expenses from a different household could be money-saving. If you have younger kids, it may also save you cash on babysitting!

Cons of Having an Elderly Parent Move In With You

Of course, there are also some challenges that come along with living with the parents again.

Added Stress May Harm Your Family Dynamic

Undoubtedly, adding another individual to your household may bring more stress to your everyday life. Stress may manifest itself mentally, emotionally, and physically and can have a big difference in the larger family dynamic.

The added stress of attending to a senior adult can lead to fights between spouses, petty arguments with kids, and resentment for the parent. Therefore, living together in these close quarters might be harmful to a parent-child relationship and needs to be well thought of before making a final decision about moving your parent in with you.

RELATED: How to Deal With a Demanding Elderly Parent

Investing in Expensive Home Safety Modifications

Most people don’t know the hidden risks to senior adults that are lurking in their households. From bathrooms to stairways, there are potential dangers that can be threatening for aging relatives.

For instance, poor lighting in stairways and hallways may result in disabling falls during nighttime, particularly because older folks have a higher likelihood of using the bathroom anytime at the night.

Always approach your parents with respect and dignity when having “the talk” about their living situation.

Tips for Having “The Conversation” With Your Parent

Quite frankly, this issue might have never been brought up before with your parents. And if this is the case, it isn’t an easy topic to bring up. If there is the slightest opening, use it to start the “talk” when you are not all in a hurry and the children are engaged with another activity.

You should find out how your parents are feeling and what they want since it’s also their decision. As the conversation continues, you need to be clear with expectations and concerns, and that transparency might be a new thing for all of you, and simply setting this standard may be the largest component.

You should also know of their expectations as it associates with household chores, bills, childcare, and time together. Make sure they give a sense of the way it would be, then give them the general picture of your day-to-day life and your approach towards parenting then ask them whether they could fit into that.

RELATED: Monitoring Your Parents Remotely

Don’t forget that if you’re requesting them for something, you’ll have to provide them with room to make it theirs, and this means focusing on what matters and not caring that much about the rest.

However, you don’t need to address all possible conflicts. They will occur and are best dealt with at the moment. You have set the general framework, as well as the precedent of talking. They should understand that will go on where everybody may share how it’s working and what requires addressing.

You should also understand that this is a difficult time for them, so they need to see the benefits from this. And although this might be a loss of everything, and they might feel embarrassed, getting them to think about the upsides may lower the sadness and give them the idea that a different thing is also something new.

Tips for Making the Move a Smooth Transition

Consider Finances

How much will your relative be expected to contribute? Who will provide financial assistance? Although paying for a single residence may save cash, the increase in various living expenses like utility bills and groceries can add up fast. It may even get more expensive if you’re planning to employ a home care aide or perform home renovations/ buying necessary items.

You should decide ahead of time who will pay for what and make sure the financial arrangement is drawn up by a lawyer. Having a written agreement can prevent feelings of resentment and ambiguity among family members. Furthermore, having such a record can help later on should your dear one require to access Medicaid benefits.

Evaluate the Amount and Level of Care Required

When an elderly relative first moves in they’re usually able to carry out most activities independently, and may even pitch in around the home by assisting with chores or taking care of young children. Nonetheless, if your parent requires close supervision every time or help with daily activities, who will provide the care?

Establish a schedule that well-accommodates your parent’s needs. If you’ll be the primary caregiver, determine whether that means you’ll have to leave your outside job. In case your loved one requires less help, you may plan how family members can assist to fill in the gaps.

Alternatively, you may need to employ an in-home care aide to help your parent while you’re at work. Be aware of mom or dad’s abilities since they might change over time, which makes it necessary to reassess the level of care you can provide.

If night time wandering is an issue, consider hiring an overnight caregiver so that you can get some sleep and some “time off.”

Assess the Home Environment

Much like childproofing, you should evaluate your home’s safety and logistics. You could do this by yourself, or you may hire a geriatric care manager to carry out a needs assessment.

Some of the items needed or considerations include:

  • Bathroom safety: Consider handrails and a sit-down shower.
  • Wheelchair accessibility, if necessary.
  • Ensure that they have easy access to a kitchen, bathroom, and common area.
  • Your house must be clutter-free to prevent falls.
  • Ensure proper lighting all around the house.
  • Stairs: can your parent manage them, or do they need to be on the first floor?

Get Help When Needed

Prevent caregiver burnout by utilizing resources in the community that offers respite like in-home care or adult daycare services. The help of an in-home caregiver may give you ample time to spend with friends and other family members, an improved level of care for your loved ones, and some peace of mind for you.

Although it might be a huge adjustment, there are numerous advantages to living under a single roof. Apart from and keeping your aging parent safe and saving money, living with a loved one may allow meaningful associations to form between generations.

If you want to guarantee a successful transition, sort out the move details in advance and ensure that all family members are on the same page.

Compare the pros and cons of moving the parents in with those of assisted living centers. Nursing homes are only an option for seniors who need significant medical care.

References:

  1. https://familymattershc.com/moving-elderly-parents-into-your-home/
  2. https://companionsforseniors.com/2020/05/should-elderly-parents-move-in/
  3. https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/moving-parents-into-your-home
  4. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/living-with-elderly-parents-do-you-regret-the-decision-133798.htm
  5. https://www.elder.org/live-in-care/should-your-aging-parent-move-in-with-you/
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2018/03/13/five-ways-to-prepare-when-your-parent-moves-in/?sh=569a874a7479
  7. https://www.mentalhealthandaging.com/moving-older-parents-in-with-you-these-7-tips-will-help/
  8. https://www.amadaseniorcare.com/2017/01/should-elderly-parents-move-in-with-you/
  9. https://www.fivestarseniorliving.com/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-moving-an-aging-parent-into-your-home
  10. https://www.homechoicehomecare.com/family-caregivers/should-my-aging-parent-move-in-with-me/
  11. https://www.nih.gov
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