Bringing a parent into your home can provide unique challenges to a household. The additional body takes up space, of course, but the level of care that is required to bring in your elderly mother or father is not something that most people are ready for or expect to provide. Whether your parent is dealing with Alzheimer’s or another degenerative brain disease, or simply isn’t moving around as quickly and wants to be closer to the family during these uncertain times, bringing them into your home is both complexly rewarding and demanding at the same time. But making these tweaks to your routine can smooth out the process.
1. Talk more
Often, parents and their children naturally drift a bit once those children grow into adulthood. Before the big move, many topics will need to be discussed so that everyone involved can live harmoniously without issue. This is a big change for parents, children, and grandchildren, so making sure that the move goes smoothly and that everyone in the home is on the same page will go a long way to creating a happy environment. Start by talking more and speaking about any friction that occurs rather than letting it slide. The AARP suggests this list of questions for getting these important conversations started.
2. Understand the changes that must be made to your home.
There are a number of things that a homeowner must do to ensure a comfortable and safe home throughout the year. Regardless of the makeup of a home’s occupants, homeowners must take care of the structure; this is particularly important when restoring a historic house or living in another old house in your area that has already been refurbished. Historic homes litter the country, and often boast aging or non-existent HVAC systems, lack energy efficiency, and might have attic or plumbing issues to contend with. The truth is, efficient air conditioning is vital to home comfort, and this is a must-finish job before moving your parent into an old home with historic features. These are fantastic properties, but may not be totally suitable for young children or elderly parents. Start with your air conditioning in order to ensure that moisture isn’t present in the home and the air quality is sufficient for your family. Then finalize the remaining renovations before the move.
3. Reevaluate your working schedule.
Your parent might be completely capable of watching your children after school. But they may also need extensive care themselves in order to continue enjoying a high quality of life. When your parent moves in, it’s crucial to understand that this may affect your working schedule. You might have more freedom to take on greater responsibility, or one spouse might have to give up their job in the short term to provide the care required by a full house. Understanding this reality is essential to making a move work for everyone.
4. Know that you are always ‘on the clock.’
Many elderly parents are fully functional and mobile participants in the daily happenings of the home. Others are not. However, you must be ready to contend with the fact that you will always be ‘on call,’ so to speak for your parent’s needs. When the person you are caring for lives in your home it can be difficult to take time away and relax on your own. From doctor’s appointments to shopping, fostering independence is a great way to help them provide for themselves, but this new arrangement may very well result in an always on-call mode within your home.
5. You will need to stay active.
Staying active is an important part of anyone’s life, but this is particularly necessary for older adults. Getting out to the park or eating at restaurants is a great way to keep your parent active and spend time with them as well. This can be a great opportunity to reconnect with one of the most important people in your life – if you choose to make it so. If you are contemplating bringing a parent into your home, know that it will be hard work, but take advantage of the unique opportunities you have been given.