Are you thinking about having your senior loved one move in with you? It’s a big decision, and there is a lot to consider before making the move. Here are ten points to think over as you make your decision.
1. Are You and Your Parent Compatible?
One very practical thought about moving in together involves personality clashes. Parents and adult children of any age can find it difficult to share living space. Older arguments that you’ve moved on from may rise up again when you’re occupying the same space 24/7.
2. Can You Afford the Additional Cost of Another Person Living With You?
Bills for food, utilities, and perhaps even cable or water all go up when someone new moves in. Can you afford these changes, or will you need to charge your parent rent to cover them? A good time to talk about this is during a conversation about what the daily routine will look like.
3. Is the Rest of Your Family in Agreement?
Having a loved one move in means changes for the entire household. Schedules might need to be adjusted — such as meal times or the way everyone gets ready for work or school — so you should have a family discussion to make sure all are in agreement.
4. How Do Your Brothers and Sisters Feel About It?
Once you’ve asked the family who lives with you, see how the rest of your siblings feel. Hold a family meeting to talk about responsibilities, from making phone calls to check in to providing a break for the main caregiver.
5. Will You Have to Modify Your House?
Sometimes the desire to have a loved one move in takes over the practical issue of space. Is there a separate bedroom that has easy access to a bathroom? Will you need to modify certain aspects of your house or build a ramp?
6. Will Your Loved One Be Lonely All Day While You’re at Work and School?
Moving in with you may actually make your loved one lonelier than if she’d moved to an assisted living facility. This is especially true if she’s moving away from the neighbors she knows or is unable to drive or attend social functions without assistance.
7. Will You Be Able to Provide the Kind of Care He Needs?
A move into your place won’t necessarily be safer for him, especially if he needs nursing care. Discuss the type of care your senior loved one really needs with his doctor.
8. How Will This Affect Your Work/Life Balance?
Just because you’re capable of handling your loved one’s needs (such as helping with bathroom breaks or bathing) doesn’t mean you’ll be able to maintain a good work/life balance if you take on these new responsibilities. Over time this can affect your work performance.
9. How Will You Approach Your Loved One?
The discussion about moving in with you may not be as easy as you think. Don’t assume that your parent will be happy about the idea of a move, and be careful about the words you choose when approaching the subject. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that can cause problems with other family members.
10. How Does Your Senior Loved One Feel About the Move?
Perhaps the most important consideration is how your loved one feels about moving in with you. Have a frank discussion with her about her thoughts, and don’t take it personally if she has some reservations about the new arrangement. It’s an adjustment that can work well for some families and not for others.
Having a senior parent move in with you can be a major change for all involved, but if you ask the right questions and plan as much as possible in advance, it can ease the transition for you, your family, and your loved one.