As the population of our country continues to grey, more and more adult children find themselves caring for their aging parents and their own young children at the same time. They may be providing physical or financial support to an elderly parent or both. This often occurs while they are working at least part-time outside the home. It sometimes seems like the best solution is to take care of an elderly parent in your home to live with your family.
5 Factors to Consider Before Moving an Aging Parent In
Before caring for elderly parents, there are a few issues to consider:
1. Do you have enough space and how much will it cost to remodel?
Creating a safe environment for an older adult can be expensive. Widening doorways, creating a fall-free shower, installing grab bars and more are often necessary. It may be helpful to hire an occupational therapist to conduct an in-home safety assessment of your home to determine what needs to be done to keep them safe. Families sometimes discover it is less expensive to buy a new house with an existing in-law suite rather than try to remodel their current home. But the costs of selling a home and relocating need to be factored in to the decision.
2. How do other family members feel about caring for an aging parent?
While it might be more convenient for you to have all of the people you are responsible for living under one roof, not everyone may be thrilled with this decision. Does your parent have a positive relationship with your spouse? How do the children feel about having a new, older addition to the household? The change will impact all of them as well. Finally, is your parent agreeable to this solution? For them the loss of independence and privacy may be a real concern.
3. What are the hidden costs of caregiving?
These are the costs you may overlook when taking care of elderly parents. There will be additional food expenses, costs of transportation to and from appointments, and other personal care incidentals. Another unanticipated expense is a loss of wages. Caregivers are often forced to cut back on their work schedule or leave their job entirely to accommodate an aging parent’s needs. If you aren’t in a position to do so, you may have to incur the expense of in-home care or a privately hired personal care aide.
There may a positive side to providing financial support for an older loved one however. If they meet the IRS requirements to be considered your dependent, you may be entitled to a tax deduction.
4. Are you and your spouse willing to give up your privacy?
Unless your house has a separate wing or suite for your parent, you and your spouse will likely find yourselves giving up some of your privacy. Having an older parent who is unable to leave the house on their own means they will be around all of the time. That can be a challenge for many couples.
5. Have you explored other alternatives that may work better?
If an aging parent has recently been hospitalized or is in the midst of a crisis, it might be necessary to bring them to your home to recover. But it isn’t always the best long-term solution for either of you. There are alternatives that may work better ranging from home care and adult day programs to a moving in to their own apartment at a senior living community. Community programs such as Meals on Wheels can also help a senior maintain their independence longer.
We hope this information helps you make an informed decision about how to meet your aging parent’s need for more support!