The most noble and admirable decision adult children can make is to open up their home to an aging parent. Our parents raised and took care of us when we needed help and support, so it seems like a no-brainer to return the favor when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are many considerations to take into account before you take this step. North River Home Care outlines a number of the key questions to consider:
Is there adequate space? If setting up an area for Mom will result in shuffling the kids’ accommodations, for example, doubling up siblings to share a space or necessitating a person to sleep on the couch, it is essential to weigh this disruption versus the value to the senior.
Are home modifications required? Walk through the house and try to view through the perspective of an older adult. Are pathways clear between the senior’s bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.? Are there any sort of tripping risks, such as throw rugs? Do you need to put in grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, or other home medical equipment? Are there any stairs to maneuver? Is the residence wheelchair-accessible?
Will someone be at home during the day? Loneliness and the dangers of being alone will still be a worry in the event that you and your spouse work outside of the home.
Is everyone entirely on board with the decision? While you could be fully convinced of your aging parent’s new living arrangements, feelings of reluctance or bitterness on the part of your spouse may increase tension and relationship difficulties.
Are you ready to handle increasing care needs? While Dad may need just a little additional help now, disease progression and the normal frailties associated with aging will change the amount of care needed in time. Consider such possible challenges as incontinence, bathing difficulties, wandering, and falls.
Another factor is the effect that giving up status as “head of the household” may have on some seniors. It will take some prior thoughtful planning to figure out the best way to help the older adult maintain dignity, autonomy and a sense of control.
If you’re feeling uncertain about your capacity to care for your elderly loved one, another choice may be better suited to both the senior and your family. One choice to take a look at could be the addition of an in-home care provider, such as North River Home Care. Our knowledgeable caregivers partner with families to ensure your loved one remains safe and thrives inside his or her home—whether that involves just a few hours each week of companionship to promote socialization, personal care support for safe bathing and dressing, help with housework and meal preparation, or full-time, live-in care. We provide a free-of-charge in-home assessment to find out about the senior and to suggest a plan of care to address all concerns. Call us today at (781) 352-0939 to learn more.