Today, more and more children are caring for their elderly parents. According to the Family
Caregiver Alliance (FCA) and a 2012 study, over 43 million adults act as caregivers for someone 50 years of age or older. Additionally, almost 15 million individuals care for a relative who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Like many Americans, you may consider caring for your loved ones. But before you move your elderly parent or parents into your home, you should to consider a few factors.
1. Your Home’s Layout
Look around your home. What do you see? Likely, you notice furniture, toys, books, and other belongings that make your house a home. While these items don’t pose a problem for your aging parents, other home features may make your home a difficult place for your parents to live in.
Look around your home again. Take note of the doorknobs, stairs, flooring, railings, showers, and other home features you wouldn’t think about regularly. These items, while easy for you to use or work around, can actually hinder your parents’ ability to move around your home.
To accommodate your parents’ age, health, and other needs, your home needs to be senior friendly. You’ll have to consider the following to ensure your parents’ safety and comfort:
- Replace round doorknobs with levered handles.
- Install a stairlift if a parent has trouble using the stairs.
- Replace your bathtub with a walk-in tub or roll-in shower.
- Add a wheelchair lift if one of your parents is disabled.
- Invest in an in-home monitoring system.
- Expand doorways and other entryways so a wheelchair can easily pass through them.
You can also read our previous blog for more remodeling options to consider.
If your home’s layout cannot accommodate these renovations, then you may want to consider looking at long-term care facilities or a retirement home that meets your parents’ needs.
2. Your Finances
You should also consider your financial situation before your parents move in with you. Even If your home can accommodate the renovations above, your budget might not allow you to make all the necessary changes.
Do you have siblings or other family members who can help pay for renovations? Can your parents contribute to the remodel? Are your parents able to provide financial assistance for the additional home expenses you’ll have (like groceries, utility bills, and house supplies)?
If your finances allow you to make renovations and comfortably afford living with a few extra expenses, then caring for your elderly parents is a worthwhile investment to make. You’ll enjoy the time you can spend with them, and they’ll appreciate your willingness to care for them.
Note that if you provide more than half of your parents’ annual expenses, you may be able to claim them as a dependent when you file your tax return. This tax deduction can provide you with some additional funds you need to support your parents as they live with you. Make sure to talk with your tax professional about your specific situations to get details and/or any restrictions.
3. Your Capabilities and Limits
Another factor to consider is your ability to physically care for your aging parents. If your parents require constant care and supervision, you might think about how much time you will sacrifice as you care for them.
For example, elderly parents suffering from Alzheimer’s require constant supervision. Some illnesses or disabilities may also make it impossible for your parents to maintain good personal hygiene. If you don’t have the time or the knowledge to provide your parents with adequate care and attention, then a nursing home or other care facility remains your best option.
Professionals in these facilities have the skill, knowledge, certification, and time to provide your aging parents with the exact attention they need to live comfortably. Just be sure to visit a few different facilities to determine which one suits your parents’ specific needs and your concerns.
4. Your Family and Lifestyle
Finally, you’ll want your family’s input before your parents move in with you. Is your spouse or partner willing to sacrifice space in the home for your parents’ comfort? Do your children have a good relationship with your parents? How will your lifestyle impact your parents if they move in?
Talk with your family, and ask the questions listed above. If anyone feels uncomfortable with this transition, open up a discussion. Listen to your family members’ concerns and opinions, and offer your point of view in return. As you address each issue and work through these concerns, you’ll make your home much more comfortable for everyone when and if your parents do move in.
Keep the above-listed factors in mind as you consider moving your elderly parents in with you. Make a pros and cons list about this transition, and don’t be afraid to speak with professional caregivers. Ask these experts any questions you have about becoming a caregiver to your parents.
If you do decide to have your aging parents move in, consult with a home-accessibility expert to make sure your home can accommodate your parents’ needs. These professionals can even recommend products designed to make this transition as smooth as possible—for both you and your parents.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for additional tips and insights!