The decision to move your aging parent in with you is wrought with all kinds of emotion. You may be relieved that they’ll be where you can watch them. You may be sad to see their health failing. They will likely grieve their independence and battle guilt over being a “burden” to you. In the midst of it all is a mutual respect and admiration for the bond of family. Among the waves of emotions are logistical details not to be ignored.
Establishing clear boundaries
Just because your parent needs some help navigating the tasks of everyday life doesn’t automatically mean that their privacy should be neglected. You should respect their space, and your parent should respect yours. Be clear about what closed doors mean and under what circumstances it’s okay to open them.
Accommodating the needs of your aging parent may require some minor remodeling of sorts. For example, you may need to install handrails in the bathtub and next to the toilet to prevent falling. You may need to transform your downstairs office into a downstairs bedroom so your parent doesn’t have to climb the stairs. There is the possibility you need to install a wheelchair ramp outside, depending on your parent’s mobility. And, like you did when your kids were young, you may need to lock up medications and poisons to prevent accidental ingestion during a time of confusion.
In one way or another, your schedule will have to change in order to accommodate your loved one. You will either need to schedule doctor’s appointments around work or your kids’ schedules, or you’ll have to schedule family activities in such a way that someone is always home with your parent. Scheduling is one place you may quickly recognize the benefit of having senior caregivers on hand.
If it’s become necessary for your parent to move in with you, chances are that they shouldn’t be driving themselves around town. Who will take them where they need/want to go? Are they consistently lucid enough to take public transportation? Do you need to hide your car keys so they won’t take an unannounced joy ride? These are all questions to consider and answer ahead of time.
Life skills assistance
There’s a fine line to balance when it comes to helping your parent with basic care tasks. You want to retain their dignity while ensuring that their basic needs are met. That might mean that your husband helps your father dress instead of you. It may mean purchasing adult diapers to prevent an embarrassing accident. You might have to install a special walk-in bathtub so your loved one can get in and out of the tub by themselves.
Elder care services
No matter how much you love your parent, you will need to be away from them at times. Sometimes it will be because you have other commitments and sometimes because you just need a break. If there are occasional or regular times that the rest of the family will be out of the house, elder care services keep your loved one safe. While it might not be best to use the term with your parent, think of elder care services as the day care or babysitters of the senior care world.