If you're considering moving in either one or both of your elderly parents, it's important to take the time to ask yourself the four questions below.
1. What Type of Care Will They Need On a Regular Basis?
Prior to taking on the task of caring for your elderly parent, it's important to know what type of care they receive currently and what type of care they'll need in the future.
Even if your parent is relatively healthy now, moving in is a semi-permanent step. While your parent can be moved to a nursing home or other care facility down the road, it's much more difficult to do. This means it's important to consider what the future will look like in terms of care. Will your parent likely be wheelchair bound? How many visits per week from therapists, nurses, and in-home carers should you expect? When considering a move, it's important to look 6 months, a year, and even 10 years into the future.
2. How Much Supervision/Help Can I Provide Throughout the Day?
While wanting to care for your aging parent is admirable, it's important that you not spread yourself thin. If you're working a full-time job, raising small children, or have other responsibilities that keep you busy and out of the house, will your parent be all right?
If your parent is still semi-independent, this may not be a huge issue at the moment. Even if independence is an issue, however, your parent may qualify for an in-home care person who can provide them with the help they need throughout the day. While having your parent in your home will add some stress, there are outside helpers you can enlist to make the transition safe and easy, both for you and your elderly parent.
3. Can My Home Be Adapted for Disabilities?
If your parent is wheelchair bound and your home is not wheelchair accessible, you may have some difficulties from the get-go.
While most homes can be modified, it costs considerable money and takes a significant amount of time to do. Some modifications to consider include access and size of a first floor bathroom, rails and other supports to help your parent safely maneuver their living space, and safe and easy access out of the home in case of an emergency.
4. How Will the Finances Work Out?
When it comes to caring for family, finances are the last thing you want to bring up. Unfortunately, they're a reality, and one that needs to be discussed prior to the big move.
When your parent moves in, who will pay for the care costs? Will personal supplies be bought by the household, or will your parent contribute towards their share? Can your parent afford to pay for modifications to your home, or will that be coming from your savings? These questions and more need to be addressed – with the entire family – prior to moving your parent in. This will save you from frustration and uncertainty in the future.
Before beginning the process of moving in your elderly parent, it's important to know the answers to these and other questions. To learn more about in-home care and what it takes to care for an aging loved one, consult with a caseworker at an home health care group.