Elderly Parents Moving in with You? Tips to Help Everyone Adjust
At some point, many of us consider having our elderly parents or parent move in with us. As our parents get older, we’re keen to look after them and support them, and if you have children, living in a multigenerational household can have many benefits for all of you. But when you’ve been out living your own life for a long time, going back to living with your parents can be challenging for everyone. Here are some tips to help you all adjust.
Prepare Space with Them
If you’ve got a spare room, you might be tempted to just give it to your parent as it is. But preparing a room for them is a key step to making them feel welcome and helping them to settle. If they are already close, spend time decorating and shopping for their room together. If not, make sure you speak to them, and consider their input before making any changes.
Consider the Practicalities of the Move
You’ve decided that your parent is going to move in with you, but have you thought about how you are going to do it? Will they be bringing all of their possessions? Where will you put everything? Do they have a pet? If they are moving long distance, you’ll need to think about hiring movers, and if they are moving to you directly from a care home or hospital, you might need help with medical transport services when discharged. Consider the practical elements very carefully.
Identify the Level of Care Needed
There’s a vast range in how much care an older parent needs. Some might be fine with just a little support; others need round-the-clock medical care. Most will be somewhere in the middle. Make sure you have honest conversations about how much of your time they will need, and whether you will need to hire extra help, and consider how this might change in the future.
Set Some Boundaries and Expectations
While you won’t want to confine your parent to their bedroom, it is important that you all have private areas. Agree to some boundaries, like which rooms are shared and which are private, and talk about any expectations either of you has in terms of care, chores, and financial responsibilities.
Ask for Help
If your parent requires a lot of care, it’s ok to ask for help. Them moving in with you doesn’t mean that you have to become their sole carer.
Don’t Fall into Old Habits
When our parents are around, we often revert to a classic parent-child relationship. We ask them for permission, we show off our achievements and we seek their approval. If your parent is moving in, you can’t let this happen. Avoid these habits and check yourself to make sure you are still living your usual lifestyle. Remind yourself that it’s your house, and you are welcoming them into the life that you have built. Remind them too if you need to and focus on a new relationship as equals.
Living with your parents again can be a challenge. But it can also be an opportunity to build new relationships and can have benefits for all of you.