Whether because of health, cognition, or financial reasons, deciding to move an aging parent into your own home is not only a real possibility but is a trend on the rise. Today, nearly 79 million adults live in shared households, or homes in which two or more adults not intimately involved reside, and 14 percent of those adults are a parent of the household head. This number has doubled in the last twenty years, and while multigenerational living has its benefits, the transition can be challenging. Moving your parent into your home not only changes the household dynamics and routines for the entire family but may also be the cause of stress and anxiety for the parent making a move.
Watching a parent transition from caregiver to care receiver is never easy, and making this transition involves numerous considerations. How do you know if your own home or senior living is the best option? And what can you do to help your parent access the right resources at the right time to remain as independent as possible? Our comprehensive caregiver checklist will help you navigate every step of the way. Download your copy today →
To minimize stress and ease the transition, consider the following:
Communication and Planning
Moving from a home in which they’ve lived for many years may leave your parent feeling as though they’ve lost control over their own life. Conversations surrounding independence, lifestyle preferences, boundaries, and wishes for the future may be intimidating but will help to avoid uncomfortable situations after the move has happened. Furthermore, open lines of communication will allow your loved one to make decisions for themselves and maintain a certain level of independence and control.
Sorting through decades worth of belongings and downsizing to a smaller space can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Before putting mom’s home on the market, we suggest spending a couple of hours per day (to avoid physical and emotional exhaustion) helping her to pack her items and sort through things that need to be donated, thrown out, or passed on to other family members. Consider renting a small storage unit for possessions that won’t fit in your home but are too special to part with.
Preparing Your Home
This step may be the most time-consuming and potentially expensive but is also necessary for providing your parent with a safe living environment. Consider your parent’s abilities and limitations, then walk through your home and take note of potential hazards that need to be addressed. Start with those tasks that are easiest to accomplish and work your way up from there. Taking steps toward making your house more manageable and “senior-friendly” will reduce your loved one’s risk of falls or injury.
Get the whole family involved in the process so that your parent knows she is cared for and loved. Your siblings, aunts, or uncles may be wonderful resources to tap into while downsizing and on moving day. If you have young children at home, have them help prepare mom’s room and add personal touches like drawings and paintings. Older children can help by taking mom out on shopping errands or to doctor appointments.
Adding another member to your household comes with expenses. Prepare for these expenses beforehand by working with a financial advisor who can offer tips on how to manage this new phase of life for both you and your parent, especially if you plan to take control of your parent’s finances. Finally, become familiar with the types of expenses that you, as a caregiver, may be able to deduct on your taxes, including medical costs, food, and home modifications.
Moving your parent into your home will undoubtedly pose some challenges. Still, we’re confident that, with some planning and preparation, the experience will be rewarding for you and your family members!