From maintaining strong intergenerational bonds to saving money on household expenses, there are many reasons an elderly parent may consider moving in with their adult child. This considerable lifestyle change is typically driven by multiple factors, including financial challenges, parents' declining health or the need to facilitate childcare.
While it may seem like a practical solution, it can also be a difficult decision for all parties involved. Are you asking yourself, “How do I prepare for my elderly parent to move in?" Keep reading for guidance on how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Should you move elderly parents into your home?If you're thinking about moving your elderly parents into your home, you could fall into what's called the sandwich generation.
This term refers to individuals who are simultaneously caring for both their own children and their aging parents. Surviving the sandwich years is no small feat; it can come with unique challenges and responsibilities, including significant stress. Before you make your final decision, take some time to evaluate the financial, household and caregiving considerations involved.
So, how to prepare for an elderly parent moving in? First, you should evaluate the financial aspect of moving your parent into your home and whether your household budget has room for the additional associated costs. Here are some key financial considerations to keep in mind:
Current household budget and costs — Evaluate your existing household budget to determine if you can afford the likely increase in expenses for items such as groceries, utilities and additional household supplies.
Hiring in-home care aid — You may not be able to take time off work to assist your parent at home to the extent they need. Depending on the level of care they require, you may need to factor in the cost of hiring a professional caregiver. Make sure to evaluate all the available options and the associated expenses.
Home renovations to improve accessibility — Assess whether you'll need to make any modifications or renovations to your current home to make it safer and more accessible for an elderly person. This could include installing ramps, stairlifts, grab bars or even additional lighting.
While the additional financial burden may seem overwhelming, you don't have to shoulder it alone. Consider the following options that can give you a bit of a break:
- If possible, ask your parent to contribute to household expenses based on their financial capacity.
- Seek advice from a qualified tax professional to explore tax benefits and credits that can provide financial relief. These can include a caregiver credit, claiming your elderly parent as a dependent or deducting any of their medical expenses not covered by insurance. If your employer offers a dependent care flexible spending account, check to see if it covers elder care.
- Discuss whether other family members such as your siblings would be willing to contribute financially to support your taking care of your elderly parent.
Sharing a house with elderly parents can be stressful from both an emotional and logistical perspective. Here are some key household considerations to address before deciding to share your living space with your parents on a full-time basis:
- Family dynamics — Consider how the introduction of another person into your everyday routine at home will affect the existing family dynamics. Keep the lines of communication open and honest with all members of your household, and be sure to articulate expectations and set reasonable boundaries when needed.
- Caregiver stress — Understand that taking care of another person, especially an elderly parent who now has to rely on you, can be stressful. Are you wondering, “How do you survive living with an elderly parent?" Consider what you'll need to prepare yourself for the associated emotional and physical demands.
- Living space — Evaluate whether your home has enough space (and enough bathrooms) to accommodate everyone comfortably. Privacy can be key to a peaceful living environment. Think about what you'll need to arrange or compromise to ensure everyone has their own space to relax.
To effectively address all the needs in your household, consider these options:
- Create a game plan for how common and private spaces will be shared.
- Discuss roles, household rules, expectations and any concerns or fears regularly. Review them as needed to avoid future misunderstandings or conflicts.
- Seek compromise and understanding with the ultimate goal of creating a supportive and inclusive living arrangement for everyone at home.
Caring for elderly parents entails tremendous responsibility and can require extensive emotional resources. Consider the points below to determine whether your parents moving in with you is feasible in your specific situation:
- Level of care required — Assess the specific care needs of your elderly parent. Determine if you have the capacity to provide adequate care while juggling other personal and professional obligations such as work, taking care of your children and running the household.
- Availability of support — Identify any family members who can relieve you from caregiving duties when you need a break, take on more regular shifts or run errands as needed.
- Availability of community resources — Research any available local services and support groups that provide assistance and respite for caregivers. Look into adult day care services that can allow your parent to engage in social activities while providing you with a break.
To help alleviate the stress and burnout that can come with being a caregiver, prioritize self-care and alone time. Don't hesitate to speak up and ask for help and support whenever you need it.
How to prepare for your parent to move in
Are you asking, “How do I move my elderly parent to my house?" Consider this moving checklist below to ensure a smooth transition when they're ready:
- Declutter and downsize — Clear out any unnecessary items and organize the belongings you do keep at home ahead of your parent's arrival. This helps create a more welcoming and comfortable space and allows more room for their own furniture and other possessions.
- Modify living spaces — Assess the areas where your parent will be spending most of their time and make the necessary modifications to doorways, hallways and bathrooms to ensure their safety and comfort. This could include night lights, non-slip mats, safety rails and hand-held shower heads.
- Update mailing addresses — Help your parent update their address with important organizations such as their bank, medical services, insurance companies and the USPS. Ensure all critical mail and documents are properly redirected to their new home.
- Seek professional advice — Create a network of medical professionals you can rely on, such as your parent's doctor or geriatric care manager, to ensure that you thoroughly understand their medical needs and any requirements for accommodations.
- Establish a support network — Reach out to local support groups and caregiver networks. These community resources can provide guidance, emotional support and valuable information about available services in your area.
Moving an elderly parent into your home is a significant decision that requires thoughtful planning and preparation. The more proactive steps you take for your parent's arrival, the smoother things will go for the whole household.
Moving elderly parents into your home requires careful consideration beforehand of financial, household and caregiving needs.
- If you're wondering, “How do I prepare my home for an elderly parent?" make sure to first assess the financial implications, including any room in your current household budget, the need for potential home renovations to enhance accessibility and the cost of caregiving.
- Consider the impact on your family and household dynamics and how you can facilitate open communication and privacy for all members.
- Evaluate your capacity for caregiving and explore support options to alleviate caregiver stress.
- Make a checklist for moving elderly parents into your home to ensure a smooth transition. Seek professional advice and establish a professional network as soon as possible.
Learn more about financial considerations for elderly and aging parents.