Come live with us: challenges when a parent moves into your home
Aging in place should be a sensible and logical way for seniors to live better lives. However, the phrase “aging in place” rather assumes that the place they are aging in is their own home. What happens when that place is actually your home?
When a shared home makes practical sense
When one senior/elderly parent dies, it may become quickly apparent that the lone parent isn’t coping well living on their own. This is of real concern when they live some distance from you and your family.
So, in the midst of grief and bereavement, many families are faced with the same question: where will Mom/Dad live?
The practical and pragmatic solution might seem to be for your parent to move in with you.
- Your own children may be grown up and left home, so there is space for them.
- You may be approaching retirement and have more time to care.
- It can make economic sense to merge the two households into one in terms of living costs such as utility bills.
Oil and vinegar lifestyles
That’s the logical side of the arrangement. The reality can be quite different. You are trying to blend two very different set of lifestyles, requirements and routines together.
- Your parent may be an early riser, waking the household before the usual time.
- Their mealtimes may be different from yours. Many aging seniors, for example, prefer to eat their main meal in the middle of the day as it’s better for their digestion. You may be working or unavailable to cook this, let alone sit down and eat it with them.
- Their diet may be different too, cutting out foods that may no longer suit them, making batch cooking or family meals together more difficult.
- They may want to retire to bed earlier than the family, and expect everyone else to do the same despite the fact that their bedroom TV is turned up loud!
Home rearrangements and adaptation
- They may need your furniture rearranged due to mobility restrictions or your home made more accessible with ramps and rails.
- They may need your home to be much warmer during the winter, or kept cooler during the day in the summer, when you might normally be out at work.
Still being a parent!
- They may not “get on” with your partner/spouse/children.
- They may find living with their grandchildren full-time more tiring than they anticipated.
- They may still treat you like you are aged 16 and keep telling you how to do things!
Spreading the love and attention
When a parent moves in, your attention and time for your partner, family and friends will inevitably be reduced as you need to accommodate your parent’s needs on a daily basis. It can be hard to find a balance where nobody in the house feels left out, or resents that one person seems more important than another. It can be especially hard if it’s an in-law parent that’s moved in, and suddenly your partner’s focus shifts to them, not you.
A demanding dad
One of our team was talking to a lady who had nursed her mother through her final days, and her bereaved father was now living with her. And it wasn’t working well. Her father expected her to do exactly what his wife had done in terms of looking after him, as his wife had done practically everything for him. He refused to go out to visit anyone his daughter knew, and as result his semi-retired daughter was leaving the house daily on long walks just to get away from his demands.
Home care to the rescue
Our team member suggested home care as a solution that could enable them to live in the same house with less stress. A home team such as ours could take care of jobs he expected her to do, such as:
- Transport to appointments
- Grocery shopping
- Meal planning and preparation
- Companionship outings
- Help getting washed, shaved and dressed
- Companionship on outings to friends, and social events
Stressful for both sides
We would say that a parent moving in can be as stressful for them as it is for you. Suddenly they are sharing your space, your kitchen, your life, your “stuff”. They may be able to bring some items from their own home, but unless you have a large home, most of their possessions won’t fit in. Even if you extend your home with an additional apartment or extra room, it’s still a major reduction in their living space.
It’s simply not the way they are used to living, and the result can be that their frustration at the change of circumstances can emerge as ill-tempered disagreements and being generally “grumpy”.
Reclaim your ‘me and the family’ time
Home care can help you and your parent live in your home by allowing everyone their own personal space and time, without worry.
- You can go out on your own, as a couple and as a family and relax, knowing that one of our caregivers is there looking after your parent’s needs.
- Your parent can relax, knowing they can enjoy the caregiver’s visit and let you do what you want to do.
Regular home care visits can provide a focus point for their day that is independent of you, can be tailored to their needs.
Call us – we can help
If you are struggling to share your space with an aging parent, call us. Home care really can help your family live together more easily and with less stress. Our team offer a consultation visit to discuss your requirements and to help put in a care plan that suits everyone.