Caring for your aging parents will probably be a necessity at some point in your life. More than 70% of seniors will need assistance with daily living activities as they age, according to the Home Care Association of America.
The big question is whether you should take care of elderly parents at home or elsewhere. Although many seniors needing care still live in their own home, 40% live with their caregivers as of 2020, according to the AARP.
As the caregiver for your senior parents, you have a difficult decision to make. Is moving your aging parent or parents in with you the best move? There are many pros and cons if you’re having an elderly parent move in with you. There are also alternatives you should consider.
The Pros of Moving Your Aging Parents In
There are many positives to look forward to when moving elderly parents out of their home and into yours. Here are some good reasons to bring your parents under your own roof:
They, and You, Will Save Money
Not spending on long-term care provides some relief when moving elderly parents into your home. Just be aware that moving your parents in may require modifications to your home, such as ramps and safety bars in the bathroom.
They’ll Be Cared for by a Loved One
Moving a parent into your home can help ease their anxiety. Having a familiar face around can be especially important when dealing with aging parents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
They’ll Be in Familiar Surroundings
Along with a familiar face, aging in a home they’re familiar with, even though it’s not their own, can help ease the transition. A special room for Mom or Dad can make them feel at home.
You Can Be Helpful
It can be disheartening to stand by while your parent ages. By having an elderly parent live with you, you’ll be able to lend a helping hand and play a significant role in keeping them safe and healthy.
You’ll Have Time With Parents
You want your parents to have a long, happy life. But you can’t be certain of this, so spending as much time with them as possible is certainly a plus. If you have them living with you, this will be a good time to create lasting memories for the both of you.
The Cons of Moving Your Aging Parents In
There can be, of course, a downside to taking your parents into your home. Their life will be upended, and so will yours. Here are some of the things you’ll have to consider.
There Is a Loss of Privacy and Independence
This is certainly true for your parents, but it’s true for you, too. Having somebody else always in your home, parent or not, is a major adjustment. This also will limit your independence because you won’t be able to come and go without taking their needs into consideration.
There May Be Expensive Modifications Required
Ramps for wheelchairs, widened doors, bathtub grab bars, possibly elevator chairs and more may be needed to keep your parent safe and secure. You might have to modify a bedroom or your entire house, depending on your living arrangements.
There May Be Increased Health Risks
As we’ve all seen during the pandemic, older adults are more at risk of illnesses, and not just from COVID-19. Cold, flu and other forms of illnesses have to be taken seriously, so they—and you—stay healthy.
You Could Have Additional Stress
Looking after a parent can be stressful, since you may be balancing this with work and your own family, too. You’ll have to be sure to take care of yourself when taking care of a parent. You may find our checklist for taking care of elderly parents helpful.
Your Parents May Be Troublesome
As seniors age they may face a declining ability to perform tasks of daily living and the onset of dementia. This may cause them to become irritable and difficult for their loved ones to satisfy them or handle. These problems might be best handled by a professional caregiver.
You Will Have Increased Responsibilities
Along with personal care and housing, you may also be responsible for long-term health plans and financial decisions, especially if your parent(s) has designated you as the power of attorney. You also might find yourself needing to take over, which should also be factored into your decision.
The Alternatives to Moving Your Aging Parents In
Moving your parent(s) into your home thankfully isn’t an either/or decision. If you find the prospect of caring for them too daunting, that doesn’t mean they need to stay in your home permanently. There are some alternatives to caring for your parents by yourself.
Bringing somebody into your parents’ home isn’t always comfortable, but it could be necessary. If you don’t know where to look for help, start with the Eldercare Locator provided by the government to locate your local Area Agency on Aging. These offices can help you find the services you need.
You should also access the National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckUp to find out if there are any programs your parent may qualify for. Medicare and Medicaid may also provide help for paying for in-home care.
Use our list of 40 Resources for Adult Children Caring For Aging Parents to find out more.
Senior Living Communities
Senior living options specially designed for older adults can offer a number of advantages. Here are a few reasons why senior living communities might be a good option for you to explore:
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia Specific: Some senior care communities can offer programs specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Some Senior Lifestyle communities offer embrace, an award winning memory care program aimed at providing an enriching, fulfilling lifestyle for those with dementia. Find out more about embrace.
- Community of Same Age: Having other older adults around with similar interests and passions can be comforting to an aging parent.
- Professional Health Care: Despite your best intentions, the care you provide an aging parent will only achieve a certain level of quality. Professionals trained in the health care of older adults can be a huge benefit to your parent.
- Safety and Security: Senior living communities are designed to care for aging adults, considering their safety and security, especially for those prone to falls or wandering away.
- Variety of Activities: Older adults living at a senior living community will find plenty to do, with a variety of fulfilling programming, from exercise to art classes to scheduled get-togethers with fellow residents and neighbors.
Making your final decision
Whatever you decide, whether to move your parent in, get them in-home care or move them to a senior living community, you should research your options thoroughly. Download our Complete Guide to Senior Housing to find out more, or contact us today.