Regardless of your upbringing –whether you have positive or negative memories – moving your parents into your home has the potential to cause a shift in your marriage and in the way you interact with your children. Grandparents in the home can either bring a calming effect or amp up the stress. There are ways to deal with the potential pitfalls so that you can embrace the changes and make the most of the time you have with your aging parents.
Here are our tips:
- All parties involved need to be realistic about the significant life changes you will be facing. Your parents will be giving up their independence and may feel resentful, you will be giving up space in your home and have to deal with your parents in residence and may feel frustrated at a lack of privacy and 24/7 caregiving.
- If you and your parents have any long-lived grievances they should be discussed prior to a move.
- Talk with your parents and come to terms on who will do what, how much involvement you will have in each other’s lives, etc. For example, will you be the chief cook? Do you have to take time off from work to care for them or drive them to appointments or do you have other siblings that can help out. Remember, just because they’re living in your home full time doesn’t mean you can’t ask for assistance when needed.
- Will your parents be responsible for their own laundry and cooking? How will you divide the household chores (if they’re physically able to help)? Will you need to be financially compensated for their moving in – helping with groceries, etc.
- Don’t make a move unilaterally. Ask your siblings, your spouse, your children; regardless of how well you interact with your parents and how good a relationship your spouse and children have, it is still a life-changing event.
- Recognize that at some point, your parents may reach a stage where you will need the help of trained caregivers or they may need to make a move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. These are items that should be discussed up front, with the entire family.
- If you and your spouse are employed outside of the home, it may be wise to consider setting up the home with a medical alert device as a way to provide your parents with access to immediate medical care if necessary. At the push of a button on their personal medical alert pendant, they could summon assistance in the event of a health emergency or trip or fall accident while you weren’t home. These devices cost pennies a day but bring untold value in peace of mind for all involved.
Keep in mind that having your aging parents move in can give a family time to bond and build memories that will last a lifetime. Additionally, it may very well set a great example for your children as to how family cares for one another in a time of need.