Living with an Aging Parent

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There are a lot of factors to consider before making the move

With few exceptions, every child leaves home eventually. But few are prepared for the possibility of having to one day invite one or both of their parents into their home, often for health reasons. There are certainly alternatives -- a nursing home or an assisted living facility -- but if you are considering having you parent(s) move in with you, there are a few things to consider first before making a decision that will impact your life for the foreseeable future.

Can you provide the care your parent needs?

Consider the physical and mental condition of your parent. Whether they have been diagnosed with an illness or are simply slowing down with age, you’ll need to assess what kind of care they’ll require. Just as important is whether you are capable of providing that kind of care. Taking into account your own schedule and means, set realistic expectations for what you can and can’t do.

It is also worth looking ahead to the future, especially if your parent is living with an illness. What is the prognosis? Will their needs change five years down the road? Be forward thinking.

Can your home accommodate your parent(s)?

Not everyone builds or purchases their home knowing that one day they’ll be sharing it with one or both of their parents. So it is fair to consider how accessible your home is for an older adult.

The first floor is often the most ideal place for an older adult. This is especially important to consider if you parent is in a wheelchair or requires the use of a walker to get around. Obviously, if your parent uses a wheelchair, renovations to your home may be necessary.

Will you be sharing a bathroom with your parent? You’ll want to provide them with a bathroom space that is safe for seniors and also offers a comforting amount of privacy.

Are your other household members comfortable?

If you have a spouse and/or children, then you should also be taking into account their thoughts and feelings about bringing your parent into the home.

What is the relationship like between your parent and your spouse or children? In some cases, living together can strengthen the bond between family members. In other cases, it can worsen an already volatile situation. Consider how this change will affect the dynamic in your home, especially if everyone will be asked to contribute to the care of your parent.

Can you afford it?

Finances are often the most difficult conversation to have in these situations. Is your parent willing or able to contribute financially to the household? If not, can you handle the financial burden of your new living arrangement on your own?

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to figuring out the financial aspect of having a parent move in with you. But it’s important to consider both the financial costs and the financial benefits of opening up your home to one or both of your parents.

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