QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
Having Mom or Dad live with you is an incredibly rewarding experience. Each day you will learn something new about him or her, share jokes and stories, and cement a bond that is deeper and more intimate than when you were a child!
But the question is: Can you do it?
Be honest with yourself and consider your situation fully before deciding to take Mom or Dad into your home. By weighing the pros and cons, you and your parents will reach a decision that works for everyone.
The Kids, the Husband, and Mom
Having Mom or Dad under your roof with your kids, your partner, and your pets is often a daunting mission. Looking for a little snuggle time on the couch when the kids are at the neighbors? Mom’s right there! Need a little relaxation in the bathtub? Dad’s incontinence means you better make that time in the bathroom fast—it’s the only one in the house.
The day-to-day challenges of Mom or Dad living at home can really wear you down. You might want to look at the multitude of senior living options.
Time & Attention
Time is at a premium when you’re a family caregiver. In fact, family caregivers tend to be the most efficient people around. I know of people who resolve insurance claims issues over the phone while cooking dinner and picking up after their kids (and I’m sure they probably write out their grocery lists at the same time!)
If you have kids—think about when they were babies. They needed your full attention ALL THE TIME. Depending on how independent or active Mom or Dad is, you could end up bathing them, brushing their teeth, doing all the laundry, cooking meals for the whole family, running around to various doctor appointments, and more.
Before signing up for another full time job, you should think about:
Money, Money, Money
Sometimes, having Mom or Dad at home is just as expensive—or more expensive—than outside homes or homecare. Especially when you consider how much your time is worth. Could you financially accept going to part-time, or being laid off because of caregiving duties? What about hiring someone to help clean the house, take Mom for a daily walk, or manage Dad’s medication schedule? These items add up—and are often included in the services at a senior facility.
Think about the costs associated with nutritious food, and home cooking on a daily basis. Organic fruits and vegetables are costly and may be standard fare at a senior living facility.
Mom's or Dad’s Needs
Does Mom want to live with you? Instead of making assumptions, have a heart-to-heart conversation with her. Ask her how she feels about a potential role reversal, with child taking care of parent.
Think about Mom or Dad’s personality traits and the activities they enjoy. Are those compatible with that of your household? If Mom has always enjoyed peace and solitude, will she enjoy living in your house with the kids, their friends, and the dog?
Keep in mind that moving to your home may mean that Mom abandons her favorite neighborhood store, or her best friend who she’s lived next door to for the past 35 years. Sometimes a senior living facility enables Mom to stay in her long-time neighborhood—and increase the chances that her friends from the neighborhood may join her at a local senior home.
By having a conversation with Mom about what she really wants, you’ll be sure to take her needs into consideration.