Adjusting to Living with Elderly Parents

If you have made the decision to move an older parent or parents into your home, you undoubtedly have questions and concerns about the transition. A primary issue at hand is how do you go about adjusting to living with your elderly parents. In this regard, there are a number of tactics to consider:

  • Establish ground rules
  • Take time for yourself
  • Allow parents time for themselves
  • Recognize your own limitations
  • Identify outside resources
  • Obtain professional assistance
  • Be aware of accessibility issues

Establish Ground Rules

A vital step to take in order to ensure that you and your aging parents will adjust more easily to living together is to establish ground rules at the outset. The establishment of ground rules should be a process that involves discussions and decisions between you and your parents. If there are other family members living in your residence, you will want to include them in the process as well.

Take Time for Yourself

When it comes to positively adjusting to living with your parents, you will want to make sure that after they move into your home, you continue to take time for yourself. Bear in mind that there are homecare aides and facilities that offer respite care. These services can allow you to take time for yourself with the knowledge that your parents will be cared for when you are have some proverbial “me time.”

Allow Parents Time for Themselves

In addition to ensuring that you carve out time for yourself, you need to understand that your parents need the same consideration. Simply, your parents also need time for themselves. For example, if your parents have friends in the community who are more mobile than your own mother and father, your parents certainly need to be allowed time to go out and about with those individuals. Of course, time carved out for your parents to spend on things they want to do needs to be done with an eye to their ongoing safety.

Recognize Your Own Limitations

A major element of adjusting to your parents moving into your home is coming to an understanding that there are limitations in regard to the whole situation. There are limitations as to what you reasonably can do for your parents. Because this is the case, you need to give candid consideration to engaging other resources to assist you in providing a home for your parents. Outside resources that can be helpful to you when your parents move into your home are discussed in a moment. 

Identify Outside Resources

There are a number of different outside resources that you will want to consider as a means to assist you and your parents better adjust to living under the same roof:

  • We’ve already touched on respite services that can provide you time for yourself if your parents live with you. 
  • Many communities now have day centers at which older individuals can spend time involved in different activities with others in a safe environment.
  • Siblings should be a resource upon which you can rely when your parents are residing with you. This isn’t necessarily referring to your siblings providing some financial assistance to aid you in providing a home for your parent (although that would be fair and appropriate should that occur). It does refer to your siblings having a role in your parents’ lives. It does mean that they will step in and relieve you of your immediate responsibilities for your parents and allow you some time for yourself.
  • There are also homecare aides that can assist you in tending to at least some of the basic needs of your parents. This is discussed in greater detail next.

Obtain Professional Assistance

Your parents may need assistance with some tasks of daily living. While adult children of aging parents do oftentimes provide this type of assistance, there are alternatives. Chief among them is to engage the professional assistance of a homecare aide. This type of professional can assist with such things as:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation

A homecare aide can also be on hand to provide you a chance to have some time to yourself. 

Be Aware of Accessibility Issues

Yet another matter to be addressed if your parents come to live in your residence involves accessibility issues. You need to do something of an audit of our home to ascertain how different elements of the property are accessible to your parents.

You also need to bear in mind that as your parents grow even older, if they continue to reside in your home, their accessibility issues will change. They may have more mobility and accessibility challenges that can necessitate alterations to your home and how you reside in it. 

These different strategies can be very helpful when you are beginning a new stage of life in which your parents will be residing in your home. Applying these strategies permit a more realistic expectation of what can and cannot happen when your parents move into your own home.