Making the decision to move your aging parent into your home is a tough one. It comes with a lot of responsibility and emotional commitment. If you’re not ready for the change, chances are you’ll end up having a pretty quick adverse reaction. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re fully ready for your parent to move into your home full time. Here are a few tips for adjusting to having your aging parents at home.
Have a Space That’s Just For You
When anyone new moves into your home it can be a strain on both parties. When your new roommate happens to be an aging parent, it can be even harder on you emotionally. Once you’ve opened up your home to someone, the first thing to do is to find spaces you can reclaim as your own. This doesn’t have to be just a bedroom or study. Find places within your home that you can clearly designate as your own. Pick places where you can be guaranteed some time alone. Setting clear boundaries is part of this. Though it’s hard to tell a senior parent that you need space, it’s still a necessary aspect of learning to live with someone close.
Be Patient: You’re Not Perfect
When your parent moves in, you’re going to have more than a few strained moments. And that’s ok: As long as you keep calm and realize that it’s going to be an awkward adjustment at first, you’ll feel the pressure start to fall off your shoulders. Having a parent move in can make an adult child feel like they need to be the perfect child and caretaker. However, no one is perfect and no one should be expected to be perfect. There will be times when you’ll lose your cool, and that’s okay. Living with your aging parent is going to be a learning process for both of you.
Know When to Ask for Help
If you’re finding that having your senior parent around all the time is a bit more than you can handle, there’s nothing wrong with that. Many parents seem more independent from afar than after they’ve moved in. You might be starting to realize that your parent seems a lot more senile than you thought and that they require a lot more help with daily activities and basic functions. If you know you can’t do it alone, you have lots of options for getting extra help for your senior. If you’d like your parent to be more engaged with the outside world while getting support, look into a Seniors Helping Seniors program. If you’re having trouble with basic caretaking, hire a part time live-in nurse or helper.
Have a Support Network
The most important aspect of adjusting to a new living situation is having a support network. Having a friend or friend group you can be honest with can make all the difference when it comes to coping with harder life changes. If you have friends you can talk to about your new situation, you’ll already be better equipped to handle the new stresses and tribulations of taking care of an aging parent.