When considering how to keep your aging parent safe, most adults would spare no personal expense to keep their parent feeling at ease and protected. For many, that means moving a parent into their home to live full time. While this is a more cost-effective option than that of in-home care or enrollment in a nursing home, there are many unexpected consequences of living full time with an aging parent that every adult should know about. When planning to move in your senior parent, spare a minute to take these considerations in mind.
Now that your parent is going to be living with you full time, you’ll want them to feel safe and comfortable in their space. However, this can require more effort than it might seem like at first. You might feel the urge to still treat your parent as a guest in your home since that was your dynamic before your parent moved in. It will take a lot of concentration and effort to break out of the idea that this is simply an extended visit. Making your parent feel welcome will take some effort. You’ll have to go out of your way to ask them what they like to have around the house, whether or not they have any specific routines and activities that you can help out with, and whether or not there’s anything you can do to make them feel more at home.
Establish a Routine
As we get older, routines become more and more important as symbols of safety and well-being. When your parent first arrives in your home, chances are they will feel disoriented and lost even if your home is a familiar place to them. Establishing a set of routines that are unique to their new situation will take a bit of time. That’s why it’s important for you to get involved and ask how you can help. If your parent has an exercise class or activity group that meets at a specific time, ask if you can drive them. If they like to have a certain amount of alone time in the morning, make sure they have a space separate from their bedroom that they can call their own and where they can feel like their privacy isn’t at risk. If they have specific activities or exercises they like to do after dinner, try to involve the whole family and make it a new tradition. Any way that you can include your parent in your day to day life without making them deprived of privacy is a great way to make them feel at home.
Be Prepared Mentally
It can be tough on adult children of aging parents once a senior moves in full time. Perhaps you underestimated the amount of care needed for your parent, or maybe the effort of caring for someone day in and day out is more stressful and time-consuming than you realized it would be. Whatever the problem, expect to have some complicated feelings about it. Living with your senior parent is probably going to be more difficult than you imagined, even if you went into it with the most realistic expectations possible. Give yourself space and time to adjust, and don’t be too hard on yourself for making mistakes.
Establish a Support System
As with any life change, having a support system makes a huge difference when it comes to making a big adjustment. Make sure you have people there for you when you move your parent in, both to help out with logistics and just to talk. If you have friends who have gone through the same thing before, ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and other family members for support. You can only be the best caregiver to your parent when you yourself are receiving the support you need.
There may come a time when you realize you’ve taken on a bit more than you can chew. It’s okay to realize that, and once you allow yourself to seek out help, your job as a caregiver will become much less stressful. Look into in-home care options for help with your parent. If you’re skeptical about hiring a live-in nurse, do some research on Seniors Helping Seniors In-Home Care Services and try to figure out the best way to get your parent the extra help they need.