Your elderly father has lived by himself at home ever since your mother passed away several years ago. Although he loves the freedom and independence aging in place affords him, lately you’ve noticed that living alone has become a challenge due to his deteriorating health.

Lately his appearance isn’t being kept up in the same manner as before, and he’s having trouble negotiating stairs. His memory lapses have also becoming more frequent to the point his safety and wellbeing are beginning to concern you. Therefore, you’re contemplating asking him to move into your home so that you can monitor his activities and provide care when needed. But caring for an aging parent in your home presents its own unique set of challenges which you will need to carefully consider first.

Impact on Family Dynamics

In most households today, both parents work outside the home. So, question number one when considering moving a senior into your home is: Who will be around to assist them? Next come multigenerational privacy and space concerns, notably if you have kids living in the house. What teenager wants to look up from their laptop to find grandma staring at them through their bedroom doorway? First, sit down with your spouse and kids to discuss what moving mom or dad in will mean, including family dynamic changes like:

  • Personal Hygiene – You’ll have to balance your parent’s modesty needs with care. In some instances, it may be better to hire an outside caregiver for these activities if they aren’t comfortable having you help them bath, toilet and dress.
  • Special Dietary Requirements – Seniors have unique daily nutritional needs that younger individuals don’t. You’ll need to shop for and prepare foods that meet those requirements.
  • Transportation – Developing a game plan for getting mom or dad to their doctors’ appointments and other engagements is key. The more drivers in your home, the better.
  • Room Availability – Will moving mom or dad into your home mean that your kids will have to share a room for the first time? Discuss the proposed living arrangements first to ensure everyone is onboard.
  • Alone Time for You and Your Spouse –  Sharing a home with an elderly grown-up can oftentimes place a strain on your marriage. Schedule quality time together on a regular basis to keep your relationship strong. Have the kids occasionally watch grandma while you go out for dinner and a movie. They’ll probably enjoy hearing about “the old days” while learning tidbits about your childhood!

Preparing Your Home

The next consideration when caring for an aging parent is adapting it to their living needs. Balance and strength diminish with age, and the average home, especially with kids, can present numerous trip hazards. Those safety concerns are exacerbated by a condition like dementia. Here are some home updates you may need to do:

Kitchen

Remove slippery throw rugs and other floor-level trip hazards. Retrofit your faucets with non-scalding devices. Place shut-off timers on your stove, and position food items and cookware within easy reach