As the number of older adults climbs, a greater number of adult children here in the Pacific Northwest find themselves juggling caring for an aging parent with the responsibilities of raising their own family. Many do so at a time when they are trying to build their career.
It’s easy to see why families often think the ideal solution is to move an aging parent in to their own home.
But is it really the best idea?
Here are five questions you should ask yourself and your family members before making a final decision.
5 Factors to Consider Before Moving a Parent in to Your Home
- How does your family feel about this idea?
While it can be convenient for the primary caregiver who is struggling to juggle so many roles, not everyone in the family might be excited about this idea. Do your spouse and parent get along well enough for this to work? In-law relationships aren’t the same as having your own parent move in. What about your children? How do they feel about more people being added to the household? And how does your parent feel about this solution? Are they on board with this move or are they reluctant?
- Do you have space in your home to safely accommodate an older adult’s needs?
Most homes aren’t designed with the needs of an older adult in mind. It often requires a significant financial investment to modify a home and make it safe for an older loved one.
Widening doorways and creating a step-free shower are just a few changes that may be necessary depending on your family member’s needs. Families sometimes find it is less expensive to buy or build a new house with an in-law suite rather than retrofit their existing home. The financial and emotional costs of relocating also need to be factored in to the decision.
- Can you afford the additional expenses this move will create?
There are hidden costs of caregiving that families often overlook when combining households. In addition to the expenses caused by having another person taking showers and doing laundry, there will be additional food expenses, transportation costs, and other personal care incidentals.
Another unanticipated expense for many families is a loss of wages. As your parent grows older, they may count on you more and more for assistance. Family caregivers often need to cut back on their work schedule or quit working entirely to care for a parent.
If you don’t cut back on your work load, you may need to hire a home care agency or private duty caregiver for the times your family can’t be there. In the Seattle area, the average hourly rate for a caregiver is $24.
- Are you ready for the loss of privacy?
This can be a tough one for married couples and for their children. Moving a parent in with you probably means sacrificing privacy. While it might be nice to have a grandparent around to spend time with the kids, it’s not the same as having them visit for a few weeks and return home. They will likely be a long-term member of the household.
- Are there senior care alternatives that may be a better fit?
While it is sometimes necessary to have a parent stay with you for a few weeks while they are recovering from a surgery or illness, there may be better long-term solutions for you and for your parent.
You might want to consider an in-home care agency to help with meal preparation and personal care. Or you may find that an assisted living community is the perfect combination of assistance and independence.
Take time to learn more about all potential senior care solutions before you go through the process of selling your parent’s home and making a move.
Learn More about Our Retirement Living Colleagues
If you think a retirement community might be of interest to your parent, we invite you to visit our Retirement Living Resource Center. Here you will find links to a number of well-regarded senior living communities in the greater Seattle area.