There are a few million multi-generational households in America, according to the AARP. The combination of rising housing costs, a stagnant economy and an aging population have led to more and more homes where parents, children and grandparents live under one roof.
Having an aging parent move in with you comes with rewards. You can share costs, forge closer bonds and have someone to help with some level of child care.
At the same time, a multi-generation household can cause stresses for both you and your parents. You want them to feel like part of the family while also preserving your core family’s unity. And if they’re staying with you for health reasons, you may end up caring for them while also trying to raise children.
Here are some things you should consider if you’re preparing to care for an elderly parent at home:
The cost of building/renovating
You may not have enough space in your home for another person. The arrival of your mom or dad –or both parents – might mean adding a new bathroom or turning an existing room into a bedroom.
And even without major renovations, you may have to make some senior-friendly changes to the home, such as adding grab bars to your shower or a ramp at your front door.
The cost of caregivers
We may want to be there for our parents when they need day-to-day care, but not everyone has the resources to do everything – bathing, dressing, feeding – on their own.
It may be that you need to hire a home health aide, which comes at a price. According to AARP, the average cost of a home health aide is $21,840 a year (and this was in 2012 dollars).
A loss in your income?
Caring for a parent on your own can often lead to time away from work, which leads to a loss of income. For women 50 and older, the total decline in wages and retirement income can be as high as $324,000, according to calculations from MetLife. Male caregivers fare slightly better, losing $283,000.
A loss in their income
Your parents may receive a reduction in their Supplemental Security Income if they live with you. SSI treats free room and board as “in-kind support and maintenance,” AARP says. To avoid this fate for your parents, it’s a good idea to have a rental agreement in which they pay a fair market rent.
There are ways you can get money back by caring for an older parent in your home. You can get tax deductions for helping pay for medical expenses – hearing aids, dentures, walkers. And if you provide more than half of an elderly parent’s living expenses, you may be able to claim them as a dependent when you file your income taxes.
Save on remodeling costs with a stair lift
It’s a daunting idea, the notion of adding a bedroom to your home or reconfiguring a downstairs bathroom. But you can make things easier by adding a stair lift instead.
If you’re ready to make this change in your home, contact PA Stair Lifts. We’ll advise you on installing and maintaining a stair lift in your home in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh or Delaware county. Having three generations in one home can be a challenge. Let us help you ease your burden.