We’ve been writing a lot lately about seniors aging in place, and one of the points that we keep coming back to is this: Three quarters of all senior citizens expect to live out their remaining years in their homes.
At the same time, close to 70 percent of people over 85 live in places that lack the basic features that let them live safely, according to a 2015 report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
So, while that goal of aging in place is certainly understandable, it’s not always attainable.
Maybe this is something you’ve begun to suspect about your own parents. You notice they’re forgetting to pay bills, or having trouble getting around.
And maybe you’ve begun to wonder how to get your parents to move in with you. They can’t stay on their own, you say to yourself, and assisted living isn’t always an option.
But before you extend an invite to mom and dad, there are a few things you should consider about having your elderly parents living with you.
Laying the groundwork
Let’s say you’ve become concerned about your parents living on their own. It’s not a good idea to open by ordering them around.
“Your parents may not want to hear anything to the contrary from their children,” Dianne McGraw, a geriatric care manager and president of the Aging Life Care Association, told TIME in 2016.
Rather than laying down an ultimatum, try these tactics:
- Offer to help out around the house on jobs – bill paying, minor repairs – that can give you a better glimpse into their living conditions or financial situation.
- Start any conversation about getting your parents to move in with you by acknowledging their feelings about where they live.
- Point out that they might be spending a lot of money to keep the house and have a lot of equity in the home.
- Remind them that moving in with you – or even closer to you – could strengthen their ties to the rest of the family.
- Frame the conversation not as something they need to do, but as something you’re concerned about. Tell them you worry about them being on their own and why.
- Explain the “other” benefits: freedom to travel whenever they want without worrying who will watch the house, sharing expenses allows them to afford more travel, fewer daily chores allows more time for travel, etc.
Before they move in
Let’s say your parents are ready to move in with you. Are you ready? Ask yourself these questions.
1. What kind of care do they need?
If your mom or dad is still relatively healthy, them moving in with you can be easy. You get the peace of mind of knowing they’re not on their own, and they get to bond with their grandchildren (and maybe even offer child care). In a way, it’s like the way families lived decades ago, with several generations under one roof.
But if your parents have some sort of serious health condition, you’ll need to think about what kind of care you can realistically provide. Know your limits and consider your schedule.
2. How do you get along?
All families have their rough patches, but if you’ve never gotten along with your mom or dad, having them move into the same house with you –with the added stress of possibly having to care for them – might be too much for you or them.
3. Is your house ready?
The issues that made it hard for mom or dad to live on their own won’t go away when you get your parents to move in with you.
For example, your parents might have trouble getting in and out of a bathtub or climbing steps. You may need to make some renovations to your home, such as installing grab bars in the shower, putting in a wheelchair ramp or installing a stair lift.
Are your parents poised to move in with you? Pennsylvania Stairlifts can help you prepare your home. Whether you need to buy or rent internal stairlifts or install a platform lift outdoors, we’re ready to assist you in making your home a more welcoming place for mom and dad.