Guest contributor: The Dollar Stretcher.
The Dollar Stretcher has been offering personal finance and frugal living tips since 1996.
When your parent starts needing help with daily activities or isn’t safe living alone, you’re faced with a complex decision: should you move them in with you? In this article from The Dollar Stretcher, they interview Eldercare.com to understand the key issues that need to be considered before you decide.
If you’ve decided that your elderly parent is in need of a caregiver, you may be struggling with the decision of whether to care for your aging parents in their own home or move them into yours.
We wanted to find out more about some issues to consider when making this decision, so we reached out to Martha Scully from Eldercare.com.
We asked her to give us her thoughts about things boomers who may be going through this type of transition may want to think about. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: What are some factors to consider when determining whether it’s best to care for a parent in their home or yours?
Ms. Scully’s answer: Having a parent move in with you is an extremely big step for both parties. Before considering this decision, the relationship itself should be determined.
Ask yourself these questions. How well have you gotten along in the past? Are they comfortable asking for help? Will your assisting them cause both you and your family members more stress than relief?
Always remember that there is a likelihood that your family member will need more and more assistance as time goes on.
Q: Who should be part of the discussion on where a parent will receive care?
Ms. Scully’s answer: Most importantly, your parents should be part of that decision. They should not just be told what is happening. That would immediately start things off on the wrong foot.
Secondly, if the parent is possibly moving into your home, your spouse and children should be a large part of this decision. They should be well-informed and prepared as their lives are going to change, and likely everyone will play a part in the care.
Thirdly, any other immediate family should be involved. This is especially true if you are expecting any respite care or financial help from outside family members.
Finally, your parent’s family doctor should be consulted, and other important care professionals should be informed and asked his/her opinion on care.
Q: What types of living arrangement changes might you need to make, if you decide to care for a parent in your home?
Ms. Scully’s answer: Privacy for yourself and your parent is very important. In many situations, family members choose to have the parent in a part of the home that is accessible but also private.
Setting a parent up so they have their own TV and quick access to a bathroom is always ideal. You may need to consider items like stairs, steepness of stairs, and wheelchair accessibility. You may also need to consider future needs this way.
Q: If you choose to care for a parent in their home, what are some things you’ll want to think about when setting up their care?
Ms. Scully’s answer: Often a parent wants to stay in their own home as long as possible. Safety is the most important factor. Are they able to care for themselves? Is there a risk of falls, or are there obstacles for them to just not be able to care for themselves?
If you are considering a caregiver, you will need to determine what type of caregiver is necessary. If you require someone with a medical background (like a nurse), affordability has to be considered, especially if you need 24-hour care.
Q: Is there anything that people commonly forget to consider when faced with this type of care decision?
Ms. Scully’s answer: There are a few common items that are often forgotten. First, the individual that is receiving the care should always be included in all decisions of their own care. They may need things to move a little slower than you want, but it is important for success that they are part of all decisions.
Whether it is a family member or outside care, another item that is often forgotten is the limitations of the caregiver chosen. There are certain things that a caregiver can and cannot do. These duties should be explored in advance.
Caregivers do not have unlimited hours that they can work. It is always best to determine the hours in advance and respect that the caregiver has her own life to attend to.
The Dollar Stretcher, 2021.