“My parents took care of me, so I want to return that favor and take care of them.” Many of us have uttered those word when faced with decisions regarding care arrangements for one or both of your parent(s). This most often becomes a consideration when one of them has passed away, leaving the surviving spouse alone.
The key word here is ‘alone.’ Perhaps the surviving parent has been alone for a while now and you are noticing the toll it has been taking on them and on you. You can see isolating behaviors, less phone calls or interest in family get togethers, a desire to just stay home, maybe even staying in bed longer than before, along with less interest in hobbies or self-care. You may also start to see the opposite behaviors, daily calls just to say hello, or to ask what channel the Wheel of Fortune is on tonight. Requests for you to stop by more or needing help with things they normally handled themselves.
Thinking that our parent is lonely, we may think the obvious solution is to invite our parent to move in and participate in our family life. What a generous thought that is! Our emotions validate the idea that it would be easy to just bring her into your family home. It is a familiar place, everyone loves Grandma. One of your children are away at college, with your high-schooler headed there next year, so you have an extra room, plenty of space, and you owe it to her. You can’t bear the thought of anyone else caring for her.
My oh my, how we let guilt become something that we can justify as being in the best interest of our parent. It falls into the category of wanting to do the right thing and validates your belief that you may owe them for all they have done for you.
Emotions and a sense of obligation drive towards this option and it can be a very emotional time.
This is a point where you want to stop and reach out to a care manager. It may very well be that moving in with you is the correct solution, but it may also be that there are decisions that could be made that would be better for both you and your aging loved one.
Some of the initial questions to consider are the following:
- Is your home safe and easily navigated by an aging person? Or will modifications be needed?
- Is the family in agreement? Will the family participate in tending to anything that could come up while in their care?
- Will there be financial impacts to the family? Will your parent contribute financially?
- Is there a backup plan if more advanced care is needed? A fall, or a dementia diagnosis can be a game changer.
- Will your parent be able to maintain or have a social life?
- Do you get along with your parent?
- How will you resolve any differences that may arise?
These are just a few things to consider. It is important to identify the specific things that apply to your living situation.
Working with a care manager can help you determine if the decision to have your parent(s) move into your home is a good fit for you and your family. They can help you navigate some of the challenges that are regularly seen. They are also a great resource for identifying any changes that are needed to the plan as care needs change over time.
If you or someone in your family are facing these or other aging challenges, please give us a call at (203) 258-2640 or email us at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to assist!