It’s the boomerang phenomenon, in reverse. Instead of kids moving back in with Mom and Dad, an increasing number of seniors are moving in with their children. They’re living longer than ever before, and they’re turning to their kids to share living space. While some seniors moving in with family members are incredibly healthy and independent, many are struggling with physical and emotional issues related to aging and have moved in with a loved one because they need the support of some kind. While this type of living situation has some positives – like family members spending more time together, shared expenses, and emotional support – it can also put pressure on a child as they assume more caregiving responsibilities, especially if a parent has medical needs. If you have a parent about to move in with you, or you’re already sharing your home with Mom or Dad, here are some tips to help you adjust to living with an elderly parent and make your living arrangement as stress-free as possible.
Set ground rules concerning how you and your parent will live together
When a parent moves in with you, they’re not a house guest. To best get along together, you need to set rules regarding daily household activities, such as sharing a kitchen and eating together, spending time out of the house, or watching television.
For example, your parent may want to sit together and have dinner as a family every evening, but your schedule may not accommodate that. You may work, have social obligations, or other reasons you can’t be home for a family meal every night. To avoid conflict and hurt feelings, you’ll need to set boundaries concerning how often your family will be eating meals together.
You’ll want to stick to those rules once they’re set, but be prepared to make adjustments down the road if your parent is facing an illness that may worsen over time.
Be willing to put yourself first from time to time
You can’t effectively care for your parent if you’re not taking care of your own needs – physically and mentally. To stay strong physically, make sure you’re staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water every day, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep every night.
Mentally, take “me time” as needed. You’re going to need to recharge your batteries from time to time, whether it be having a relaxing spa day or massage, spending a day at the beach or in the park, or enjoying a date with your spouse or significant other. Be sure to do things that keep you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Establish a care network
Taking care of your parent can take its toll on you. You may run up against your own limitations caring for your parent. Recognize that nobody can do it alone, and take steps to get the help you need.
There’s a good possibility that you have friends and family members that will step in and help when they can. Most people want to be helpful, but they don’t want to overstep boundaries. However, they’re more than happy to help out when they’re asked.
If you don’t have a support network you can count on, home care agencies like ours, AmeriCare Plus, are here for you. We can step in for a few hours a day or week with respite care, or we can be there around the clock and provide a full range of home care services to meet the needs of your loved one.
AmeriCare Plus has been serving families throughout Virginia for over 26 years. We have 10 locations throughout the state consisting of a management team with over 100 years of combined experience with the company, and a dedicated and compassionate team of trained caregivers, 65% of whom have been with us for over two years. Please contact and learn more about us. We understand family and would love to serve yours.