10 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Parent’s Caregiver
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to move your aging parent in with you, you aren’t alone: One out of every four caregivers lives with the elderly or disabled relative he or she cares for.* An in-your-home arrangement can have many positives. If your parent is still relatively healthy, she may be able to help around the house, contribute financially, and get to know your children in a way that could not be possible with only occasional visits. It might be easier to care for her in your own home rather than from a distance. It could be less expensive than putting her in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, but you also could pay a price in terms of necessary remodeling, time, stress, fatigue, and strained relations.
This arrangement can be great for some but not right for everyone. Before you make such a momentous decision and present that option to your parent, it is very important to take an inventory of not only of your living conditions and your support system, but of your own health and ability to take on what is likely to be a demanding role, perhaps for a very long time!
We think these 10 personal inquiries will help you begin to gain the knowledge you need to make the best decision for you, your parent and your entire family. We’ll use a mother as the example:
- Is your home safe and accessible for your mother, now and as she ages? If not, do you have the resources to remodel?
- Is your mother able to contribute financially, and are you financially preparedfor the extra costs of caregiving?
- How do your spouse and children feel about the move-in? How well do all of you get along with your mother now?
- Have you discussed the lifestyle changes involved in having an elderly person in the house? Does the family agree to these changes?
- Will your mother be able to live by the rules of your house, support your child-rearing decisions, respect your values?
- What kind of care will your mother need, now and possibly in the future?
- Do you have the time to take this on? How much supervision and assistance can you and family members provide?
- Will you be able to cut back on work responsibilities during those times when you need to be home to care for your mom?
- Are you and your family capable of taking care of your Mom’s special needs? Do you need to hire outside/skilled help or consider assisted living?
- Will you be able to make time for yourself and your family? Do you know how caregiving will affect your physical and mental health? Will you be able to allow yourself to accept help and take breaks when needed?
None of these questions really take into account the physical, mental and emotional condition of your parent. Be sure to do some research on the special needs you will have to meet and cope with. For example, if your loved one has dementia and can no longer filter their behavior, will you and your family be able to cope with potentially hurtful words or actions? If your mom is diabetic and needs help checking and managing her blood sugar levels with injections, are you comfortable taking on that responsibility? Is your mom able to be left alone, and is she still able to enjoy social interaction? If so, will she be close to friends and other family members?
Remember that Dakota Travel Nurse Home Care is always available to help, providing both medical and non-medical services to keep home an option for everyone, whether it’s your parent’s home or yours. Call us today for a free consultation. 701.663.5373.
Resources: The 10 questions above were adapted from two articles–*Moving Elderly Parents Into Your Home and 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming Your Parent’s Caregiver. Click on the links to read more. Another helpful article is When Your Aging Parent Moves into Your Home—Deciding If You Can Do It.
If you are especially concerned about the financial aspects of becoming your parent’s caregiver, these two articles explain key factors you should consider: Aging Parents Moving In: Can you afford to have Mom or Dad move into your home? and Moving Aging Parents Into your home. How to handle renovations, taxes, and dealing with your sibs.