Anyone who has taken on the task of caring for an aging parent faces a difficult decision: should you have them come to live with you?
Your initial consideration may bring up more negatives than positives thoughts to the situation. When you were younger you moved out of their home to live independently and separately from them. If the goal for most of your life has been to lead your own life apart from your family, it can be difficult to consider living, once again, in the same household. That is the natural course of our lives take and it is not without reason. Yet this it is an option that must be weighed as you are planning for the future.
If you are single, living on your own, you might have extra space where you are living. Additionally, you could save a considerable amount of money in combining your homes and lifestyles. Living expenses will be practically cut in half for each of you as you now have only one home to pay the heat, electric, rent, etc. Also, if you do live alone, the company of someone who knows you well might seem like a welcome change.
However, if you do have a spouse, children, or roommate the decision becomes more complicated.
You must anticipate how having your parent living with you will effect these other people in your life. Your children might think the idea of having their grandmother in the house with them would be fun and exciting, but there are responsibilities, sacrifices, and added stress that this change can bring.
There are, of course, positives to letting your loved one live with you that make it a tempting option.
Consider that you would be there at all times to help with medications, sudden medical problems, or even just getting to the bathroom. The worry that weights upon you as a caregiver will be greatly decreased because nothing can go wrong on account of your not being there to help. You won’t have to keep taking trips to their condo, apartment, or assisted living center to see that they’re okay, to see if they need anything, or to prepare their meals. Your family or roommate can chip in and take part in the caring of your parent which can remove a lot of the pressure on you.
This all being said, most experts in the field speak strongly against letting your loved one live with you.
For one thing, parents will be parents. They will not be able to resist involving themselves in child discipline situations or being nosy about marital spats or issues with your teenagers. Teenagers are elusive enough without having to answer to inquisitive grandparents!
Within the context of your family you already have some fairly sophisticated conflict resolution systems. These work because everyone can read each other’s signals. Bringing a grandparent, who is not familiar with how your family naturally functions, can throw things off and cause a lot of stress.
Though there are numerous attractive benefits, the biggest reason against having your aging parent live with you is for your own health and happiness.
You, as a caregiver, need to be able to get away for a while. Caregiver burnout is a big problem when everything rests on you for the health and wellbeing of your loved one.
Your home needs to be a relaxing place away from the stresses and concerns of being a caregiver.
At all costs, that sanctuary should be preserved for the sake of your health as a caregiver, your family, and even the health of your parent. Perhaps your loved on needs time away from you as well!
And when you do make your visits to your parent’s home, you should aim to arrive eager to serve, well rested, and with a refreshed smile; which is hard to accomplish if you cannot leave them and return to your own home as a comfortable place of rest.