As costs rise, adult children and their parents are finding that there are financial advantages in living together. Having a parent move in can be a big adjustment for everyone.
Follow these tips to prepare yourselves emotionally for such a move:
• Financial: To avoid resentment and guilt among family members, agree on the financial details prior to the move.
How much can the senior family member contribute to the household?
Are there other siblings who can/should also contribute?
What happens if mom or dad needs to move into a nursing home?
• Living space: Make some basic adjustments to ensure that the home is senior-friendly. Check railings to make sure they are sturdy. Replace doorknobs with levers. Personalize space for the senior, whether it is an addition to the home or just a bedroom.
• Resources: Know where to go for help. Family members serving as caregivers should not feel like they are doing it all alone. Access information on services that can help such as meals programs, transportation services, adult day care centers and respite services.
Many elderly people would prefer to stay in their own home as long as possible, and most children and loved ones would like to help them accomplish this. A key ingredient in allowing the elderly to continue living in their own home is planning for necessary services and support systems.
If you understand this planning process, be sure to keep it person-centered. A person-centered plan must include information about what is important to the senior, what is working in his/her life right now, and what is not.
The basic principles of person-centered planning include:
Freedom: the opportunity to decide how and where to live and what kind of services and supports to use, if any.
Support: the ability to choose support services in ways that are important to the person.
Self-esteem: By allowing the senior to decide what they like about their current lifestyle and what changes they would make, their sense of purpose and meaning is enhanced.
Gail Gilman is a family life consultant and University of Minnesota professor emeritus. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.