** In Collaboration**
We all age, and one of the most challenging things to deal with as we get older is that our parents do as well. In fact, when we start to see them decline in physical or mental health or both, it can be a real shock to the system. Not to mention the added worry about whether they can adequately take care of themselves. Of course, it often gets to the point where our parents find self-care challenging indeed. A situation that begs the question: “Should we ask them to come and move into our home with us?” A complex issue that we shall attempt to answer below.
Yes – safety and care
One reason in favour of welcome our ageing parents into our own home is that we can care for them and help them to do any tasks that they are struggling with. In fact, many people believe that they will be able to offer a much higher standard and more compassionate approach to caring for their own parents. Solely due to the familial connection.
Additionally, having a parent come to live in your home can be the best choice for safety as well. In fact, if your parent is at risk of falling, having them live in your home means there will be someone there to help them avoid this, or that can minister to their needs right away if it does occur. Rather than them having to wait until someone finds them or the emergency services arrive.
Then there are situations where older relatives are struggling with cognitive impairment. Something that means they may not always understand how to do everyday tasks like safely using the cooker. A situation that can be either bypassed altogether or supervised if they come to reside with you in your own home.
No – independence
However, not all of the factors to be considered here are in favour of taking your older relatives to live with you. In fact, it is essential to remember that while they may be struggling, they are still adults to whom a sense of independence and autonomy is critical. With independent living representing a significant part of this. To that end, exploring all of the options that will allow them to stay safe in their own home is crucial when making this decision.
Happily, there are not for profit organisations such as Community Based Support that can help. The reason being that they specialise in offering assistance to those that wish to remain living in their own homes independently. Something that can have a significant positive effect on your older relatives mental wellbeing, and quality of life, if that is their preference.
Yes – community
Another excellent reason to support inviting an ageing parent to live in your home with you is social integration. This is because sadly, isolation and alienation is a significant difficulty that faces many older people in society. Something that can be caused by a combination of failing health and the inability to get out of the house as they once did.
Of course, when living in a family home, elderly people will have access to a lot more company and conversation during their day. They will also be automatically included in the family dynamic, as well as any celebrations that are going on. Something that can push back against this isolation and significantly improve their quality of life.
No – privacy and stress
Before you invite an ageing relative into your home, you do need to consider the effect that it will have on your and your family too. After all, offering the spare room up for grandma for an occasional stay is very different from having them there 24/7.
In fact, some people can struggle with the lack of privacy, especially if they had a less than perfect relationship with that parent as they were growing up. This being something that can invite unwelcome criticism and cause a lot of stress on everyone involved.
Although, you can alleviate such issues, by creating a separate but adjoined part of the home for your elderly parent. Something that is often known as a ‘granny flat.’ Then, both you and they will have your own spaces in which to live, but you will also be close enough together to care for them and invite them into your home for family time when desired.
In conclusion, inviting an ageing relative into your home can be the right choice. Although it is worth remembering that such a strategy is not likely to be problem-free for either party. Additionally, it is also important to realise that it is not the only choice to consider when making this complex and challenging decision.