Moving Back: Pros and Cons of Moving Parents in with Family

Jun 3, 2016

Moving Back: Pros and Cons of Moving Parents in with Family

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We are all pretty resourceful human beings until it comes down to things that we really don’t want to think about. For instance, we don’t like to think about our parents reaching an age where they can no longer be independent.

"My parents are aging, that’s a hard subject... think about something else quickly so I don’t have to dwell on the fact that my parents are getting older and I don’t know how to handle it." If you've had this thought, you are probably approaching that time or are trying to deny it. Either way, this article is here for you as a resource to make thinking about a hard subject... a little easier.

Pro and Cons of Moving Parents in With Family

While plenty of information is pushed about retirement communities, information about moving your parent into the family home is much less advertised. Here are a few pros and cons to help you think about moving back in.

Pros

1. Free babysitter

When elder parents move into your home you have a new babysitter that is part of the family. How much safer and cheaper can your child care get? Also, you get the added benefit of your child being exposed to multiple generations and being able to spend more time with their grandparent(s). However, while it's great that you children and their grandparents get to spend more time together after your parents move in, keep in mind that they did not move into your home to help you take care of or raise your children. They are in your home because they are aging and may need help with daily living tasks. Reassure your parents that they moved in with you to help make their life easier. Not to babysit your children or do chores around the house. Finally, be realistic about your parents' physical and mental well-being - if they are struggling with daily tasks or their mental health, then babysitting your children may not be possible for them, despite your denial.

2. Valuable time together

The time you spend with your parent is precious, especially at this stage, and you are more likely to make time for them when they are in your home. Try to organize daily activities that the whole family can enjoy. This can include daily meals or the family watching Netflix together each evening. Also, encourage your children to interact with their grandparents. Whether it's through story-telling or learning a new skill (cooking, sewing, playing sports) it's important to encourage your children and grandparents to spend as positive time together doing something they both enjoy. Not only will your parents love spending time with their grandchildren, but the time your family spends together will become important memories and stories that will be told for years to come, long after grandma and grandpa have passed away.  

3. Affordable

You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to put them in a retirement community, and your parent may be able to contribute to the household.

4. More personal care

You can manage their medicine, be aware of their safety, and you will be more in tune with their health fluctuations. A nursing home cannot provide the relational compassion one’s own family can provide.

Cons

1. Lots of extra work and planning

You may need to buy equipment to make the house safer for your aging parent, and rearrange the house to accommodate for another member. Schedules for meals, appointments, and care related things might need to be adjusted.

2. Added stress on family unit

Kids may need to take on chores to help with the additional member of the household. There will be less privacy and free time if there was any, to begin with.

3. Loss of independence

This is an inevitable part of the aging process. Role reversal may be a bit hard to navigate at first, but good communication can build a stronger bond between you and your parent.

Of course, this list of pros and cons can be expanded upon or changed depending on your parent’s current health and abilities. Now that we have surmounted the daunting problem of thinking about a topic we don’t like to contemplate, you can better make an informed decision about moving your parents in with you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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I'm considering having my mother move in with us. But, we have a house with small children and I'm afraid I won’t be able to provide the care she needs. What can I do?

It’s always possible to hire a home care aide. Home care aides can provide care for your senior while allowing you to still take care of the rest of your family. Home care aides can be hired through an agency or independently and are usually paid by the hour. Depending on how much care your senior needs, home care aides may also stay overnight. Discuss with your family to find the best option for your mother and make sure to take your time when looking for the proper care.

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