Should Mom or Dad Move In With Me? 10 Important Factors to Consider Presented by Lee A. McCue REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty Denver Tech Center SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) CSHP (Certified Senior Housing Professional) 303-859-0198 Lee@McTeamRealEstate.com
One Out of Four Caregivers Live with an Elderly or Disabled Relative Let’s Examine the Pluses and the Minuses
Benefits If healthy they can help around the house and babysit. They can contribute financially. They can get to know their grandchildren on a deeper level.
Challenges If they are not healthy they may take a lot of time. Their level of care may create much fatigue. Their care may create a lot of stress and strained relationships.
Question #1What Kind of Care is Needed? What is the physical and mental condition? What chronic illness is present? Even if there is no specific illness and the parent is just “slowing down” you will still need to anticipate his future condition based on family or personal history.
Question #2How Much Assistance Is Needed? Be realistic about what you can and cannot do—level required will increase over time. Know your limits—you may need to hire an in-home aide. Consider your schedule in conjunction with their level of need—do you have the time and energy?
Question #3How Well Do You Get Along? Need to look at the history of your family relationship. Conflict is natural…the question is what is the extent? If you’ve never really gotten along the relationship isn’t going to magically improve. Don’t be a martyr. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can change their personality…they are very complex diseases and the personality change is unpredictable.
Question #4Is Your Home Elderly Friendly? Is the bedroom on the main level? If not, can you install an electric chair lift? Is there a full bath on the same level as the bedroom? If you have steps to the front door you may need to put in a ramp. Is the bathroom large enough to accommodate a walker or a wheelchair? Will everyone have a level of privacy they are comfortable with?
Question #5Will Your Family Member Contribute Financially? Lighten your financial burden by having the family member contribute—rent, food money, renovations. No right or wrong way to handle finances—just make the decision before they move in and have open discussions. Pooling resources may benefit all! A bigger home may be more comfortable for everyone. Include your siblings in money talks—Do they agree or are they going to be resentful? Set them straight about the statistics of caring for an aging parent!
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare Caregivers spend an average of $5,500/year out of their own pocket. A smaller study showed $15,000/year to be closer to the true amount spent. You will make sacrifices by: Cutting back on vacations and leisure activities (1/2 do) Dip into savings (1/3 do) Spending less on groceries and your own health and dental care (1/4 do)
Question #6How Do Your Spouse and Children Feel About the Move-In? Your children could benefit immeasurably by the grandparent’s oral history and life lessons. You are modeling how to take care of family and teaching commitment, responsibility and sacrifice. Make sure both you and your spouse are prepared for less alone time and that your social life may be put on hold.
Question #7Will Your Family Member Be Able to Live by the Rules of Your House? Will your parent be able to adjust to the loss of some of the independence, space and privacy? Will they respect your values in regard to how you raise your children and how you live your life? Do they have habits that conflict with your lifestyle? Do you have the same levels of cleanliness and orderliness? Are they bringing a pet and will they respect your boundaries for pet behavior and cleanliness?
Question #8How’s Adjustment Going to Be With an Older Adult in the Home? Meals…If the kids like spicy and the adult is on a bland diet? Decibel levels…do the kids like loud music while Grandpa needs quiet for rest? Is the living space now cramped resulting in loss of privacy and personal space? Will the kids learn the importance of making short term sacrifices for the greater good of the family?
Question #9Do You Have Time to Take This On? Aside from personal care you also need to consider: Making phone calls for appointments Filling out medical forms and dealing with insurance companies Driving to appointments and meetings If supervision is required who will do that while you’re at work? Do you have a flexible schedule? Do you have the time to also take care of yourself? Caregivers are more prone to illness due to stress and exhaustion called “care-giver syndrome”.
Question #10Will Your Parent Have a Social Network Available? If they are moving in from out-of-town or out-of-state how are you going to deal with their loneliness? If you and your spouse are gone all day and the kids are in school help them find a senior center or adult day facility that is nearby. How will they get there? Do they still drive? Will you have to provide transportation? Can they take public transportation? Does the facility offer transportation?
Conclusions Family dynamics and individual situations are so diverse that decisions are very complex. Whatever the decision be sure that you have carefully explored and truthfully answered the 10 Questions.