When elderly parents move in with you

When elderly parents move in with you

It has taken careful planning to decide on dad and mom moving in with you as the next step in caregiving.

It has taken careful planning to decide on dad and mom moving in with you as the next step in caregiving.

Now that the busyness of helping elderly parents downsize and move into your home is subsiding, you and your family are likely adjusting to new schedules and relationship changes.

Whether it’s your actual family members or the family you choose, some conflict is inevitable when multiple generations are sharing the same roof.

Chances are, you never anticipated living with your parents again after moving out as a young adult (or living with your in-laws!), and now roles and dynamics have changed. If your own children are living at home too, they will also be experiencing their own adjustments to having grandma or grandpa move in.

Here are some tips to help keep the peace and ease the tensions as everyone settles in, and focus on the benefits of caregiving parents in your own home.

Caregiving your parents or parent-in-laws

  • Recognize that your parent or parent-in-law is also experiencing a major transition moving out of their own home and into yours. Even if they are still relatively independent, they will be going through many emotions. Try to give them space to maintain their own daily routines and schedules as much as possible, even if they are not the same as yours. If you find yourself feeling tense, stop and take a breath, and try to put yourself in their shoes.

  • Ask for help. Elizz offers services and supports to fit your unique caregiving situation. If your parent doesn’t have social connections in your neighbourhood, connect him or her to local seniors’ centre or adult day programs for accesss to a variety of activities. Elizz Home Support companions can also be great help with errands, appointments, and as a friend to share a laugh with. When parents move in, mental health and minimizing loneliness is just as important as managing day-to-day caregiving tasks like meals or medications.

Helping a child adjust to living with your elderly parents

  • If you have children at home, they will be adjusting to new routines as well. Depending on the level of your caregiving responsibilities, they might feel like you don’t have as much time for them. Maybe a spare room where the kids used to play or watch TV has become grandma or grandpa’s room. Talk to your children about how they are feeling, and reassure them. Focus on how the kids can be involved so that they don’t feel left out. Younger children can make crafts with their grandparent, and watching the young children play will be great for your parent’s well-being. Teens can help prepare meals or drive to appointments. Communication is key to making sure everyone feels included and knows how and when they can help out. For more strategies on helping your young child or children adjust to the new normal of living with grandparents, see our article, Caring for elderly grandparents at home

  • Living with elderly parents offers many opportunities for richer, meaningful connections. Grandparents can develop a special routine, like reading a bedtime story to younger kids. Older kids and teens can ask grandparents about the music they like, and play it for them, while also sharing their own musical taste. Go through family photos and tell stories together.

Helping your spouse adjust to elderly parents moving in

  • Some of the biggest tensions adjusting to an elderly parent moving in and caregiving in your home can be with your spouse. Talk openly about how you will handle things like new schedules, meal routines, and perhaps most importantly, a decrease in privacy. Really listen to each other’s perspective and come up with a plan that meets not only your needs but also your spouse’s needs. Revisit this conversation regularly.

  • Make time for each other. If your day-to-day caregiving responsibilities are juggled with work and your own kids, time with your spouse can easily get lost in the shuffle. If your parent is still independent enough to stay at home alone for a short time, plan a regular date night. If your caregiving responsibilities are increasing, do something like take a walk after dinner to unwind together. Also see our article, Dealing with relationship stress when caregiving for more tips.

You might also like our article on entitled 10 Caregiver Stress Relievers!

As a not-for-profit organization, Elizz, the place to go for all things caregiving, is powered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care. If you feel you need to speak to someone about the stresses of having your parents move in with you, or if you need caregiving help, please call Elizz at 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549).

 

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