Ageing is inevitable and at most times, so is the physical and mental hardship that accompanies it. And it is understandably tough to imagine your parents going through the process.
Once able and fit, they may now be unable to live without assistance. But is taking them in the best option for both you and your parents? Well, that’s what we’ll discuss in this post.
Alternatives To Taking In Ageing Parents
If you’ve already decided that you won’t be able to take in your ageing parents, let’s first discuss three alternatives to ensure they are well-cared for.
Retirement villages — like this pet-friendly Central Coast example — are an excellent option for ageing adults who wish to live independently (but stay within a community). This is especially the case if you’re parents are planning to downsize to an over 55s community.
These villages typically contain a variety of amenities ranging from medical care to recreation centres. Some even have assisted care facilities within them, so if you’re looking for something that checks all the boxes for ageing adults, this is a good option.
Adult Day Care
If your parents don’t require full-time support, adult daycare is a good option. It allows older adults to socialise under the supervision of trained professionals.
So think about finding a daycare that can give your parents the assistance they need and one that is easily accessible to you as well. This way, both you and your parents can remain happy.
If your schedule does not allow you to provide the care that your parents require, you can hire someone to do it for you.
Homecare nurses are trained professionals that can provide ageing adults with the physical and mental care they require. This way, your parents are adequately looked after within the comfort of their own home. Here are the 7 characteristics of a good and efficient home care nurse you will want to look for.
Factors To Consider
Now that you understand what your options are, let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of taking in ageing parents. You’ll want to begin by considering the following three factors.
Depending on your parent’s physical and mental health, the care they need may vary. If you are dealing with a parent who cannot manage themselves physically, you’ll need significant time and effort to help them with everything from eating to bathing. And if they have chronic mental illness such as dementia, the situation may be even more challenging, especially if they suffer from wandering and sundowning.
So assess your parent’s needs, and ask yourself if you will be able to provide the assistance they require. More importantly, always anticipate how these needs may increase in the future and whether you’ll be able to keep up.
To help you further understand what it takes to look after an ageing adult, here are the top 7 tips for taking care of ageing parents.
Your Living Situation
If you don’t have enough space to live or depend on someone else, you may need to rethink bringing a parent along.
Also, consider whether your home environment suits an ageing adult. Stress from family instability will just make it more difficult for ageing adults to live comfortably.
Moreover, if your parents have impaired mobility, you may need to make structural changes to your house, such as installing a wheelchair ramp to accommodate them. You’ll need to determine whether these changes are economically possible for you — and whether property laws allow for them.
Taking care of an additional member of the household incurs extra costs. This is especially true if that member is unable to earn a livelihood and has special dietary or medical requirements. This is why it’s important to ensure you have the necessary finances before taking in a parent.
Advantages Of Taking In Parents
While some factors may seem daunting, not everything about taking parents in is bad. Here are three advantages of bringing your parents to live in your home.
A Strengthened Bond
Suppose family, education, or other responsibilities hindered your relationship with your parents earlier. In that case, this might be your chance to establish or rekindle your bond with them.
Having them live with you doesn’t only mean taking care of them — it also means sharing meals, conversations, laughs, and, most importantly, making memories.
A Comfortable Environment For Your Parents
Nearing the end of their lives, most parents would prefer to spend their later years in a home environment, surrounded by their loved ones. Bringing your parents home can save them from the loneliness accompanying old age.
Most assisted care facilities cost a fortune. So if you’re going to fund care for your parents, bringing them home is a way to do it without breaking the bank.
Challenges Of Taking In Parents
In addition to the pros of taking in parents, there are also some cons that you want to consider before making a decision.
Taking care of an ageing parent, especially one who is physically or mentally disabled, requires immense sacrifice. The effort and time you’ll need may hinder your participation in some of your other responsibilities and hobbies.
Importantly, if you’re a parent or an extremely career-orientated individual, you may find reorganising your priorities difficult. This is not to say that you won’t be able to do it — just that it will require time management, patience, and a lot of energy.
Witnessing a parent go through the ordeal of old age can be stressful. This is especially true if they suffer from chronic mental or physical illness, in which case it can be akin to caring for a child.
You may constantly worry about their deteriorating health and feel helpless watching them endure such hardship. So keep in mind that taking care of an ageing parent not only requires physical strength, but it also necessitates mental fortitude. Here are some tips on dealing with the stress of caring for elderly parents.
Strain On Relations
It’s true — sometimes distance does make the heart grow fonder. If your relationship with your parents hadn’t been the best to start with, living together may only exacerbate tensions.
Even the activities you previously enjoyed together may become difficult because you see them only as someone you are obligated to care for. So think carefully before taking your parents in, or you may end up resenting each other over time.