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What to Expect When Your Senior Parent Moves In With You

Helping your aging parents retain some measure of independence by having them move in with you has become the choice of about one-fifth of the U.S. population. In other families, the parents may plan for aging in place or retaining their independence by moving into an assisted living center that gradually increases their level of provided care. It’s a decision nearly every family faces, since according to the CDC, the average U.S. life expectancy has increased to 78.8 years. Let’s explore what to expect when your senior parent moves in with you.

Making a Home for Your Parent

You help your parent pack their belongings and leverage the services of one of the 7,000 moving companies RubyHome reports dot the country. Before you try to wedge Mom or Dad into a guest room, consider what they’ll need. Some individuals construct a separate living space to their own home, connected by a breezeway or entrance, while others build an addition to their own home.

Assessing the Present, Planning for the Future

The situation today may not look like the situation 10 years from now. Every individual ages at a different rate and in a unique way. That means your mom may remain healthy, but your dad may decline, or vice versa. Because each individual has their strengths, what your parents need from you might differ depending on which parent ages more quickly.

If your parent already received a diagnosis of a degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, their abilities today would differ from those they will have in 10 years. Create a living space for them that provides for now and later, including grab bars, spacious rooms, and an easy-to-navigate living area. Although they may only need someone to say hi and check on them once or twice a day now, in a few years, they may need nursing care. Since Congress signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) into law in 2011, demand for dementia care specialized workers increased, according to ASPE.

Planning for a Second Move

The increased demand has been met by growth in the nursing field, making it easier to find qualified in-home healthcare providers. Eventually, your aging parent may need to enter a nursing facility or hospital. Most parents and adult children choose a nearby facility that lets them continue to visit with one another frequently.

Temper Your Expectations

Some individuals pictured their parents needing constant care as early as their late 60s or early 70s. That mental picture doesn’t jibe with today’s reality. Humans live longer now, and healthcare developments have increased the quality of life. Even though you might not have to spoon-feed anyone immediately, plan how to make the burden on you less taxing.

Ensure your mom or dad eats well by helping them register for a meal delivery service. This means they enjoy three delicious meals per day without you needing to prepare them all. Using this solution leaves your time free for your job and immediate family, including your spouse and children. Set a time for a family meal together once per week.

Have prescriptions delivered to the home. This frees you and them from needing to pick them up. Use a week or month-sized pill organizer to plan their doses for them. Using this method helps them retain a measure of self-care and the pill caddy on the table works as a reminder to take them.

Execute Your Living Plan in Phases

Your parent may move in before health problems arise, allowing you to enjoy some quality time together as they age. When problems develop, address them by having a plan in place. Quick action can help alleviate stress and improve family relationships.

Watching your parents age is never easy, but compassion makes a world of difference. If a parent is moving in with you, make sure to plan ahead and set realistic expectations. Keeping the above in mind will help you and your loved one enjoy your new living situation to the fullest.

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