Should You Provide Parent Care in your Home?


When I was a child we called parent care "having grandma live with us".  Aging parents moving in with adult children is not a new trend.

Should You Provide Parent Care in your Home?, parent care, caring for parentsAt first, parent care for my parents meant getting my grandmother out of the cold and slippery conditions of a Missouri winter. Later, parent care took on much higher stakes.  My grandmother moved in with my parents for good.  Although I wasn't living at home, I still heard the complaints from my mother and grandmother about sharing a household.

Before caring for parents in your home, consider these questions:

1.     Do we get along well enough to live together again? Do you have the positive relationship and communication skills to make it work?  If you have a complicated relationship, caring for parents in your home may not be the right answer. Does your spouse/partner agree that living with your parent is the best way to provide parent care?

2.     How will we resolve problems? When things get tense and parent care disagreements arise, be committed to talking things through. Share your expectations and create ground rules for living together before your parent moves in.  Don't assume that parent care will go smoothly without talking first.

3.     What happens if living together doesn't work out? Your parent care plan should include alternatives to living together.  What are next steps if living together does not work?  What will happen if your parent needs more care than you can provide?

4.     How much hands-on care am I willing to provide? Living together raises the question of how much hands-on personal care you will provide to your parent.  Talk with your parent about how comfortable each of you are with a family member providing help with dressing, bathing and using the toilet. Using home care services while living in the same house may be a better alternative.

5.     How will you pay for parent care expenses? Choosing to provide parent care at home has a financial impact.  Will your parent contribute to the family budget?  Will your siblings contribute? A clear understanding of how parent care expenses will be handled can prevent bad feelings.

Communication and planning are the keys to successfully caring for parents in your home.

Are you providing parent care in your home? What are your tips for making it work?

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--Janice Wallace