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Elderly parents moving in? The issues explained

Elderly parents moving in? The issues explained

Many of us don’t want our parent or relative to move into a care home any more than they do. Yet they really can’t cope any longer at home, so one option you may want to look at is your elderly parents moving in with you.

It’s not a decision to take in a hurry, and for many people there just isn’t the space to make it possible.

But if it might work for you, we have a checklist of the things you need to think about and knowing how to deal with elderly parents moving in with  you.

Important things to consider

1. Do you have the right space?

Sounds obvious, but if your only spare room is up in the attic, it probably isn’t going to work! How to deal with older and frail parents moving in with you is going to be a bit of a challenge and a big change for everyone involved. 

You need enough space to give each other privacy and some independence, so that probably means a large room and a bathroom. Stairs may not be a problem now, but ideally you will have a room on the ground floor, or a staircase that could fit a stairlift.

This sounds obvious too, but as your parents or relatives become more dependent they may rely increasingly on you, and not just for lifts to the doctor or supermarket. They may become more isolated and want to spend more and more time with you.

You need to think about how practical that is, and whether you are willing to give up an increasing amount of time to care for them. You also need to think about the impact on your partner and children. Do you have the time?

2. Will they be able to go out on their own?

Are there shops and other facilities in walking distance? Is there public transport very close to you? Will they be able to get to doctors, libraries, and cafes on their own or will they depend on you?

If they are moving far from their previous home and therefore are no longer close to their friends, are there activities they will be able to take part in?

If not, they may become increasingly bored and lonely – and even more reliant on you.

3. Is your relationship good enough to cope with elderly parents moving in?

If you are considering having your parent come to live with you, you probably think the answer to that is ‘yes’

It is really hard to anticipate what the issues will be, but you need to be ready for feelings you haven’t had since childhood to surface. Remember that annoyance when your mother wants to know where you were last night, and whether you have eaten enough today!

At the same time you may increasingly need to care for your parent in the way they once cared for you (accompanying them to medical appointments, feeding, washing, dressing.)

4. Do your siblings support your plan?

This is perhaps especially an issue if your parent or relative is contributing financially to changes to your home, or to housekeeping expenses. It’s best to discuss the plans of your parents moving in with you – and the alternatives – early on, openly and in detail.

5. But there are loads of upsides too!

It’s easier and much less time consuming to keep an eye on how things are going. If you have children, the time grandparent and grandchildren can now spend together can be very special.

They may be able to help with babysitting or contribute financially to the household.

For more information on how to deal with elderly parents living with you or what care options are available check out the below link!

Thinking about alternatives? Check out How about more care at home? If your relative definitely needs round-the-clock support, but you are not sure about them moving in with you, then consider live-in care.

If you have experience of moving your parents in with you, or if you’d like to ask others about their experience, join the conversation in our Forum Moving parents in with you.