Many of us don’t want our elderly parent or relative to move into a care home, any more than they do, and yet they really can’t cope any longer at home: one option you may want to look at is your 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.
The important things to consider with parents moving in with you
Do you have the right space?
Sounds obvious, but if your only spare room is up in the attic this probably isn’t going to work! 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 can fit a stairlift.
Do you have the time?
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.
Will they be able to go out on their own?
Are there shops and other facilities in walking distance, or is there public transport very close to you? Will they be able to get to doctors, libraries, cafes on their own or depend on you? If they are moving far from their previous home and therefore no longer close to their friends, are there activities they will be able to take part in, or may they become increasingly bored and lonely – and even more reliant on you?
Is your relationship good enough to cope?
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 (annoyance when your mother wants to know where you were last night, and whether you have eaten enough today) while at the same time increasingly needing to care for your parent in the way they once cared for you (accompanying them to medical appointments, feeding, washing, dressing).
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 – openly and in detail.
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.
Thinking about alternatives? Check out How about more care at home?
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.