We love our parents. They raised us, fed us, and shaped us into the person we are today. Our relationship with our parents isn’t always easy, but there is no denying that we love them. It can be difficult watching your parents age and become less like the parents we remember.
Old age makes all of us more fragile and less capable of caring for ourselves and others. It’s hard watching the roles reverse from your parents taking care of you, to you taking care of your parents. Unfortunately, there will come a time when your parent(s) can no longer care for themselves, leaving you to make the difficult decision of how best to provide for them.
How Do You Know When It Is Time To Consider Moving Your Parent(s) In With You?
The decision to move your parent(s) in with you can be a difficult decision to make. For one, you need to make sure you can even provide the space and care they will need. Secondly, it may be difficult to convince your parent(s) that they need to be taken care of.
It’s common for elderly adults to want to retain their independence. They may believe they are still capable of caring for themselves, but evidence will suggest otherwise.
THEY'RE EXPERIENCING MEMORY LOSS
Memory loss is common with older age and is one of the first signs of dementia. Dementia is a general term for one’s loss of memory, problem solving, and other thinking abilities that interfere with everyday life.
Dementia worsens with age and can lead to one’s inability to care for themselves and may even be dangerous. For example, a person suffering from dementia may forget they’ve left the stove on then take a nap or leave the house, resulting in a fire.
If your parent(s) are exhibiting any signs of memory loss or dementia that have caused them potential harm, it may be time to move them in with you.
THEY HAVE TROUBLE CARING FOR THEMSELVES
Physical capability worsens with age. Bones become frailer, muscles become weaker, and injuries don’t heal as quickly as they used to. If your parent(s) suffer from mobility issues that make it difficult to care for themselves, this could be a sign they will need assisted living soon.
If they can no longer bathe themselves, use the bathroom alone, cook, or clean, then it will be very difficult for them to live on their own.
THEY'RE FINANCIALLY STRUGGLING
Elderly adults have a fixed income to survive on once they retire. Unless they were fortunate enough to amass a fair amount of wealth during their lifetime, they may experience financial difficulty as they age. Furthermore, elderly adults are more susceptible to being taken advantage of by scam artists.
Your parent(s) may be finding it more and more difficult to keep up with their bills, leaving the financial burden to fall on you. By moving your parent(s) in with you, you can consolidate household bills to one household. It may be your only option if you can’t financially support them on their own.
YOUR PARENTS CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THE OTHER BY THEMSLEVES
If one of your parents has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, they will require extra care. Depending on the illness and the condition of your sick parent, it may be too much for your other parent to handle on their own.
Both of your parents are older and likely facing mobility issues and loss of energy. Being a full-time caretaker is tough on anyone, especially another elderly adult. You may need to consider moving your parent(s) in with you if they can’t take care of one another.
THEY HAVE NO FRIENDS OR FAMILY AROUND TO CHECK ON THEM
We live in a mobile society nowadays, meaning it is very common to live far away from our relatives. If your parent(s) don’t have any friends or family nearby to check in on them, how will you know if something bad happens to them?
It’s not uncommon for elderly adults who live alone to have an accident and be unable to get help. In worst case scenarios, friends and family don’t know their loved one is in trouble until it’s too late.
If you’re worried about your parents’ safety and wellbeing, you should consider your options for moving them in with you.
Things To Consider Before Moving Your Elderly Parent(s) In With You
Deciding to move your elderly parent(s) in with you is no easy decision. In fact, it can be a hard decision for multiple reasons. Everyone has different needs and adjusting your lifestyle to become your parents’ caretaker will take some maneuvering. Below are some things you should consider before moving your elderly parent(s) in with you.
CARING FOR ELDERLY PARENT
Before you move your parent(s) in with you, you must first consider what kind of care your parent(s) will need. Do they have specific physical needs that need more specialized care? For example, can they walk without assistance? Do they have a terminal illness like cancer or Alzheimer's disease?
Be realistic about your own capabilities and whether you will be able to care for your aging parent(s) on your own. If possible, consult with their doctor or other health care professional for advice on how to best care for them.
You may need to have extra help around to provide your parent(s) with the care they need. Check with their health insurance to see what home healthcare services are covered under their plan.
CONSULT OTHER MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY
Talk to the other members of your household about sharing home with elderly parent. Together, you may be able to devise a plan of action for how best to care for your aging parent(s). Maybe you can divide up the responsibilities of being a caretaker between you and your family members.
They can help you rearrange your home to best suit your aging parent(s) needs. Having your elderly parent(s) move in with you will affect them as much as it will you, so they should have a say in this decision as well.
For example, will someone in your household have to give up a bedroom to house your parent(s)? How will having your parent(s) move in with you affect their routine? Do they get along with your parent(s)? If not, how are they going to feel about having to spend more time with them?
For some families, having the grandparents around is a positive thing. If you have children at home, they will likely love the opportunity to spend more time with their grandparents.
At the same time, every family is different. You’ll need to discuss with your spouse and children the positives versus negatives of having your parent(s) move in with you.
TALK TO YOUR PARENT(S) ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO DO
Admitting you need help isn’t easy for some people. Your parent(s) may have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they need help at their age. No one wants to feel like they are helpless, or worse, a burden. They may deny they need your help, even when they do.
If you are sure your parent(s) are no longer capable of living alone, you will need to explain to them why this is. Let them know that you are concerned for their safety.
Explain to them that if they get hurt when there is no one around to help them, they can make their situation and health even worse.
In some cases, they may be putting other people in danger (causing a fire from an unattended stove for example). Let them know that you are making this decision for them because you care about them and want to have as much time with them as possible.
Life Plan Communities
If your parent(s) are independent enough to take care of most of their needs, they may be a candidate for a life plan community. A life plan community is basically a retirement community that offers strong social networks and plenty of onsite medical care and senior living programs.
A life plan community will allow your elderly parent(s) to continue living on their own, but with plenty of others around to assist them. They will have friends and others around that are familiar with their situation to check in on them.
A life plan community may be a good option for your parent(s) if they refuse other options.
Part Time Help
Another option for elderly adults who aren’t ready to move in with their children or to an assisted living facility is to hire help. Senior home care workers are experienced caretakers who are trained to care for elderly adults needs.
You may be able to hire one to help with your parents as little as once per week or as much as every day. They will assist your parents in cooking, cleaning, bathing, and whatever else your parents need help with.
Health insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost of private home care, but it may if your parents have special needs. Do some research online to learn your options.
Moving Them In With A Different Family Member
Maybe your parent(s) would rather move in with someone else other than you. This could be because another family member has more space for them, or they have a closer relationship with them. Maybe your parent would prefer to live with someone else based on their location or proximity to their friends and loved ones.
Consult with your other relatives to figure out what your parents’ options are. Maybe it would make more sense for someone other than yourself to care for your parents.
For example, maybe your sister has a bigger house and more free time to be a caretaker. If she is willing and up to the task, why shouldn’t your parents live with her instead?
DO THE RESEARCH & WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS & THEIR COST
Spend some time doing research on how much moving your parent(s) in with you will cost versus other options, like assisted living. A lot of this decision should be based on their specific needs. While having your parent(s) live with you might seem like the less expensive option, you must consider how much care your parent(s) will need.
While having your parent(s) live with you might seem like the less expensive option, you must consider how much care your parent(s) will need. Depending on their condition, you may have to spend money on special equipment for them (bed rails, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.).
If you’re not home often enough to care for them, you may have to hire help to assist them when you’re gone. Compare the costs of their at home living expenses versus how much it would cost to house them in an assisted living facility.
Of course, you will also have to consider how your parent(s) feel about this decision. They may prefer to live with you over living in a facility or vice versa.
HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE?
Aging parent caregiving is no easy task. Elderly adults have specific needs to be addressed and not everyone is up to the task of caregiving. Ask yourself how much you are willing to help your elderly parent(s).
Do you feel comfortable helping them bathe and use the bathroom? Do you have time to hand feed them their meals and beverages? Are you physically capable of helping them move from place to place if they can’t walk? Do you feel comfortable administering their medications? How much care your parent(s) will need will depend on their health circumstances.
Caring For Parents With Alzheimers Or Dementia
Taking care of an elderly adult with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is much like taking care of a child. Both conditions affect a person neurologically, meaning they may lose physical capabilities as their disease progresses.
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may forget who they are, they’ll forget who you are, they’ll forget how to properly take care of themselves (including bathroom hygiene), they’ll lose control over their bowels, and in the very end stages they will forget how to eat and drink.
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are very hard to take care of and require very specialized care.
If one or both of your parent’s suffer from either neurological disorder, consider whether you are willing and have time to provide the care they need. If not, do you have a family member who lives with you who could help? Can you hire a part time caregiver to help? Think about what kind of care your parent(s) will require before you make the decision to move them in with you.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR PARENTS?
Child and parent relationships are rarely ever perfect. While we may love our parents, that doesn’t mean we like being around them. If your relationship with your parent(s) has always been strained, having them live with you may prove to be difficult.
Older people rarely change their ways. If they have always been disagreeable, they are not likely to be any less disagreeable with you once they move in. A strained relationship with your parent(s) will make it tougher on you to care for them. It may make your home life nearly unbearable if you are constantly arguing with them.
Deciding whether your parent(s) should move in with you based on your relationship is a tough one, even more so if finances are an issue. However, you must do what is right for both yourself and your parents. It’s not fair for your quality of life to suffer because you feel obligated to care for your parent(s).
Should you have no other option but to move them in with you, set boundaries. Let your parent(s) know beforehand that you want peace in your home. Let them know that you will do your best to stay agreeable and you expect the same from them.
WILL YOU HAVE TO MAKE A LOT OF PREPARATIONS TO YOUR HOME FOR THEM TO COME & LIVE?
Is your home set up to take care of your elderly parent(s)? Do you have an extra room available for them? If your home is not big enough to move your parent(s) in with you, you may have to consider making upgrades to your home or moving to a larger home. Neither option is cheap.
You will have to determine your current financial situation to see if this is even feasible. Secondly, you’ll need to determine whether your current or new home can accommodate the needs of your elderly parent(s).
Are the doorways wheelchair accessible? Are there stairs in your home that will make it difficult for your parent(s) to move about freely? Will they have enough privacy, such as a private bathroom and bedroom?
These are important considerations to think about when setting your home up for your elderly parent(s). You don’t want to move them into a place that is not safe for them or where they feel like they have no privacy.
This may be something you should speak about to someone who specializes in elder care. They can help you determine what kinds of changes need to be made to your living arrangement. If these changes are not something that is financially or reasonably possible for you, you may have to consider your other options.
WILL YOUR PARENTS BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE EXTRA EEXPENSES ONCE THEY MOVE IN?
Taking care of your aging parent(s) will cost money. This can be a burden if you are solely responsible for providing for them. If your parent(s) cannot contribute to living expenses such as rent, food, utility bills, or their healthcare costs, consider your options.
Paid caregiver program. Many states offer paid caregiver programs where they will pay a family member to care for their elderly parent(s). In most cases, your parent(s) must qualify for Medicaid or other government subsidy programs. The pay is generally less than the state’s hourly caregiver rate, but it may provide some assistance.
Ask family members for help. Are you an only child or are there other siblings, cousins, or even aunts and uncles who could chip in for your parents living expenses? If you are opening your home to your parents, it’s not too much to ask your other relatives to help out financially.
However, should your parent(s) have the means to financially contribute to your household, this will make caring for them much easier. They can help by paying for any of their home care expenses like special equipment or necessary upgrades to your home.
They may even want to help with utility bills or pay you rent. This will take the financial burden from you and make moving your parents in with you less stressful.
WILL THEY HAVE A SOCIAL NETWORK ONCE THEY MOVE IN WITH YOU?
Moving your parents from their home may mean moving them away from their friends and other family members, especially if you live out of state. This can be a tough adjustment for your parent(s) if they are used to having these people around them. You will have to consider their quality of life once you move them.
Are you and your family going to be around enough to keep them company? Elderly adults often face loneliness as they age because they suffer the death of their friends and loved ones.
They may also feel abandoned by their family for not visiting them often due to busy lifestyles or geographic limitations.
Whatever your decision, make sure you parent(s) will have a social network to rely on when you can’t be there.
Pets (if your parent can care for one) make great company and can provide the unconditional love your elderly parent(s) might be missing. A pet may be an option to consider if you’re worried about your parent(s) being lonely while you’re away.
You will need to be sure the pet is properly trained though so as not to injure your elderly parents. Small dogs and cats make great companions for older adults.
If you’re friendly with your neighbors, you could try enlisting them to provide check-ins on your parents while you’re away. Neighbors are great friends to have because they live nearby and can provide quick aid when you need it.
Make them a spare key or give them the garage code so they can drop by from time to time to make sure your parents are alright.
If you have grown children who live nearby, ask them to come around more often. Your parents will love seeing their grandchildren.
Plus, they will likely feel more comfortable having their own family members check in on them than they would a neighbor or friend. In times of need, family should be the first people you can rely on.
Senior daycare is like daycare for children, but with adults. A senior daycare center may be an option for when you have busier weeks and can’t spend much time with your parents.
Senior daycares offer a place for elderly adults to socialize and participate in activities while being under the watchful eye of healthcare workers. Your parent(s) may enjoy a weekly visit to senior daycare for social interaction.
CONSIDER YOUR SELF CARE
One of the most important things to remember when caring for someone else, is that you must take care of yourself first. Being a caretaker for a family member is a selfless act, but it can easily lead to burnout.
You may be so involved in taking care of your parent(s) that you let your own health and happiness suffer. This is a problem not only for you, but also for them.
If you become ill and cannot take care of your parent(s), who will? You should consider your support system and figure out if there are others available to help you during this time.
If this means hiring help or having a family member come over and share some of the caretaking tasks, do it. Being a full-time caretaker is a lot of responsibility. You need to be able to take time off for yourself to rest and recuperate.
What Other Options Are Out There To Help You Make Your Decision?
Paying For Senior Care - Paying for senior care is an online resource that has tons of information on how to take care of your aging parent(s). They provide resources for learning about government subsidy programs as well as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They offer online resources as well as a phone number to call in with any unanswered questions about how to care for your elderly loved ones.
AARP - AARP is another great resource for learning how to care for elderly adults. They may provide some good knowledge about elder care that can help you make your decision.
Doctor Referral - Your parents' doctor may be a good resource for helping you understand your parents’ specific needs. They may be able to guide you on how best to proceed with moving your parents in with you and whether it is necessary.
Department of Veteran Affairs - If one of your parents is a veteran, they may qualify for special benefits. Check out the Department of Veteran Affairs to see if your parent(s) qualify.
Meals On Wheels - Meals On Wheels is a nonprofit organization that delivers home cooked meals to elderly and disabled adults who have a hard time providing for themselves. This may be a good service to enroll your parent(s) in until you are ready to make the decision to move them in with you. Check out their website to see if your parent(s) qualify.
Online Resources - There are plenty of online elder care resources available that can provide information on where to find home health care workers as well as government assistance programs. A quick google search will tell you what is available in your state and area.
Support Groups - Support groups for caregivers may be helpful for you if you are having a hard time adjusting to taking care of your elderly parent(s).
Once You Have Made a Decision, Talk With Your Parent(s) and Find Out How They Feel About It
GIVE THEM THEIR OPTIONS
While the final decision may be ultimately up to you, be sure to include your parent(s) in the decision-making process. Make sure that your decision is best for everyone involved. Talk to your parent(s) about their options and the pros and cons of each one. Help them understand what makes sense financially, emotionally, and realistically.
If they would rather live in an assisted living facility than with you, that should be their choice. However, this may depend on yours and their financial situation. Explain to them what is and what isn’t possible.
GIVE THEM A TIMELINE
Give your parent(s) a timeline on when they should expect to move. Change is a big deal, especially for an elderly adult. They may find moving to be a stressful ordeal, especially if they are not keen on the idea. They need time to adjust to the idea of leaving their old living routine behind.
Help them adjust to the idea of moving by reminding them of all the good changes. They will be safer with you in your home than they would alone. They’ll get to spend more time with you and the rest of your family. Let them know that you will take care of all the packing and organizing. All they must do is be ready for when the moving day comes. Change is hard but assure them it will be for the better.
MAKE THEM FEEL LOVED
No matter what you decide, convince them that you are making the best decision for them and you. Let them know that you love them and are making these decisions for them because you want them to be safe.
Thumbprint jewelry as a gift to elderly parent is a great way to make them feel loved and appreciated. A sentimental gift will lessen the blow of change they are about to experience. This may be especially helpful if you are moving your parent(s) in to an assisted living facility.
A photo engraved keepsake will give your parent(s) something to remind them of their family and their life before. You yourself may benefit from a color photo engraved pendant with your parent(s) image to remind you of them when you’re not with them.
Small tokens of remembrance can mean so much to family members when they are no longer in proximity.
Parents Moving In Frequently Asked Questions
Should I charge my mother-in-law rent if we have to move her in with us?
You should charge your mother-in-law rent to live with you only if it makes sense to do so. In some cases, elderly adults lose social security or Medicaid benefits if they live with a child rent free. This means they will end up paying extra in healthcare costs if they move in with you rent-free.
Charging them rent will prevent this, though you will need to talk to an elder care attorney or Social Security representative to find out the correct amount. If you charge your elderly in-law too much in rent, they may also not qualify for certain government benefits. Charging your mother-in-law rent may also make sense if you cannot financially support her without charging rent.
In this case, talk to your mother-in-law to determine a fair amount that is financially doable for both of you. This amount should never be more than it would cost them to pay for professional help or a nursing home facility.
How do I know if my home is safe to move my elderly parents into?
Before you move your elderly parents into your home, consider their level of independence and physical ability. Do they have trouble seeing? If so, they will be more likely to bump into and trip over anything in their way. You’ll need to make sure the space they occupy in your house is free of any obstacles that could cause them harm.
Other things to consider are handrails for the bathroom, shower stools, baby gates to prevent them from falling downstairs, and any other special equipment that will make their life easier and safer. Consult with their doctor or another health care provider that specializes in elder care for their suggestions on how to prepare your home for your elderly parents' arrival.
Are there programs that I could get financial help if I have to move my elderly parent in and care for them in my home?
Yes, there are government subsidy programs that can help lessen the financial burden of moving your elderly parent(s) in with you. Paying For Senior Care is a great online resource for learning what financial help programs are available to you in your state. Many of these programs require qualifying factors, like whether your parent has Medicaid.
You should also check with the Department of Veteran Affairs if your parent is a US veteran. There are some special benefits granted to elderly veterans that your parent may be able to qualify for.
What are my other options for moving my parent in with me?
Your other options for moving your parent in with you could include an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or hiring home care workers to assist your parent in their home. These options cost money, however, and may not be feasible depending on your parents financial and health insurance situation.
The average cost of an assisted living facility in the US is $4,300 per month while the average cost of a nursing home is $8, 365 per month. Home care costs per hour vary by state but can be anywhere from $13 to $30 an hour. Some elderly care options may be covered by insurance, but you will have to check with them beforehand to find out how much they cover.
This is a good time as well to discuss your parent(s) last will and testament with them and make sure their financial affairs are in order.
Should I move home to take care of my parents?
Moving back home to take care of your elderly parents is an individual decision. Whether you should move home with your parents depends on what your options are. Do you or your parents not have the financial means to hire help? Do they prefer to have you take care of them over someone else? Are you able to leave your home to move back with them?
These are all questions that need to be answered before you make your decision. Moving in with your parents will likely save you money, but if you don’t get along with your parents it could be tough psychologically. However, moving in with your parents will give you more one-on-one time to spend with them. As your elderly parents likely don’t have too many years left, you may cherish the time you have left with them. Ultimately, this decision is up to you and your parents.
Moving In & Moving Forward
Deciding how best to care for your parent(s) in their final years is no easy decision. You want to do what’s best for everyone, but often that is difficult to do. All you can do is inform yourself and your parents of their options and make the best choice possible.
Regardless of your decision, the important thing to remember is that you have their best interest at heart. You love them and they love you. Together you can determine the best course of action.
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March 10, 2022 by Jeri K. Augustus