Saturday, January 22, 2011

Your Aging Parent Living With You: Are You Up To The Task?

Not everyone can have an aging parent live with them. There are many reasons for this. A few of them:

** You may not have the space

** They may require more care than you can give them

** Financially, it isn't an option

** Your personalities have always clashed

** You're not cut out to be a caregiver

First, the space issue. Your parent must have their own bedroom. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to build on an extension on their home. Some have an in-law suite. Which is incredible. Your parents have their own independence but do not feel left alone.

But if none of these fits the bill or you can't make it happen, it's not going to be possible to have anyone move in.

Second reason could be the amount of care they require. What are their medical issues? Are they mobile? Mobile with assistance? Do they have dementia or Alzheimer's disease? These are tough questions. You may want your parent with you but be honest. If they require more care than you can give them, it would be cruel to both parties.

Third...finances. If you are working outside of the home, are they able to be alone? Can you have someone check on them? If quitting your job just isn't an option, this arrangement won't work if they need constant monitoring.

Four...and this is a big one! If whenever you're together, you end up bickering, this will not work. Trust me on that. Family dynamics doesn't change just because you want them to. The stress will kill you.

When you and the family talk about it, it can seem completely do-able. But. If your parent has always driven you crazy, what's going to change now? If you cause your parent grief over anything in the past, it will still be there. You will have to work through it if you go ahead with the move. And I mean you should talk to professionals.

Fifth...You just can't become a caregiver to an aging parent. Of course, it depends on the amount of care they need. Also remember, the aging process won't stop. You'll have to be prepared for all kinds of things to come up in the future.

Then again, we never know what we are capable of until we're faced with a situation. I happened to surprise myself many times over. Don't sell yourself short.

Again, it all depends on the care they need. They may need nursing home care. We all hate to think of that when it happens but we need to do what's best for all concerned. So many variables, so little time. Talk to your doctor. Find any services in your area that can help you reach a decision that is best for all.

Even with the squabbles Mom and I endured over the years, I'd give anything to have her beside me again...