More seniors are aging in place because of its long list of benefits. For some, it prevents loneliness, whereas for others, it preserves their independence. However, sometimes, they need a helping hand. Many I’ve known who chose to live with their parents did so to better monitor their health and prevent it from declining further. Living with elderly parents can be rewarding, but it also brings challenges. Learn tips on how you can make this setup work. 

Understanding Your Elderly Parents’ Needs

When senior parents move in, expect an adjustment and disrupted daily routines. However, the situation will smooth out as things develop an even keel. You can better cope with the upcoming changes by understanding what your senior loved ones need, which requires you to get involved with their health. 

Do they need minor assistance with activities of daily living or need round-the-clock care to manage a serious condition? Are they taking multiple medications? Learning these things is crucial to best support their needs. Don’t hesitate to ask your parents straightforward questions about their care demands, as they will help you cope.

Set Boundaries

How do you set boundaries with elderly parents? You must know the right time to raise concerns while preserving privacy and the freedom to make your own decisions. Here are ways you can nurture a respectful co-living situation with them.

Learn to Prioritize

You can’t give equal energy and attention to yourself, your children, and your parents without compromises. At some point, you’ll have to pick what to prioritize — do you need to rest because you’re exhausted or accompany your senior mom to her doctor’s appointments? 

Weigh in on what requires your attention the most and get external help to tackle the other concern. Will you regret missing your daughter’s piano recital because you took your mom to a major checkup? You might — but you sometimes have to put your kids on the back burner for something more important. You can’t simultaneously be present in the same situations, so learn to prioritize. 

Create a Schedule

Everyone has 24 hours a day, but those can whiz by for responsibility jugglers. Make things work by maximizing your time. Imagine you have a pie — cut it into 24 parts, with each slice representing an hour. Then, divide them between your work, family time, care obligations and self-care. Doing this will help maintain balance in your life. 

Make Time for Self-Care

Never put your health at the bottom of the list. You need stamina to care for your parents and kids. 

Caregiving burnout is common —  more than 60% of people experience it because they put their well-being in the back seat. Don’t be part of this statistic. Go to the gym. Meditate. Get a massage. These tasks help manage stress and prevent burnout by recharging your physical and mental batteries. 

Find Supportive Resources

How can you afford time for self-care if your obligations are up to the neck? Onboard outside help. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of resources from which you can get assistance. Here are some of your choices: 

  • Professional caregivers: They can take care of menial housekeeping tasks and meal planning and preparation, especially if your loved one has a diet restriction. 
  • Church organizations: Some local churches offer daytime care and activities, respite, transportation and repair services that you can take advantage of. 
  • Senior centers: These settings have social events — like games and hobbies — your senior parents may find fun to do.

Don’t hesitate to delegate some care tasks to other people. Doing so will free up your time for self-care. 

Ask Your Parents to Contribute

Your parents are equally responsible for running the household, so let them contribute in ways they’re comfortable with. Your mom can do minor housekeeping like watering the plants in the garden or helping your kids with their assignments. It provides a sense of purpose, plus they’ll feel valued. It’s mutually beneficial and keeps them active.

Hold a Family Discussion

You don’t have to shoulder all care responsibilities — ask your siblings for help to ease the caregiving load. You can take turns when accompanying your parents to checkups. Another family member can drop them off at the senior center on the way to work. Establish everyone’s share of care obligation. Caregiving is easier when everyone is on the same page.

Plan for the Future

Part of an effective co-residential arrangement is planning for the future because you don’t know what will happen after today. 

First, make your home senior-friendly to reduce the risk of slips and falls. If you expect your parents to live with you for years, customize your home to increase its accessibility for older family members and make it safer. Accidental falls are one of the most serious hazards your grandparents will face, but also one of the most avoidable. Add lighting to poor-lit areas, install nonslip mats and rugs, and ensure the floor is cleared of toys and other tripping hazards. Evaluate how you can make your home safer for them.

Second, navigate the various senior care options so you’re aware of your choices. When you can no longer provide the care your parents need — for example, they have dementia — moving to a memory care or nursing home facility becomes the best option. Unfortunately, some seniors become victims of emotional and physical abuse in these settings. When you have months to plan — instead of making an urgent decision — you can read reviews and talk to other people whose parents live in the same community. It leads to better care decisions.

Additionally, check with an elder care lawyer to ensure your parents’ finances are in order. They can help with establishing trusts and planning for estates, assigning a conservator or guardian, and educating your parents about Medicare and Social Security benefits. 

You must sign them up for long-term care insurance that works in various settings. Preparing resources for inevitable health concerns can reduce the financial strain on your entire family. About 49% of men and 64% of women turning 65 will need long-term care during the remaining years of their lives. Insurance can help pay for these needs, so that’s one less thing to worry about in the future. 

If Living With Senior Parents Isn’t Working Out

Sometimes, it doesn’t work. Address the elephant in the room by talking about it. Ask your parents how they feel and be open-minded about their feedback. Given the circumstances, the setup may be harder for them than for you. 

Then, come up with a solution for the problem. If co-living doesn’t bode well, be ready to find them a new home. Options can include moving back to their own residence or relocating to an assisted living community. 

Things to Consider Before Living With Elderly Parents

Watching your parents play with your kids under one roof is a wonderful sight. However, living with elderly parents comes with added responsibilities, requiring you to juggle being a father and caregiver. Therefore, you must consider several factors before giving everything a go. At the end of the day, you’d want to provide a happy and safe sanctuary for your loved ones.

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About Jack Shaw

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with special interest in navigating the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships and emotional health. You'll likely find him playing with his dog or exploring nature with his family in his free time. Feel free to reach out to him via LinkedIn.

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