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Your Health
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Factors to Consider Before Moving an Aging Loved One Into Your Home

It's important to come up with a solution that works for everyone involved

As a person begins to age, family members often feel the need to help with everyday tasks that become challenging, such as meal preparation, laundry and housekeeping. Eventually, many family members find themselves assisting in ways they never expected, such as with hygiene and grooming.

This can lead to the common decision to move an aging loved one into the home of a family member. One out of four adult children lives with an elderly or disabled relative he or she cares for, according to

However, moving a loved one into your home may take a toll on the family caregiver, causing stress, fatigue and strained relationships with family and friends. There are additional options to consider, such as in-home care, assisted living or a nursing home facility.

“If you need help, you’re not alone,” said Tina Kreider, owner of Right at Home of Santa Barbara. “Recognizing your loved one requires additional assistance is just the first step to ensuring your loved one gets the assistance needed.”

Family caregivers should consider the following factors before moving an aging loved one into their home:

Consider your daily schedule and availability. Caring for an aging loved one is a great way to repay the nurturing love and care he or she gave to you. However, if you’re working a full-time job and caring for children of your own, it may be difficult to take on the additional responsibility of someone requiring constant assistance. Be realistic about how much time and energy you have each day to devote to your aging loved one. Also, understand that the level of care you need to provide will most likely increase over time.

Review the history of your past relationship. Getting along well with your loved one and being able to peacefully and successfully overcome any differences is a major benefit when living under the same roof as someone. However, if you have a strained relationship and have a hard time resolving conflicts, be aware that the relationship will not magically improve if you live together. If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider whether you will be able to handle the possible personality changes that may come in the future.

Ensure your home is physically safe for an aging adult. Ensure that your home doesn’t pose any health or safety hazards. For example, older adults should ideally live on the first floor of your home to avoid stairs. If this is not possible, you may need to have an automatic stair lift installed. You may need to put in a ramp if there are stairs leading up to the front door of your house. Additional modifications may be needed in the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. Click here for a home safety checklist.

Consider the financial impact. Moving an aging loved one into your home may become a financial burden or may provide financial benefits. Come to a financial agreement before any living arrangements are made. Consider having your loved one contribute to household costs to ease the burden. Recognize that you and your family may have to make sacrifices to make the situation work, such as using your savings account or cutting back on entertainment spending. Include other family members involved in your loved one’s care in the discussion. There is no right or wrong way to deal with finances, and agreeing on an arrangement first can help you avoid disagreements later.

Taking a broad view of the situation and determining which solution is right for everyone involved can lead to a happier and healthier family. If you decide to move your aging loved one into your home, remember to allow yourself an occasional respite from caregiving and consider hiring an in-home care agency such as Right at Home in Santa Barbara. Trained and bonded caregivers are available to provide companionship, homemaking, physical assistance, hygiene and wellness for your loved one.

— Tina Kreider is the owner of Right at Home of Santa Barbara. For more information, click here, call 805.962.0555 or e-mail [email protected]

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