Your house can be a war zone at times. In the morning, you are rushing to get things done so you can leave for work. Or if you are working from home, as many others are, you still have to prepare for everything before you sit down and prohibit anyone from bothering you. When your kids wake up, they’ll be running around the house, arguing who gets to use the bathroom first and what to have for breakfast. It’s a war zone, and definitely not something that can welcome your elderly parents.
But, alas, you have come to the point of needing to move your parents with you. How do you prepare the war zone for it? How can you manage the household better if you need to take care of your family and your parents at the same time? Is your house even ready to accommodate the elderly?
The Family Meeting
This is the most important step in preparing everyone for the transition. Get your affairs in order by meeting with the family—your parents and your partner and kids. As soon as you received the go-signal from your partner, talk with the kids about living with their grandparents. Tell them that it’s necessary they also contribute to household chores and taking care of their grandparents.
One of the first things you can do is to take them to assisted-living facilities. They should see how the elderly are living and how the caregivers are taking care of them. Though they are not the primary caregivers in the house, it would help if they can take a role in it, too.
Next, take them to a wheelchair store where they can familiarize themselves with the probable devices and equipment their grandparents will need now and in the future. At the very least, they can take part in “walking” their grandparents around the neighborhood.
Assessing the Needs of Everyone
Never underestimate what your children need during a transition like this. While you focus on making sure your parents deserve the best care you can give them, your children also have needs of their own. How will you work out the schedule? If the kids have to attend their classes in the morning or afternoon and you are at work, who’s going to look after your parents? Are you going to hire a nurse? Will you start working from home more often?
Don’t let your kids sacrifice their social lives to take care of your responsibility. Although that will teach them to care for the family and not to be selfish, they might also start resenting having their grandparents at home. Don’t saddle them with that kind of responsibility.
There are only 24 hours in a day. Days won’t extend because you need them to. If you cannot squeeze in the other things you need to do on a particular day, admit defeat and ask for help. Your partner should work with you to handle the needs of the household. It isn’t so bad to ask for help, right? You’re not superhuman. If you burn yourself out, you’re only hurting your chances of making this setup work.
Reviewing the Finances
Is your partner okay with you shouldering some of your parents’ expenses? How are their finances and debts like credit cards and house loans? Do they have enough money to cover their medical needs? Unfortunately, if you decide to take care of your parents in your home, that means spending on their needs, too.
Talk to your siblings (if you have any) about sharing the expenses. Ask your parents if they can, perhaps, sell their home since they’ll be living with you. Taking care of the elderly is no small matter. You have to handle your finances well.
Managing the Time
Your finances are not the only thing you have to manage once your elder parents moved in. You need better time management skills, too. Who wakes up super early to prepare breakfast? Who’s cleaning the kitchen after the bevy of activities in the morning? Then, should you leave your parents at home alone when you’re dropping the kids to school? Can your partner look after them while you’re gone or are you both rushing to work by that time?
It is no secret that caring for the elderly is hard work. It is overwhelming and challenging. But as a unit, you can do this together. Don’t forget to communicate your concerns with each other. That’ll help a lot in resolving any issues before they get out of hand.