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Moving Your Loved One into Your Home

Considerations for Moving Your Elderly Loved One into Your Home

From “Caregiver News”, East Meadow, NY

There are many things to consider before moving an elderly loved one into your home, including but certainly not limited to life-style changes and adjustments, role changes, and relationship changes.  There are also emotional issues to consider, and these are often the most difficult. 

Ask yourself if you’ve had an open, honest relationship with this person; if you’ve been able to settle past differences; or are there any unresolved issues?  The answers to these questions can play an important part in determining your emotional preparedness for such a move. 

If you are emotionally prepared, you must consider living arrangements.  Ask yourself if there is enough room in your home for everyone to be comfortable; will everyone be able to have their own privacy; is the house safety-proofed; what modifications might be necessary to safeguard your loved one; can you personalize the portions of the house that your loved one will utilize or share; will wandering be a problem; and can you identify “danger zones” that should be restricted?

Next, you will need to consider the financial issues.  What new expenses will you have; does your loved one have insurance coverage to pay for these expenses; do your siblings understand and will they participate in financial matters; will your spouse and other family members support your decisions; and, if assistance is needed, what arrangements can be made? 

There will be changes to your daily routines that must also be considered.  If your loved one will be living in your home, you or another family member will become that person’s primary caregiver.  If this person needs assistance, will you or another family member be available to provide it; will the primary caregiver be available to take this person to medical and other appointments, and to oversee the feeding bathing, dressing, supervising, etc., of this person; will you and other family members feel comfortable providing required daily care and be able to cope with encroachment on privacy issues? 

If you have resolved all of the above issues, you should then consider the feelings of other family members who do not live with you.  It is important to discuss such a move with siblings and other relatives, and ask for their support.  You will want to know if other relatives are in agreement with the decision to move your loved one into your home; is anyone upset or unhappy about it; will others share in caregiving and will they occasionally provide some respite for you?  And what about your children?  If you have children, especially young children, living at home, do they understand how your loved one moving into your home will affect them?  Will they feel comfortable with the new living arrangements; will they try to help out with extra responsibilities that may become necessary?  It’s just as important for your children to be supportive as for other adult relatives. 

Providing care for an elderly relative living in your home adds stress to daily life.  Encouraging family members to become part of a caregiving team is one of the best ways to minimize the stress.