There comes a time when the loved ones in our lives are not necessarily able to look after themselves. They may need some extra support semi-regularly, or we think that it’s now time for them to get full-time support. For many people, this can mean going into care, but it’s also about understanding what sort of help you can give them. We can all feel that the people we love need the absolute best in care, and we think that we are the only ones who can do this, which means having them move in with us. It is a massive decision, so what are some key factors to consider?
Is Your Living Space Up to Code?
One of the most important things to do before you start packing all of their items is to determine if your living space is accessible or, at the very least, modifiable. There are so many different things that we can do to help our elderly relatives settle in. Whether this is having a stairlift or even adding a dumbwaiter to transport food, you’ve got to evaluate if your living space can go the distance truly—such as grab bars, handrails, or altering the many different modifications. You’ve got to determine if you are also happy with all of these changes.
Their Health and Care Needs
Everybody is different, so you need to assess your relative’s health and care needs. There could be mobility limitations, specific medications that need to be taken at particular times of day, and any other critical specialized requirements. You are going into it to give they the need to live a happier life, but can you realistically support every aspect of their health and care? Because if you are working a full-time job and have children of your own and you then need to make sure that your relative has taken medication at 10:00 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and then just before bed, there is a lot riding on these times of the day. Therefore we have to determine our abilities. You could have hired help here, but you will still need to remember that their health is paramount, and you have not just to give them the bare basics but ensure that they feel supported and are as comfortable as humanly possible.
Respect Their Views and Needs
It would be best to create a living arrangement that suits them while offering assistance when needed. Everybody has the right to privacy and independence. Therefore, we need to create an environment that nurtures this. As children of elderly relatives, we can feel that it’s our sole duty to become a caregiver and do things entirely against what they stand for. Any caregiver should understand the importance of allowing the individual to make carefully informed choices based on their decision-making capacity. It can be challenging to get right, especially if we’re looking at a relative with any form of cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s. But we must remember that everybody has a human right to decide what is best for them. We have to respect their needs, and even if they are kicking against every single idea we have for their care or their social life, it is ultimately their choice. As frustrating as it can be, this counts if we can, at the very least, create a living environment that allows them as much autonomy as possible based on their conditions.
Their Financial Considerations
This also includes your financial considerations. It can be costly to upgrade your home or to deal with medical costs, which is why we must be clear about everyone’s expectations at the very outset. You can have all of the will in the world to give your elderly relative things they need, but if it becomes too costly, you’ve got to look for financial support, which depending on where you live, could be very little. In this case, you’ve got to address the problem at the source and figure out ways to ensure everyone can live within their means and still have a fulfilling life.
Be Clear on Household Responsibilities
Having an elderly relative moving with you at a time when they are able to live independently, but could potentially deteriorate in physical or mental capacity, is a delicate situation. You need to discuss the roles and responsibilities amongst everybody so everyone has a fair distribution of duties. This could be a lot to handle, especially for young kids. It’s important to be age appropriate and recognize that it can also be an emotionally fraught time for your children. Tasks like cooking, cleaning, and transportation are typical of daily life. Still, when an elderly relative moves in and want to contribute somehow, we shouldn’t put pressure on them, but we should also recognize that if they’re going to help, they must do so appropriately.
Reiterating the Importance of Socializing
Having an elderly relative move in with you is not just about you completely taking over their lives and looking after them in every single way. Still, it’s about remembering that they must live as fulfilling a life as possible. This means you should help your elderly relative do the things they enjoy. You could connect them with the community and provide social activities or opportunities. This will also take the burden off yourself. You may believe you’ve got to be this almighty protector. Still, you will also need downtime and the opportunities to recuperate because it is a very stressful situation and role.
It can be a massive undertaking, but it can also be gratifying. Many people have looked after elderly relatives until their dying day and wouldn’t have it any other way. You must ensure you are going into the situation with your eyes open.