Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. And now I am going to talk about having your parents live with family, also known as Family Care. In this particular housing option, the family bears the entire responsibility for taking care of the elderly person, be it in the senior's home or in the home of a family member.
Naturally, wanting to repay your parents for all of the caring they did for you as a child is a normal reaction. Having them in your home can be very rewarding allowing you to relive old times and create new memories.
For most, family care-giving is a labor of love; however, the responsibility of being a primary family caregiver can be overwhelming, especially if there are other responsibilities, such as a job or caring for your own children.
The time requirements and physical demands of caring for older people are taxing. The emotional ones can be even more so. With all that in mind, there are several questions you should ask yourself before you decide if being a family caregiver is right for you.
Let's go through them, are you prepared for the pressure on your spouse and children? Have your spouse and children agreed to take mom or dad into your home? Have you established a working arrangement with siblings or other family members? Have you anticipated the wear and tear on your own health? Are you prepared for the emotional stress of long-term care-giving? Have you evaluated the financial cost of providing family care? Will you be able to continue working and provide family care?
Certainly, answering these questions is not always easy and may take some time. You will also need to have a conversation with other siblings, your spouse and employer.
So make sure to give yourself enough time to be able to do a full evaluation and have a well thought out and researched answers to these questions.
To help you with some research on the pros and cons of family care, we've created list of advantages and disadvantages.
Let's talk about the advantages first. Having your parents live with you certainly fulfills the promise of home. It also provides opportunities to develop a close, personal relationship with your senior loved one.
Generally, this housing option has a low cost of care, with most cost coming primarily out of pocket. Other advantages include a sense of great personal satisfaction and helping another in their time of need, as well as inter-generational bonding among your parents, you and your children.
Unlike anything else, family care comes with its disadvantages as well. First and foremost, it is a risk of high personal and family stress. A new person in the home means more melding of schedules and activities which can cause tension.
There is also the potential for multi-generational conflicts. How grandma and grandpa used to do things may seem out of touch with your children.
Another disadvantage is the possibility of under-serving the needs of your senior. Neglecting your own family or suffering a loss of productivity on your job. At the moment you may be balancing all three quite well.
However, tossing in full-time care for an aging parent could throw a delicate balance out of whack. Truly, the best time to choose the family care option is if the senior is functional on all activities of daily living and requires limited assistance.
Keep in mind that the average annual cost to have a parent live with family is estimated to be $5000-8000 annually. This generally covers out of pocket expenses to provide care, including transportation, meals and extra utilities.
If you and your parents decide living with family is for them, it's also important to discuss that there maybe a time when they must move on.
Some considerations affecting that decision include when your personal stress reaches a high level, when family relationships are strained or if the senior needs more and more specialized care.
So those are some things to consider when deciding if your senior loved one should live with you.
Up next, we'll discuss affordable housing options.