Moving is a big step and can affect people not only physically, but also on a psychological level given that a person must start fresh in a new place. Memories of the past will be present even if the new home is an improvement. Moving with an older parent may make the situation harder. Family living habits have changed in recent years, and fewer elderly individuals are living with their children or grandchildren. Currently, living with a senior citizen is a reaction to disease, death of their significant other, or economic difficulties. To make the situation easier, consider these four things before moving with an elderly family member.
Make the Process as Easy as Possible
No one really enjoys moving. The fact is that the act is a bit of a pain. Packing and putting everything in boxes, renting a truck, moving the items, and setting everything back up can be tedious, tiring, and frustrating. For senior citizens, the move can be even more chaotic. Try to make it as easy on them as possible. Help with the packing but allow your elderly family member to have their space and autonomy. If possible, use a Charleston moving company that can provide packing and moving services. The cost may go a long way in providing your loved ones with comfort through a difficult and uncomfortable situation.
Making the move may also involve other adjustments that are more long-term. For example, it may be necessary to be at home regularly to provide the care and attention that older individuals require. If studying, consider accredited online degree programs that can provide the flexibility of studying from the comfort of your home. Look toward creating an atmosphere where parents feel included. Eliminate the feeling that the individual is a burden and be inclusive in all group activities. Another idea may be to install a home entertainment system and make family movie night an event that everyone looks forward to. These gestures will go a long way toward making the move a wonderful idea.
Respect the Culture and Provide a Feeling of Belonging
Older individuals are usually set in their ways and have a different culture which are part of their identity. Respect their customs, which can include regularly going to church, listening to a specific genre of music, watching a favorite television show, among other habits and activities. Furthermore, every human being enjoys being part of something and feeling that they have a place in society. Everyone wants to feel useful. If elderly parents do not feel as they are part of the family and do not feel like they play an important role, they may develop feelings of abandonment even if living under the same roof. Therefore, help them maintain their personal worth by allowing them to feel dependable, keeping close family ties, and allowing them to be self-sufficient where possible.
Many children of older parents do not understand the reasons for certain behavior in their parents at an advanced age. However, although you may not understand the actions, understand their emotions, feelings, and needs. Older adults need to be heard, accepted, and valued even if they have health issues that make it difficult for them to hear properly or understand what is going on at all times. Regardless of the diminishing social abilities and the possible mood swings, the idea is to provide an environment where parents feel safe. Senior citizens are vulnerable and tend to withdrawal at a social and family level. Therefore, conversation and communication are vital. Proactively engaging with them can avoid their marginalization and can be a great strategy to reinforce their presence and importance in the family circle.
Understand the Type of Assistance Needed
Before living with an elderly mom or dad, understand the state of health of the individual. Know where they stand regarding the mental and physical condition and what illnesses or disabilities may impede normal functions. When parents are relatively healthy, the amount of work will be minimal as most of the change will revolve around adjusting to the new environment. However, moves typically occur as a reaction to worsening health conditions. Therefore, the amount of work will be greater as parents may need constant care. If this is the case, consider assisted living facilities or hiring a full-time nurse.
It is hard for anyone to realize that caring for their elderly loved ones alone is not possible. It is normal for children to want to take care of their aging parents. Many people want to give back the love and care that they once received. However, it may not be realistic to provide the type of care that senior citizens with health problems will need. If you have children or work full time, such an arrangement may prove difficult, at best. In some instances, it may be counterproductive and even dangerous, as senior citizens may require around-the-clock supervision that is simply not possible for working individuals. Therefore, know your limits and do not be afraid to ask for help from other members of your family or seeking professional assistance. The increase in access to education, like an Associate Degree in Nursing program, offered by specialized universities around the country has increased the nurses available to provide the care and assistance needed by senior citizens living on their own or with loved ones.
Take Care of the Arrangements
Older adults may have issues with mobility that may limit their ability to bath. Furthermore, these issues may make it hard to move into a two-storied home with living space available only on the second floor. If this is the case, is it possible to convert the living room into a bedroom? Can you modify the bathroom or upgrade the tube for easier access? Before moving with an elderly parent, think about the living arrangements and how accommodating the home is. Aspects such as wheelchair access, bathroom ramps, and others will play a role.
Also, consider the costs associated with the move. According to Andy Cohen of Caring.com, loved ones typically spend around 5000 dollars year in expenses associated with the caring of a loved one, including food and other essentials. However, people caring for elderly parents that suffer from diseases such as dementia can spend up to four times more. These costs do not take into consideration the investment needed to prepare the home for the arrival of the loved one. If finances are problematic, consider reviewing government assistance programs including Medicaid. Furthermore, as your parents age, remember the importance of estate planning. Be sure to visit a probate attorney in Charleston that can assist with these legal matters.
Living with anyone is difficult. Living with aging parents or loved ones that have been independent all their lives is additionally complex. It is difficult for someone who has never depended on anyone to become accustomed to new roles. Patience and understanding will help and can make a difficult situation a lot easier. Also remember, stopping your life to help take care of your parents will not be a positive solution as this can ultimately cause resentment and negative feelings. Therefore, be creative and look for alternatives that will allow everyone to enjoy the time together. Now is the time to reciprocate the love, caring, and understanding that they once provided to you.