When you first started working with your elderly mom or dad in helping them settle into their retired lifestyle, you exposed yourself to all kinds of services that can help take care of senior citizens. If you feel your parent could use to be with people during the day but you are not able to be free to provide that support because of your job, the idea of an adult day care is often suggested as a solution to the problem.
Of course the phrase “adult day care” can be upsetting because it only goes to reinforce the image of your adult parent becoming an infant and having to be treated as such.
So when you suggest that you work together to find a place they can spend time at during the day, don’t refer to it as an “adult day care” if you can. Immediately the senior citizen will feel that you are just “putting him away” somewhere so he won’t be a nuisance to you. And you don’t want him to get that idea.
But many seniors are open to going to a senior citizen’s center or to a church program for the elderly that serve the same function. The best way to find the right adult day care situation for your parent is for you and your elderly parent to take a tour of what is available locally and make the decision together. To do that, you will want to come armed with some pertinent questions for you to get some peace of mind about letting your mom or dad spend time there each day. Some questions to include might be…
Of course for your mom or dad, the activities that the day care center offers will be a big part of their willingness to go there. During football season, if the center just provides a place where elderly men can cheer for the game or have other sports programming available, that is a lot more fun for your dad than sitting alone in his apartment and watching those same sports.
If the day care center has a variety of activities that appeal specifically to each gender and then others that everyone can enjoy such as card games or puzzles, it could be an upbeat and fun place for your parent to pass the day. By spending some time there, you can get a feel for the friendliness of the staff and the general atmosphere of the center to determine if this will be a warm and welcoming place where your parent will have some fun and meet...
Anyone who is charged with the task of caring for an aging parent, particularly the only surviving aging parent, faces a tough decision at some time in the time of their caregiver years. And that decision is whether to have mom or dad move in with you.
When that idea first comes to mind, you can probably think of more negatives than positives. It really goes against your orientation since you moved out of your parent’s home as a youth. Since then your entire goal was to live separately from your parents, not to combine them again.
How long you consider this idea depends on your living situation as well. If you are unmarried, separated or divorced, you may have the space in your home. And in that situation, you could combine your homes and save considerable money. You would not have to feel bad using a little of your parent’s retirement or Social Security money to pay the rent since you would be saving them so much. And who knows? It might be nice to have the company.
If you have a spouse and children, however, the decision gets a little more complicated. If the fact that you are even considering letting grandma or grandpa move in with you leaks to the kids, they will probably be extremely enthusiastic about the idea. After all, they love their grandparents and having them live here seems so ideal. But children are not aware of the additional stress having Grandma move in might cause.
Additional positives about the idea of letting Grandma live in your home are that you would be there at all times to help with her medications or to jump to her aid in the event of a sudden medical problem. And worry about your parent weighs heavily on you as primary caregiver because the last thing you want is for something to happen to him or her and you were not there to help. Having mom or dad in your home would eliminate those many car trips to their condo, apartment or assisted living center as well. You could include the food preparation in with what you do for your family and in every way, they could just blend in.
But when considering the big question of “Where should Grandma live?” most experts in caring for the elderly advise heavily against letting them live with you if it can be in any way avoided. For one thing, parents will be parents. And Grandma or Grandpa would not be able to resist getting in the middle of child discipline situations or being nosey about marital spats or issues that come up with teenage children.
Teenagers are elusive enough as it is without having to answer questions from inquisitive grandparents that are around all the time. Within the context of your family, you already have some fairly sophisticated conflict resolution systems. And those work because everybody can read each others signals. Throwing Grandma into that mix would be a disaster.
But the biggest reason not to have your aging parent live with you despite some attractive benefits as we have discussed is that you, as your parent...