There are certain things in the checklist that we have to go through before we are ever going to decide on having our parents move in us…
Have you researched the following?
_____Senior housing facilities in your area? (at least six of them)
_____All family members who could also take your loved one(s)
_____In home care, (at least 4) or private duty (at least 3)
_____Adult day centers in your area (at least 4)
_____Volunteer organizations in your area
_____Caregiving Support Group in your area
We cannot expect this to be an easy decision
More importantly, the ones living in your home now may agree with you but will come to resent it later.
I have seen this happen far too often. And then the crisis occurs and it’s time for dad and mom to find another facility or your marriage Is going to end. Now what?
I had this personal experience myself when I moved my mom into our home.
I desperately needed her to help me with the kids as I was a single mom and going back to school.
She was an absolute gem for me, and she did everything.
From taking care of the dinners, the household, getting the kids to and from school, sports, and even going to their parent-teacher conferences for me (which she eventually got asked not to return – mom had been a teacher and she happened to tell my daughter’s teacher he was destroying the love of history and one of the poorest teachers she ever saw)!
But despite this one lively event, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
But I had my rules and everyone, including her knew them.
Make an exit strategy ahead of time.
Before you move a loved one into your home you must make an exit strategy decision.
What do I mean by that? It means that when it comes a time that he or she can no longer live with you because you or your spouse cannot take it any longer then your loved one must go.
It’s probably going to happen. This was one of the most frequent reasons family members called me and asked me to find a place for their loved one to move to.
Here are some reasons I have seen
Mom is up all night and I’m exhausted.
Dad is not eating, and I can’t do this anymore.
My siblings won’t help.
Mom thinks the toilet is a washing machine.
Dad won’t take a bath or shower or change his clothes.
The key here is that you definitely need to do your homework before
you move your loved one in.
Make a list of the things you will not tolerate.
Remember, they are scared, and they don’t want to go.
We can’t blame them. They fear that they are going to die there.
For the family member who already has the parent living in the house and needs to consider alternative housing.
Complete the checklist above
In the Ultimate Caregiver’s Guide Toolkit, I gave you fifty-three questions to ask facilities.
If you have not picked up the guide now go ahead and get it here.
It is imperative that you go around to the different facilities in your community.
Get their free coffee and nice hot chocolate chip cookies and ask them all these questions
Better yet, take your loved one with you.
The facility will swoon over them while you can enjoy the tour.
It is time for that tough conversation.
If they cannot afford the facilities, it’s time for the family to step up.
If the family cannot or will not step up and your loved one must live with you,
you can still appreciate your days together. Make the best of what time you both have left together BUT you must look at respite care, adult day centers or other volunteer organizations.
Be sure to look at all places on that checklist above.
For the family members who is thinking about moving their loved ones into their home
Your first job is to sit down with your own family members and discussed this.
Each of you will make a list of things you will not tolerate in your home.
For example, I was still raising my children and mom was helping.
My big “No-No” was that no one could be mean or treat other people with disrespect.
My mom became unhappy with her living situation. I think her pain was getting to her.
As much as I loved her, I could not tolerate her being mean to my children.
It was time to move her. I gave her the option of antidepressants which her doctor suggested but she refused. While it was still an emotional struggle I knew I had made this decision ahead of time.
I had told my children my decisions ahead of time. I had told my siblings of my decisions, too.
So I knew I was standing on solid ground, I had the support of my siblings that this is what we had all agreed upon before I had moved mom in and so they were there to help when I moved mom out and into a facility of her choosing. It still hurt. How she loved my home. In fact, I gave her full reign to build it the way she wanted. She did not fare well at the first two facilities, but the third one was perfect for her. She was happy there. Do not think that your first choice in facilities will be your last. Rarely does this happen.
After you have sat down with your own family and reviewed this with clarity,
you are then going to go to your loved ones and set up the guidelines about the move.
Facilities have their rules, and you want to know them upfront.
You’re not 31 people
Remember it takes 31 people to take care of one person in assisted living or memory care during the course of one week . You’re never going to be 31 people so don’t expect to do it all. Get your support system in place ahead of time. Never move an elder into your home without this exit strategy in place.
Trust me, facilities have exit strategies, too when their support systems fail.
“But Suzanne, we have no money. We can’t pay for a facility.” I have heard this as well. There are ways to find the money for facilities. If this does not work, there are other options. Many of our members are shocked at the options they have. They just didn’t know help was out there and where to look.
P.S. Here’s the link for more information on our Freedom Club. Helping family members through these times is what we do! It is truly a mission to see how family members turn their lives around. Become happier, healthier, and more inspired when they know the answers are right around the corner. No one should do senior care alone.