While we’d all love our parents to remain independent and sprightly, reality rarely lives up to the expectation. In fact, a surprising amount of us has to take on significant care roles in our parents’ lives. And, to a certain extent, you’ll be more than happy to commit to care activities that require regular visits to their house, help with appointments, and more. But, at a certain stage, these efforts may not be enough anymore.
When you reach this point, you may well face the reality of bringing them into your home full-time. Inevitably, a setup like this can cause trepidation for both parties. Your parents, for example, may worry about losing their dignity or independence and you may be concerned about compromising on personal space.
These worries are entirely normal, but trust us when we say that they’re no reason not to give this a go. Many individuals manage to make this setup work for everyone, and they typically do so by keeping the following pointers in mind.
# 1 – Keep your parent’s space private
Attempting to set your parents up in your spare room could see everyone’s worst nightmares coming true. Instead, think of providing them with a private space. The best-case scenario would be an unattached outhouse that sees them enjoying independent living while still having you close to hand. If that isn’t possible, at least consider ways to rearrange or renovate to at least provide them with an entrance of their own. It’s a small gesture, but it’ll go a considerable way towards relieving you of pressure and, most importantly, helping them retain some semblance of independence.
# 2 – Give them their own utilities
Your parents are going to feel pretty lousy if you start paying their utilities and, on a practical level, you might not be able to afford to do so. With that in mind, consider providing them their own utilities where possible. This will be an easy goal to come by if they’re entirely separate with an independent circuit board and the option to install separate heating solutions such as this US Stove barrel kit. Even if they’re within your household, seeing if you can split electrical circuits, etc. is guaranteed to provide peace of mind.
# 3 – Always knock
Often when our parents move in, we make the false assumption we can turn up whenever. Sadly, this could prevent them from enjoying the privacy you’ve attempted to create. Not to mention that it’s guaranteed to get on your parent’s nerves. Obviously, you can’t always knock for seniors who struggle with mobility, but you should give a fair warning of any visit where you can. Something as simple as knocking or messaging before you head into their section of the house is the best thing you can do to keep on a positive footing. It’s a small gesture of respect, and it also ensures they’re able to feel safe and comfortable in their area. After all, how would you like it if there was forever a risk of someone barging into your room when you’re trying to chill out?
# 4 – Don’t be nosy
Along the same lines, you should also make sure that you don’t fall foul to nosiness once your parents are living on your doorstep. Providing them with their entrance can help here, but there’s still a temptation to keep an eye out for any medical professionals that come and go. You may even slip into the habit of keeping a close watch for friends so that you can rest easy that your parents are happy. Again, though, this is a significant breach of privacy, and it’s a habit you need to steer clear of at all times.
Admittedly, this will sometimes be far easier said than done, but keep clear from watching that private entrance as much as you can. Even if you do spot someone coming and going, don’t bring it up or draw conclusions unless your parents see fit to mention it directly to you. After all, they may be living with you now, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to know everything they get up to!
A final word
Moving elderly parents into your family home is rarely easy for anyone involved, and that’s likely to be the case for at least a little while despite your best efforts. Still, steps like these can go a huge way towards setting the right boundaries, and approaching this setup as you mean to go on.