Moving an aging parent, or senior loved one, into your home is no small decision.
It is a decision that many adults in the sandwich generation are having to make – caring for their own children as well as their elderly parents.
Blue Water Homecare Founder and COO, Jennifer Prescott, RN, MSN, CDP has a unique perspective on the challenges, and unexpected joys, that can come from this common scenario, both from a professional and personal standpoint.
She helps to educate clients as they make important decisions about senior home care options and aging in place. And she speaks from experience. Her family cares for her mother-in-law who lives with them while experiencing early stages of dementia, a serious form of memory loss.
Jennifer recently shared her thoughts on bringing a parent home to live with you on “Life Happens” with attorney Kim Hegwood.
Watch or read her interview below.
What are some of the challenges your family has experienced with this transition of having a parent live with you?
The biggest challenge is time. My mother-in-law cannot prepare meals anymore or drive herself anywhere as we are afraid she will get hurt or lost, so we must do those things for her every day. It truly is a 24/7 job when you are caring for a senior. With your kids, they get more independent as they grow older and need less of your time, but with your parents, they get more dependent and must rely on you for everything.
What are the benefits and unexpected joys you have experienced in caring for your mother-in-law at home?
I lost my own mother several years ago, so in a way, helping to care for my mother-in-law is a way to honor her. I love that my mother-in-law shares special family memories with us all the time, like her favorite recipes that can be handed down to our children.
I also think that having your own children watch you care for a parent is an invaluable lesson, as they will learn how to treat seniors with compassion and kindness, and ultimately hopefully want to help care for you if needed when you reach a certain age.
They also love having a close relationship with their grandmother, especially our younger daughter, who spends time visiting with her every day. That is something very special.
Before deciding to move an aging parent in with you, what should families consider?
I would encourage anyone considering a move like this to look and plan ahead for not only the next several months but also the years to come.
Ask yourself if you have the physical and emotional ability to care for someone else in your home? Do you have the financial resources to add their expenses on top of yours? Is your home equipped and safe for them–are there fall hazards or ample doorways for walkers or wheelchairs if needed?
Remember to come into this experience with patience and a giving heart, and try not to become frustrated, angry or resentful of your parents.
Also recognize when you may need to ask for help.
Blue Water Homecare provides non-medical Home Care, Dementia Care, and a Parkinson’s Program for seniors (and their families) so they can safely and comfortably age in place. We also provide comprehensive end-of-life care through Blue Water Hospice.
Please contact us today to learn how we can help support you and your loved one. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.