This article originally appeared on TheHealthyVoyager
For all the years you struggled to get out of your parents’ house, rebelling against their rules and looking forward to your own gloriously free adulthood, you probably never foresaw the day when you would once again live with a parent. Now the day has come‚ and this time, they’re moving in with you.
Whether from lonesomeness or medical disability, many aging parents are moving in with their adult children, and your aging parent is now relying on your hospitality and love as he or she relocates under your roof. The transition will inevitably be difficult for everyone in your household, but here are a few ways you can prepare for your new tenant and reciprocate the care you received as a child.
Prepare a Particular Place
You must remember how much you valued your own bedroom when you were a teenager in your parents’ home; your room was your haven, where you could control everything and escape the stresses of the world. Your aging parent will feel the exact same way about their space when he or she moves under your roof.
Even if it takes forcing your kids to share a room or going without a home office, you absolutely must provide your parent with a minimum of their own room. The place should be inviting and comfortable—with an appropriate-sized bed, a dresser and/or closet for their clothes, plenty of blankets and pillows, and decorations that make the space welcoming. Neither a fold-out couch in the family room nor a white-washed spare room with a basic mattress will make your parent feel happy, healthy, and loved. And if you are transforming a child’s old room into a parent’s room, be sure to update the decór for your new roommate. Get rid of that Finding Dory poster and consider repainting any kid-approved walls.
Make Your Home Elder-Friendly
There are quite a few similarities between welcoming a new baby and an elderly parent into your home, not the least of which is the preparation you must complete to make your space safe and secure for your parent. The amount of time and expense you devote to making your home navigable for your aging parent depends entirely on their current and projected ability to move around. Usually, relocation to an adult child’s home occurs because an elderly parent is no longer capable of cooking, cleaning, and generally caring for themselves. You should talk with your parent and his or her doctor to find out which fixes you should make before moving day:
Step-free entrances and thresholds. Steps are often kryptonite to aging individuals; even those who maintain strong use of their legs benefit from slopes and lifts that mitigate falls and trips.
Grab bars in bathrooms. Sitting and standing can be taxing, and grab bars help elderly individuals stabilize themselves during the transition in posture. A shower stool may also be helpful.
Adjustable bed. Many aging adults suffer from sleeping disorders, so finding a deal online for an adjustable bed may save you money in the long run by decreasing sleep-related doctor’s visits.
Proper lighting. Dramatic lighting may be more stylish, but elderly adults often require more light than younger folks to avoid obstacles and accomplish tasks. Be sure to communicate with your parent to find out their desired lighting level before taking control of the situation yourself.
Understand the Financial Situation
Feeding and sheltering another adult will add to your monthly expenses, so you should learn as soon as possible how your parent will impact your budget. Of course, your aging parent probably doesn’t have a job that will add to the household’s income, but he or she may have a retirement fund that will pay for their food and health care. In fact, your parent might insist that they pay rent to make up for the costs of welcoming them into your home. However, not every elderly adult has the savings or the capability to handle their own finances, which means that you may not receive any financial aid whatsoever.
There is no one right way to tackle the issue of finances when it comes to your aging parent—but there are several wrong ways. You shouldn’t make demands or assumptions regarding your parent’s wealth; instead, try to talk as openly as possible about the issue and come to an agreement early on.
Allow (Even Promote) Independence
Most aging adults who live outside care facilities still prefer some control over their own lives. For example, most people enjoy spending time with their friends and organizing their daily schedule. As a teenager, you relished your independence, and you shouldn’t rob your parent of theirs simply because they live under your roof. For as long as he or she can, your parent should have agency. Ultimately, affording your aging parent’s freedom is the most important step to fostering happiness in your home.
–Carolyn Scott-Hamilton is an award winning healthy, special diet and green living and travel expert, holistic nutritionist, plant based vegan chef, and best-selling cookbook author. Follow her online at healthyvoyager.com