Having your elderly parent move in for extra support and care can be a stressful experience for the entire household because of the changes that tend to occur when a new housemate enters the picture – even when that new housemate is a family member. But there are some things you can do to help make the transition easier on everyone in your household, especially your parent who is giving up some of their freedom and independence by moving in. Here are a few options to consider:
Invest in Home Healthcare
A great way to help your parent transition into a lifestyle of having to get help with daily tasks is to invest in at home healthcare services for at least the first couple of months after the move. A home healthcare aide will be able to help your parent with things like taking medication, monitoring vital statistics, and handling personal hygiene tasks. They may also do the shopping and provide transportation for your parent when it's needed.
This will ensure that your parent doesn't feel forced to rely on your for their every need throughout the day, because your help as a caretaker will more than likely feel foreign and uncomfortable at first. A home healthcare taker will be able to act as the main support system for your parent while you're working and taking care of other responsibilities.
Create a Mini Studio Apartment
To provide your parent with an area where they can spend as much time as they want in privacy, and where they can decorate to make the space their own, turn the room they'll be using into a miniature studio apartment. This can easily be accomplished with the help of these tips and tricks:
- Put the bed against the wall lengthwise and place large throw pillows along the back to create a sitting area for daytime use. At night, the pillows can be taken off so the bed can be used to sleep in.
- Set up a desk for a computer if your parent uses one, and install floating shelves around the desk to create an entertainment center for books, nick-knacks, and a television.
- Use a small foldable table against the wall to create a mini kitchen – put a single burner and teapot on the countertop along with a small fridge to keep healthy snacks in, such as vegetables and hummus.
If there are young children living in the home, consider installing a simple lock on your parent's bedroom door to ensure that they can get their privacy when they want it. But make sure you have a spare key handy in case you need to get in the room during an emergency.
Commit to a Weekly Schedule
One of the best ways to keep the peace between everyone in the household once your parent moves in is to create a weekly schedule in advance and commit to it. If everyone knows when grocery store trips, doctors appointments, and social engagements are scheduled, they'll be able to plan solutions to their needs around that schedule.
For example, the kids will know when you'll be taking your parent to the doctor so they won't expect rides anywhere at that time. And your parent will know which days you're going into town, so they can plan to fill their medication prescriptions accordingly. This technique should minimize confusion and frustration on a day-to-day basis, especially for those who are expected to do a lot of the driving for the household.
These techniques will make it possible for your parent to maintain some of their privacy and independence and help everyone in the household bond more as a family.