Less than a third of the elderly parents surveyed in a poll by Gallup and Robinson say they'd want to move in with an adult child caregiver if they could no longer live on their own. However, many elderly parents are concerned about losing their independence after moving in with younger family members. If you're planning to have a parent move in with you, there are a few things you can do to help them keep some of their independence as time goes on. Consider utilizing one or more of the following tips and tricks:
Hire a Health care Provider
One of the most important things you can do to help ensure that your parent doesn't feel like they've lost all their independence is to hire a home health care provider to assist them on a daily basis. Chances are that your parent would rather have a person who isn't intimately involved in your family help with things such as showers, so they don't feel like they have to depend on you to take care of their most basic needs. A health care provider can help your parent with day-to-day tasks that are personal to them, which will create emotional and physical boundaries that makes them feel like they have more independence overall.
Having a home health care provider assist your parent at home for just one or two hours a day can make a positive difference in the way they feel about themselves and their relationship with you. In that time, your parent can get help with bathing, doing laundry, and even making meals so their care needs are minimal for the rest of the day and they feel less dependent on you and your family.
Create Household Ground Rules
Creating some ground rules for your household to follow is another great way to help your parent keep some of their independence after moving in, especially if there are kids living in the home. These rules should be designed to give your parent the privacy they need without improvising anyone else's independence or privacy.
When creating your list of rules, include points such as always knocking before entering your parent's bedroom and keeping televisions and radios below a certain noise level once evening approaches. Hold a family meeting that includes your parent so the rules can be hashed out and agreed upon by everyone involved. Then use a permanent marker to print the rules on a piece of poster board and hang it on the wall where it will serve as a reminder.
Commit to Weekly Outings
It's also a good idea to plan and commit to weekly outings that are designed specifically for your live-in parent. If your parent enjoys a specific hobby such as sewing or woodworking, sign them up for weekly classes in your community and attend with them. Other ideas include a trip to the movie theater, a picnic in the park, an afternoon of bingo, and pot luck get-togethers with their friends. The idea is to make sure that your parent is able to regularly engage in an activity that is enjoyable, makes them feel independent, and stimulates them physically or mentally. This will give something to look forward to and make sure that they feel like they have a purpose in life.
In addition to using the tips and tricks that are outlined here, take the time to sit down for a heart-to-heart talk with your parent before they move in to gain some insight into what they expect after becoming a part of your household. This will help you form your household rules as well as create family schedules and routines that optimize the freedom and independence for everyone involved.