The global Covid-19 pandemic continues to change our life in many ways that we couldn’t even have imagined just a few months ago. As the very real incidences of a second wave continue to beset us, sweeping changes are being made to all of our lifestyles. Whether it’s becoming a permanently home-based worker, choosing to relocate from the city to a more rural location, many of us are choosing a different path. And when it comes to taking care of our elderly loved ones, we may well be reconsidering options for their health and wellbeing. With a covid second wave on our doorsteps, and senior care homes being notoriously rife with infection – and the double threat of flu season fast approaching – for many the realization will be dawning that home care is best. So if you do want to consider having an older relative move into your home, what do you need to consider?
The Practicalities Of Multi-Generational Living
Even if you feel prepared for this change in living arrangements, there are lots of practical implications to consider before the move takes place. There are issues to resolve such as:
- Is your current home spatially suitable for another resident, perhaps with mobility issues or other physical requirements? Is the house surrounded by good transport links and facilities that will enable them to have some degree of independence? Will they be able to have a social life outside of the home without relying on you?
- Are there compromises that will have to be made on the space? For example, will your loved one be able to have their own bathroom, or will they be sharing facilities? What impact will this have on the schedules of others in the house? The ideal set up tends to be a semi-self contained one with it’s own bathroom and possibly kitchen which afford the relative a degree of autonomy, but this isn’t always practical or possible.
- What expectations do both parties have for their life after the move? For example, how will the grocery shopping and cooking be handled? Are meals going to be together, apart, or a mixture of those? What space is shared? If you go on vacation, is your relative coming as well? It’s very important to remember that they will have their own expectations and requirements, and if you understand in advance what these are, then you minimize the scope for misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
Thinking About The Future
Once you have all the practical aspects of space and routine nailed down for now, it’s also worth acknowledging that these circumstances are likely to alter over time. Your loved one is almost certain to undergo change in their life – whether this is new physical challenges or to do with their mental wellbeing. Think about how these changes could affect your living arrangements in the future. You can’t plan everything in life of course, but be aware that you may have to review your living situation at a later date as abilities and care needs change. You can also factor in trying some support from a home care agency to alleviate the pressure and make sure your loved one is well looked after.
Nurture Your Honesty
There is a need for fully open and honest communication when you plan for a relative to move into your home. This can sometimes feel uncomfortable when it comes to things such as discussing finances, but it’s absolutely essential to be able to have a dialogue about such matters. Think about how your new arrangement works financially – both in terms of the larger picture and the smaller day to day expenses as well. There is nothing like money to cause misunderstandings and disagreements. So it’s far better to be open from the start about expectations. Ask your loved one what their view is. Some people opt for a lump sum payment (for example from the proceeds of their own house sale), while other families prefer an inclusive monthly contribution that covers food and money towards the mortgage payment. You need to use negotiation skills to reach an arrangement that everyone is happy with.
Moving an older relative into your home is the right thing to do in a time of Covid and the life threatening risks it presents, but it also can come with it’s own challenges. Acknowledge this and you and your moved one will be able to find a way forward that suits everyone. Who knows? It could well be the best move that you’ll ever make.