Did you know that more than 35 million people in the UK have caring responsibilities for an elderly relative? The number of these type of households is growing steadily, and it’s expected to double by 2050. Even if you feel ready to take on the challenge, bringing elderly relatives into your home can be a stressful undertaking. There are logistical concerns and financial implications, but there are also emotional challenges as you take on a new responsibility. However, there are plenty of benefits too. You might see this as a chance to give back to someone who raised you. Or it could be an opportunity to forge a new relationship with your grandparents. In either case, here are some tips for living with elderly relatives in your home and making it work.
Research your options
Before you bring someone into your home, you should research your options for care. There are many types of assistance available, including home care, adult day care, or assisted living facilities. There are many factors to consider when choosing a care provider, including cost, location, and the type of care offered. What’s important is that you and your relatives choose something that works for everyone.
Get logistics in order
If you’re bringing elderly relatives into your home, you’ll need to consider a few logistics. First of all, you’ll likely need to make some modifications to your home. For example, you may need to provide grab bars in the bathrooms and widen doorways. You’ll also want to set up ground rules to keep everyone safe and comfortable. This might include banning smoking indoors or not having guests stay overnight. We’re assuming that you have some spare bedrooms, but this isn’t always the case. If you don’t, you might consider bringing in a futon or couch bed. If you’re bringing in elderly relatives, you’ll want to account for their special needs. For example, you might need to install a ramp for a wheelchair or install handrails near the bathroom.
Set boundaries and find a care provider
It’s important to set boundaries and let your relatives know that this isn’t a free ride. You want to be kind, but you also want to set expectations. You might consider setting a weekly budget for groceries or having everyone chip in for household expenses. If you have a cleaning service, you might want to ask your relatives to stick to certain areas. Perhaps they can take care of dusting and vacuuming or take on light gardening. In some cases, you might have to draw a firm line with your relatives. For example, it’s important to let them know that they can’t bring their pets into your home. This is particularly important if you have allergies. You might also want to draw the line when it comes to smoking. If you’re not sure how to approach these conversations, you can always seek out a family therapist. It might take some time to find the right partner, but it’s worth the effort.
Make some small changes to make life easier
There are some small changes you can make to make life easier for everyone. For example, you might want to make a meal schedule so that meals are served at set times. Since elderly relatives often have special dietary needs, you may want to modify your regular recipes to accommodate them. This is also a good time to brush up on your cooking skills if you haven’t used them for a while. There’s no need to go out of your way to pamper your relatives, but you can make their lives a little easier. For example, you might want to put safety bars in the shower, a stool next to the stove, or install a stairlift from a trusted company like Age Co Mobility. Another thing you can do is make sure you have plenty of reading material. You might not have time to read as often, but you can easily stock up on books for your elderly relatives.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t try. Just as you should ask your relatives to pitch in, you need to do the same. If you have a nearby friend or family member who can help out, take them up on it. You don’t have to do everything yourself. You can also consider hiring a part-time care provider. This gives you more freedom without completely sacrificing your responsibilities. If you can’t afford to hire someone, consider getting involved with a local organization. There are often volunteer opportunities for seniors near you. You can also make it easier for everyone involved by keeping a spreadsheet of tasks and appointments. This makes it easier to juggle everything without feeling overwhelmed.
Bringing elderly relatives into your home can be a great way to give back and form new relationships. It can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. If you’re considering this, make sure you do your research, set boundaries, and ask for help when you need it. This can be a great way to give back to someone who raised you or supported you in the past, and it’s also a good way to build new relationships.