Every family has different dynamics. Sometimes, parents get along great with their adult children. In other circumstances, the relationship is rife with frustrations and unmet expectations on both sides. Deciding how to support an aging parent can bring all of the family’s explicit and underlying dynamics to the surface, and it’s not always pretty.
When elderly parents reach an age where they can no longer live safely alone at home, their children almost always play a role in finding senior living options. Deciding to allow an aging parent to move in often seems like the simplest of them. However, that is rarely the case. Before making such an important decision, read on to find out about the pros and cons of this living arrangement.
Pro: More Family Time
Having an elderly parent move in can create opportunities for extra quality family time. When parents are still in good health both physically and cognitively, they can also play an active role in helping to care for any children in the family, forming important intergenerational bonds.
Con: Lack of Privacy
Intergenerational households sometimes have stronger family bonds, but they also have significantly less privacy. This can create unnecessary stress and tension and may even cause parent-child relationships to degrade over time. When aging parents and their children don’t see eye-to-eye on important issues, the problems caused by living together can be even more serious. In this case, a senior living community is almost always the better option.
Pro: Save Money
In some cases, assisted living communities are costly. The adult children of aging parents are often tempted to allow them to move in with the family as an alternative that could cut costs. Parents can often help to ease financial stress, as well, as they may have streams of income to contribute to paying bills or be willing to offer free childcare for grandchildren.
Con: Unpaid Labor
When an elderly family member suffers from a serious illness or develops mobility issues, it can leave family caregivers responsible for providing unreasonable levels of unpaid help. Providing support for seniors can significantly cut into a family’s earning abilities. Plus, installing accessibility features like safety bars or wheelchair ramps can be quite high-priced.
Pro: Keeping Seniors Safe
Aging in place at home is not a safe option for most seniors. Moving in with adult children may offer a safer solution, which can reduce stress for everyone around. When primary caregivers want to go away on trips that don’t involve their aging parents, they can bring their older family members to a community that provides VIP respite care to keep them safe and give them a vacation, as well.
Con: Increasing Challenges Providing for Seniors’ Needs
Mobility issues and acute or chronic health concerns aren’t the only issues facing today’s seniors. One in seven people over the age of 70 also suffers from some form of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease leading in terms of prevalence. Unfortunately, this is a degenerative condition, which means that family caregivers will face increasing needs and challenges. Eventually, memory care may become the only safe option.
Pro: Maintain a Familiar Environment
When seniors first begin to experience cognitive decline, they may respond better to staying in a familiar environment than moving into a new housing arrangement. Moving in with family caregivers is a feasible option for people with mild cognitive decline as long as the primary residents are willing to adapt the living environment appropriately to meet the senior’s needs, not just practically but also in terms of personal comforts. Affected seniors often feel safer and more secure when they can hang their favorite pictures or paintings on the walls or keep the same furniture.
Con: Potential for Loneliness
Seniors are more likely than younger people to feel lonely. Moving in with their children sometimes helps, but if there is no one around during the day, it can make the situation worse. When family caregivers work full-time, they rarely have the extra hours to devote to helping their aging loved ones feel valued and connected. In these cases, senior living communities provide better options since they provide both structured and unstructured opportunities for socializing with peers.
Find a Better Solution
Families that want to support their aging loved ones without straining their relationships can schedule a tour of The Gardens of Sun City. Our vibrant community offers everything seniors need to enjoy their golden years, including help with daily activities, in-house doctor visits, and plenty of fun events. Browse our website to learn about our community or call (623) 933-2222 to schedule a tour today.