On Facebook recently, I asked people in Ottawa to share their biggest concern about moving a parent into a retirement home.
The most popular response went something like this:
“I worry that a retirement residence wouldn’t watch or care for my parent as well as I could.”
At Tea and Toast, this is a common concern we hear all the time from adult children of ageing parents (it may very well echo the same worries you have).
And let’s be honest: you probably could take better care of your parents than any retirement residence! After all, you’ve known them your whole life. You know their personality, their likes and dislikes, and all the nuances that make them so special to you.
So it makes sense that sometimes, adult children decide to selflessly move their parent (or parents) into their own home.
Is moving your aging parent in with you a good decision?
It’s about you, too!
But this isn’t just about your parents’ well-being. It’s about yours as well.
At first, I thought it sounded crazy. Three seniors?
But then I thought about a personal friend of mine: she is in her 30s, has a mother with early onset dementia, a father who recently got really sick and cannot take care of himself, and a grandmother who also needs help. And she is caring for each of them in some form.
Think of it: there are so many ways to care for elderly people, outside of having them live with you. And even that can take a lot of time and energy.
Are you prepared?
At Tea and Toast, we are so fortunate to regularly meet with kind, caring adult children across Ottawa who only want the best for their loved ones.
But before you decide that your parent will be better off moving in with you (as opposed to going the retirement residence route), ask yourself:
How much time are you willing to invest, to care for your aging parent yourself? Depending on their health and needs, your parent may need 24-hour care.
Will supporting your parent take a toll on your own family? Especially if you have children, the amount of care your parent needs may take valuable time away from kids who also need you.
Will supporting your parent take a toll on your own sanity? How about your career and personal life? Are you likely to suffer burnout?
Meanwhile, ask yourself why you think your parent will be better off living with you. For example:
Are you worried that their health will deteriorate in a residence, without anyone noticing?
Do you have bad memories of visiting someone (for example, a grandparent or great-grandparent) in a run-down retirement or nursing home?
Trust me when I say this: retirement homes aren’t what they used to be.
Today’s retirement residences provide a range of services from independent to memory care, and everything in-between. Many are designed for independent living as well as those with a greater range of needs like:
bathing and dressing,
ordering and distributing medications,
laundry services, and
emergency call systems.
Having spent more than a dozen years working in this industry, I can assure you that many of those homes are beautiful, comfortable, warm, and full of professionals who genuinely care about your parents’ well-being.