When an elderly loved one needs help with daily living tasks, moving that person into your home may seem like a good solution, but there’s much you need to consider.
Caring for a relative at home could be less expensive than moving them to an assisted-care facility, but there may be great demands on your time, energy, and finances. You’ll also need to consider how other members of your household may be affected.
Here are five questions to consider doing before making a decision about caring for a loved one:
1. Will You Be Able to Provide Adequate Care?
Before you take on a caregiver role, it’s important to understand how great the loved one’s needs are, said Amanda Lambert, the author of “Aging with Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home.”
“The biggest challenge is the possibility the elder relative will have increasing needs that the family or home can’t easily accommodate,” she said. “If the elder has needs that exceed what the family can provide, who will pay to have a company come in to provide that care?”
2. Will Your Home Need to be Modified?
If your loved one has limited mobility, you may need to make modifications to your home, said James Colozzo, author of “You Got To Do What You Got To Do,” a book about the care of elderly parents. Be sure to budget for any expenses you may incur.
Many homes have narrow hallways and don’t easily accommodate persons who use walkers or wheelchairs, he noted. A ramp might need to be built to make your home accessible. New flooring also could be required to eliminate slipping or tripping hazards.
3. Does Your Loved One Want to Live With You?
Most seniors want to remain in their own homes as long as possible, said Steve Barlam, co-founder of LivHOME, a provider of senior home care services. Invitations to move in often are met with resistance. It’s important to be sure the move is the right fit for all concerned.
If sharing your home will increase a senior’s contact with people who are important to him or her, such as grandchildren, the idea of moving in may be more acceptable.
4. Are You Prepared to Help Your Loved One Downsize?
One of the hardest tasks will be helping your loved one downsize their possessions so they can fit inside your home. You may need to participate in hard decisions about what they should bring and what should be discarded, given away, or placed in storage.
In many cases a rental storage unit can be helpful, especially if you’re pressed for time. “Then decisions about what to do with personal belongings can be decided at a later date,” said Lambert.
5. Are You Physically Up to The Task?
Colozzo says you shouldn’t underestimate the physical demands that may be involved with being a caregiver. You’ll need to decide if you can do the job yourself or if you’ll need to hire someone to help out.
Remember that the needs of the person you’re caring for are likely to grow over time.