Six Things to Check for Before a Parent with Alzheimer's Moves in With You
Posted on October 26, 2015 by Jack Harding
There comes a time when a parent may not be able to care for themselves anymore and you find yourself offering to be their caregiver. They’ll move in, you’ll look over them and ensure they’re safe and happy. It may seem easy, “I have a spare bedroom, the house is set up,” but have you gone over all of their needs? Your parent moving in is as much about your space, as it is their needs. Here are six things to ask yourself before they move in to ensure you’re ready.
1. Is This What Everyone Wants?
Opening your home may seem like the right solution, but often times parents are not looking to move out of the space they are comfortable in and have lived in for their lives. For example, if you feel your parent is safe in their home, and their partner is able to take care of them most of the time, is moving them out of their space necessary? Can medical aid, or insurance cover a part-time caregiver?
2. What do they need?
Before your parent moves in, figuring out what they’ll need on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis is going to be very important. For example, are you going to be able to provide companionship should they be looking for constant contact? Are their dietary or mobility concerns you’ll need to look after? Is your home set up with the right safety proofings?
To better prepare yourself, visiting a geniatrcian and talking to their family doctor will help you determine what their needs are and how you can best suit them. Additionally, there are a number of caregiving resources available, as well as associations that can help identify your needs and ensure you have the right training to best take care of them.
3. Can you meet their needs?
You’re going to need to make sure you can effectively meet parental needs, otherwise seeking outside help may be the best case scenario. If your parent doesn’t require a lot of care (i.e. is more looking for companionship and transportation) this should be fine. However, depending on the severity of their illness, they may wander, try to get out during the night, open and go through cabinets and be up all night. This may not be something you’re able to take care of with your day-to-day schedule and work commitments. Make sure to look at their needs as well as your own.
4. Does your family agree they should move in?
You’ll want to make sure that this is a decision the entire family is aligned with, and that it is a decision that is appropriate for all family members.
5. Can you home adjust to changes in mobility?
Is your home set up to be able to accommodate a parent with mobility issues? Although your parent may be fine now, their mobility could become a concern and you’ll want to ensure that your home is set up in such a way that if they needed to be limited to one floor, that their quality of life would not deteriorate.
6. Do you know when you need help?
Going at this alone is not sustainable. Make sure that you know when you need help, and ask those around you for help. Ensure there are provisions in place with siblings, family and friends to help you when caregiver duties may seem overwhelming.
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