Earlier, people lived together as a big family and hence there was no need for any special preparations to welcome an elderly into the home. An elderly uncle, aunt or a grandmother used to visit the homes for few weeks every year, and one welcomed him/her to the household without any second thoughts. However, now things have changed drastically. Even the parents have to take permission (or, at least, ensure that it is ok) for visiting their children these days. Everyone is busy in his or her own lives and a visit from a relative could topple all plans if not informed beforehand.
So, what will happen if an elderly is coming to live with you permanently? Well, if you are planning to bring your elderly parents to live with you, you will have to prepare yourselves. It might mean changing your lifestyle and habits drastically.
Let us try to understand some of the challenges associated with this big decision.
Space – One of the important things is to ensure that there is enough space to accommodate them. If your current house cannot accommodate them, or is not suitable for them, you might even have to move into a new house/flat. The elderly certainly deserves a comfortable space to live in.
Care – If your parents are still capable of looking after themselves or each other, you might not have to worry much about special care for them. However, if you and your spouse are both working, and the elderly requires special care, you would need to arrange for someone to look after them in your absence. A domestic help during the daytime or a trained, full-time home nurse could be some of the options.
Finances – While the day-to-day expenses may not shoot up, having dependent parents living with you could mean additional expenses in the form of medicines and emergency care. One should make provisions for the same, so that when an emergency occurs there is no panic.
Sensitivity – It is important to take the entire household into confidence while inviting elderly parents to live with you. You might have school/college going children at home, who might have to make many adjustments for the sake of the elderly. If required, talk to them and make it clear to them just as they are your priority, the elderly parents too are important for you. Ask them to treat the elderly with respect and love.
Recreation – Having your parents live with you doesn’t mean they should forgo all their past time activities. Encourage them to remain engaged in their favourite hobbies. Let them go for leisurely walks, chats with people of same age group and the like. Don’t limit their freedom unless it is dangerous for their health or well being.
Always remember that your elderly parents have lived their entire lifetime on their own terms. Now that they have come to live with you doesn’t mean they should live their lives on your terms. Be loving, caring and accommodative to them as they were with you while you were young.
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