By Loida Casares
When my dad came to live with me, almost three years ago, my first instinct was to give him my bedroom. I thought it was just a temporary solution and that I’d prepare a room for him later. I also didn’t know if he was going to stay with me permanently or if this was just a short visit.
Two years into his stay with me, he was still here and I realized how unprepared I had been. When I finally moved him into my son’s bedroom he was okay with the move. I was afraid that he had already gotten accustomed to my room and that he wouldn’t want to move, but thank goodness my father is flexible and didn’t mind.
It was an important lesson.
His move was so sudden and we didn’t have time to plan. If you decide to have your elderly parent move in with you take the time to plan things out if you can. There are so many things to consider.
The most important question: Is your house ready to welcome an elderly person?
Is your parent in a wheelchair or does he or she use a walker? If that’s the case you may need a wheelchair ramp at either your front door or your back door.
Is your home a one-story house or a two-story house? If there are stairs can your parent take a bedroom on the first floor? If your parent has to have a bedroom upstairs, how well can he or she walk up the stairs? Some families have to install a lift on the staircase to carry the parent to the second floor, at a significant cost.
What about your bathroom? Does your home have one or two bathrooms? Can your parent get in and out of the tub easily? Do you have a bathroom with a stand up shower? If you do, that bathroom may be better for your parent and if it has room for a seat that’s even better. You may also consider adding rails to the walls of the shower and next to the toilet, if your parent needs that extra assistance.
Is there enough room in your house for your parent to maneuver a walker? It’s a good idea to go through your house to make sure that there’s enough room through the hall and in the rooms to walk through with a walker.
Then there’s the biggest question that I didn’t have time to ask myself — Do you have a bedroom readily available for your parent?
If you don’t have an empty bedroom. do you have an extra room like an office or a den that you can convert into a bedroom?
All of these changes are expenses that need to be planned out and discussed with your parents and your siblings, if that’s applicable.
Are your hermanos going to share in the expense of making your parent’s living situation better?
If you want to discuss the expense with your parent do it early on, before he or she moves in, so that everything is clear from the start. You may need for your parent to help with the expense(s) and your parent may not realize this before moving in with you.
These are just a few of the things that you need to think about when having a parent move in. There are several other factors that I’ve written about that need to be considered, like home care, transportation and activities.
My father is settled into his new room now. I still need to bring him his bed from his house, the one that belonged to him and my mom. I’d like for him to have that bed because it’s something familiar, not to mention I love that bed.
I think he’ll like having it too. The important thing right now is that he is happy and comfortable and he feels like he’s at home.
Loida Casares is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in Journalism and an MA in Communication. She works in advertising by day and is a writer and blogger at night. She has been blogging at ShoeGirlCorner.com for ten years. Loida also blogged for skirt.com, a national magazine for many years. She has read with Nuestra Palabra, Latinos Having Their Say several times and has appeared on their radio program on KTRU, Radio Pacifica.