Culver City News
April 29, 2004
Should Mom Move In?
wife wants her mother to move in with us. I'm not sure
how I feel about this. She only needs a little help now,
but what about later?"
Moving an aging parent into your home is a major life
change. How do you decide? The decision is not as easy
as it used to be. A generation ago, families commonly
had positive experiences taking elderly parents into
their homes. But now, more women work outside the home.
With our more mobile society, extended families often
live hundreds, even thousands of miles away.
Additionally, the average house today is smaller.
you and your parent agree the move is needed and wanted?
Or has one of you been persuaded? While opening your
home to a parent or an in-law may be done out of love
and respect, it may also stem from guilt or a misplaced
sense of responsibility. Regardless, the decision cannot
be made from the heart but rather must follow thoughtful
evaluation. How do other family members (spouse,
children, and other adult siblings) feel about the
proposal? How much care-giving time will actually be
required? What will the impact be on your family life
and work schedule? Your peace of mind and your family's
stability depend on the answers to these questions.
Loving your parent is no assurance you can live
together. As your parent ages, physical and cognitive
abilities will become more challenging. Parent-child
roles may shift, and your mom may find she has to abide
by your rules. Have you considered the effect it will
have on your relationship?
Physical living arrangements must be adequate if your
parent is to move in.
Will one of your children have to vacate
his room for the grandparent?
How will a teenager respond? Can your
parent manage stairs?
How much furniture will he or she bring?
pets an issue for either of you?
Meal times, social calendars, noise level, and general
activity patterns may need adjustment.
Do you plan to help your parent bathe as
more care is needed?
Are you equipped to deal with dietary
Will you manage your parent's financial
Will your parent be invited to all
social activities in your home?
Will she be offended by loud music, or
perhaps offend with her own loud TV?
you work outside the home, still other questions arise:.
What will you do when your parent can no
longer be left alone?
Will cutting back at work result in loss
of health or retirement benefits?
How will you go on vacation or travel
What about transportation to medical and
ultimate question is: Will it be the right and sane
decision for you and your family? Be honest. Recognize
your limitations as well as those of other family
members. If you are unable to sort out mixed feelings,
ask for help from a family counselor, clergy, or someone
who has "been there."
Despite the challenges, many adult children find that
moving their parent into their home is a rewarding
experience. Just get a handle on the possible drawbacks
ahead of time. And before you make a quick decision on a
long-term commitment, remember your first responsibility
must be to your spouse and children.
Stella Henry, R.N. B.S.G., L.N.H.A., author of the
upcoming book, "The Eldercare Handbook: Difficult Choices, Compassionate
Solutions", is an Eldercare Specialist and is a nationally recognized expert on aging
who has been featured on NBC-TV, ABC-TV, and National
Public Radio, as well as in The New York Times, The Los
Angeles, Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street