Many adult children decide to live with their elderly parent who clearly needs more support at home. Are you considering having your mom or dad move into your home? It’s a complicated decision that will have a significant impact on you, your children, and your parent. Still, it’s become an even more common decision during the Covid-19 pandemic. But are you prepared to make it?
On Aging Life Network, Nancy Oriola LCSW, CMC, NMG, CFP, has gathered experts to help you consider this decision and share tips to help you make the situation work if you do bring mom or dad to live with you.
Lean on Support Networks
Michael Ferraina, CEO of JEV’s Care at Home, in Philadelphia advises that families should be patient and take time to get comfortable with one another. Schedules take time to get right, too. He argues that the demands of home care expand as people age. Typically, family caregivers don’t know what they don’t know, which means there are areas of their loved one’s health that they could better support, but recognizing the gap is a challenge. To address this, you should reach out to resources available in your community:
- Home care agencies: They should be able to answer questions and give referrals to other experts, too. Home care agencies may help you get the right medical equipment, or even help you handle insurance claims.
- Doctor: Your parent’s doctor can help, especially if they are a geriatric doctor.
- Other family: Not only can they provide moral support; family members can step in with unique perspectives to help your parent.
- Medicaid: Through Medicaid there are programs that can help manage your parent’s care.
- Veteran’s Affairs: Veteran benefits include some support for elders in home care.
What You Should Know About Home Care
According to Ferraina, many families are struggling to obtain home care services. It’s important to know that Medicare does not cover everything. Professional home caregivers can’t do everything either, as they have rules and a scope of practice. For example, they cannot give or manage medication in most states.
Get It in Writing
Margaret “Peggy” Graham is an elder law attorney who firmly believes that families should get their agreements about their parent’s care in writing. Typically, family caregivers run into problems because they don’t know what their parent needs now, what they will need down the road, or what their parent or other family caregivers expect them to do.
It is best to have open and honest talks about this, even though it is often an uncomfortable subject. To start, have a transparent meeting where you seek to understand what your parent will actually need, depending on their conditions and cognitive ability. Discuss how your expectations, your parent’s expectations, and other family member’s expectations match up to those needs.
Once you have that knowledge, you can start to negotiate and make a plan that will suit everyone, or at least your parent and the family members who will act as caregiver. Don’t shy away from the financial aspects of this discussion. Talk about if and how the caregiver will be compensated for their time. Then discuss how mom or dad’s money will be managed.
Ideally getting these details in writing ahead of time will mean that you avoid family conflict, resentment, and financial stress down the line.
Listen here to the Aging Life Network podcast for more advice including a discussion about guardianship, powers of attorney, and other legal aspects of providing home care.