In today’s world, 80 is the new 60. The projected life expectancy for the average American is 78 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Seniors are living much longer, making longevity one of humankind’s most significant achievements.
In 2017, approximately 47 million seniors were alive and thriving. This number is expected to double by the year 2060, when the Population Reference Bureau estimates that the US senior population will be 100 million. Baby boomers’ extended life spans are indicative of the need for extra home care.
What does this all mean? Most likely, middle-aged children will share their home with their senior parents, providing some sort of home caregiving assistance. Given the longevity rates of baby boomers, even adult children in their 60s will support parents who are in their 90s.
When planning to move aging parents into your home, a few things can be expected:
Mom may outlive Dad, since it is commonly known that women tend to survive longer than men. The reason for American women to have longer lifespans than their male counterparts is that they are less inclined to pursue risky activities, like shooting guns, racing motorcycles or smoking.
Dad may never retire. He may be living in your home, but the enjoyment of working trumps any plans to retire, especially if he has a white-collar job. So, expect the alarm to buzz in the wee hours of the morning, as Dad prepares to jet off to his job.
Expect to Provide Access to Healthcare
Elderly individuals are more likely to suffer from more than one chronic health condition, while most are burdened by two or more. Disease that can affect their aging bodies include mild arthritis; and ones that can plague their minds include types of dementia, like advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
Chronic illnesses demand attention, perhaps more attention than working adult children can give. For example, elderly parents with disabilities may need help shifting in bed during the night. As a working adult, ask yourself if is this a manageable scenario, especially when waking up early is a priority.
Family caregivers should be prepared to transport their elderly parents to doctor’s appointments and therapy visits. Time off from work could be necessary to accomplish these tasks. Or, quitting one’s job or altering a work schedule to provide continual help to parents can be practical alternatives.
Family caregivers who are middle-aged are likely to be able to handle providing assistance to elderly parents. But for those family caregivers who are aging themselves, the physical demand could be too stressful. Recovering from a strain may be almost impossible for older bodies.
Emotional stressors, too, can aggravate an older family caregiver. Adult children who are elderly themselves and who experience mental stresses as a consequence of aiding their frail parents have higher rates of dying, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Issues that provoke stress should be resolved prior to moving parents into the home. If Dad smokes or drinks, these habits may warrant a candid discussion. Adult children with healthier tendencies may persuade their aging father to quit once he will be living amongst family with impressionable young.
Expect to Make Home Modifications
When parents move into an adult child’s home, the existing environment may be unsuitable for the needs of an aging person. A senior with mobility issues may require grab bars in the shower or a ramp to make floors accessible by wheelchair. Requirements like these call for expensive home renovations.
Questions adult children should ask themselves are whether or not they can afford the range of home modifications necessary to support Mom or Dad. Additionally, the aging parents should consider if they will be able to help out with the expenses involved in remodeling.
Expect to Seek Professional Help
In some instances, family caregivers will rely on hired help to ensure aging parents’ needs are looked after. Professional caregivers who specialize in certain conditions, like dementia, are especially helpful when the senior battles severe cognitive decline; affected seniors also benefit from memory care.
Substantial support allows even people in their 90s who have a disability to live many more years with health and ease. When aging people are too ill to recover, hospice care is the next appropriate phase of care. Support is available to hospice patients in the comfort of home.
Expect to Reap the Rewards
Living with aging parents can produce cherished bonds, ones that may have never formed during your youth. Adult children tend to see their parents in a new light. Any unresolved issues from your younger years might surface, making resolutions a likely and necessary possibility.
Sharing a home with the family also reduces the isolation and loneliness that seniors commonly feel when living alone. Especially during the holidays, rather than be left alone, aging parents are surrounded by grandchildren and extended family, making for a much cheerier season.
When moving parents into the family home, hiring a senior home care agency for extra support goes a long way in helping both the adult children and their elderly loved ones feel more comfortable overall. Professional caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care take the stress out of senior caregiving.
With a compassionate team of licensed and bonded senior caregivers, Assisting Hands Home Care is positioned to provide dependable support to elderly individuals in any condition. Whether the care recipient requires post-operative care, live-in care or respite care, we offer the resources to satisfy all care needs.
Assisting Hands Home Care offers a range of non-medical home health care services that includes assistance with the activities of daily living, like bathing and grooming, transportation to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store, meal preparation and companionship.
Turn to Wisconsin’s most comprehensive senior care agency for all your loved one’s care needs. We are dedicated to ensuring your parents experience dignity and a high quality of life.