Perhaps the best way to provide personal care to a loved one is to live in the same household. A cooperative living arrangement can be successful and rewarding, with some good planning and the right attitude.
Keep the lines of communication open
Before you decide to share a household, carefully and realistically consider the situation and accept that it will place demands on everyone. Remember, working together to solve problems and respecting one another’s opinions is the basis for an open and effective relationship. Discuss important decisions before a crisis situation occurs. Thinqs to consider:
- Is this new living arrangement viewed as offering a better lifestyle for everyone, and not a sacrifice made out of feelings of guilt or obligation?
- How will you handle finances? Consider putting ideas in writing to avoid future uncertainty or resentment.
- How will household responsibilities be divided? Sharing responsibility will help decrease the burden on any one person.
- Will traditional roles change when a parent and adult child decide to share living quarters? The child cannot defer responsibilities to the parent, while the parent can no longer command all the control.
- What will you do if someone decides the living situation no longer works?
A caregiver’s job is not always easy and a relocation to the care recipient’s home might be best for everyone.
Make a smooth transition
Change is difficult for everyone, especially seniors, who may feel they’ve already lost control over a good portion of their lives. If a new living arrangement involves uprooting Mom and moving her to your home, she will need a caring and considerate transition, especially if you live in another city or town. To ease the transition and keep balance, try to maintain personal routines and habits. For example, if she has a pet, let her keep it. If she always drinks soda with her meals, keep plenty on hand.
Respect one another’s privacy
A successful shared living arrangement requires privacy and space. While not always possible, accessible but separate quarters may contribute to success. Can a garage, basement, spare room or another area of the house be converted into living quarters, or can doors be added in the home where there are none? In addition to physical space, independence is also important. If your loved one is able, encourage them to participate in outside activities in addition to those enjoyed with your family. A few suggestions:
- Check out the local senior center. They offer activities, classes and other social opportunities.
- Provide ways to continue their participation in personal interests. For example, set up a sewing machine or provide materials for hobbies.
- Respect established routines, like watching a favorite TV show, taking an afternoon nap or having a traditional
- Monday morning breakfast with friends.
Focus on the benefits
While sharing a house takes planning, understanding and patience to be successful, it also provides an opportunity for family members to make a profound impact on one another’s lives and enjoy close, rewarding relationships. It can also offer an economy of time, money and other resources.
Tags: Living Together