Living with elderly parents is about providing care for their changing needs.
But, have you considered how living together might create tension?
Practice these 5 rules to keep the peace.
5 Rules Every Adult Child Should Consider While Living With Elderly Parents
Understand that Your Experiences are Different
People who grew up in the days of the Great Depression have different views on money than say a millennial.
These views extend to a number of things.
Everything from how children should be raised, how a home should be run down to how spouses talk to one another is heavily influenced by the era a person grew up in.
Conflicts easily arise because of these generation gaps and it is important to know that as you move your parent in, you will run into these types of problems.
Being ready for it will reduce the number of things you disagree on that are based on the different eras you both have experienced.
Consider Your Own Code of Behavior
We all deal with people we would rather not interact with everyday.
It could be at your local grocery store or it could be at your workplace.
In these instances, we always have a code of conduct we adhere.
Remembering your own code of conduct when you have to deal with difficult people will help you keep the peace with parents who have difficult personalities.
Yes, it is possible to co-exist peacefully with people you don’t like. Even if those people are your own parents.
Communicate Clear and Reasonable Boundaries
Set clear but reasonable boundaries that accommodates both of your needs.
It’s a well-researched fact that when boundaries are not clearly stated in a relationship it leads to conflict.
Since your elderly parent is moving into your house, it is important to communicate respectfully exactly what the rules are at your house and what the consequences are of breaking those are.
Perhaps you have a family and you like to get your children into bed by 8 pm.
This requires that the house is nice and quiet by a certain time.
If your parent is a night owl who has the television blaring into the wee hours of the night, it is important for you to communicate to them that you would appreciate it if they lowered volume of the TV after a certain time to allow your children to receive enough rest.
They may break the rules a few times, but staying firm with what you want and doing so in a manner that appeals to the sensibilities of your elderly parent goes a long way to keeping the peace.
Face the Reality: You Cannot do it all on Your Own
While a lot of us like to masquerade the world like we are superheroes, the truth is that nobody accomplishes great things on their own.
Taking care of your elderly parent is tough.
Moving them in with you is yet another bold move.
It is understandable that you get burned out in these situations.
And it is almost inevitable that you will lose your cool and become very annoyed with your parent.
You’re not alone.
Caregiver burnout and stress is more common than you realize.
As a matter of fact, according to this study published by the American Psychological Association, there is a correlation between caregiver stress and elder abuse.
On top of that, being stressed out as a caregiver is not good for your own health.
Stress is related to problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.
One of the ways to reduce your stress as a caregiver is to get help.
This could involve enlisting the help of siblings or other family members to help with caring for your parent
Alternatively, you could source help from a home care agency like Green Tree Home Care.
Have the “Money Conversation”
Money is a common cause of contention for many families.
It is important to have the “money conversation” at the very beginning of living with elderly parents.
Your parent may still be collecting pension payments each month or may have financial investments they are benefiting from currently.
Having the money conversation with parents is not an exact science.
However, what you do want to avoid at all costs is the accusation that you are mismanaging your parent’s funds.
In the case where your parent has money that needs to be handled, getting the help of a licensed fiduciary can ease conflicts about money.
(Read more about fiduciaries and how they can help your parents with finances here.)
If your parents have no funds and all financial responsibility of taking care of them relies on you, it is also important that you settle this fact within yourself and where applicable, with your spouse and children.
It is not fair to remind your parent constantly that you are paying their bills and taking care of them financially.
Living with elderly parents can be a pleasant experience with the right rules in place.
In this post, I’ve shared 5 rules you should consider while living with your elderly parents.
Implementing these rules especially at the beginning of cohabitation will ensure peace prevails in your home.
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