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When Can Elderly Parents Move in with Their Kids?


I recently answered an interesting question:


What are people's opinions on elderly parents moving in permanently with their children after retirement rather than moving into a facility where other seniors reside?

Depends on how old these “elderly” parents are and how much care they need and how much care the children can provide. Can the parents accomplish all the following activities of daily living:

  • Able to get on and off the toilet, use it, and clean the genital area

  • Able to feed themselves

  • Able to bathe or only need light assistance

  • Able to dress and undress themselves without assistance

  • Able to get in and out of the bed and chairs without assistance

  • Able to exert control over urination and defecation

It also depends on how willing the children are to fill in the gaps. How “senior friendly” is the environment for the parents? Will they be required to navigate steps or carpets? Are the toilet and bath or shower senior accessible? Are the children able to provide the assistance needed?

Finally, even a good solution now may need to change as time goes on. There are usually no permanent solutions when it comes to aging. I generally categorize the aging spectrum as

Go Go—> Slow Go —> No Go

As each of us moves to the right on this spectrum, we will need more care. As parents age, so do the children. What care the children can provide now may not be available later. I know a lady who is 106. She moved into a nursing home last year because her 85-year-old son could not provide meals any longer and she needed more assistance physically.

I reside in the “independent living” area of a retirement community and have more friends here that are sneaking up on a time when they’ll need more assistance, which for us is literally down the hall in the assisted living section of our community. I love my daughter and her family, so I would not want my daughter to feel she has to supply all the social interaction I enjoy now or the care I might soon need. My friends here are also thinking not only of their own needs, but also about how their choice to be here is a gift they are able to give to their children.

Other families make a different choice. What would be yours?

Good luck with this decision.

Ed Zinkiewicz

Your Aging-in-Retirement Strategist

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