How to Live As An Adult With Your Elderly Parent

When a parent lives with adult children

How do you handle housing, finances and logistics?

Once we decided Mom should move in with us, we had many financial and logistical details to work out.

  • Should we give her a room in the house with her own bathroom, or build and apartment for her attached to our house?
  • Should she help with housing expenses, and if so how much?
  • Would she eat all her meals with us?

How much privacy did she want, and how would the new living arrangements affect our family’s privacy?

After much discussion and prayer, we decided to build a one bedroom apartment with both of us contributing toward the building costs. The apartment has two doors leading to the driveway and back patio, and a kitchenette for Mom to cook her own meals. About four times a week we share a meal together in our kitchen or at a restaurant.

Mom delights in helping with meal preparations and paying her share of the restaurant bills and household expenses. To protect our privacy, she always calls before she comes over, even though we know she does her wash every Tuesday morning!

The key to any good family relationship is communication and honesty mixed in with “the fruit of the Spirit (which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). Remember to include your parent in family discussions, and when conflicts arise, remember that “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Proverbs 24:26)

How do you help them deal with their health issues?

In recent years, Mom has experienced heart surgery, hearing and weight loss, arthritis, dental work, glaucoma, and cataract surgery, and other medical problems. She visits doctors all over town and spend some time in the hospital. Due to driving and hearing limitations, she requires my husband or me to accompany her to doctor visits. Fitting her visits into our schedules and helping her medical decisions and conditions can tax our emotions and our careers.

Fortunately, my husband works form home with a flexible schedule, so we take turns with the visits. To handle the emotional strain and Mom’s medical needs, we learned to trust God through prayer. “Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18). Mom continually reminds us of her life verse in difficult times, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).

How can your family have their own social lives and yet at times include your parent? How can you help your parent lead and active lifestyle?

When Mom first came to live with us in Texas , she was in a new town with no friends – just us. She was very lonely because she missed her husband and we had very busy lives. We quickly realized we needed to help her develop her own social life. With some encouragement, she joined a bridge club at the senior center and became a member of a small group of “empty nesters” as well as widows at our church.

Mom’s response

Living with my daughter and her family is a wonderful privilege, and I enjoy our times together. They make me feel needed and loved as a family member when they include me in their activities.

Until the last year or two, I also enjoyed my independence. Now my daughter wants me to drive less. I know she is concerned for my safety, so I am trying to deal with this.

To make it through the trials and lonely times in my life, I turn to God. He is always with me, through both good times and bad, every minute of every day. He comforts me (Psalm 23:4), gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), and will never leave me (Hebrews 13:5). “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Extract from 2=1’s Legacy Magazine

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