According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2021, 59% of adults in their 50’s and 83% of adults 60 or older are “sandwiched” between an aging parent and an adult child they’ve helped financially. The sandwich generation is characterized by middle-aged adults who must support both their aging parents and their growing children at the same time. The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively “sandwiched” between the obligation to care for their aging parents who are ill, unable to perform various tasks, or in need of financial support and their children, who require financial, emotional, and physical assistance.
Most elderly parents expect their adult children to make sacrifices to take care of them as they age, and the need is not just financial. Conversely, many adult children feel that they have had to give up their lives in order to care for their aging parents.
Here are some tips to find balance in your life when sharing your home and caring for your elderly parent.
Set ground rules for cleanliness.
If you have a clutter-free home, don’t lower your standards to accommodate a messy parent. You should have rules about where to put old newspapers, where to put dirty laundry, what you expect of dishes left in the sink, towels left on the bathroom floor, etc.
Most people think of bedrooms as “private”, but you may wish to keep other rooms in your home private as well. Do you have a home office you’d like to keep private? Would you like your parent to stay away from your bathroom, basement, or den? Make sure your parent knows which areas they’re welcome to visit and which you prefer to keep private.
Establish Realistic Care Expectations
You can take steps to ensure that your elderly parents continue to live a healthy and happy life when you are caring for them in your home by assessing the level of daily care they need to maintain their health and happiness. Some likely examples of care that your parents may require include:
- Help with food preparation
- Assistance with medication management
- Help with bathing, toileting, and dressing
- Transportation to/from doctor’s appointments
- Help finding socialization activities they enjoy
- Support to move around the house
- Encouragement to stay active
- Ensuing there is always some home in the event your parent needs help
It is important that once your assessment has been completed, you consider and state clearly what assistance and help you are able and unable to provide. This will reveal gaps in the level of care you can reasonably provide for your loved one. Discovering care gaps will allow you to find alternative care arrangements to meet the needs of your parent. In this regard, it is important that you are honest with yourself about what care you can and cannot provide.
As you adjust to your parents living with you, make sure to prioritize enjoying the same lifestyle as you did before they moved in. A recent study found that more than half of elderly respondents preferred to live independently over living with their adult children. However, the number of seniors living with their adult children has increased due to rising housing costs.
If you are no longer able to care for your parent and find the care of an assisted living community would be better suited, please consider Avista at Downtown Mesa. We are located right in the heart of Mesa’s historic district and offer a myriad of services and amenities each day in a community where residents are treated like family.
Schedule a tour with us today to see if our community could be the right fit for your loved one.