I replied to a question on the AgingCare.com website http://www.agingcare.com as follows:
My Dad’s moving in with my wife and I soon. How do I handle this?
Asked by tgengine
It is after all my idea but I am getting nervous. He is fine health wise but not financially. He is in the area where I grew up and many family members are as well as his friends. I live 5 states away. My brother is in the same town as my dad, my sister is about the same distance as I but neither will have him come with them. My dad and I get along very well as does my wife. We have a good size house and the kids are out. My issue is he is still active in work and mobile. I don’t know how to handle the day to day issues. I work at home. I will have to move my office from my nice sunny room to the basement to give him a living area. Finance should not be too much of an issue but I feel my siblings should contribute. How do I handle that? We are planning to add on to the house but that is a huge cost I cannot bear. We lost my mom recently, she did everything for my dad, he is progressing in getting things done but once he moves in how do we all keep our personal space? My biggest fear is him falling into depression. Currently he owns his business which my brother works in. I want him to work at least 3 hours a day (be out of the house) and go to a gym or some kind of activity. He doesn’t realize how active he is where he is now but he cant stay due to financial reasons. He is very close to his family there, once he is here it will be hard to go back and forth. I don’t want my wife and I to be his social scene. How do I get him to make friends here without him thinking I am pushing him away? Too many questions, I need something I just don’t know what.
I quit my job to be my mother-in-law’s primary caregiver when she moved into our home. Believe me, I too, got a little nervous beforehand. MIL lived with us for four years. The first two were pretty good; the last two steadily declined. After my mother-in-law passed away, I wrote a book (What to Do about Mama? by Barbara G. Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank). It isn’t a book by “experts,” but by people in the trenches. It provides information based on caregiving experiences (35 different caregiver stories), which will assist with developing realistic goals and expectations. In other words, we wrote the book to offer you and others like you, some insights based upon our hindsight.
The “too many questions” you’ve mentioned are “in the book,” along with a gazillion you probably haven’t even thought of yet. Trust me. Keep in mind that caregiving is never easy, and that it will get more difficult over time. This is not meant to discourage you from going ahead with your plan, but to encourage you to look ahead and be prepared.