To prepare your home for an elderly parent to move in, discuss both of your expectations and household budget needs, reconfigure furniture to make it easier for them to move throughout the home and, in some cases, modify the home for wheelchair or walker accessibility. 

Seniors often have specific care needs due to chronic medical conditions, physical mobility issues or level of cognitive impairment. If you don’t have a plan in place for dealing with your parent’s unique challenges before they move in, you could quickly become overwhelmed with the arrangement and with trying so hard to make things work that you put your own health and well-being in jeopardy.

When Is It Time for Your Parent To Leave Their Home?

Most older adults prefer to stay in their own homes, even when their physical or emotional health begins to decline. Over time, physical and mental decline may make it too difficult for your loved one to live alone, and if you can’t afford the cost of an assisted living community or nursing home, it may be easier to move them into your home rather than living in constant fear that something might happen while you’re not with them. 

While each family situation is different, look for some common signs that may indicate that it’s time to relocate your parent into your home: 

  • Your parent can’t safely get to important areas of the home, such as the bathroom or kitchen, without assistance
  • Your parent is neglecting personal hygiene or other personal care tasks
  • Your parent’s previously clean home is often messy and/or cluttered
  • Your parent isn’t taking prescribed medication or treatments
  • Your parent’s memory or cognitive function has recently declined
  • Your parent seems frequently depressed, emotional or apathetic about things that they were once passionate about

Preparing for Your Parent To Move in

Moving an elderly parent into your home isn’t a simple decision, and you shouldn’t make it without consulting with your spouse and other members of your household. The transition is likely to create conflicts between you and your immediate family members as well as the parent you’re moving in. Sit down with your parent and spouse, together if possible, and talk about everyone’s expectations. If your parent smokes and yours is a nonsmoking household, for example, find a solution that works for everyone. Discuss what kind of assistance they’ll need and whether you expect them to contribute to the household financially or in some other way.

Aside from communicating expectations, concerns and needs, you may need to make changes to your home so it’s more senior-friendly. If your parent uses a walker or wheelchair, consider making home modifications, such as installing a wheelchair ramp or widening interior doorways. If your home has a lot of clutter, you’ll need to clean it out and reconfigure furniture to make it easier for your loved one to maneuver through the home. It’s a good idea to evaluate where you can install better lighting and safety features specifically made for seniors, such as grab bars in the shower.