How can we convince my in-laws that they need alternative housing?

2 answers | Last updated: Dec 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother-in-law just broke her pelvis. She is in remission from breast cancer. My father-in-law spent last year recovering from being hit by a car and non-related gall bladder removal surgery. They live in a 2 story house with no nearby relatives who can check on them on a daily basis. (They also shouldn't be driving at night anymore.) What is their best option for housing? And how do we (their children) convince them that they need alternative housing, to be in a one story house with some kind of assistance?

Expert Answers

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

Moving from a family home is an overwhelming prospect for an elderly couple. Add on the physical and emotional burdens your in-laws are experiencing and it probably feels like an impossible challenge. But the care needs you are describing are only going to increase over time.

Immediately, they need some sort of personal emergency response system in place. Then, you need to start planning with them how best to meet their long-term needs. If they want to stay where they are, then they will need a lift for the stairs, at a minimum. A professional geriatric care manager can create a good care plan and break up the steps needed so that it is not overwhelming. A care manager can also assist in determining the best housing for their financial capacities, as well as assist in communicating the dangers that exist in their current living situation. Visit to locate a care manager near your in-laws.

Community Answers

Jennifer meagher rn answered...

Hello! I am a geriatric care manager GCM, although we do not "manage" the seniors and families we work with, we listen, and then advise. Our older adults trust us to listen, and once that happens, they are willing to listen to us. Sometimes, in fact, folks listen better to someone who ISN'T a family member. Consider calling a GCM for help. Interview more than one to get the best match for you.

Good luck!