For many people, aging can present new challenges, including health problems or the inability to complete tasks without help. Being around other people can make the aging process easier and safer. If you have elderly parents experiencing these issues, you may be thinking about helping them move to a location where they’re around other people.

Deciding whether it’s better to move your parents to a community or your home can be difficult. A nursing home or assisted living facility offers resources, health care services and peer-to-peer support that you may not be able to provide on your own. They can also be pricey. The annual cost can vary widely from a high of $106,000 for a private room in a nursing home to a low of $19,240 for adult health care services according to U.S. News and World Report.

Moving your loved ones into your home is an alternative option that can be more cost-effective. Being around family in a familiar place could also help your parents feel more comfortable and make the aging process easier to navigate. However, there are important factors to consider before making the decision to move your parents into your home, such as how accessible your home is, what supplies they might need and if they have the right support. This isn’t an easy decision to make, but it could be beneficial for everyone in the long run.

Take a look at what to consider before moving your elderly parents closer to home to help you make the right decision for everyone involved.

1. Can You Provide the Right Amount of Supervision and Assistance?

The amount of assistance and supervision your loved one needs depends on a few factors, including what state their health is and how physically active they are. How much assistance they need will probably increase over time, especially if they develop new illnesses or start experiencing memory loss. No matter where your loved one is living, it’s important to know your limits and what assistance you can realistically provide. If you have young kids at home and a full-time job, your busy schedule could impact the amount of time that you have to help.

The kind of assistance your loved one needs may also be something you aren’t comfortable with, or you may lack the necessary skills. If they need help with dressing, bathing, eating or using the bathroom, ask yourself if these are tasks you’re able and willing to take on. Investing in a home health aide may be the right move to ensure that your loved one gets the care they need.

Other tasks you may need to provide a helping hand with include organizing medications, filling out financial or health care forms and providing transportation to run errands or get to appointments. Balancing the responsibilities of another person with your own will take up additional time and energy, and you should consider whether you can do that before agreeing to it.

2. Does Your Loved One Get Along With You and Your Family?

All families have conflicts, but does your family have conflicts that will impact whether everyone can live together? If you enjoy being around each other and can have productive conversations to resolve issues, moving in together won’t be a problem. It can even give you and your family the chance to form closer relationships with your parents.

If you’ve never gotten along with your parents, moving closer together can cause more complications that will affect the rest of your household. Your family may be forced to put off vacations that everyone’s been looking forward to. It can also disrupt activities around the house, such as watching TV or listening to music, if the noise level will bother your elderly parents.

If these are sacrifices that you and your family are willing to make, the adjustment period will probably be fine. However, it may be wise to seek out other options if the adjustment is too hard for everyone. 

3. What Does Your Financial Situation Look Like, and Will Your Family Member Contribute?

Bringing an additional person into your home will most likely increase your expenses by raising the costs of existing bills or adding new ones. Discussing finances with family can be emotionally taxing and may lead to tough but necessary conversations about how the increase will be handled. It’s important to have a conversation early on to establish what you can afford and what you expect your loved one to contribute. This can prevent problems or arguments from occurring later.

Household expenses, such as bills and groceries, are another financial aspect to consider. Are you expecting your family member to cover any rises in cost? Pooling resources can make your home a more comfortable place to live by ensuring that each person is paying a fair share.

Taking on the role of a caregiver may also force you to cut back on hours at work. If this is the case, your paychecks may be lower, which can impact how much money you have to take care of other financial needs. Another option is to find in-home care to assist your family member if they’re unable to do things on their own. You won’t have to cut back on work, but you’ll have to find the money to pay for it.

In-home care isn’t the only additional expense you may have to worry about. Other possible expenses include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Mobility devices, such as scooters, canes or walkers
  • Medical or dental appointments
  • Hearing devices
  • Eyeglasses
  • Transportation (driving your loved one or finding another way for them to get places)
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Medical supplies, including first aid kits, syringes, bandages and heating pads

Depending on your family member’s insurance plan, coverage may be available for some expenses. If your parent is eligible for Medicaid, there’s a chance you can get a paycheck for providing in-home care.

4. Do You Have Enough Space in Your Home?

You’ll need to provide a bedroom or at least a comfortable place to sleep when moving your family member into your home. If there isn’t a spare room available, you’ll have to come up with an alternative solution that may involve moving around furniture or rearranging the living spaces of other family members.

Once you find a good place for your loved one to settle, consider whether medical equipment or supplies, such as a hospital bed, oxygen tank or commode will comfortably fit. Your loved one will probably want to bring personal belongings from their previous home with them, which involves finding space in your home to store their items.

Accessibility is a factor that also needs to be considered. Can your loved one easily move around your house? If there are any barriers, such as stairs, that they can’t navigate on their own, you’ll have to decide if you can provide the necessary accommodations.

5. Is a Social Network Available for Your Family Member?

If you and your spouse work and your kids go to school, your loved one may be spending a lot of time alone. It’s going to take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings, especially if they’re moving a long distance and leaving long-time friends and neighbors behind. Having a social network is important for your family member’s overall well-being.

You can research if there are any adult day care facilities or senior centers nearby, so your family member has a place to go rather than sitting home alone all day. These places may offer resources and activities, such as transportation, art or photography classes, fitness centers and trips to museums. This can help your loved one create a new social network without having to rely on you for company all the time.

How Do You Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Moving Closer to Home?

When having this conversation, try to keep a compassionate tone, and take your parent’s needs into consideration. It shouldn’t feel as though you’re trying to pressure them into doing something they don’t want to do. Some tips to follow are:

  • Talk about why moving is necessary
  • Let your parents have a say in all decisions
  • Discuss the pros and cons of moving in together
  • Decide on house rules
  • Explore backup plans in case the move doesn’t work out

Moving in together should be the best option for everyone involved before the plan goes into action. It’s a big life change that will take time for you, your family and your parents to adjust to. Open communication throughout the process helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.