Monthly Archives: February 2014

Should your elderly parents come live with you?

middle aged son taking his disabled mother for a walk

Navigating the maze of long-term care options can be overwhelming, and the sticker shock when you find out how much care costs? Even more so.  

Many families approach the problem by having an elderly parent or parents come live with them.  But is this the best solution?

According to a recent Forbes article, living with their kids may not be the best option for seniors. The article points out that the number of multi-generational homes is now the highest it’s been since 1950.  This is not a huge surprise, as we know that the elderly population is growing. But apparently, a study sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and Gallup, found that seniors living with their kids reported less happiness and more stress, worry, and anger.

In my experience, I have seen the toll that care-giving can take on spouses and adult children, too.  The stress, anxiety and heartache can be much more pronounced if the elderly family member suffers from dementia. Dealing with dementia patients requires a special set of skills and the right temperament in the caregiver. For many, these skills are difficult to understand and apply. Nevertheless, more elderly receive care from family members than from paid sources. 

Another Forbes article provides some advice on multi-generational living arrangements. Top of the list? Maintain separate living spaces. On the other hand, when dealing with dementia it is most helpful to educate yourself on care giving skills.  Two of the best resources I know of include Teepa Snow, an occupational therapist and expert in dementia care-giving, and Nancy Kriseman, a geriatric consultant offering individual counseling as well as training through educational workshops and webinars. Nancy’s book, The Mindful Caregiver, is also available this month and highlights several approaches to handling the “care-giving journey”.


Image © michaeljung –