Adult children often find themselves in a difficult position when their parents begin aging. Should they encourage their parents to move to a nursing home or assisted living facility, or should they encourage them to age in place at home? More than 85 percent of those adult children want their parents to have the ability to age at home, but such a choice does not come without risks, either. Understanding the details of the aging at home process and how it can impact the entire family will make it easier for adult children to help their parents make those key decisions.
With that in mind, let us weigh the benefits and drawbacks of allowing one’s parents to age in their home.
Control and independence
Older adults prefer to remain in control of their lives for as long as possible. After all, they have been independent for a long time, and they do not want someone else telling them how to run their lives. Finding that important balance when it comes to aging in place can be difficult for many adult children. Some things they must keep in mind include:
- Allowing the aging senior to remain as independent as possible
- Enjoying their company, rather than simply coming by to check up on them
- Discussing potential problems and hazards together, rather than arbitrarily making decisions for an adult who is still competent
Careful consideration of these details will make it easier for adult children to make the right decision about their parents’ desire to age in place.
Encouraging independence is one thing, but an adult child who is eager to help their parents age in place needs to understand their own limitations. It is not just about the juggling act that comes as parents get older and more help is needed. Instead, it is also about understanding the potential progression of any illnesses or diseases that the elderly individual may have, how much care it is actually possible to provide, and where caregiving will start to become more of a burden than an act of love. Carefully considering those boundaries before they become a more serious issue can help maintain family relationships and make it easier to set goals.
Deciding whether or not it’s possible for an aging senior to age in place is a family decision. Savvy adult children, however, must take the time to consider what is best for their loved one as they are making these critical decisions.