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Work Life

The Handbook of Elder Care Resources for the Federal Workplace

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Housing Options

Many people assume that a nursing home is the only option for parent or older persons who can no longer live alone in their own homes. However, there are many housing alternatives available. The information listed below will familiarize you with some of these options. The questions that follow each section suggest what you, your parent, or an older person might consider before selecting an alternative living arrangement. Please note that although this section refers to "parent," it applies to both parents.

Having a Parent Move in With You

For many people, having a parent move in with them is the best choice when living alone is no longer possible for the older person. For other people, it can be a difficult choice. If you are considering such an arrangement, you need to talk seriously with your immediate family and your parents to understand how each one of them feels. You also need to be sure to express all of your feelings about the situation. Talk with friends whose parents live with them and try to understand what it's like for them. Think through the questions listed below for both parents and children and discuss the issues together before agreeing to this living arrangement.

Questions for the Adult Child

  • Do you want your parent to move in? Have you been honest in expressing your feelings about it?
  • Are you aware of local services that could help you through difficult situations?
  • If you don't want your mother or father to move in, but it must happen anyway, will you be able to handle it?
  • How much time can you spend with your parent? Have you explained what your weekdays and weekends are like?
  • Do you expect your parent to do chores around the house? Is this a reasonable expectation? Have you talked to your parent about what to expect and why?
  • Can you afford it?

Questions for the Parent

  • Does your son or daughter want you to move in? If not, and you move in anyway, will the emotional strain be too much on you?
  • How will living expenses be shared?
  • What will you use for transportation? Will you have easy access to shopping, a place of worship, friends, and other interests of your own?
  • Do you have friends in the area where your children live? Are there people close by with whom you can create friendships?
  • Will you be able to accommodate your child's lifestyle?
  • Will you be able to live with your children's children?
  • Can your children afford to have you live with them?
  • How will your presence affect family relationships?
  • How much time will you expect your child to spend with you?

Foster Care

Foster care is a social service that places an older person who is in need of a modest amount of daily assistance into a warm home environment. The costs vary, and may be covered by the State social services program. The older person may be expected to contribute to the stipend paid to the family providing the foster care. The availability of this program is limited. Contact your AAA for more information.

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