Living with dementia

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Inviting someone to move in with you

People usually want to stay in their own homes and be independent for as long as they can.  But when they become worried about a parent's well-being, many adult children ask, "Should we invite Mom/Dad* to move here?"

Advantages of a move

  • You will know what is happening and will be there if your parent needs help.
  • You have some control over making the environment safe and secure.
  • A move may save money – the price of travelling back and forth and maintaining two households can be costly.

Possible disadvantages of a move

  • By moving, the person may be leaving long-time friends and a familiar community.
  • Your parent may be reluctant to become dependent on you for practical help.
  • By adding a parent to your household, you and your family will face major changes in your own lives.

Questions to consider

  • The following are questions to consider when you and your family make the decision about a move:
  • Does my parent want to move?
  • What sort of relationship have you had with your parent in the past? If it has been difficult, it will not improve under stressful conditions.
  • Do you and your family want your parent to live with you?
  • Will lifestyle differences between your family and your parent cause discomfort or conflict?
  • Will your house provide enough space and privacy for everyone?
  • Is the house safe and convenient for a person with dementia? If not, can you make needed modifications, such as an entrance ramp, or grab bars in the bathroom?
  • Will your family doctor care for your parent? Is your physician familiar with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias? Can you find a doctor willing to care for your parent?
  • Will your parent have opportunities to contribute to your household if he or she wishes?
  • Will your parent be able to meet others? Are there opportunities to socialize?
  • Are you and your family prepared, emotionally, physically, and financially, to support your parent’s disabilities? Can you provide supervision and hands-on help with personal care when it is needed? Or can you arrange for professional help?
  • Will you have opportunities for respite or relief? Can other relatives, friends or neighbours help out occasionally? Can you arrange for paid in-home companions or other temporary care?
  • Will the move save or cost money? Can you afford any needed home modifications and supportive services?
  • Will you (or another family member) have to give up your job or reduce your working hours, to care for your parent?
  • How long do you expect the arrangement to last? Is it acceptable for a limited amount of time or as long as necessary?
  • Are there facilities in your community to help you when you feel you can no longer give care in the home?
  • If the move includes a change of province or country, do you know the details of the regulations regarding the transfer of health insurance, etc.?
You should consider each of these questions before you and your parent decide to make a move. Try a visit first to find out if the move will work. You might also want to explore other living arrangements that would bring your parent close to you but not require you to share households.

* Since the relative needing help is often a parent, we will refer to the distant relative as "parent" and the caregiver as the "adult child." The information also holds true for others within the family who have different relationships.

Last Updated: 04/11/14
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