Are you thinking about caring for an aging loved one in your home? The best way to consider all that is involved in this major decision is to pose the right questions to the right people.
We reached out to top home caregiving experts nationwide and asked them to help frame the key questions that need to be asked before the boxes are packed. “Asking these questions ahead of time can help prevent confusion, misunderstandings, miscommunications and make the entire process go more smoothly,” says Amy Goyer, author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving, and AARP’s family and caregiving expert.
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While no list of questions can be comprehensive — particularly during an ongoing pandemic — this represents an important start before embarking on a life-changing act that will deeply affect everyone involved. Perhaps the single most unasked question, according to Gary Powell, founder and executive director of The Caregiver Foundation, is: “Can I really do this?”
Questions to ask yourself
No set of questions is more critical than those that you must pose to yourself before someone needing care moves into your home. “There are no simple answers,” says Pamela D. Wilson, a caregiving expert, advocate and speaker. But the questions need to be asked, she says. Among them:
- How long am I willing to be a caregiver?
- How will meals be handled, and by whom?
- How will they be cared for when I must leave the house for several hours?
- What specific boundaries am I setting before they move in?
- What exactly am I willing to give up — from family vacations to my children’s college funding to my own job — in exchange for this move?
- How will this impact my own financial, mental and physical well-being?
- How will this impact my marriage?
- How will this impact my retirement?
- Is my home a safe place for them to be? Or are modifications required?
- Will my family and I still have some privacy once they move in?
- Should I accept any money from my parents?
- Is this move really the best option?
- Will my parent thrive — or just survive — in my home?