It is after all my idea but I am getting nervous. He is fine health wise but not financially. He is in the area where I grew up and many family members are as well as his friends. I live 5 states away. My brother is in the same town as my dad, my sister is about the same distance as I but neither will have him come with them. My dad and I get along very well as does my wife. We have a good size house and the kids are out. My issue is he is still active in work and mobile. I don't know how to handle the day to day issues. I work at home. I will have to move my office from my nice sunny room to the basement to give him a living area. Finance should not be too much of an issue but I feel my siblings should contribute. How do I handle that? We are planning to add on to the house but that is a huge cost I cannot bear. We lost my mom recently, she did everything for my dad, he is progressing in getting things done but once he moves in how do we all keep our personal space? My biggest fear is him falling into depression. Currently he owns his business which my brother works in. I want him to work at least 3 hours a day (be out of the house) and go to a gym or some kind of activity. He doesn't realize how active he is where he is now but he cant stay due to financial reasons. He is very close to his family there, once he is here it will be hard to go back and forth. I don't want my wife and I to be his social scene. How do I get him to make friends here without him thinking I am pushing him away? Too many questions, I need something I just don't know what.

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Hi tgengine!

You are a good son for opening your home to your dad. However, you are right to be concerned. I'll try not to sound like Debbie Downer.

Unless your siblings have already agreed to help you financially with your dad you might want to ask your siblings if they are planning on helping you before your dad arrives. I understand that your dad is still vital and ambulatory and has many interests and friends but he is going to live with you and you will become his caregiver and as a caregiver never, ever expect that your family automatically knows they should be helping. Don't ever assume people should know we need help. As caregivers and in your situation you'll have to ask for that financial assistance and be specific.

Anticipating the personal space issue is spot on. The three of you are going to have to figure this out. Not only will you want your space with your wife but your dad is going to want his own space as well and not feel that he is underfoot. You've cleared out that room which is a good step but this is one area in which you'll have to figure it out after your dad gets there and gets settled. My dad moved in with me. I got a house specifically for the purpose of my dad moving in with me and like your dad my dad was vital and social. We had some vague idea of how it was going to work but until we all actually moved in together we found it difficult to plan it all out. I let my dad have the master bedroom because it had it's own bathroom and I moved down the hall and shared a bathroom with my teenage daughter. Allowances are going to have to be made, compromise will need to be reached. My dad developed a habit of sitting at the kitchen island which was right in the middle of the house. I had to pass him a thousand times a day and sometimes, like in the a.m., I am not a chatty person. This was an allowance I had to make. This couldn't be anticipated but we had to work around it. There will be many things that you'll have to work around and it's impossible to anticipate everything. What do they say? Expect the best but prepare for the worst.

Moving so far away from his friends and most of his family will be very difficult for your dad. Yes, he's moving in with you and everyone's excited and making plans but you are correct in being concerned about depression in your dad. Once he gets there let him decompress. Don't try too hard to integrate him. Let him find his way. Again, this comes from my experience of moving my dad in with me. And again, be careful of your expectations. You wrote that you want him to work three hours a day and go to the gym or some social activity. I feel that you're setting yourself up here. Your dad may have other plans. Have you discussed all of this with your dad? Has he agreed to work 3 days a week and to socialize with other people? Making friends at his age (I don't know his age but I take it he's a senior citizen) is very difficult. Any kind of elder daycare will have people who aren't not as capable as your dad. Maybe a gym will have some activities for senior citizens, you can look into that, but be careful of those expectations. And I'm so glad you are aware that you and your wife could potentially become his social life. There's a very decent chance of that happening. So before your dad arrives have a list of places that he can socialize. My dad, in his good years, participated in a community-run group for 'older adults'. It was once a month but only in the summer. They would have lunch and entertainment one month, lunch and bingo the next month, etc. My dad found it by contacting the city in which we lived. He loved it. My dad also loved the grocery store. They had many retired people working there and that was a great social outlet for my dad. They had a little café and he would sit there and inevitably someone on their break would come and join him. This was in St. Louis and this was a huge grocery store chain, not a mom-and-pop deal. So it might be a good idea to do some research yourself before your dad arrives and then when he's settled in gently encourage him to get out. And tell him that you're not trying to push him out of the house. Just explain to him that you want him to be as active as he was before he moved.

So having said all of that (and if you're still awake having read this far) my main points are try to keep your expectations in check. The more expectations you have the greater chance of disappointment and resentment later on; don't expect your siblings to automatically know what you need. You're going to have to ask them for what you need and again, watch those expectations. This is the stuff family feuds are made of; let your dad set his own pace. This is a huge move for him and there may be things going on with him that you have no clue about. You will certainly discover them as soon as he's moved in; and while it sounds as if your wife is on board with all of this make your marriage your #1 priority when your dad arrives. Moving in an aging parent is very stressful on a marriage. You may want to discuss an exit strategy with your wife if life with dad doesn't turn out to be all it's cracked up to be. He might do better in an assisted living down the road if his moving in doesn't work out. Are you prepared to care for him as his health declines? Prepared to go down that road? Your situation with him in your home can change *snaps fingers* like that. One fall. One bout of pneumonia. One infection. One little thing and it can all change. Be prepared.

I hope I didn't scare you. Like I said, my dad was like your dad when he moved in with me but he got older, less capable, and 5 years later, while out of his mind, died in a nursing home. But in the beginning he'd jump in his car and be off doing his own thing most days. Things change.

Oh! And I would like to suggest that you read a lot of what's offered here. Get a sense of what you can expect. And know that we're always here if you need us. I hope you come back and let us know how it's going.
Helpful Answer (21)

Moving him away from his business, his friends and your brother will devastate him. Old people are like big trees, and you can't uproot a big tree. they wither and die. Read some of the posts here about how moving them to an unfamiliar place accelerates dementia and a decline in health. If his issues are strictly financial, you kids could pool your resources and find him a companion or housekeeper/cook to fill his needs. If he is a Vet, call the VA. Call the Office of the Aging in his county to see if he qualifies for SNAP or HEAP. Moving him should be the last resort.
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Solving a financial problem by moving him 5 states away from his friends, business, and some family members is a pretty drastic step. Is there any way the issues could be solved in place?

Dad is healthy and mobile now, so it seems you and your wife will be hosts, not caregivers -- but don't count on that to last.

You have anticipated some of the issues you'll face. (Congratulations.) Expecting them and experiencing them are not the same thing, as nearly all live-in caregivers can tell you.

My suggestions:

1) Be prepared to set boundaries, from day one -- even before the move, if possible. Dad is independent and healthy. Good. But that doesn't mean you want to hear his television at loud volume all day long. He watches in his room or with a wireless headset in the family room. He never enters your bedroom without knocking. Meals are at predetermined times but he is free to help himself to food at any time. These are just examples. Your boundaries will reflect your own situation, but it is critical to establish right up front that this is not a completely anything-goes situation.
2) Protect his independence and your sanity by not becoming his personal servants. His late wife waited on him. Perfectly OK in their relationship, but not in yours. Encourage him to do everything he can for himself. It is good for him! He has gotten used to doing somethings for himself but odds are he'll quickly revert to being waited on if you let him. Don't let him. Especially don't let your wife get trapped into the waitress/gopher role. Simmering resentment is not a happy home environment. If/when Dad really can't do things for himself, then it is time to bring in some in-home help.
3) Respite for the caregivers is absolutely necessary. Since you are not initially expecting to be "caregivers" you might overlook this, but that would be a mistake. You and your wife need time alone together as well as time alone individually. This should be easy, since Dad does not need a "sitter" -- you can go out anytime. But it may not be as easy as it sounds, if Dad expects to go everywhere you go, and especially if Dad expects you to fulfill all his social needs. You MUST set boundaries in this area. Sure, invite Dad along to a baseball game, or to a neighborhood picnic. But don't include him in every outing! Don't establish a habit of dependence on you for a social life.
4) Don't count on your siblings for anything without their explicit agreement. And even if they agree to something, realize they can change their minds. You have no control over their behavior. Set up the situation so that you can maintain it on your own. To the extend they will help, consider that a bonus.
5) Explore every option for keeping Dad in his familiar stomping grounds. If it is only financial problems that are behind this move, explore his eligibility for financial aid, such as subsidized senior housing, meals on wheels, etc. Maybe moving in with you will still be your choice, but everyone can feel more positive about it if it is truly a choice, and not just the default because you couldn't think of anything else.

I guess I'm just repeating what the other posters have said. Maybe hearing similar suggestions from several people who have been there will be helpful!

Good luck ... and let us know how this turns out.
Helpful Answer (12)

tgengine, you and I were posting at the same time. Now that I've read your latest post I re-read mine to see if I would change anything. I wouldn't.

I am even more concerned about #3 -- time to yourself. Your friends are already friendly with Dad. That is great -- but also dangerous as it could contribute to dependence on you for his social life. And #2 is an even greater concern. Good for your wife for declaring she won't be catering to him! But it is much easier to say it than to enforce it. Especially since his only experience at your house is as a vacationing guest, I expect a lot of tension over these basic issues.

You really are thinking about this, and that will help.

Your dad has worked hard all his life and done his best to support his family. If he needs some financial assistance at this point that is not shameful. It doesn't sound to me as if his children are themselves financially in a place where they can support him. You and your wife, for example, deserve to be saving for your own retirement. I repeat my advice to explore other options for financial help for Dad.

By all means, continue to oversee his finances. You can do that from 5 states away, if you set up lots of online accessibility. But try not to mortgage your own future to support Dad now.
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Jeanne's right about boundaries but just not in the literal sense of a separate bed and bath just for him. Emotional boundaries. You said your mom did everything for him and took care of everything. That's typical of his generation. It's not your job or your wife's job to take over where your mom left off. Once your dad moves in with you it will be all on you. How can your sister be hands on when dad moves out of town and in with you?

You can't plan for everything, you can't anticipate everything. It is stressful and it's life-changing. But no one's holding a gun to your head. Even if you did agree years ago that this was going to be the plan. I promised my dad that I would never put him in a nursing home and I meant it with all of my heart. But I had no clue what was coming, how bad it would get. We make decisions when we're naïve, before we have all of the information.

I'm sure you're getting a well-rounded look at our collective experiences. There's a lot of support to be had here. Any time you have a question or concern please come back. Consider this research. :-)
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If he owns his own business is it time to sell so he can afford to continue to enjoy the life he has built? Seems logical to me. There are no easy answers.
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pstegman is right on the money. And was much more succinct than I.

I didn't want to scare you and when I wrote that there may be things about your dad that you don't know about this is what I was talking about. He may be social and outgoing now, where he lives, but a long-distance move will change all of that and could be catastrophic for all of you. On paper it might look good and when I commented I was trying to work within your 'on paper' viewpoint of your dad moving in with you. But you have no idea what's in store for you and your wife if your dad makes this move. This is what I really wanted to say initially.

There are dozens if not hundreds of posts on this site about moving in an aging parent. Rarely does it turn out well even with the best of intentions going in. A couple of years down the road you find yourself with a broken marriage and a family that no longer speaks to eachother. This is the reality. But don't take my word for it. Or pstegman's. Take advantage of what this site offers and read for yourself.
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The mail thing is easy, just have his mail forwarded to your home. I did this with my dad and I'd just put his mail where he liked to sit everyday.

You're right, in some ways it is like having a child all over again only more difficult. Your dad will come to you with all of his habits and expectations and a fully formed personality and ways of doing things.

In the beginning with us, my dad and I didn't really know what to do. He'd come into our den where my then-teenage daughter and I were watching tv and sit on the other couch. Not that he was prohibited from the den but I doubt he enjoyed watching "Jersey Shore". He had a nice tv in his room and after a little while he began to migrate back to his room to watch tv. The den became "my" space. My tv, my space. To make him feel more welcome I invited him to do a movie night occasionally but he was very hard of hearing and I couldn't stand the volume on the tv being so loud. But he was fine being back in his room watching his tv. I know this because I asked him. You said you and your dad have a good relationship, so did me and my dad, and whenever we needed to discuss something we did. Keep the lines of communication with your dad open.

You have every right to go on a vacation with your wife....without your dad. How to handle it? When the plans are made tell your dad about your trip as you would tell a friend: "Mary and I have decided to take a cruise next month. We're really excited about it!" There's nothing to feel guilty about. There's a great Bed and Breakfast about 2 hours from here and I spent many weekends there while my dad was living with me.

No doubt about it, your dad moving in with you is going to throw a wrench into your habits and schedule as well as his. Thank goodness for separate living rooms! If you're enjoying alone time with your wife and your dad wanders in the next opportunity you have, maybe a day later, ask him if he'd mind if you and your wife had some privacy after she gets home from work. Communication! And boundaries! With the fishing and hunting dad will have enough father/son time. Your relationship with your wife must always come before your relationship and duty to your dad.

In a way you're going to have to break your dad in. If he's in the habit of letting dirty dishes sit in the sink you have to break him of that. Take the heat yourself, tell him something like, "Dad, I have a thing about dirty dishes in the sink, would you mind putting them in the dishwasher as soon as you're done with them?" Non-accusatory and reasonable. He's not a guest anymore, he's your roommate and as a roommate he also has certain responsibilities to the household.

What kinds of things is he open to having you do for him? If he can do them for himself he should. Establish all of this stuff right in the very beginning because once a pattern begins, once behavior is established you're going to be stuck with it.

Again like Jeanne said (she's very wise) my 2 main concerns in all of this are his knowing your friends and your wife becoming an indentured servant to your dad. There may come a time when you are in the middle of your wife and your dad. It happens all the time. Always support your wife. Try to work out a solution but never let your support for your wife waver. You will actually be trying to get a zebra to change it's stripes here. Your mom took care of your dad and that's what he's been used to for 59 years. Don't let your dad expect that kind of treatment from your wife or you.

Dad: "I'm hungry, is there anything to eat?"
You/wife: "I don't know, food's in the fridge, help yourself."

Dad gets up from the table, leaving his dishes for someone else to take to the sink.

"Hey dad! Those dishes aren't going to walk themselves over to the sink". Then tip him a wink or something so the tone remains light.

Dad: "I think the sheets on my bed need to be changed."
You/wife: "There are fresh sheets in the linen closet."

Dad overhears you telling your wife that you're going to get together with a friend to watch....whatever guys watch. This is a friend that your dad knows. Tell your dad that said friend is having problems in his marriage and needs to talk to you. Yes, it's a lie. But would you rather tell your dad that you don't want him to tag along?

When my dad lived with me, before he began to decline, it was me, my 16 year old daughter, and my dad all living together in a house. From my viewpoint and my daughter's viewpoint it was the two of us and dad was the 5th wheel. But from my dad's point of view it was like it was me and him and my daughter was a child "we" were raising. My dad never really stepped on my toes when it came to parenting but our relationship shifted when we moved in together and morphed into some kind of weird partnership thing. Initially it was like I had replaced my mom. My dad would attribute my mom's habits and tones and quirks onto me (it wasn't as creepy as it sounds). My dad would consult with me on things when he didn't need to. We would receive invitations to graduations and family functions together which put me in a position of having to say to my dad, "Hey dad, Ron asked us to an anniversary party a week from Sat." It made me uncomfortable, like we were a couple or something. My life had become enmeshed with my dad's and I didn't like it one bit. Once your dad moves in your friends are liable to issue invitations to you, your wife, and your dad because they know he's living there with you and they don't want to be rude and not extend an invitation to him too. What you do with that and how you handle that is up to you.

Maybe your dad is as nervous about this move as you are. It's a huge life change and he may feel like a guest for a while but as long as you set up boundaries right from the beginning you may avoid a lot of this stuff. You said he's a young 78 and it sounds like it from what you've described. When did your mom pass away? And as young at heart as he may be at 78 he's still a fall risk and is vulnerable to all sorts of age-related decline. One fall, one broken hip and your life as you know it will be over. Stroke. Infection. It just takes a very little to go from vital and productive to elderly and needy, know that going in. My dad had been with me for several years and had experienced age-related decline but nothing major. I was working a few days a week and one day I came home from work and the lights were all off, the paper wasn't on the table, it was quiet as a church and I just knew my dad had fallen. I ran back to his room and he had been on the floor for hours. He hadn't injured himself and he had taken spills before. We used to joke that he just bounced when he'd fall. But this was different. He was dehydrated (which our parents are very vulnerable to) and the dehydration had sapped his strength. I couldn't get him off the floor where as previously I would have been able to (I work in physical therapy). I had to call 911 and things were never the same after that. It was Election Day and while in the ER he was grousing about not being able to vote and was it possible that he could vote from the hospital. But that fall took a lot out of him (he was 79 then) and he never bounced back and his decline sped up as a result. Six months later he passed away in a nursing home. When the ambulance took his to the ER that day I would have never, in my wildest dreams, believed that he'd never come home again. It can happen that fast.

Keep writing, keep venting, keep sharing your concerns. That's what this site is all about and it's filled with great people.
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And can I add-Don't you just love this site? And boy do I wish I had found it before I made the decisions I made years ago.
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Run for the hills! Run for your life! Just kidding......but seriously......don''s all well and good in the beginning and then, slowly but surely, That's what happened to me and now, two years later mom will (very soon) be in assisted living......I am soooooo counting the days.....I can't even leave my house without making sure someone is home with 46 years old I'm tired of it.....dispensing medications three times a day, reminding mom to eat when sitting in front of the TV is more important (and also because I've enabled her to sit back and wait for me to bring her her meals, sometimes in bed when she chooses to stay in it all day long.....what the heck am I doing? I am craving my old life back! My husband and kids also miss the part of me that "was" before mom moved in!

Sorry, no sugar coating this one.....just my opinion.....and to those of you who may read this and think "but we owe it to our parents" I say "read my profile, walk a mile in my shoes and really understand that not all parents were the same in how we were raised, treated, in our lives, etc. And my siblings? I won't even get started about the h*** some of them have put me through! At the end of the day I love them, but, ugh! Tgengine.....really give it some thought, think about the pros and cons of your situation.......and good luck to you!
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