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My in laws are getting to the point where they probably should not be living alone (90 and 94). He is extremely hard of hearing and she is having a lot of trouble walking. He also seems to be slowing down cognitively. We have an in law apartment in the basement of our home. My husband and I keep putting off making a decision to have them move into our home, mostly because of the anticipated stress of caregiving. In our 60’s we are just getting around the corner of our youngest child getting through substance abuse and depression issues. He is on dialysis due to a genetic issue, but has been Sober and emotionally stable for 3 years. He is currently living with us while he goes to college. In addition, my widowed 83 year old mother lives in her own home 5 minutes from us. And My husband and I have 2 businesses.


How do you make a decision to have aged parents live with you and not end up feeling overwhelmed and like your own, already overly obligated life will be unmanageable? Like most of you, my husband and I are starting to experience our own signs of aging and I stress out fairly easily (a little ptsd since our struggles with our son). In our 60’s, after building our businesses, we were looking forward to retirement, travel, etc and are feeling like we are now stuck with this ongoing responsibility ( including overseeing my mother). I don’t mean to sound heartless just being honest. We haven’t truly researched retirement homes because of the in-laws push back on the idea.


I’m mostly venting but I guess my question is, how do you make decisions about the next steps while balancing out all parties needs and wishes?

If your in-laws are not incompetent, they are in the position of making their own decisions and doing their own research.

I would not offer in-home care to them, or to anyone. I believe it's isolating and makes getting good health care (constant appointments for multiple health issues) a real challenge.

When elders live in a care setting, there are multiple sets of eyes on them around the clock. Amenities such as hairdressers are onsite and routine healthcare (geriatric internist, podiatry, psychiatry etc.) are easily accessible.

Reading about your current life stressors made me tired. Don't add to that, especially with a fragile adult child.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I would not advise doing this because it will kill your dreams of travel in your retirement; mean a decrease in income because one of you will need to stop working; and likely stress out your son.

Also, with her having a lot of trouble walking, going up and down basement stairs are not going to work.

I would have each of them see a geriatric doctor for his input of what level of care they need. Maybe they will listen to a objective third party more than a relative.

Have they given you durable and medical POA? If not, that is a deal breaker right there unless they will do it.

I wish you the best with this difficult situation.
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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"We haven’t truly researched retirement homes because of the in-laws push back on the idea." You've answered your own question i.e. start researching retirement homes and take moving into your basement apartment off the table.

You cannot make everyone happy. Accept that.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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It's not good for a 90 and 94 year old to be living alone, or driving if either are.  If you bring them to your home, they'll need care, and that will progress.  Then they would have to move again, which is stressful for anyone, especially for elderly, and even more with cognitive issues.  It may be better to find assisted living that matches with their current and possible future needs.

At 83, your mom should not be living alone much longer.  It would be good to look into assisted living or independent living that transitions to assisted living for her, too.

As nice as it might sound, you'll wind up taking on more than you bargain for if you bring anyone into your home, especially an elderly person who likely needs or will need caregiving at one level or another.

Good luck in whatever decision you make.
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Reply to lilhelp
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My husband & I 'convinced' his folks at age 82/83 to move back from Florida when we kept getting phone calls about one or the other having to go to the ER for various issues. Worst decision we ever made and it was largely my fault for thinking that they would only live another 5 years or so. We are now approaching 13 years of caregiving in our home and there seems to be no end in sight. I thought I would be good at taking care of things for them, but the things I am good at (keeping up with appointments, helping with chores they no longer can manage, running errands for them, etc.) they don't want my help; the things I won't do (personal hygiene, etc.), they expect us to do for them. I've now been retired for 4 years and we have no hope for any kind of vacation. Please don't do this out of guilt. It's overwhelming!
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Reply to normac
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I am stressed just reading your stresses, you have too much on your plate already.

Having them live with you IMO will put you over the top. Read the many posts on here, don't make a snap decision, you will regret doing that.

One of my concerns is isolation, both my mother and step-father waited too long to go into AL, they sat alone and digressed, they are both in AL now (different homes) and are flourishing, making new friends, doing things.

Sending support your way!
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Frances73 Dec 28, 2019
Yes! My mother has a busy social life in AL. Yes, she still regrets losing her “independence” but now has daily social interactions.
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I'm chiming in to concur with all the opinions below to not have them move in (or anyone else, including your own mother).

You are under no obligation to provide that kind of care for anyone. Not caring for them personally does NOT mean you don't love them or care about them. It's just not possible and will be damaging to you and your marriage and your future.

Your parents probably didn't ask you if you were going to be willing to be their caregiver (before all this) and even if they did, you wouldn't have known what it would entail. It would have been an emotional, not rational, decision.

You are already not yet "recovered" from dealing with your own son's issues.

All objective minds answering you on this post are telling you it is ok to not have them move in. Don't feel guilty! They've had their whole lives to think about this time and they should not have assumed you'd be their solution. They WILL be isolated and you WILL be overwhelmed and burn out in a flash. Again, don't feel guilty. May you receive peace in your heart over this decision and may all your parents' future transition go smoothly!
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Reply to Geaton777
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PLEASE don’t do it! It is so true, that you may expect them to live for a couple more years, only to be surprised by a seemingly unending obligation of your own creation.
it is my experience that the biggest obstacle to moving into a senior center is fear. They are afraid they will lose all control over their lives, don’t know if they’ll be treated nicely, that they are being abandoned. You are so lucky that they are both still alive and can be moved TOGETHER. Think about it, this will be much more comforting to them than going into the ‘dreaded place’ later and alone, after one of them passes.
Please, don’t even offer your home as an option. Don’t keep thinking that YOU are as strong as you once were — you’re not. Salvage what you can of your own life. Place them in an assisted living, and do it quickly while they still have the advantage of togetherness.
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Reply to Fida0123
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I'm sorry, but by the time parents reach the stage they cannot be left alone, they are usually beyond good in home care. They need the staff available 24/7 to answer their calls as provided in an assisted living environment. Particularly if they are still competent, the socialization and activities available in an AL can greatly improve quality of life. One couple I knew didn't care for shopping on the AL's weekly mall trips but did use the opportunity to enjoy restaurants and eateries. Many routine needs can be addressed by specialists visiting the AL instead of outside doctor trips. When they do need to visit an outside doctor, the AL staff can prepare them for the trip so they are ready when you pick them up. You and your husband can visit and provide supportive care without the dramatic impact providing 24/7 care creates.

I ask you to consider how you would handle one possible scenario: one of you has the flu or needs a minor outpatient surgery, one parent falls and needs an ER trip while the other needs someone caring for him/her at home, and there's a minor crisis at one of your businesses. How will the two of you cope and handle everything?
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Reply to TNtechie
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You know I think people who haven't had to physically care for someone look at having a parent live with them with "Rose Colored Glasses". They see where the media portrays it as everyone living together so nicely. Grandpa sitting in his favorite chair taking a nap. Grandma in hers knitting away. The old TV shows show a "senile" LO siiting in a chair all day staring at the wall. Caregivers will say thats not how it is.

I would not even mention the apartment to in-laws. If they have money, then they can use it for their care. Get them help or try to steer them towards an AL. You do have enough on ur plate. Your son is ur priority. He has a future and he needs you for support. At 60, it would be a huge adjustment.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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DollyMe Dec 28, 2019
Yes, the media, my mother believes everything she sees on TV, those commercials really influence those who do not understand...it is just a commercial...not fact.
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