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Moving Elderly Parents into Your Home: UK Advice

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

What can you do when it’s no longer safe for your older parents to live independently in their own home?

This is never an easy question for children of elderly parents to face. For some, a move to a care home is the best option. For others, it’s bringing elderly parents to live with them.

In this article, we’ll discuss the important factors when you’re considering moving elderly parents into your home. UK families will need to consider what help might be available from their local council, as well as the financial and legal implications of bringing elderly family members into their property. Of course, it’s also important to think about whether your home is the safest and best option for their wellbeing.

Read on as we explore these questions and more to help you make the best decision for your older parents and relatives.

How a move into a family member’s home can impact an older person’s quality of life

Sometimes it becomes clear that an older person’s home is no longer a safe environment for them to live in alone. Perhaps there are steep stairs that are dangerous for older people with mobility problems. Maybe a series of accidents or falls have shown that an older loved one needs more help with daily tasks – or they might just be unable to keep up with caring for their own daily needs. If an older person’s dementia is advancing, they may also be too confused to remain living alone.

In this situation, an elderly person’s quality of life is often poor. You might hope that a move into your own home will improve their quality of life – but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are some points to consider…

Physical safety

Is your home a place where your elderly relative can safely move around? Are there steps or stairs that will make it difficult for them to go outside? Are there rugs or children’s toys on the floor that could cause them to trip, or is there a large bathtub that they’ll find it difficult to get in and out of?

Obviously, some of these things can’t be modified. But you may also be able to make improvements to the accessibility of your home, such as by changing a bathtub to a walk-in shower or installing grab bars by the toilet.

It may be worth asking your local council for a home assessment. They’ll send someone to see whether your home needs adaptations so that your elderly relative can live there safely. If the council assesses that adaptations are needed, they should pay for them up to the cost of £1,000. If the necessarily adaptations are more expensive and your elderly relative is disabled, you may be able to apply for a disabled facilities grant.

Consider, too, whether these adaptations could be done to the elderly person’s own home to make it safe for them to remain there.

Socialising

Loneliness can actually have harmful effects on an older person’s health. That’s why it’s important to think about whether a move into your own home will cut your older parent off from their social network. If they’re used to walking down the street and having tea with a friend, how will you help them to continue having similar social visits when they live with you?

Independence

You’ll often want to consider how the location of your home will suit an older person who can’t drive any more. Can they walk out the door and go to the shops if they like? Are there green spaces nearby where they can take in nature? As with loneliness, a sense of helplessness can be harmful to an older person’s mental health, so this factor really matters.

How to know when it’s time for older parents to move into a family member’s home

It’s always tough to decide whether an older person should leave their own home or not. Here are some questions you might ask yourself as your family decides what’s best to do.

What are my elderly parent’s wishes?

It goes without saying that older people should have the ability to choose where they live whenever possible. If an elderly person is happy to move in with you, that makes the decision much easier. If they don’t want to, then you’ll need to consider whether they’re actually in danger when living alone. In other words…

Is my older parent safe and happy in their own home?

There are many dimensions of wellbeing to be considered when you think about an older person’s lifestyle in their home:

  • Are they able to keep up with their personal hygiene and the cleanliness of their home?
  • Are they able to do home maintenance as needed, or call someone to help if they can’t do it alone?
  • Are they getting good nutrition?
  • Is forgetfulness causing them to do unsafe things like leaving food burning on the stove?
  • Are they injuring themself while moving around and doing daily tasks at home, or are they at risk of doing so?
  • Are they sad, depressed or socially isolated? Are they having difficulty coping with the loss of a spouse?

Sometimes, it is possible for an older person to remain in their home with a little extra help from carers and technology. Perhaps a meals-on-wheels service and an in-home carer once a day are enough to keep them safe while living alone. A device like a personal alarm can also help by ensuring that someone else will be alerted if an older person falls or has an emergency while no-one is around.

What will happen if my elderly parent needs more and more care?

In many cases, an older person’s need for help can continue to increase as long-term medical conditions worsen or they become frailer with age. In the case of dementia, this is nearly a certainty.

It’s best to ask yourself whether you are prepared to help an older person with their care needs now – and what you will do if they need more and more care later on. If your home suits an older person now, will it continue to suit them if their mobility or dementia worsens? Do you want to move your parent in with you, which can be a tiring and difficult change for them, if a move to a care home is likely in the near future?

What’s needed for moving elderly parents into your home in the UK

If you’ve decided to go forward with moving elderly parents into your home, UK council services will likely need to know about the change in everyone’s situation. Council taxes may change, and someone could become ineligible for a benefit they receive. In other cases, more benefits might be available, like if you’re taking on increasing caregiver duties for an older parent. Take a look at our blog post on applying for caregiver’s allowance to learn more.

The NHS guidance on carers who share their homes advises that carers consider the legal implications of moving elderly parents into your home. UK families, it says, might want to draw up a legal agreement about how finances will be used.

This is also likely a good time for older people to think about making an advance decision, also known as a living will, about their healthcare. Similarly, it’s often wise for an older person to make a lasting power of attorney to determine who will make decisions for them if they lose mental capacity from conditions such as dementia or a stroke.

On this note, it’s also important to make sure all family members are on the same page about handling an older person’s care. This helps avoid sibling conflict over a parent’s care later on.

How SureSafe elderly alarms can help older people whose care needs are increasing

Whether an older person is living alone or with family, an elderly personal alarm offers invaluable peace of mind and safety. A one-touch alarm ensures that if an emergency happens, an older person living alone will not feel isolated – they’ll be able to call for help by pressing a single button. This is helpful for elderly people living with family – for example, it can mean caregivers can go out to buy groceries without worrying about leaving their elderly parent home alone.

An automatic fall detection alarm is also a great choice for any senior. It detects when its wearer has fallen and calls for help without the need for the older person to do anything – even if they’re unconscious. For elderly people who live with family, this can ease worries about an older person falling at night, such as if they get up to use the toilet, while everyone else is asleep.

How else can personal alarms protect your older loved one? At SureSafe, we’re market leaders in personal alarms for the elderly, and we’d be happy to chat with you about which alarm might suit your older parent’s needs. Just call us on 0800 112 3201, use our live chat or request a call back.

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