Living with Family – Expectations and Boundaries

A Group of People Posing for a Photograph

If your family has decided that an older adult needs constant care and that living together is probably the best solution, then you may be wondering why any further discussion is necessary. Even if you think it isn’t, consider taking a few minutes to sit down with your loved-one to answer the following questions. Doing this may help prevent misunderstandings in the future.

1.Will home care still be used to care for a loved one? If not, who will take time from their career (family) to care for an aging parent? What will be the trigger to get professional help?

2. How will this affect lost income? Will that person be compensated by the family? Who will relieve the primary care provider when they need a break?

3. Is the home accessible: ramps, railings, stair lifts, spacious bathrooms, etc.? Will there need to be modifications/renovation? How much will the modifications/renovation cost? Who will pay for them?

4. What is the budget for caregiving, room and board, etc.? Will you need to learn about Medicaid Community Based Services? What other services are needed?

5.What training will the primary caregiver need? Who will pay for the training?

6. If there is dementia, wandering, or severe behavior issues that become unmanageable, how will they be handled?

7. How and who will be educated about dementia? Everyone in the family or only the primary care provider?

8. Will there always be joint (family) meals? How much time will be spent together daily, weekly, etc.?

9. What household space is available (or can be designated) for private, more secluded time for everyone in the family?

10. How will grandparents interact with grandchildren or participate in discipline?

11. Do family members living together agree on the division of duties? Are there conflicts over tasks, duties & expectations?

12. Will the family be willing to or need to hire a professional counselor or mediator to resolve issues?

13. What will the older adult (e.g. grandparent) be able to contribute to the household activities?

14. Do the grandparents have local opportunities to engage with peers (e.g. senior center)?

15. What if an adult child needs to move? Is there a back-up plan?

We all have expectations and boundaries when living together. Communication early on may help set the stage for future conversations and negotiations.

If you find it difficult to come to a consensus, or you need help in exploring living and care options, contact us at 571-488-9396 [email protected]