Remodel, accommodate, share, prepare, budget – these are just the beginning concerns to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the move-in. Setting expectations about private versus shared areas of the home, determining who is in charge and what the financial expectations are will have to be immediately determined. Some initial objectives include providing the proper care, handling pets – if necessary, transportation, responsibilities, meal/diet preparation, med management, grooming, restroom assistance and the changing of routines. It can get out of hand without viewing the big picture. Your focus should also include: maintaining your lifestyle of work, social events, friends, and your own routines. According to Laurel Steinberg, relationship therapist and psychology professor at Columbia University, “you had a life before your parent moved in and you will still have to live a full life if your parent moves out or passes away.” Protect that and it will keep you a healthy and satisfied caregiver while also setting a good example for your parent. Gently assert your adult independence by setting boundaries on move-in day. Steinberg explains, “you set the tone for the entire home.” You don’t have to re-create your childhood by letting your relationship revert to what it was when you were a child, with a parent dictating how a household should operate. Don’t ask permission of your parent but rather assert your independence; it is your home. Designate an area of the home that allows the parent to have his or her privacy while also designating space for each family member to maintain privacy and autonomy.
Keep in mind that your emotions can span anger, sadness, dread, guilt, relief or joy and these emotions can add to confusion and excess stress. The other areas of your life can be affected, such as personal or professional relationships, work performance and physical health. As your attention is diverted to your parent it may become difficult to nurture your own relationships. To help out, don’t hesitate to call on siblings and other family members to share the responsibility of providing care. Arrange for a professional home care service to help, if that’s what it takes. Seek outside counseling to help and above all, keep communication open so you can stay on track with personal goals and reduce caregiver burnout and stress. From: http://www.nextavenue.org/