Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

Would you take in an elderly parent or other family member?

Asked by ubersiren (15140points) July 12th, 2010

My husband’s parents have taken in his grandmother, and everyone seems to be so happy with the arrangement. I wonder why more families don’t choose this over nursing homes. (I’m not judging, I’m just curious). Of course there are circumstances, but in general, wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper? I know in other cultures and times it’s not common at all to put people in “homes.” I wonder what’s different in mine.

I often think what will happen to my parents as they grow older. They are not well-off at all. My dad would be a pleasure to take in, but my mother would be a different story, though it would still pain me to put her in a home, and I’d probably cave to the idea.

Would it depend on the person or situation for you to agree to take in an elderly family member? If you already have, how hard was the decision?

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36 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Yes, unless of course they were abominable in their disposition! I am saving up for that possibility.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Yes, especially if there were nowhere else for them to go. My father is dead, and my step-brother is taking care of his mother ( my step-mother ), and she is the only one left of that generation. So it’s more likely ( although not very ) that I would be the one needing to be cared for. I have told my children that if I ever need long-term care, just to drop me at the nearest Veteran’s Administration care facility or old sholdiers’ home.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@ubersiren That is my position exactly. When my Dad reaches the point where he can no longer care for himself and my Mom, I would welcome him to live with me despite the limitations of my home size. I doubt he would accept because I live so far from my birthplace. He would not agree to be so far away from my mother no matter how difficult she can be, given her severe bipolar disorder and physical complaints (real or not). I could not give up my health and income benefits available only while I reside in the Province where I do. I do not know what I will have to do to care for and support my Dad.

Seek's avatar

Been there, done that.

I’d gladly take in a sick or convalescent family member. Its the crazy that I can’t handle.

My husband’s mother had a double brain aneurysm in 1988. He says his mother died that day. What she left behind is an abusive, unstable, thieving, self-righteous, meddling… ::shakes head:: ... She’s broken our entire house, stolen things and given them away to neighbors, taken the cars apart, come into our room screaming in the middle of the night about the evils of perverted men and her past sexual experiences, she’s slapped her grandchildren around for no reason… She refuses to take her medications or to follow the doctor’s orders, she runs around the neighborhood spreading lies, rumours, and discord…

No thanks. Not ever again. She moved out almost 3 years ago, and I do not miss her.

PacificToast's avatar

Most people choose nursing homes I think, because of the amount of medical care needed for some folks. The Pakistani part of me comes out with the hospitality. I’d take in any family member in need. When my cousins immigrated here, we took in the 6 of them and added them to our 4. It was the best thing my parents did for me really.

Jeruba's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, she moved out voluntarily?

janbb's avatar

I think it’s a wonderful idea in principle, but for me, it would definitely depend on the individual. I cannot live with my mother; it would be a disaster for both of us.

Seek's avatar


Yep. One day I caught her sneaking out of the house with a stack of my books. I told her I’d appreciate her asking to borrow my things, because my books are important to me and I want to know where they’re going when they disappear. SHe blew up at me (something about how Jesus wants us to share our things), said she was “moving home”, and stormed out – taking our car. When the car (which had been having problems) died around the corner, she abandoned it and called a cab to take her to the airport.


BoBo1946's avatar

Yes, if I could not afford an assisted care facility. My mom lives in one and she is very happy there. It is a beautiful facility with a great staff. They go on trips, have physically therapist in-house, there is a library, great food, etc. She gets exercise everyday, gets her meds on time and correctly, and she feels safe there. BTW, last month, she was the resident of the month. She is a hoot…

Austinlad's avatar

Not absolutely. No matter how close the relative, it would depend on my own state of health and financial means, as well as whether other, better options (e.g.., professional assisted care) were available.

sleepdoc's avatar

Even when one makes the decision to take a family member in, at some point it can still get to be too much. Once that loved one starts to need round the clock care, you either have to give up everything or find another alternative.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

YES! My family comes first, just like they took care of me when I was young, no dout about it.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr wow I am truly sorry that you encountered such hatred and that this awefull person was even given the priviledge to share your home. Hopefully the children are able to move on past that experience. @Austinlad, you are right in your point of view, I only do not hesitate because in my family there is not a single individual that has any mental issues.

tranquilsea's avatar

My baby sister was in a devastating car accident when she was just 19. She sustained a massive head injury. She had been living with my mom and when mom died we took her in. She can be fractious and has some anger issues, her short term memory is awful and her balance is terrible.

I can take care of her now, although it takes a lot of time. I do see a time down the road where we would have to hire someone to come in and help her.

I had an agreement with my mom that she would never live in an old age home but she died before she could collect on it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would take in a family memeber without really thinking twice about it. I would prefer to take care of my family members than to have them go to a nursing home. If it got to be beyond my ability, I would do what I had to do to make sure they were receiving the best care possible.

Coloma's avatar

All of my elderly relatives and parents are now dead.

I only worry about my daughter needing to move back home. lol

Of course I would take her in, but, hope I don’t have to. haha

rooeytoo's avatar

When my dad was dying I arranged for him to stay in his own home with his own dog by his side until he died. It was a huge financial strain, but I think people should be allowed to die in their own homes surrounded by their life.

I am not a good nurse so I could not take care of him but I spent hours with him after work each day and was holding his hand when he died. I felt okay about it and it seemed a better solution than uprooting him to move him in with me.

But no matter how it is accomplished I think being put into a “home” would be my absolute last choice. I hope my mind remains sound so that I can run the exhaust in through the window of my car before the time for a home comes for me.

Now there is an interesting dilemma, if we all go solar or electric for transportation, where will I get my carbon monoxide????? Guess I will have to search out the nembutal sources.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, and I would take in my disabled brother as well, if we could find a way to transport him from Dallas TX to my home in California. Right now, he is renting a room in a home with an elderly caretaker, and they both want out of their arrangement.

My son’s disabled Mother-In-Law and Grandmother-In-Law both live in the home we bought him, along with his wife and two sons. We just had a set of French doors installed in their room so they can have wheel chair access to the back yard and patio. We are still waiting on the concrete installer for the deck and ramp to be installed.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

Just an idea @YARNLADY maybe if you would post it on FB and send messages to those that you know and trust to make an arrangement to transport covering expenses while along the way keeping in touch with the journey to make sure that all is well.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In our families, nursing homes are the last resort for when there’s a medical need we can’t meet. Sometimes several family members have taken turns staying over and popping in on elderlies who refuse to give up their homes.

anartist's avatar

I would have if I could have. I even looked for a house to share with my mom [I live in a 1BR condo] but my brother in CT was better able to do it. He had plenty of room and he and his wife are both doctors so they were able to care for her in many other ways as well. She spent some time with each of us who had the room. I visited her wherever she was and stayed with her when family members went on vacation. She is gone now and we all miss her a lot.

My grandmother died in a hospital [1970s] although she very much wanted to go back to her home to die. I think it should have been possible. She could have afforded home health care.

knitfroggy's avatar

I would love to say I would take care of my parents in my home if I needed to. But I saw first hand what it can do to a family and to the person in need of care. My mother in law came down with MS and my father in law promised he’d never put her in a home. He did all he could for years to take care of her. But she spent many hours a day at home, usually alone, unable to get up to use the toilet or get food. Her condition deteriorated so badly after years of neglect that she developed horrible bed sores and ended up having to be put in a rest home. She didn’t want to go and my father in law was trying to do what she wanted. He didn’t neglect her on purpose, he was just trying to do as she wished. So, sometimes, it’s best to place a person in a rest home. If I was able to take my parents and give them the care they needed, I would do it. If I couldn’t care for them properly, I would put them in the rest home.

YARNLADY's avatar

@SmoothEmeraldOasis Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t use FB, and my brother is on oxygen and in a wheel chair, so it’s extremely unlikely there would be any kind of shared ride available that was handicapped accessible.

Jabe73's avatar

Yes I’ve done that with my grandmother. I would do that for my mother as well. I don’t have great faith in nursing homes anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

Dealing with incontinence, bedsores, cranky personalities, paranoia, slip and falls…

Hospital beds in the dining room, retrofitting the house, constant nursing, doing everything for them…

Sorry. I couldn’t handle that and do a full time job, and take care of my kids. Just not up to it. Besides which, I don’t really like them all that much. And double besides which, they would lose all their friends and become completely dependent on me for everything social as well as everything physical.

Call me an ungrateful son, but this is not something I could do. Although, if it came down to it, I probably would do it. Still, a nursing facility seems much more appropriate. I think my dad wants me to off him if he gets like that, anyway.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Both Dad and my sister died from cancer at home with only the daily care of family members, as was their wish and ours. Both were still very lucid and were lucky enough to have doctors that made house calls.

Should the time come when Mom or my fiancĂ©‘s parents can no longer live in their homes, it will depend on their wishes, their health needs and whether we can provide for them comfortably.

It seems like some people fear putting a loved one in a nursing home based upon a handful of horror stories or out of guilt. Not all facilities are poorly run. We have a responsibility to do the research. I’d even be willing to do volunteer work at one that seems good just to get a feel for the staff and atmosphere.

MissAusten's avatar

For me, it would depend on the family member and on whether or not we were able to adequately care for that person at home. My mother will never live with us. She visited for a week a couple of years ago, and my husband and I almost lost our minds. She isn’t a normal person though, so is a bad example.

Other relatives, I wouldn’t mind so much. I’d just worry about the level of care they’d need, and if we were able to meet those needs. If so, I’d be happy to care for them. It would all depend on the individual case and what would result in the best possible care for that person.

mattbrowne's avatar

My mother in law lives downstairs. She’s 81 years old. She helped raise our two kids.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Well i won’t send my parents to a home.

Aster's avatar

It is all so rosy to think we’d never put Our loved one in a home . But are you considering WHY a person might need nursing help?
We should not overlook the main cause of them being placed: dangerous memory loss and loss of bowel and/or bladder control. They forget they turned on the stove. With Alzheimer’s they wander ; sometimes right into other homes. It has a violent stage too. My FILaw had it. The neighbor came out of the shower and there stood my Father in law. Alzheimer’s is a Horrible thing. Tv shows them simply fading out. But as a witness to one case , they can simply walk out in the middle of the night. He once walked across the street and sat inside the car that was parked in the driveway. She put a set of bells on the door. She was not young.
He refused to get in bed at night. His ankles swelled and turned blue. He’d just fall to the floor and, when she tried to pull him to his feet, he’d shake his fist in her face. She kept him anyway and was very exhausted and very depressed for over a year before she gave in and placed her husband in a NH where he died.( he was12 years older).
My last FILaw fell on the nightstand and knocked his eyeball out. He had to have a glass eye.
She gave in and placed him in a NH when he went to the bathroom on top of the furry toilet seat cover. He also had pancreatic cancer .
My mother had a series of strokes, falling down and banging her head on a table . Then her left side became partially paralyzed; she could not walk a step without a cane. Then she had another stroke and was bedridden. Can you imagine caring for a person who is bedridden? In the middle of the night, you’re sound asleep. Your S/O tells you he/she has to go to the bathroom and they can’t walk. Can you carry them? Not usually. My dad wheeled my mother into the bathroom, helped her then transferred her back into a wheelchair and put her back in bed. He lost a lot of weight.
He turned white. He got a double hernia and had surgery. She was by now in a NH and I swear he enjoyed that break. He was smiling and happy in the hospital. Then began years of visiting her and watching her go downhill. He became nasty and angry and my H would not consider having someone lke that changing his tv channels! And lecturing us. I do not remember why he had to go to a NH; it’s a blur and I’m glad it is.
So, again, when the parents are well or nearly well, it’s so easy to say you’d never place them.
Sadly, you are usually forced into it to conserve what little health you have left.

WestRiverrat's avatar

yes, it is what family does.

Seek's avatar

My mother in law came to visit this week.

She still doesn’t know my name. Oi vey. And she called my husband – her ONLY SON – by her younger brother’s name. Twice.

partyparty's avatar

I would, and have, taken in elderly family members.
We built a self contained annex for my mum. She had her own lounge, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. She had cancer and I cared for her on a daily basis.
My mother-in-law had dementia, and equally she was welcomed in to our home, until there came a time she didn’t know us, or her other family members, and when not supervised, would leave the house on her own, not knowing where she was, and eventually had to go in a care home.
Would I do it again? Most certainly! It was hard work caring for them, and I ended up tired most nights, but I know deep down they knew I only had their best interests at heart.
Sadly they are no longer with us. I don’t regret my decision to care for them.

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes I would. However, for myself and depending upon the circumstances, if I became senile or needed extensive care I really don’t want my children to be in the situation of having to care for me. I think it is important that they know my wishes and so have already told my children that is not my wish should I need signficant care. I would rather they put me in a nice home and came to visit.

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