(CBS Radio) — From the day a parent brings home their newborn baby, it is expected of the parent that they will care for the child, nurture the child, and protect the child — until the child goes off to college, or is old enough and responsible enough to shelter and support themselves.
Over the last decade, more and more grown children have returned to the nest, for reasons such as divorce, unemployment, or “failure to launch.”
What’s less talked about, perhaps, is that over the last decade, more and more parents have moved in with their adult children.
The weak economy over the last several years has contributed to a sharp incline of co-living amongst parents and their adult children. Many elderly Americans are living on fixed-incomes and some of those incomes are not enough to make ends meet. Additionally, a widowed elderly person may prefer to live with their adult child soon after their spouse has passed away, due to the fear of living alone, and/or having to solely support themselves and take care of a household.
Recently, Visiting Angels, an independent agency which cares for seniors in their homes, conducted a survey that sheds light on how adult children really feel about the possibility of their parents moving in with them. Around 1100 adult children were polled in the survey, and 70 percent said they would not want their parents to live with them. But given the choice, 67 percent said they would prefer that their mother move in with them instead of their father.
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Using the data provided in the survey, most adult children said the choice is logical, as their mom would help more with household chores and with the grandchildren. The data also suggested that most of the adult children surveyed would not adjust as well with dad as a “roommate” because he may hog the television and would generally not help around the house.
Additionally, most of the people surveyed said they had no future plans to take care of their elderly parents, and 66 percent say that they could not financially take care of their parents, but in the end, 51 percent would allow their parents to live with them, despite not having the finances to care for them.
We recently spoke with two local individuals who each have an elderly parent. Here is what they had to say about co-living:
Lisa McKenzie lives in Mooresville, North Carolina. She is married and has three daughters who live at home. Mckenzie’s mother is 76-years-old and lives in an assisted living facility. While her mother does not reside with her, McKenzie does take care of her mom in the mornings and afternoons at the assisted living facility.
Q. Has your elderly mother expressed interest in moving in with you?
A. No, she can’t due to her physical limitations. She is limited to a Hoyer lift move from a bed to a recliner and back.
Q. If living with you was an option for your elderly mother, would you have any fears about her moving in?
A. I don’t think I’d be able to handle her medical situation or her passing away in my home and the impact that would have on my children.
Beverly Ramos’s elderly mother, who is 95-years-old, resides with her in Concord, North Carolina. Ramos is divorced, and is a grandmother who also cares for her grandchild during the day.
Q. How long has your elderly mother lived with you, and how has the transition been?
A. My mother has lived here for six years. Mom didn’t like it at all at first because she didn’t want to move from Colorado, and she also didn’t want to be a burden. Six years later, she has finally accepted it. She realizes she can’t stay on her own. She is really good with having someone from Visiting Angels come twice a week because she really likes the caregiver and it gives her someone else to talk to.
Q. Is your mother helpful around the house?
A. No, she was until about a year ago, but not anymore because at 95-years-old, she is more limited in terms of what she can do around the house than she used to be.
Q. Do you get along well at home?
A. We were doing fine, but now that Visiting Angels is here a few days a week, it has really improved because it gives both of us a little space. Yesterday the caregiver was here all day and I walked my dogs, got my hair done…it was wonderful. Plus, Mom has somebody new to tell her stories to and help her do a few things like organizing her closet.
Q. How much care does your mother need?
A. On a scale of 1-10, she’s about a 2. She has some balance issues, but otherwise is pretty self-sufficient.
-QC Writer, CBS Radio