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Waking up at all hours of the night, driving to and from sporting events, packing your lunch everyday, doing your laundry; these are among the countless tasks and responsibilities your parents had until your teen years. What better way to repay them for their generosity than by letting them live under your roof? The shoes are laced up, and now it’s your turn.
Having your elderly parents move in with you and your family is certainly not an ideal situation, but rather than acting inconvenienced, take all steps necessary to ensure a smooth move-in transition and experience for everyone. Your parents probably don’t want this any more than you do, but remaining positive is important. A comfortable living environment is essential for the well-being of the entire family.
1. Set Up Some Space: First, set up a space for your parents, more than likely a spare bedroom or even a pull-out couch. They too need privacy, so allow them as much room as possible. A bedroom, separate bathroom and closet is ideal, but understandably not always doable. Work with what you have and make the most of your space. There should be a spot in the home that your parents can call their own and think of as an escape from the rest of the house.
2. Make it Familiar: Familiarize your parents with the house. Let them know where things go, how electronics work and anything else they might not be able to figure out on their own. Also, familiarizing them with the neighborhood is a smart idea. They may want to get out and take walks or run errands. Introduce them to the neighbors and take them to the local community clubhouse or recreation center. This is now their neighborhood, too.
3. Establish Boundaries: Set boundaries within the family. If you watch “Desperate Housewives” on Sunday nights, tell your mom or dad so that they don’t plan to watch television at that time. If you clean the house every Saturday, communicate this routine with them. Let them know when you usually sit down for dinner and what days you work late. Inform them of the household routines, and make them a part of whatever you feel is appropriate.
4. Give Them Responsibilities: Depending on their age and health, take advantage of the new cohabited living environment. Maybe your parents can watch the children and you now have a date night that opened up for once a week. Consider giving them chores or ways to contribute to household activities. Assuming they don’t have a job, it’s essential that they stay active to avoid boredom.
5. Communicate: Make the most of your new roommate or roommates. It doesn’t have to be a burden in any way. Appreciate the time you can spend with your family, but make sure that you have an open line of communication so that things run smoothly.
Consider these D.C. companies when the time comes for your parents to require some extra help:
Harry Thomas Sr Community Center
1743 Lincoln Road NE
Washington, DC 20002
Take your parents to this local recreation center where they can enjoy the leisurely pool or sign up for an exercise class.
2401 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom
Washington, DC 20008
Neighborhood: Chevy Chase
Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She is a soon-to-be University of Alabama graduate who hopes to have a successful career in fashion journalism. Her major is Apparel and Textiles with a Concentration in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and her minor is Journalism. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.