One Household for All? To Combine or Not To Combine

Resolving the Question of Where Mom Should Live

You find yourself spending more time at your care recipient’s house than at your house… Is it time to combine both households? We’ll help you decide whether moving in together is best for you, your care recipient and your family.

Combining households is just one of many decisions you make in your caregiving role. As always, keep in mind that you know what’s best and your decisions will reflect that. And, as you hear from other family caregivers, keep in mind that each situation is different, with variances and variables that may require different solutions.

Some tips to help you make good decisions:

1. Explore all possibilities. Anything is possible, but only if you believe it to be so.

2. Research all options. Understanding your options helps you narrow the options to the solution that will work.

3. Ask for input. Ask other family members, members of your support group, your care recipient (if appropriate), health care professionals, your minister or rabbi anyone who can offer a perspective.

4. Keep your perspective about other’s input. After asking others for their input (as opposed to their advice), consider your knowledge, insights and, most important, gut reaction to the situation. You know best.

5. Be open to changing the decision. Situations can change on a dime; have a Plan B and Plan C ready in case you need them.

6. Be flexible to tweak your decision; you may stick with the decision but change the details of it and that’s okay.

7. Honor the emotions of the decision. Some decisions may seem to be no-brainers; other may have you teary-eyed and overwhelmed. Decisions often mean change, which may mean more losses for you and your care recipient. You may find yourself grieving for what was (or what could have been). Allow room for your feelings and let comfort from your support network wipe your tears.

As always, know that you are doing great work under trying and difficult circumstances. The world is lucky to have you.

Thoughts on Family:

They say that blood is thicker than water. Maybe that’s why we battle our own with more energy and gusto than we would ever expend on strangers. –David Assael, Northern Exposure, Family Feud, 1993

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. –George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. –George Burns (1896 – 1996)

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. –Jane Howard, “Families”

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. –Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line

A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. –Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

Family isn’t about whose blood you have. It’s about who you care about. –Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, 1998

Index of Articles

Should Mom Move In?

Making Room For Mom

Your Thoughts: Does One Household for All Work for You?

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1 Comment on "One Household for All? To Combine or Not To Combine"

May 15, 2013

Thank you for this helpful article. You address many concerns up front and hopefully prepare families to recognize the challenges and opportunities the may face.

I particularly appreciate the way you discuss emotions and what a large part they can play in the final decisions.

God bless you as you continue to help others.