We’re considering taking my elderly mother into our home rather than placing her in a nursing facility. This decision is especially difficult because we still have three children living with us. Would this new arrangement impact family dynamics?
Answer: In a big way — and you should be prepared for blessings, as well as challenges. On the plus side, you’ll have the emotional and practical support of your family as you take on the weighty task of meeting your mother’s needs. There’s also the potential of realising a strong sense of family unity and cohesiveness as you share in the care-giving responsibilities.
Then there are the potential benefits for your children as they experience first-hand the importance of sacrifice and service in the interest of others. This can become a vital part of their character growth. There’s also the opportunity for them to develop a special relationship with their grandparent.
On the other side, the stability of your family will likely be affected. With these changes your children’s social lives will probably be disrupted and their personal freedom may be restricted in some ways. And you and your spouse will at times be caught in between the competing needs of your children and your mother, while your own frequently take a back seat. This is what people have in mind when they talk about the “Sandwich Generation.”
There’s obviously a lot here to think about as you consider the equally legitimate questions of your responsibility to your mum and your family’s well-being. In short, there are no simple solutions to the challenges you’ll face if you take her in. It will involve a delicate balancing act.
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