Family caregivers are doing the most selfless thing—putting their needs in second place to an elderly loved one who really needs them. When family caregivers bring the elderly person into their home to live, it can be a much more affordable home care option than an assisted care facility. It also provides plenty of chances to enjoy each other’s company. However, family caregivers may feel that when a loved one moves in, their privacy drops dramatically.
Privacy in a shared home can mean many things. It’s important for family caregivers and their elderly loved ones to talk up front about the expectations for each other when it comes to privacy. Setting strong boundaries is important so that neither side feels that they are encroaching on the other’s space.
The space where an elderly loved one lives with a family caregiver can play a big part in maintaining privacy for both sides. Many seniors can be happy with their own room that has a bed, bathroom and a small space to live with a television, recliner and table or desk. Some people build an add-on to their existing home that is like an in-law suite that satisfies all those needs. Others convert a master bedroom or other room in the house to accommodate the elderly loved one. No matter how the transition occurs, it’s important that everyone involves has their own space where they can retreat and feel that it is their own.
Having discussions about the shared use of common areas is another important factor in establishing privacy. Commonly disputed areas are the kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchen privacy can be established by dedicating a few well-stocked cupboards to the elderly loved one where they can access food and snacks when they want. Refrigerator space can be divided the same way. Bathroom space can be a little harder to define, especially if there are not many in the house. A shower or bathing schedule may help, as can setting up a grooming station elsewhere for hair, makeup and non-toilet or shower routines.
Another way for family caregivers to preserve their privacy is to bring in help. Other family members, elderly home care assistants and community senior services can all lend a hand when it comes to aiding an elderly person. When the family caregiver gets a break in the day-to-day routine and can separate from their relative for a while to do their own thing, they’ll be more rested and recharged. Also, the elderly loved one may also be able to spend some time with family members nearby in their homes, giving the caregiver even more of a break in their own home.
Preserving privacy is not easy in an immediate family, and it can become decidedly more complex with an elderly loved one in the home. With open communication, clear boundaries and a lot of mutual respect, it’s possible for family caregivers to get some privacy and enjoy the physical and mental break from their service.