Bringing old or disabled parents to live with you
The “intergenerational contract” dictates whether you can bring your parents into your home.
Tonny Pot says: “You first need to ask the question of ‘why am I doing this?’ We as humans are fundamentally very loyal, but this decision should be made consciously and in a reasoned manner and not just because that’s the way it should be or because internal beliefs and ideas say you should. Don’t say yes too quickly.” Ultimately, a decision like that has a massive impact on your own life.
“The task is often underestimated. It’s 24 hours a day. You share the responsibility around the clock, and it could be more years and longer than you think.” It is essential to include the whole family in the decision, to determine people’s wishes, to analyse and make clear agreements. The concerns of each individual need space and must be heard, including the needs behind these concerns.
There are a lot of questions: Where in the house/apartment will they go? Who will get up in the night if needed?“ It can also help to include siblings in the care if this is possible from a location perspective. You could also agree a time limit with your partner. Talk through as many scenarios as possible. You should also keep the option open to change things.” It’s also worth thinking about easing the burden through a professional organisation, like a carer who comes once a day.
These considerations are important so you don’t bring a great deal of potential conflict into the house when you bring in your parent.
If you need help with these discussions or would like them to be guided, make a free appointment in one of the numerous Austrian family counselling centres.
Our interview partner
Tonny Pot is a psychotherapist and qualified marriage, family and life counsellor at IFP Bad Radkersburg, Styria.
The interview was conducted in February 2023.