Should you live with your loved one or move closer?

19 October 2020

Should you live with your loved one or move closer?

19 October 2020

Does your loved one with reduced autonomy wish to remain at home for as long as possible? Accepting to live with your loved one or moving closer to devote more time for them is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Living in a pandemic raises a number of questions for caregivers, particularly about accommodation. Should we consider living with our loved one or moving closer to provide the care needed? While living together can be difficult, it can also be very rewarding and allow you to strengthen your relationship with your loved one. To help you make an informed choice, here are four points to ponder before taking a decision:

Draw a portrait of the situation and define the needs of your loved one

Drawing an overall picture of the situation will help you understand the magnitude of your decision and the impact that it may cause on your personal life. By inquiring about the health condition and the needs of your loved one, you will be in a better position to understand the daily work to be expected. This will help you determine which needs you will be able to provide and which ones you will need support.

When the time is ripe to consider accommodating your loved one in your home, it will be important to not only assess their current needs, but also their future needs. To do this, you will need to address several personal and material-related questions; does your loved one need medical or health care which requires skills that you do not have? Is your home big enough and adapted for your loved one? Do you have the required time and the energy to care for your loved one? Have you considered that some physically or mentally demanding tasks could put your health at risk?

Consider surrounding yourself with other family members

During your reflection, it is important to engage in a discussion with your partner in order to gather his or her point of view and handle the potential impact that the decision to house your loved one at home may have on your family life and on your life as a couple. Hold a family council to discuss the situation and needs of your loved one. Address the distribution of tasks, depending on the skills and preferences of each family member. At the end of the meeting, you will have a clearer idea of everyone’s commitments and the important decisions required to ensure the well-being of your loved one.

Family caregivers can also turn to friends, community organizations and the Health and Social Services Network for support. Your local CLSC offers a variety of professional services for in-home support. During the decision-making process, consider which resources will be required to address the daily needs of your loved one.

Caregivers can also turn to friends, community organization and the health and social services network for support. Various professional home support services are offered by CLSC's. It is important to consider the resources to be put in place to meet your loved one's needs on a daily basis when making a decision.

Requests for home support services can be made to your CLSC. An assessment of the situation will be done then. This allows to establish an intervention plan according to the needs required by the health status of the person being cared for. It is then possible that some professional services or home support may be offered. Respite could also be offered to caregivers.

If you are beginning to see housing as a solution to ensure your mutual well-being, consult health and social services workers. They will help you weigh the pros and cons to facilitate your decision.

Evaluating the relationship between the caregiver and the senior

Before considering moving in with your loved one, it will be important for you to know and verbalize your personal boundaries, priorities and needs to take care of yourself. You will also need to know the expectations of your loved one in relation to your role as a family caregiver. These questions will allow you to find the ideal compromise and establish the general rules of communal life so that everyone finds their place.

Listen to yourself to avoid exhaustion – this is of capital importance. Your physical and mental health are a major asset to take into consideration when choosing an accommodation. Overlapping responsibilities could lead to a considerable mental load for you. That is why good communication with your loved one will be key to externalize your emotions and set your own limits when necessary.

Available financial resources

Taking care of a person with impaired autonomy may impact your financial situation. While there are no compensation for family caregivers, you can claim various tax benefits at the federal and provincial level. Don't hesitate to visit our Web site for more information. Currently, there are benefits available to support caregivers during the Covid period.

In light of these reflections, you will be in a better position to identify the needs of your loved one and help make take the appropriate decisions regarding accommodation.

If you opt for accommodation, it will not end your role as a caregiver. Of course, your duties will be reduced, but your responsibilities will be carried out differently with your loved one. Don't hesitate to ask for help again to adapt to this new situation.

Need help?

If you need advice, someone to talk to or information, don't hesitate to contact our Caregiver Support Service by email or by phone (1 855 852-7784).

Consult the list of organizations in your area that can offer you support and assistance on our website


  1. Laval Health and Social Services, Taking care of yourself… while taking care of your loved one, 2008.
  2. Montreal Geriatrics University Institute, Aider un proche au quotidien (available in French only), 2011.
  3. Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées, Aînés, des réponses à vos questions (available in French only), 2018.
  4. Québec Ombudsman, Looking for a private seniors’ residence?, 2018.
  5. Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement et le Carrefour action municipale et famille, Cahier d’information et de sensibilisation sur l’habitation des aînés , 2016.
  6. The section of our website on equipment and home adaptation.
  7. Our interview with Geneviève Gladu, Family Caregiver Counsellor at the Caregiver Support Service : Reflecting on housing your loved one.
  8. Revenu Québec and Canada Revenu Agency Web sites.

Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information and referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784
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