As you explore possibilities to care for your aging parents, you may decide that having them live with you is the best option. There are certainly challenges to the arrangement, but many people have found that living in a multigenerational house can be an enriching experience for the whole family.
It’s a good idea to address potential thorny issues ahead of time, and remember that there will be an adjustment period for your family. Think about how the move will affect everyone involved, consider and plan for the practical aspects of moving in and making space, and research community services you can leverage to ease the transition.
No matter how close your family relationships are, adding another person to the household changes things. Proactively consider these questions:
- How will the move affect your spouse, your children and your siblings?
- How will your parent’s presence impact your family routine, activities and privacy?
- Are there unresolved issues between your spouse and your parent?
- Will you expect other family members to help out?
- Should part of your parent’s income go toward living expenses?
- Will the move mean you need to adjust your work hours to provide care?
- What will you do when you vacation? Take your parent? Arrange for care?
- Are there issues of smoking, drinking or pets that need to be worked out?
- How does your parent feel about the move?
Having a parent move in to your home will require some physical rearranging. Some family members may be displaced or inconvenienced by the new setup, so communication with everyone is vital. If you can afford it, consider an addition with a prefab unit attachment or explore converting a garage or side porch into an in-law suite. Some families have even built separate homes next to their home for maximum privacy and independence.
Your parents may struggle getting acclimated to a new living arrangement and neighborhood. To help them settle in, spend time helping them find the local pharmacy, bank, faith community, recreation center and other services. If they are looking for independent daytime activities, visit a nearby senior center for information on classes and programs. If your parents require more intensive care, look into adult day care centers that provide rehab, meals, counseling and therapeutic activities. If you are providing full-time care in your home, look into respite or companion services to give you a break and help your parent expand his or her social circle.
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