Complete Guide On Parents Moving In With Their Kids: Before, During, & After

It’s inescapable: Our parents get older, and you’ll soon be thinking about caring for yours.

The adult children usually choose nursing homes, but this isn’t the best choice for everyone. For example, you might struggle with the idea of having your vulnerable parents living in a strange place. Though parents may want to stay at home, it might not be safe to do so.

That brings us to the final option: Moving in with you.

Should My Parents Move In? Questions to Ask

Regardless of who brings up the subject first, it’s important for both spouses to agree on the matter. Here are a few important topics to think about when considering the move:

The Costs

Adult children whose parents move in tend to spend $5,000 or more a year to feed and clothe their loved one. If there are medical issues that need treatment, including Alzheimer’s, that figure can quadruple.

These values also don’t include how much it costs to make your home safe for an elderly resident.

Tension Points

Some people already know they can’t live with their parents ever again because of personality differences. If you’re not so sure, try taking a long vacation with your parent to test the waters. If this isn’t possible, you can try staying in their home for a few days.

Possible End of Arrangement

Before your parent moves in, everyone should discuss the ways in which the arrangement might end. Of course, you can’t prepare for every possible situation, but it helps to address some common possibilities.

This means situations besides finding out you cannot safely care for your parent at home. In this situation, though, make sure you’ve already researched care facilities before it’s a problem. Some of the best facilities have wait-lists for residents.

Not every scenario is a bad one, in any case. What happens if your parent meets someone new, or who wants to move in down the line?

How Can I Make it Easy for My Parents?

It’s time to talk to your parents.

Discuss finances and goals, and come to a decision together. Walk your parent through the “what if” scenarios you thought about earlier, and together decide what will work best in each case. You never know — your parent might already know of a good retirement community.

If it’s a go, then it’s time to assess your home. Like with childproofing, you need to consider the logistics and safety of the home. For best results, hiring a geriatric care manager will ensure nothing’s missed. If you’re keen to do it yourself, consider:

  • Can your parent handle stairs, or must they be on the first floor?
  • Ensure they have easy access to the kitchen, common area, and a bathroom
  • Wheelchair access, if necessary
  • A sit-down shower and handrails minimize bathroom risks
  • Clean up all clutter around the house to prevent falls
  • Maintain enough lighting around the house

Don’t forget to consider your own financial resources. It’s not cheap to make significant changes to your home, and then you’re going to pay for food, transportation, health costs, and actual care. You might even need to hire someone if the responsibility involved is substantial.

Obviously, this costs money. Some other sources of income that can help include:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Your parent’s Social Security or retirement savings
  • Life insurance from a deceased parent
  • Long-term care or health insurance
  • Proceeds from selling the parent’s house

Should you both come to the conclusion that moving in with you is the best option, then starting the planning process early is essential to creating a seamless transition.

Create a calendar or checklist that sets clear due-dates so that all parties are accountable. You can try to create your own or use one of the many available online. For example, Suddath Relocations created a Senior Moving Checklist that lists all of the tasks that need to be completed from 3 months out up to moving day. 

After Moving In, What Boundaries Should We Have?

Having a parent move in with you considerably changes a family dynamic, which is why planning is so crucial. You can’t treat parents like a house guest, putting on “social manners.” Yet, you also can’t let your parent feel invisible or useless in the home. It’s a careful balancing act that may take some trial and error.

Talk honestly with your parents, and involve your children with the discussion too. Everyone involved should have a chance to talk about the possible impact of this new dynamic. After all, everyone involved has the potential to be negatively impacted by issues that may arise.

You may love your parents deeply, but chances are you haven’t lived with your parents in over 20 years. Now you’re married and have kids, a job, and all the other responsibilities that weren’t there when you moved out. In other words, living together will feel different, and there are various issues that can arise.

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