Having your senior parents move in with you as an adult can mean big changes for everyone, but it can also be a win-win situation. The key is to properly anticipate and prepare for the changes. You may need to make changes to both your home and to your family dynamics for this situation to be comfortable for everyone.
Preparing Your Home
Having one or both of your parents move in with you is about more than just making sure they have their own room. You will need to think about how space is configured and whether you need to make any changes. For example, if either parent has mobility issues and your home has stairs, you may want to consider Californian home lifts or another type of lift system. You do not need to live in a large house or have a great deal of money to install this.
You should also consider whether other modifications may need to be made. A seat can make showering easier. Be sure to look for little things as well, such as throw rugs that could be a fall hazard. If you have enough space and money and depending on local building codes, you might even want to build a small guest house in your back yard for your parents to live in or turn a basement into a small apartment.
Preparing Your Family
You should all talk about the expectations and concerns you have about this arrangement. For example, if you have young children, you might hope that your parents will be able to help with child care, but you should not make this assumption. Another thing to consider is how you might work out conflict. This can be especially challenging if your own family’s style of dealing with issues is substantially different from how you were raised.
Many of the problems that can potentially arise may be rooted in the relationship you currently have with your parents. This move can involve a difficult role reversal if they still think of you as a child rather than as a capable adult or if you all tend to fall into unhealthy communication patterns when you are together. However, these are all problems that can be ironed out. Everyone should be flexible and ready to compromise to some extent.
Preparing Your Parents
Separately from talking with your whole family, you should speak with just your parents about what they want. It can be easy to get caught up in planning for them to move in with you and fail to consider what they may actually expect. For example, maybe you intend to convert the basement into a private apartment for them and as a way to modernize your household, but they want to be much more involved in your family life.
Another thing to plan for is whether they will drive. If so, will they bring their own vehicles or use yours? Yet another point is whether they are moving across town or across the country. If they are leaving their friends and community behind, how can you help them build a new community? Are there programs for seniors that would interest them or other activities they could get involved in?
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