Your aging parents are running into health issues. They’re living on their own, and you’re concerned about their safety.
There are a variety of options to consider:
See if you can arrange additional supports so they can safely stay in their own home
Find them a retirement community where things like meals, activities, and health monitoring are looked after
Have them move in with you
Each option has its pros and cons, but let’s focus on the third option right now: having them move in with you.
On the surface, this may appear to solve a lot of problems for you. Having them under your roof will mean that you won’t have to spend so much time checking in on them in their own home and worrying about them when you can’t.
It may also seem cheaper than having them pay monthly fees to live in a retirement community. And the money they get from the sale of their current home will help fund any renovations you might have to make to your house to accommodate them.
But of course, it’s not that straightforward. Here are a few complicating factors you’ll want to consider first.
Practical considerations. How easy will it be to renovate your house so that your parents’ and your own family’s privacy is preserved? How much support do your parents need and what impact will this have on your career or your spouse’s? Will you be able to take vacations?
Family dynamics. Do your parents actually want to come live with you? How much say does the rest of your family have in the decision? Will everyone get along or will you start to get under each other’s skin?
And that’s just scratching the surface. You’ll want to unpack these issues even further.
The key is to have open and honest conversations – with your parents, with your own family – before proceeding. That way, if you do go ahead, you’re going in with your eyes open.
Setting ground rules
Before your parents move in with you, it’s important to set boundaries in order to maintain a healthy relationship. After all, the last time you lived with your parents you may have been a teenager. The dynamics need to be different this time around. They can’t expect to exert the same level of control over your life as they did when you were growing up.
At the same time, you want to make them feel welcome. It’s important not to flip the script and become overbearing yourself (“my house, my rules”).
Help with uncomfortable discussions
Sometimes having these sorts of conversations with your parents can be uncomfortable. That’s when having a third person come in to mediate can be helpful.
At Tea and Toast, we help families have these sorts of conversations every day. Want to know how that works? Send us an email or give us a call.