Living with your elderly parents can seem like a great idea. Living together means there is no need to pay rent or a mortgage on two different houses. If your elderly parents are young and healthy, they can become “built-in” babysitters, leaving you free for a date night and allowing your children to build relationships with their grandparents. And if your parents need anything due to health or physical limitations, they are right there so you can help them. There are also negatives to living with your aging parents though, and some things you should consider before making the big decision to combine households.
Moving In with Elderly Parents
Should your elderly parents live with you? This is a difficult, complicated question and there is no right answer. Some people and cultures thrive on multi-generational living - with multiple generations of people living in the same space. Other people know living with their parents would make both them and their parents nuts -- and this is fine. You’re not a bad person if you know living with elderly parents just won’t work for either of you. There are some things to consider and questions to ask so both you and your parents can determine if living together is the right choice.
Things to Consider Before Moving in Together
Finances - Having an elderly parent live with you might sound like a money saver at first. But there are costs associated with living with an elderly person. You may need to make costly renovations to your home, like installing extra railings, wheelchair ramps, or a walk-in tub. Your elderly parent might have health costs, like prescriptions or other medical necessities that someone will need to pay for.
Relationships - how well do you and your parents get along? How well do they get along with your spouse or children? Do you frequently argue? If you have a challenging or difficult relationship, living together will not magically fix it. Have an open and honest conversation with your parents (and everyone else who will be living in the house) about whether or not it will work. Is there something you do that drives your father mad? Is it something you can or are willing to fix?
Caregiving and Support - Consider how much caregiving and support you are realistically able to provide. Your parents may be young and healthy now, but may eventually develop a health condition that requires additional care. Will you be able to provide it? Are you comfortable dressing or bathing your parents if that becomes necessary? Do you have time in your day to drive your parents to appointments, social gatherings, or anywhere else they would like to go if and when they are unable to drive?
These are just some of the things to consider when making this big decision. Everyone’s life will be impacted, and you should make sure you are ready to face those impacts head-on and handle them in a healthy, positive way.
Benefits of Elderly Living with Family
While living with elderly parents may not always be easy, there are benefits. You will have some peace of mind knowing your aging parents are under your roof and you are available if they need you. Family gatherings are simpler when most of the family is already together. Additionally, there is much we can learn from our elderly loved ones and their life experiences. Your elderly parents benefit, too. One of the biggest challenges of aging is feeling isolated and depressed, especially when living alone, so having someone else in the house can have a positive impact on their mental health.
There is much to consider when choosing whether or not to live with your elderly parents. Take your time and make the best decision for you and all members of your family, and remember there is no right or wrong answer.