It seems like the right answer for everyone involved. A parent that can no longer take care of the family home alone, a son or daughter with children of their own that could use a little help with the house and the kids. Combining incomes can perhaps improve everyone’s living arrangements. It can be a win-win situation for those families that have planned it out and whose family dynamic lends itself to cohabitating, but it can be a shocking surprise for those who don’t think it through.
Here are some key things to consider before calling the realtor:
How important is privacy?
Does your home lend itself to having each person having their own space, e.g. are there separate entrance ways? Bathrooms? Sitting areas? Are you all right with the extended family, like brothers and sisters, knowing what is going on in your home? Where you controlled the information you put out there before, when Mom or Dad is there, they may not be as judicious about sharing.
How are you going to handle the finances?
Do you expect your parent to assist with rent or utilities? If there are modifications that have to be made to your home, will that come out of the sale or rental of their house? Many families get into the arrangement thinking that their current environment will do, until they realize that changes have to be made to make it livable for the longer term.
Have you discussed how much you want to interact?
There’s a big difference between having someone take part in your life when asked, versus always being there. What if friends come over for dinner? Do you expect Mom and Dad to participate, or do you want them to eat early and retire to their living room? Talking about those things beforehand can reduce a tremendous amount of awkwardness later on.
What is the plan when their health starts to decline?
No one likes to think about it, especially if Mom or Dad is currently in good health. But unfortunately it doesn’t stay like that forever, and it’s much easier to discuss the next steps when they are healthy. Families need to think about whether they will continue to live at home with home health care, or move to a place that would provide that level of care, like an assisted living facility.
Having your parents move in with you can be an incredibly rewarding experience especially when you have children that can spend time with their grandparents. But it’s a big commitment and it doesn’t work for everyone. You want to discuss all this up front, and be honest with yourself. You don’t want to remember after everyone is moved and settled in, why you went to college three thousand miles away from your parents.
C. J. Mackey