The current global pandemic situation has had a lot of us reassessing our lives and really focusing on the values that are most important to us. In a lot of cases, we’ve realized that family is the most important asset we have. Where people have been quarantined away from elderly parents, often it has the effect of showing us just how valuable our loved ones are. You may now be thinking of altering your living situation after the pandemic has subsided to move your parents back in with you and live as an extended family. That can be especially true if a parent has suffered ill health, and you want to ensure they have the best care. So if you are thinking about moving towards multi-generational living, you certainly aren’t alone. Although there are many clear benefits to this approach, it’s not entirely without challenge, as it’s an adjustment to a way of living on both sides. Integrating your parents more into family life is great, but it can raise a few issues along the way – here’s how you can make the transition a little easier on everybody.
Assess Your Space
Moving more people physically into the same space can be a shock to the system – it’s very different from having occasional visitors. Ensuring that there is enough space for everyone to be comfortable is the first step. Do you have a room downstairs that your parents could use for living space as well as having access to a bedroom? It’s helpful to make sure that everyone respects the need for private space occasionally in the household, otherwise tensions can quickly build.
If your parent has mobility issues, you need to make sure your home is safe and adapted to their needs. For example, you may need to rearrange rooms so that they can have space downstairs, or install a stair lift if they have trouble going up and down all the time. If one parent is in a wheelchair, you may need to widen doorways or look at installing handicap ramps. Bathrooms may need to be adapted with grab rails and fold down shower seats. There are lots of things out there that can make life a little easier for your elderly parents that you will need to consider in advance to make the home usable for them.
Set Out Expectations – And Listen To Theirs
One of the trickiest things to navigate as an adult is having your parents move into your home and experiencing a clash of authority. The only way to avoid this is to have open, honest conversations where you speak about your expectations, and use your listening skills to really hear theirs. This can include things such as; are they going to make a financial contribution to the household? How are they willing or able to contribute on a practical level with housework, cooking or childcare? What sort of daily routine do they like to keep? What about your lifestyle and values? How will their day and plans mesh together with yours and those of your kids’ activities? Working through these details may sound small, but they all help to make your parents moving in as smooth as possible.