A recent article from AARP states that 31.9 percent of American families live in a shared household. It’s funny because we tend to think of multigenerational households as a thing of the past. But, there’s a healthy number of families still living with two to three generations under one roof.
Yet, the question remains. Is living with elderly parents right for you?
It’s not for everyone and it’s not something to be taken lightly. The first thing you’ll need to plan is a family meeting filled with honest conversation. From there, it’s a matter of logistics.
Below, we discuss all the nitty-gritty, from the blunt conversation to the potential home improvements. It’s a process that, when done right, can offer a lifetime of happy memories.
1. Open Conversation
The first thing you need to do is sit down with your parents and discuss the entire arrangement in detail. Where in the house will they live? A separate in-law setup comes with fewer blurred lines. If, however, your parents will live in a bedroom in your living space, there’s much more to consider.
Although the topic of family and money is always sticky, it’s important to be clear about the finances. How will groceries and household goods be handled? Will meals be cooked for everyone together?
You’ll know what to discuss, based on what’s important to you. But, do sit down and make a detailed list of topics before hosting the family meeting. And, worst case scenario, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll need a Plan B for that, too.
2. A Compassionate Memory
If you were raised by your parents as a child, consider all they did for you. Recall all the sacrifices they made for your happiness and well-being. Remember, they put up with all your childlike tantrums. Are you able to give back to them now?
You can expect times to get tough here and there. Whenever you put a bunch of people together in a confined living space, there are bound to be difficult times. Remember, they’re your parents. They put up with all your childish ways and, now, you can repay them for their generosity and patience.
3. A Thorough Home Cleaning
Assuming your parents will be living in your immediate space, and not a separate in-law setup, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. And this isn’t a matter of vacuuming, dusting, and laundry. It’s a matter of decluttering.
With people, come “things.” And, if you’d like your parents to be comfortable and at home, you’ll want to make room for them. Perhaps they’ll want to store their favorite tea tins in the kitchen.
Perhaps they’ll come with a cherished recliner — either to be put in their bedroom or your living room. The more you can declutter now, the less of a headache you’ll have in the early days.
4. Home Improvements
There are a few basic home improvements that carry certain safety measures. For example, you can install a handle at the entrance to the shower, something for them to hold on to. In fact, you might want to consider sturdy handrails around every doorway and staircase.
These 7 tips will open your eyes to the many components of home safety. Take note of the lighting in your home. Bright lights will aid your parents in their movements about the house.
It’ll (hopefully) help them avoid tripping hazards within their line of sight. Area rugs are a major tripping hazard. So, you might want to consider your carpeting options, too.
5. Hired Help
Presumably, you’ll still have to work during the day. And you don’t want to lose your social life, either. So, consider hiring help. A caregiver doesn’t have to move into your home. Rather, they can come for a certain number of hours each day.
It’s nice to have someone there while your parents shower, eat their meals, and perhaps do some chores around the house, including laundry and organizing.
Maybe the caregiver will even be the one to take your parents to their regular doctor’s appointments.
6. Planned Activities
This doesn’t sound like a necessity, but it’s an important point for consideration. There’s no better way for everyone to go looney than to sit in the house together all the time. Consider what your parents like to do for fun.
Maybe you’ll prepare a designated puzzle table for them. Does your mom like to garden? Perhaps you’ll welcome her with a small basket of garden tools and a plot of land in the backyard.
Not only will these pre-planned activities send a sign of welcome, but it’ll also provide ample opportunity for everyone to stay busy.
7. A Talk with Your Siblings
Although you’ll be taking on the bulk of the responsibility, you should still meet with your siblings before moving your parents in. See how they plan to contribute, too. Will they take your folks out for Sunday brunch?
Will they come over on a Friday night to play Scrabble? Will they pitch in financially by delivering meals here and there or helping with the cost of a caregiver?
Either way, it’s important to gauge whether or not your siblings are willing to do the right thing as you move forward with this major life change.
Enjoy Living with Elderly Parents
When planned right, you might find you enjoy living with elderly parents. Hopefully, you’ll recall those nights at the puzzle table with joy and warmth.
Hiring another pair of hands to care for them while you’re out during the day is a surefire way to put everyone’s mind at ease and ensure a smooth transition.
Here at My Zeo, we’re all about a happy, wholesome, and balanced life. A lot of that starts within the four walls of our home. We’re wishing you the smoothest of transitions and the happiest of memories.
If your parents happen to come with quite a bit of “stuff” in tow, consider this article on decorating antiques. Perhaps you can turn some of their tokens into household treasures.