5 Tips to Help Prepare for Parents Moving In
With more adults living well into their golden years, some are moving back in with their children. Whether it's due to financial reasons, health reasons, or to help take care of their grandkids, it's not uncommon to see parents moving in with their kids these days. Now adults themselves, it's important for the children of these seniors to know what to expect when it comes to inviting Mom and/or Dad to come live with them. These tips will help the change be easier for everyone involved.
Make Your Home Accommodating
Photo via Flickr by mateoutah
Taking steps to prep your home for a parent's arrival is a great way to get in the mindset of sharing your space. Plus, it helps the family get involved with making a new household member feel welcome. Depending on the situation, you may need to accommodate a parent in different ways. Here are a few ways to get started:
Create a private space: Decide where your parent(s) will sleep and create a cozy getaway for them. Include some nice touches, like a cozy bed or their own TV. Ask your parents ahead of time if they'd like to take part in decorating the room so it feels more like their own.
Choose a space wisely: If you expect mobility issues in the future, avoid choosing a bedroom for your parent that requires walking up and down stairs (if possible).
Disability modifications: If your parent is disabled or is moving in due to health needs, think about the ways you need to accommodate them upon their arrival. Some examples include adding a wheelchair ramp to your home's entrance, getting a walk-in bathtub or shower, or placing non-slip mats under your rugs.
Anticipate Emotional Issues
While some people may look forward to a parent moving in, it's a fraught issue for others. If you know that your personalities can clash, think of some ways to make living together go smoothly from the get-go. Is your mother-in-law very chatty, while you like some quiet time? Find a place in your home where you can relax in quiet. Does your Dad tend to make political remarks that set you off? Have a go-to response ("Let's not talk about it now, Dad") and then change the subject to avoid arguments.
Check for Insurance and Health Care Coverage
This logistical factor often gets overlooked when parents move in. It's important to make sure that their move doesn't affect their insurance or health care coverage. When a parent moves to a different state to live with their kids, it often affects these policies. Even if your parents won't need to adjust their health care or insurance, it's helpful to set up appointments with local doctors right away if any health issues arise. And don't forget to check which local hospitals participate in their insurance policy in case of emergency.
Even with these steps, there will likely be some bumps in the road when a parent moves in with you. If you expect this from the beginning, you won't be shaken when a few challenges pop up. It's helpful to keep two things handy in these situations: gratitude and a sense of humor. Being thankful that your parent is still living and that you get to spend time with them as an adult will remind you to put things in perspective. Meanwhile, a sense of humor will help you see that not every obstacle is serious and that all families have their ups and downs.
Hammer Out Some House Rules
It's hard to change into the authoritative role with a parent. While you should still be respectful, it is your home and therefore, you make the rules. If you're concerned about a few things, be very clear that those things won't be allowed in your house. This could be a lighter matter, like not wearing shoes in the house, or something more serious, like telling a parent not to yell at your child when disciplining him. Lay out the ground rules kindly but then stick to them if you hope to keep the peace at home.
A Few Tips for Parents
If you're the parent moving back in with your child, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Be respectful of your child's home and house rules.
Help out around the house when you can.
Be straightforward about your financial and health needs.
Create a social life of your own if possible.
Let go of past differences and focus on strengthening your familial bonds.
These tips can make a parent moving in a positive experience for everyone involved. Keep in mind that having a multi-generational household can be a great blessing for the whole family.