As we grow older, many of us are starting to confront the issue of aging parents and how to provide a safe living environment, being there for there for their medical needs all while trying to continue having a normal life of our own.
With costs for retirement and nursing homes rising, the idea of moving our parents in with us is no longer a out-of-the-norm thought. This is a concept that is going mainstream and with good reason.
At one of our recent Open houses, we found that 15% of the people looking at the home were looking with thoughts of moving their aging parents in with them. These families were able to afford a bigger, more expensive home since most would be selling both their home and their parents home with thoughts of purchasing one large family home.
Many families stated to us that they were concerned that if one or both of their parents went into a retirement or nursing home, it would eat up most or all of the equity their parents had made on their home.
As someone who moved her mother in 17 years ago, I believe we have worked out a lot of the inevitable “kinks” that arise in multi-generational living. It is not easy for either party but with an open mind and heart, it can become one of the best decisions you will make.
The benefits of Multi-generational living are:
- Getting parents to medical appointments without taking huge blocks of time out of your own schedule.
- Making sure your parents are eating properly.
- Making sure your parents are taking their meds properly.
- You can care for parents after most medical procedures without taking away time from your family.
- You will notice changes in their health early before they become bigger medical issues.
- Relieve worry for them of caring for their own home maintenance and repairs.
- Can grocery shop for them at the same time your doing your own.
- Can make sure they are getting out and visiting friends and family.
- Spending holidays with them becomes easier.
- Your kids get to know their grandparents in ways you never though possible.
- Pet care and companionship without pet ownership.
- Protection against unwanted senior scams.
- No elderly abuse.
One of the biggest benefits is that the home equity our parents spent years earning will be used in a way they choose and not going to some nursing facility or government entity.
When we moved my mother in 17 years ago, her health was so bad that we were just hoping to have a good 5 years with her. She had retired early due to her poor health and the financial stress of living on her own was wiping out any retirement savings she had. Now 17 years later she is happy knowing that she will never again have to face problems on her own. And, her financial worries are a thing of the past. We will never have to worry whether she has enough food to eat or enough money to purchase her meds.
The biggest lesson we learned is that everyone needs their own space. And everyone, no matter how old, needs to feel needed. We gave two rooms to my mother and then did a room addition, which my mom paid for with her equity. This space allows her to have her own “home” all while living within a family unit. The belongings that give her peace and make her feel at home are with her. She had to downsize but was able to keep the items she loved the most.
Changes at this age are never easy. Our parents are moving away from their friends and the security of having their own home and making their own decisions. However, the benefits of living with family and becoming part of a new family unit far out weigh the negatives.
There will always be issues that come up but working them out together, as a family, will help this become not a scary and overwhelming decision but a decision filled with hope and anticipation for being able to provide a better life to some of the most important people in our lives.