Combining households has many benefits: Less hassle running back and forth between two residences, less worry about Dad eating well and remembering his meds, more family social time for him, cost savings on rent and utilities, etc.
But if things do not work out, disentangling could cause hurt feelings and damage your relationship. Consider these questions before you move in together.
Relationships and lifestyle
How do you and Dad get along? How does he get along with others in the house? How will he fit in with household routines? Will he eat what you eat? How will he cope with children? What about pets? Will he join you on vacation? Can you set boundaries and negotiate when issues arise? Are others in the house up for this change?
Can you accommodate him and still have privacy? Will he have his own bathroom? Sitting area? TV? Do you need to install grab bars or a riser seat on the toilet? Is there space for his clothes and possessions?
Time and money
Will he expect to have a lot of your time and attention? Will he need you to drive him places? What should you ask him to pay (for rent, utilities, food, cable)? Will you be paid for any of your assistance?
If Dad’s needs increase, are you comfortable doing personal care (bathing, dressing, help with toileting)? What about having someone come into your home to care for him?
If you decide to go ahead with an invitation, review your plans in detail with your relative and other family members. A written agreement is essential. Have it reviewed by an elderlaw attorney. And review it every few months afterward. You want to make sure everyone has the same vision and expectations!
Are you considering a multigenerational household?
As the Roanoke and Lynchburg experts in family caregiving, we at Gentle Shepherd Hospice applaud the great intent behind bringing an older relative to come live with you. There are, however, many, many issues to consider. Let us help you realistically weigh the pros and cons. Give us a call at 1-800-789-0586 (toll-free).