As costs of living and needs for assistance increase, many families are starting similar conversations: should we invite aging parents (or in-laws) to live with us? There are many benefits to living with one’s parents as they get older. Intergenerational households can be great for children, it can help strengthen family bonds, and you can have peace of mind that your parents are well cared for.
Remodeling and renovation projects can help create separate living spaces, whether you want to add on to your home, convert an existing space, or create an in-law apartment or a guest house near your main residence. That said, this shouldn’t be something that’s rushed into. In fact, you should have multiple conversations about living arrangements and expectations before calling the builders and movers.
Here are 6 conversation starters to get you and your parents talking:
Is Your Relationship with Ready for This?
Inviting a parent, parents or in-laws into your home can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t lived together as adults. If you have a complex or complicated relationship, it may make sense to chat about how that relationship may be challenged with regular communication and close proximity. If the parents moving in are your in-laws, consider how your relationship with them may change. Have these conversations together, and if you are serious about working through some complicated relationship issues to make it work, consider working with a certified marriage and family counselor who can make the discussion easier.
Is There Enough Room?
Simply put, is there space for additional people to sleep, eat, relax, etc? The answer to this is different for everyone. Be honest about the amount of space you need to feel comfortable. As we mentioned in the introduction, additions, renovations, and remodels make it possible to convert parts of your home to an in-law suite or apartment, and depending on your budget, you can create separate living spaces, kitchens, and bathrooms within a single-family home or over a garage. This question naturally leads into the next:
How Do You Maintain Privacy?
Personal space and privacy can shrink when you invite your parents to live with you. How can you maintain some privacy and personal space? Some families create separate spaces and others think about scheduling times together and times apart. If you can have these conversations early, you can avoid the stress and conflict that comes when you feel like you’ve lost your privacy in your own home.
What Are Expectations About Finances and Chores?
Another very real conversation that should be had early on pertains to finances and chores. Will you share responsibilities? Split costs? Or perhaps grandparents will help with grandkids? There will be some added expenses, noticeably to utilities and food, but think about how things will be handled. Issues often arise when one expects something from another, even if it hasn’t been discussed. By coming to an agreement about living arrangements ahead of time, you can all start off on the same page.
How Will We Address Health Concerns and Needs?
For parents moving in and needing assistance or care, discuss their needs. How you can work together to address them? Will parents need help with transportation to appointments? In home care? Consider a meeting with your parent(s) and their physician. Talk about them moving in and the level of care that they’ll need. A doctor’s input may be invaluable. Finally, consider how your parents’ health may change down the road.
Is Your Home Accessible?
Is your home accessible to someone using a wheelchair or walker? Can your parent open doors by themself? One popular movement termed “aging in place” focuses on accessibility design for aging populations as mobility, dexterity and physical strength decrease. Adapting your home to be accessible can give your loved one more autonomy and reduce the amount of assistance that they require.
Designing for Aging in Place and In-Law Apartments
Whether you are looking for a Myrtle Beach custom home, an addition, or a large scale renovation, Odom Design brings smart design solutions to every project. Our team specializes in design-build projects that reflect your family and lifestyle. We love the challenge of finding creative solutions to accommodate parents and in-laws, allowing for both cohabitation and individual privacy. If you would like to discuss plans for a guest house, in-law apartment, addition, or age-in-place upgrades, please reach out to us.