Is it time for grandma and/or grandpa to move in with you? This is a big decision for everyone, and can evoke a lot of strong emotions and stress. We hear a lot about the “sandwich generation”, adults who find themselves caring for their children as well as their aging parents, but this is a difficult time for the aging parents as well. No one likes to give up their independence and their authority. People spend a lot of time dreading this very scenario, looking for ways around it, but here’s the surprising truth: the benefits of multi-generational households far outweigh the risks. Here are just a few reasons to embrace a full house:
Financial: Sharing a home can take financial pressure off of both the aging parents and their adult children. It makes a lot of economic sense to share resources these days, and everyone can usually contribute something. Sit down and talk about money from the beginning (always hard to do, I know), and you can work out something reasonable that will allow those with the lesser income to maintain some dignity, and those with the higher income to still get a little help. Maybe grandma and grandpa pay 20% of the utilities, and contribute a set amount of money each month toward food, according to their ability to pay. You can avoid a lot of resentment down the road if you just establish some sort of guidelines.
Practical: Even if your parents don’t have a lot of financial resources at their disposal, they can still make a valuable impact on the responsibilities of keeping a home and raising children. Although most aging parents are not going to want to be saddled with a major portion of the child-rearing responsibilities, nor should you expect that, you might be able to agree on a few valuable perks, such as babysitting twice a month for date night, and occasional help with the kids’ homework. If your parents are still fairly mobile, perhaps they can make some of your childhood-favorite home cooked meals once or twice a week. (Mmmm – Mom’s pot pie!) And no worries about someone being home when the cable guy comes!
Emotional: This is the big one. This is the one that, years from now, will make you so glad you did this. Watching your children interact with their grandparents, knowing there are other adults who love them wholeheartedly. Seeing your children show compassion for elderly people because they know some, really know them. Coming home from work and having a supportive adult, besides your spouse, to talk to about your problems. Creating new memories, as well as sharing the old ones. Knowing you were there for your parents when they really needed you, just as they were there for you. You simply cannot put a price on the incredible sense of love and security that comes from being part of a tribe. Not to mention that you will be modeling some wonderful behavior for your children. When you can no longer live alone, your children will take it a matter of course that you will move in with them!
So, now that you are ready to take the plunge and reap the benefits, here are some practical considerations. There is only so much room in your house, but everyone needs something of their own. Your parents will be much happier if they can bring a few of their things to your home – a comfy chair, a favorite dresser. Honor this, even if it means getting rid of some of your things to make way.
This could be a logical time to consider a storage unit where you could store the heirlooms your parents can’t part with (but you don’t have room for), as well as putting in a few of your belongings to cut down on the clutter for the time being.
If you live in the following areas, Dollar Self Storage can help: