Moving in with grandma and grandpa: How to discuss the situation with your family

As your parents get older, it’s a good idea to discuss their future plans with them. While this conversation may be uncomfortable, it’s important this is talked about before any life changing event occurs.

Depending on your parents’ health, there are many options of where they can stay: whether it’s in their own home, they move in with you and your family or they move into a retirement home, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Your parents

It’s never too early to discuss your parents’ future plans with them. How you start the conversation depends on your relationship with them. One idea could be to discuss a story about someone else and ask them what their thoughts are on the situation. If you hold a close relationship with them, you can start the conversation off by asking them where they might want to live in the future, whether they plan retire in the same city or move somewhere else.

If they say they haven’t thought about it yet, discuss the importance of the issue and mention that you want to make sure they feel comfortable with the choice they make and that you’re concerned about their well-being and health. If they’re unsure at the moment, at least they may think about it more now. Your parents likely want to maintain their independence and it’s important that you acknowledge this and consider their opinions on where they plan to live.

If their decision is to move in with you, it’s important that you’ve discussed this with your spouse and children, before saying yes. Having your parents move in will affect your family’s lifestyle and it’s important that you evaluate whether this is feasible before agreeing. You will also need to discuss what your parents will do with their current property, if there is a cost of rent you will charge them and any concerns you have.

Your partner and your children

If grandma and grandpa move in, it’s important to have a discussion with your partner before deciding. You will need to discuss what rooms will be designated for your parents, what renovations may need to be done to accommodate them, how this may affect your day-to-day and how this will affect your family financially. Both of you should feel comfortable with the decision before going forward.

More Canadians are living in multigenerational households with 362,600 families in this scenario, according to Statistics Canada. In 2011, 4.8 per cent of children 14 and under lived with their grandparents, which is an increase from 3.3 per cent in 2001. This is about a 50 per cent increase and it is expected that the percentage will grow even more.  Families benefit from extra help around the house, depending on their grandparents’ health, and grandparents benefit by having someone always in the house if they go on vacation.

Before the move, sit down with your children early on and inform them about the decision and how this might affect them, such as whether you’re retrofitting the kitchen with adjustable counters or adding a walk-in bathtub to the bathroom. Ground rules may need to be set, such as keeping quiet in the evening, and if your parents have a health condition, it’s important to let your children know what to do if there is a situation.

Help your children feel comfortable about the move before it happens. Communication is key to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

If you need to retrofit your home, Barrier Free Living can help. For over 15 years, Barrier Free Living has provided accessible products which are tailored to your unique requirements, ensuring your safety while maintaining your level of personal independence, dignity and satisfaction. As North America’s leading distributor of barrier free products for seniors and people with disabilities, Barrier Free Living continues  to deliver excellent service and expert advice. Contact us at 1-877-717 7027.

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