The Space Race
Guest Blog written by Lucille Rosetti
Moving in with an elderly parent may, upon first thought, seem like an ideal scenario. Today, multigenerational living has become fairly commonplace in the United States. In fact, 14 percent of all homes purchased in 2017 involved a household that included an adult child, a parent and, in some cases, grandchildren. There are many perfectly valid financial reasons, such as job loss, and personal reasons, like the death of a spouse, for moving in a senior parent. It may seem like the perfect solution to everyone’s problems, but there are hurdles to overcome when people who aren’t accustomed to living together try to move in as extended family.
There are a number of circumstances that should be considered as you go through the house hunting process together:
The Space Race
Everyone, regardless of the circumstances, needs their fair share of space and privacy. That can be difficult when you move in with family, whether it be an elderly parent or someone else. As you look at house layouts, bear in mind the importance of personal space, not just for an older adult, but for yourself, your spouse, and children. Children tend to monopolize space, televisions, and computers. As much as your parent enjoys being near you and your kids, there will be times they need space because they’re feeling sad due to the loss of a spouse, or because they just need some alone time. That can be tough to accommodate if you haven’t planned for it when you’re looking for a home. It involves more than a private bedroom and an en suite bathroom. Seniors love being around kids and grandkids, but everyone needs their space. It’s no coincidence that nearly 30 percent of people age 65 and over prefer to live alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Make sure the layout of your new home is conducive to privacy, even if it means opting for a home with more square footage than you’d planned for.
Benefits of Living Together
If your elderly parent is struggling with the loss of a spouse or a home of many years, rest assured that bringing them into your home will definitely benefit your parent. A widowed parent can suffer cruelly from the effects of isolation. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has found that isolation increases the risk of mortality in people age 52 and older. Isolation leads to depression, anxiety, and feelings of listlessness and social disengagement. You may have misgivings about buying a home with a senior relative, but your parent will definitely benefit from the experience.
Bear in mind that if you have siblings, they may feel resentful about your parent moving in with you. Or they may be concerned that it means you’ll gain an unfair advantage when it comes to your inheritance. In the interest of family unity and to dispel worries that you’re up to something, make sure to include family members in the conversation who aren’t directly affected in the move. It can be valuable to get their input and advice, and it’ll be well worth putting their minds at ease.
Level the Playing Field
Beware making your elderly parent feel disenfranchised or disadvantaged, especially if they’re helping finance the purchase of a home you’re buying together. Don’t talk down to them or try to shunt them out of the conversation. That will only lead to resentment and complications later on.
Many people are able to maximize their home purchase by buying a foreclosure property. If a homeowner defaults, the rights revert to the lender, who will seek to auction the property publicly. It can be a great way to get maximum value for your dollar.
Think through the living needs of everyone involved when purchasing a home with an elderly parent. Consider also the feelings of other family members, especially siblings, who won’t be directly involved. Transparency and honesty are important when it comes to making such an impactful decision.
AUTHOR BIO -
Lucille created TheBereaved.org as a means of sharing tools to help people through the grief process. Having lost some of the people closest to her, she understands what it’s like, and how it can be an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t always seem to make sense.
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