This post is written by Jenny Daniels.
Do you have elderly parents that you want to take care of instead of having them in a retirement home? Do you have adult children that want to move back in with you because they’re having financial issues or trouble finding a job after graduation? In cases such as these, it can make good financial sense for several generations to live under one roof.
But consider the pros and cons carefully before making a commitment. While it may seem like a good idea at the outset, you must consider things like making your home completely accessible by adding things like an EasyClimber stair lift, bathroom safety items and other accessories to ensure your elderly parent or parents can live as independently as possible.
A chance to bond: Living under one roof builds a greater bond between each generation. Kids, no matter how old, love hearing stories from their grandparents about the ‘good old days’. The elderly have a lot of wisdom and experience that can be passed on each day, not just at family dinner on Sundays.
Easier to care for elderly parents: When you live with your parents or in-laws, it is much easier to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe and comfortable. If they live on their own, you would constantly worry if they’re okay, and it can add stress to your life always having to plan your schedule around visits to their home. With work, home chores and other life necessities, time is of the essence, and having your elderly parents with you can relieve much of that stress.
Pool your money: The more working adults that live under one roof, the cheaper it will be overall for monthly expenses like mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, etc. Even if your recently graduated kids can’t find a job in their field, chances are they are working at least part-time in another field. Everyone’s income can be split in a fair and equitable way.
Too much of a good thing: Too much closeness can lead to frustration and arguments, no matter how much you love each other. To solve this issue, make sure that everyone has their own space to go to for solace and comfort. Their own bedroom, suite or even finished basement can make for a more harmonious home.
Can be challenging to split all household costs fairly: Your 20-year-old son is going to use the basement exclusively, your in-laws are going to sleep in the extra bedroom and have exclusive use of the den and family room, and everyone will have equal access to the rest of the house. How do you decide who pays for what? This can be a huge challenge, and it’s critical for everyone to come to an agreement before all moving in together. You may want to consider hiring a professional to draft up a legal document.
Initial outlay of cash: Splitting costs will certainly save you money in the long run, but there may be an outlay of cash needed before moving day. Examples include installing extra bathrooms, kitchenettes, or even complete in-law suite additions. You will also need to think about installing safety devices for your elderly parents, including a stair lift, alarm system, and bathroom devices like bars and non-skid mats, etc.
Some experts caution against letting your adult kids move back home. You have to do what you think is right in your family’s situation. Some parents adopt the tough love style, while others are more lenient. You will have to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks – and only you can decide.