As the baby boomers are aging, something that many parents are having to face is also being a caregiver for your own parents. The grandparents are moving in and you’re trying to get your family ready. Whether grandma or grandpa need medical help or are moving in for another reason, it will be a big adjustment for everyone. Here are a few tips to help every person in the family prepare for the move.
Before anything else you need to make sure you are ready for your parents to move in. AgingCare.com suggests scrutinizing your emotions and motives for wanting your parents to live with you. If you have never had a good relationship with your parents or feel guilty about the situation, these may be warning signs that the arrangement isn’t a good idea. You don’t want to force a relationship that has never worked in a tight space. Alternatively, if you have a great relationship with your parents, this may be a good way for everyone to spend more time together and deepen the relationship even further.
You also need to consider how to have your own time and space. Working, taking care of your kids and now taking care of your parents is a lot of responsibility, and it’s easy to put yourself last. But you can’t help anyone if you are too stressed or unhealthy. Before the big move you should create a schedule that includes some alone time to take care of yourself.
For Your Spouse
Your parents moving in is bound to be difficult for your spouse, even if they have a positive relationship with their in-laws. You may want to go to therapy together to discuss the move and have a third party help you set some boundaries.
It is important for you to discuss physical, financial and parental boundaries with your spouse and parents. Decide how your parents will contribute to the household, such as helping pay bills, taking care of the kids or doing household chores, if they’re able to. You also should discuss what boundaries are important to your spouse, such as time as a couple, family activities and who disciplines the kids. You should come to an agreement as a couple and then present the plan to the rest of the family.
For Your Kids
This may be the biggest adjustment for your kids, especially if the grandparents don’t live close by already. Talk to them about their grandparents moving into the house, and discuss any concerns they have as well as the positive aspects. If they have to give up their room be sure to hear their feelings on the matter and come up with solutions for their frustrations. This may include private time or quiet time for each sibling in the room or a new decorating scheme to make it feel like it belongs to both of them. If they have to share their room with another sibling, or with their grandparents, setting up a room divider can help them feel like they have their own private space.
You also should address their role in helping take care of their grandparents or vice versa. Will they have additional chores around the house? Can the grandparents discipline them? Make sure your kids understand everyone’s roles in the house and how they will work. And don’t forget to talk about the positives, such as spending quality time with their grandparents.
For Your Parent
Don’t forget to include your parents in these conversations. Discuss how they feel about the move and any concerns or excitement they have. Be sure to set boundaries for them to have privacy and be able to live their own lives. Talk about how they can contribute around the house and to bills, and agree on any rules. If they have medical issues, make sure your home is safe for them to get around. If you have stairs, or if you parents like to take afternoon walks by themselves, you may want to get them a medical alert device, such as the Lively Mobile. The compact medical alert system comes will fall detection and GPS, which means that trained agents will be notified if your parent ever falls and are able to send emergency help to their exact location. This will give you and your parents peace of mind whether they’re at home or out and about.
Turning your house into a multi-generational home comes with pros and cons. The key is to set expectations ahead of time so everyone knows what the plan is. Keep communication open and honest, and watch your family become even closer.