By Holly Pitas

Living with an elderly parent can work wonders in certain families. Multigenerational households were common before the 1960’s and are still the norm in most of the world.
The invitation to move into the household is often sparked by the child’s love and sense of duty. For some families this is precious time together. Generally, day to day living doles out a stiff dose of a different realty. Some questions to consider:
Do you have a pleasant relationship with your parent?
Does your parent want to move in with you? What is their preference?
What is the relationship with your siblings? If your lazy brother is used to visiting mother and drinking beer all day in the living room; can he come over and do this at your house?
How do you anticipate this affecting the current dynamics of your home? What if you are on the go a lot and your dad expects large family dinners at home each night? Can your family come to a reasonable compromise on daily activities?
How long do you anticipate this living arrangement to last? A few months during the end of a terminal illness is quite different than the next 10 to 20 years.
Is your home able to physically accommodate your parent: are the doorways wide enough? Is the bathroom large enough? Is the interior free of stairs?
Will you need to make any modifications to the home? If so, do you have the time to make the necessary accommodation changes? Home renovation can take months; does that match the care need timetable of your parent?
How will the building updates be paid for?

If you are moving into mom’s home, what happens if she dies suddenly? Where will you live?

What happens when their care needs increase? Will siblings be able to contribute time or money to help care for the parent?

Do the siblings respect the impact on the life of the caregiver child? There are often negative emotional and physical health implications with the stress of full time care giving. If mom is 90 and the adult child is 70, is the child fit enough to care for the parent?
Does your family have a history of fair negotiation? With matters of a Will, Inheritance, Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, other family monetary arrangement, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a professional; consider an Elder Law Attorney, Family Mediator, Certified Financial planner, Certified Public Accountant, Geriatric Nurse Case Manager.

For many families, the multigenerational household is a dynamic and cherished lifestyle. Your family should give this arrangement careful consideration. If it will works for your family…wonderful!