Things to Consider Before Moving Aging Parents into Your Home

Rapidly rising home prices, busy families, increasing health costs, and a desire by elderly parents to avoid assisted living have cast a new light on multi-generational living. Now, many of our clients are giving it serious consideration. The benefits of moving aging parents into your home are many. They include:

  • Closer proximity to aging parents, who may need a part-time or full-time caregiver
  • The two generations can pool their assets to afford a better home than either could afford on their own.
  • Stronger bonds between adult children, their parents, and grandchildren
  • Childcare for families without a stay-at-home parent
  • Shared cost of living between a larger number of adults
  • Avoiding or delaying the need for long-term care
  • Embracing cultural history. Multi-generational living has been common in many cultures (including in the U.S.) for centuries! It’s become less common in the U.S. in the last few generations and is now seeing a resurgence in popularity. 

While the benefits of combining households are significant, there are several things to consider before moving aging parents into your home. 

A growing trend

According to the AARP, this practice is becoming more common. “Today, 14 percent of adults living in someone else’s household are a parent of the household head, up from 7 percent in 1995.” Home designers and builders in our area and elsewhere are increasingly including in-law suites, carriage houses or apartments to appeal to these buyers.

Financial considerations

Be sure to discuss how to deal with the finances of the combined household. You can use these questions to get started:

  • Are there renovation costs? Who’s going to pay for them?
  • Who will make the down payment?  Who will be responsible for the mortgage?
  • What about utilities? Who will pay them, and how will they be split equitably?
  • Is there an expectation for childcare or caregiving?
  • Who will pay for household repairs?
  • When your parents pass, how will you share their estate with your siblings? Will you be able to afford to stay in the home?
  • Will your siblings be expected to assist with health care costs while your parents are living with you?

The financial considerations can be so complex that some families find it beneficial to write up a contract. That way everyone knows what to expect before the moving van arrives. 

Social considerations

As complex as figuring out the finances of combining households can be, that can pale in comparison to navigating social interactions. 

  • Is the entire property open to everyone living there, or are there areas only one family or the other may access?
  • Are there political or generational differences that could cause conflict?
  • Will grandparents question your parenting decisions?
  • How will grandparents and children, especially teenage children, interact?

Even something as simple as dinner isn’t always straightforward. Different expectations related to how often the entire family will dine together, who is responsible for cooking, and what food to eat (and when!) can cause issues.  

Consider the long term

Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s important to do so. What happens when parents outlive their children, and one spouse is left with an aging adult, or two, as a roommate? Is the surviving spouse able to be a caregiver on his or her own? If the adult child of the parents passes away, is the son or daughter-in-law obligated to continue living with them? It’s best to have these conversations before anyone’s health reaches a crisis point, so everyone knows what’s in store as the situation evolves. 

Contact Hinman Financial Planning

If you’re considering moving your aging parents into your home, contact us today for help. We’ll walk you through these questions and others, so you and your parents will have a solid plan in place before you combine households.