Should Mom Move in With You? Questions for Family Caregivers and Multi-Generational Households

November 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm 2 comments

It’s a big decision–whether your mom (or dad) should move in with you. You’ve probably been thinking about it for months, if not years. You’re probably already caregiving in many ways. You’re a card-carrying member of the sandwich generation–you can juggle as many balls as a circus clown. But you have concerns about living together. Once she’s moved in, there’s no turning back.

What if we fight all the time?

What if she tries to mother my children?

What if they like my mom better than me?

What if she monopolizes all of my time?

What if my dad starts barking out orders?

What if dad doesn’t adjust and gets depressed?

What if it affects my marriage negatively?

What if I can’t do it all?

Those are just some of the questions that might be swarming around your head.

How do you decide?

For the most part, your mom or dad becoming a part of your household is just the next natural step. Maybe your dad spends the weekends and the holidays already. Maybe your mom has been making excuses to stay over more and more. It may be  time because of financial reasons, the beginnings of dementia, or maybe this last bout of cancer has left your dad weak–and you want more time together. 

In some ways, living together is easier than trying to maintain two households. In other ways, there is an adjustment period.

Five Ways to Create a Smooth Transition to Becoming a Multi-Generational Household:

  • Sit together and have an honest talk about living together–expectations, assumptions, concerns. Keep it light, laugh about it, but be brave and bring up those uncomfortable topics so you can work through them early.
  • Commit to each other that no matter what situation comes up, you’ll work through it together. There’s a reason why we make those vows when we get married–because we might need to be reminded of that promise to stick together n0-matter-what when the ca-ca hits the fan!
  • Give each other permission to get mad, have a fight, make up, state you need some privacy, take time off, and on some days, be a royal B (you know what I mean). All of us have off days and when we do, we just need to announce it and everyone else needs to back far away and give us some room.
  • Decide important subjects like if you’re going to take over finances, who’s going to pack, how much you stuff you can bring with you, and other new territories up front. Most people have issues because they’ve made assumptions and haven’t cleared the air.
  • Admit going in (both of you) that you may need outside assistance. As time goes on, as your mom or dad continue to age, as diseases progress, you can’t do it all. You just can’t–not and be a daughter, a wife, a mother, and keep your health and your sanity. It’s easy to assume that because you’re living under one roof that you should take care of all of a person’s needs. That’s not humanly possible. Find community resources, hire part-time elder-care help, and be sure to get some respite care. You need a break–from each other!

Most people go through a romantic phase at the beginning of the transition–a time when everyone’s excited and happy–and then you have your first big fight or a problem arises you hadn’t planned for. Don’t let this throw you or make you think you made the wrong decision. It’s just the first of many changes–but it’s worth it. There’s something comforting about having everyone close to you under one roof–when the time is right.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. childofprussia  |  November 11, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Oh boy, this has been a tough issue for our family. My brother, husband and I decided to move in together with my parents, to help my Mom care for Dad, who came down with dementia a few years ago. We’re not exactly the sandwich generation yet, though. We’re still quite young, in our early 30s, and my husband and I have only been together for three years. We’re in this situation because my Dad’s symptoms started quite early in his life, in his late 50s. So in our case, I’d have to say the hardest part of our transition is for my husband and me as we try to figure out our relationship with each other and with my family, because we haven’t really had the opportunity yet to have our own lives – our whole dating and married life has revolved around my Dad’s illness. Naturally, all of our conflicts are related to my family’s issues, and the fact that we haven’t had a chance to really focus on each other yet. It’s tougher than we ever imagined it would be…

  • 2. uberVU - social comments  |  November 14, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mike_gamble: Should Mom Move in With You? Questions for Family Caregivers and Multi-Generational Households –


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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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