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Has one of your children suggested that he or she temporarily move back home? This can happen for a number of reasons. It may be to reduce expenses while returning to school or after a layoff. It’s a good way to save money for a down payment on a home, or pay back some debts.

This can work very well, but don’t jump into it without some planning and discussion of expectations. This situation is not the same as it was when your child was in high school. Work together to figure out ground rules that work for all of you. Let’s consider some issues you may want to address.

First, agree on a plan for the stay. This should include specific goals, a timeframe, and the amount of money your child will save or use to pay debts. The next part of the plan is specifics on what expenses the child will cover and any responsibilities taken on around the house. It’s important not to slip into the old parent-child relationship. This means that parents do not do their laundry or clean up after them. Include real consequences for not meeting the plan, up to and including having your child move out.

Determine which space or spaces will be given to your child for the duration of the stay. You do not have to give your child his or her old bedroom if it is not convenient. It would be good if the space includes a private bathroom. Don’t feel obligated to redecorate in any permanent way for his or her stay. Leave the flooring, but you may want to encourage the addition of an area rug to personalize the space. Paint, some of their own furniture and art will help make the space theirs.

Finally, don’t expect to exert the same kind of discipline that you used when your child was young. It is no longer appropriate. However, you do have the right to ensure that your comfort and convenience are not affected. Be sure to request notice about which meals he or she will be home for, and ask them to stay quiet if coming in late in the evening.

With these issues covered, you are all in for a more pleasant time while sharing your home with your child as an adult.


The Multigeneration House Part 1: Sharing with a Parent

Posted by creatingyourspace under Hints and Tips

As parents age, eventually you may have to help them re-design their lives. Health issues can make it hard for a parent to continue to live independently, but personality, emotional and financial factors may eliminate the possibility of assisted living or other institutional options.

If you’re considering bringing one or both parents into your home, making a few plans first can help this transition work well for everyone involved.

To start, make sure your family member or members have a realistic understanding of the situation. If possible show them the space they would have, and get measurements to keep their furniture expectations realistic. Let them redecorate the space to make it their own.

Be sure to do a safety check on your home before your parent or parents move in. Look for tripping hazards such as rugs without non-slip pads. If possible, carpet their space. Carpeting is the safest flooring for the elderly because it cushions falls. You may also want to add safety bars to showers or bathtubs.

If you can, provide a bedroom, a bathroom and a sitting room to ensure enough privacy. It’s generally a good idea to include a television in their personal space so that there will be no program debates among the generations.

Plan to provide additional storage space for valued possessions. Remember that something that may not seem valuable to you may hold special memories for a parent. If you need to, rent storage space to hold their things until they’re ready to let them go.

Above all, work to keep the lines of communication open. There will be challenges, but with effort you will all find the time together to be rewarding.