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Family Reactions about Long Term Care in Home

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

A move to intergenerational living in order to care for elderly relatives typically involves more than two people. If you are planning to bring your parent to live with you, think of how the other people in your life — spouse, children, siblings — are affected by this decision.

Having an in-law or a grandparent living in your home is not the same as having them visit. Whether you are having an aging parent move in with you or you are the older person about to move into your child's home, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will the other people in my life have to give up space to accommodate another person?

  • Will children still feel free to bring friends home?

  • Will my spouse (or your adult child's spouse) have additional responsibilities?

If you're considering bringing a parent into your home, how your siblings react is a particularly sensitive issue. A lot depends on your prior relationship and their relationship with your parent. One sister may feel relieved not to have to take on the responsibility; a brother may worry that being in your home may undermine his relationship with your parent.

Money — a topic that will need to be discussed with much sensitivity — is often a contentious issue between siblings. When dealing with siblings, consider the following questions:

  • Who is going to be financially responsible?

  • Will a parent's contribution to buying a home or supporting a household take money away from an expected inheritance?

  • If the move involves the sale of the parent's home, how will the proceeds be used?

These issues are all best addressed at the outset, although they may have to be revisited as circumstances change.

If you are the older person moving in with an adult child, ask yourself

  • What are my main concerns?

  • Will constantly being around grandchildren and their high-energy behavior annoy me?

  • Will I be able to accept the help that is part of the package?

  • Am I concerned that my son or daughter has never been a good money manager and may not use my financial contribution wisely?

These issues are best discussed before you make a move.

Perhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself before going further in your fact-finding is: Is this something I want to do or something I feel I should do? If it's something you want to do, and the primary person you are concerned about also wants to do it, then you have a good beginning.

If it's something you feel you should do, that doesn't mean it's a bad idea, just that you're starting with some worries and negative feelings that may affect the outcome. You may be making some assumptions about what it will be like that won't be borne out.

Talk to others in this situation to see how they have handled the changes. A trusted family friend or counselor may be able to help you sort out your feelings and to help allay your concerns. But if this honest appraisal results in increasing your anxiety rather than relieving it, this may be the time to acknowledge that the arrangement is not going to be successful.

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