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Living with the kids: What to consider before moving in

When you are struggling to live at home safely but don’t want to move into an aged care facility, moving in with your adult children may be a good option to consider. However, there are a few things to think about before taking this step.

Last updated: November 26th 2021
Moving in with the kids and grandkids can bring you closer to family, but also completely change your lifestyle. [Source: Shutterstock]

Moving in with the kids and grandkids can bring you closer to family, but also completely change your lifestyle. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • If you don’t want to move into aged care but need care and support, moving in with family can ensure you are safe and receiving the help you need

  • Consider whether moving in with adult children is what you want and will meet your care needs

  • There are always other options available if it doesn’t work out living together with your adult children

Moving into a new environment can be confronting, especially if you have become used to living in your own home. And becoming part of a multigenerational home may take some adjusting suddenly having kids under foot.

While you may find life busier, being close to family, the grandkids, and regular social connectedness can have huge benefits to an older person’s mental wellbeing. At the same time, you can be assured that you have family available at all times to help you when you need it.

Anne Muldowney, Aged Care Policy Adviser from Carers Australia, says older people need to think about how moving in with family may change their lives and relationships, and they should be supported in their decision on where they want to live – no matter where that is.

“Take time to consider this carefully – try to resist rushing in before you have thought through the options,” explains Ms Muldowney.

What older family members should consider

If you’re considering moving in with family such as an adult child, you need to think about how this change in living arrangements will affect you and your lifestyle.

Things to consider:

  • Your existing community:

Will you be moving away from your local community? Will you miss your community and friends?

Consider how moving will affect your lifestyle and friendship groups and whether you are happy to make this move. You may find the impact to your lifestyle is minimal if your family lives in the area.

Additionally, when living with your adult children, will you be able to have friends over? Keeping strong social connections is important in your adult life and you should be encouraged to uphold those friendships.

  • Pets:

Most older people have a strong bond with their pets as they can be an important companion. So what happens if you can’t take your dog or cat with you?

Talk to your family about if they have space for your pet or whether they can’t take the pet in due to allergies or rental restrictions.

This may be a big deal breaker for some older people, because pets can be so much more than just a furry companion – they can be family too.

  • The impact on you:

Discuss how the living arrangements will work once you move in. If you have been living alone for a number of years, moving into a multigenerational household can be a huge change to the quiet household you are used to.

Ms Muldowney says, “If you are used to living alone, living with an adult son or daughter and/or grandchildren can make it harder to have time for yourself. Living in a busy household can be noisy and hectic.”

When considering the move, be aware of what your living situation will be like. Will you be sharing with a grandchild, getting your own room, or living in a granny flat?

And are there any house rules you need to follow? Some people can be very particular about how their households run and you may find some of the house rules don’t align with your personal lifestyle.

  • Your care and further options:

If you are moving in with your adult children, you need to be aware of what care services they will be providing and whether there will be additional supports put in place to assist you with living there, like adult day care or home care services.

Another important consideration is the accessibility of the home, especially if you have reduced mobility or struggle with the stairs. You may need your adult child’s family home upgraded or modified to accommodate for your mobility needs.

If you believe your care requires more than what your adult child can offer, you may need to look at different options, like a Home Care Package or moving into a place that provides higher level care.

  • Finances:

Ms Muldowney says before you move in, you need to know what the expectations are for paying for accommodation and living expenses.

Your family may decide to share the expenses with you, ask you to pay rent/board, or not ask for anything at all. But you should sort these details out before you move in.

Have an open conversation about this with your family to make sure you’re all on the same page.

Keeping control of your finances is also important because financial elder abuse can be really common among families.

“Always seek legal advice before entering any ‘assets for care’ arrangements. Financial elder abuse is more common than you may think,” explains Ms Muldowney.

When it doesn't work

If you moved in with your family but you find the arrangement isn’t working, you can look at mediation services to help out.

Ms Muldowney says, “Try to foresee the inevitable relationship stresses and put things in place to minimise the impact.

“There are family mediation and relationship services specialising in assisting older people and their families to improve communication, prevent and resolve family conflict, and make sometimes difficult decisions about health and aged care, financial and living arrangements.”

She recommends contacting Relationships Australia for further assistance or information when conflict arises.

Are you thinking of moving in with your children? Are you looking forward to the change in lifestyle? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Multigenerational living: Here’s what to consider
Things to consider before your older loved one moves in with you
How to have “the home care talk” with your parents

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