There is nothing more rewarding or frustrating than multigenerational families living together. For me, the responsibilities are huge and endless. For mom, moving from the life she once lived, to a life someone else lives is a lot like “losing your independence”. But we are one of the lucky ones because we have learned how to make this work.
Here’s a few tips we learned the hard way to head you in the right direction!
Talk about it early
We had our first dose of reality when Granny fell down a flight of stairs on an Alaskan cruise. Rehab would not release her until she had a safer environment to live in. Mom found her a beautiful independent-living facility that she hated until the day she died because she simply was not prepared. As a senior, making your own decisions is very empowering. Know where your future lies!
The term “You can’t take it with you” applies here. Nobody cares about your stuff as much as you do and nobody has room for it all. Plan now. Don’t leave it up to others later.
Who will help with doctor appointments, finances, transportation, and expenses? At some point, these all become issues for both parties.
Pets are crucial to happy lives and happy families, but not everyone loves them. Allergies, temperament, responsibilities, and poop all factor in to a love/hate relationship.
Will there be room for your vehicle? Many HOAs do not allow street parking. Who determines when it is time for you to stop driving and start relying on others for transportation?
Safety and Privacy Issues
Having a separate bedroom and bathroom is a must. Seniors need things readily accessible so they can reach them. Medications lying around can be a problem with young children in the mix. Multi-level homes and narrow entryways make it impossible once canes, walkers and wheelchairs get involved. Respecting each other’s privacy is critical.
Even with a busy household, seniors can feel isolated and lonely. Walking long distances can be a challenge. Figuring out what you can do together as a family is important.
In summation, I love living with my mom. We watch over and protect each other. She tries very hard not to be critical because I am pulled in 1,000 different directions. I try to be patient with how much longer everything takes to get done. (She interrupted me 5 times while I was trying write this article with something she needed done.) But with family and support, everyone can experience years of happiness and good memories.
Planning in advance makes the difference.