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Multigenerational Living

There are going to be bumps in the road, a transitional time period, and lessons to be learned

Has your elderly parent recently moved into your home and you’re finding the transition a little more difficult than you anticipated? Does the household feel a bit off-balance, and as though everyone is trying to find their place in this new normal? If so, don’t feel you are alone. Just because you love your elderly parent and truly want them to come live with you and your family, it doesn’t mean that harmony and happiness happen immediately. There are going to be bumps in the road, a transitional time period, and lessons to be learned.

So, before you come to the decision that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea, take a moment to read through these tips that can help make the new living accommodations not only work for everyone but make it enjoyable for all.

Have a Frank Conversation Before the Move Happens

One of the best tips is to make sure all adults sit down and have a frank conversation about the move before it actually happens. Discuss such things as where everyone will sleep, what the “common spaces” are, if there are any private spaces, what to do about guests, who will do chores, who does the cooking, how finances will be split up, and any special accommodations your parent may need. The more you can talk about it in the open, the fewer surprises and confusion there will be when the move actually happens.

Discuss Your Daily Routine with Your Elderly Parent

It’s a good idea to also discuss the family’s daily routine with your elderly parent, so they know what to expect. Let them know what time everyone gets up, what time the kids leave for school, when you and your significant other leave for work and get home, what time you typically eat dinner, and even the bedtime schedule.

The more they know about the regular routine, the more comfortable they will feel in the home. They will also know when to give you space as you race to get ready, or when to keep the noise down when the kids are getting ready for bed, and so forth.

Make Sure Everyone Has Comfortable Sleeping Arrangements

Because sleep is such a vital thing to everyone, you also need to be sure that each person in the household has comfortable sleeping arrangements. That may mean that your kids have to share a room, perhaps you have to create a new bedroom in the home by taking space from existing rooms, and just generally shuffling things around.

If your kids have to go from having their own rooms to sharing a room, obviously there will be some challenges to deal with. It may require downsizing in terms of furniture and toys, and that can be difficult to accept. Try to point out all the positives about the new living arrangements, and make it a good experience rather than a negative one. Remind them that sharing a room with their sibling can be fun, and now they will get to have grandma and/or grandpa also living in the house.

Ensure the Home Is Safe for Your Elderly Parent

Whether or not your parent has physical limitations or disabilities shouldn’t factor into making the home safe for them. You want to know that they are well-cared for whether someone is at home with them or not. Medical alert systems could be useful in this type of scenario, as then you have the peace of mind knowing they can get help if needed.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Finally, you want to be sure you keep the lines of communication open at all times, and this goes for everyone in the house. If there are issues, it’s best to talk about them as they happen rather than to let things build up.

Living in a harmonious multigenerational home is more than possible; it just takes some work and effort to get there.

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