These days, in a rough economy, we hear a lot about adult children in their late 20s or early 30s moving back in with their parents because of unemployment or underemployment. However, what happens when older parents opt to move back in with their financially stable children?
A weakened economy altered the family dynamic in the early part of the century. At that time, we were used to a mom, dad, 2.5 children, a dog and a cat. But today, families take all shapes, and many times, that means moving Mom or Dad in with you. There could be benefits such as round-the-clock childcare, added income from chipping in for rent or household expenses, and helping prevent loneliness. However, for those thinking about moving back in with their adult children, there’s plenty to consider.
Before moving in, it is important to discuss the big things and commit to them in writing. If it seems silly or troublesome to ask a family member to sign a binding agreement, then type up your understanding of the arrangement and send it via email to time stamp it with your signature. This will offer evidence of the agreement, should any conflicts ever arise. Conflict often arises when other children wonder about the arrangement and the impact it may have on their inheritance.
When planning your arrangement, be sure to carefully consider homecare needs such as chores and repairs, social arrangements, and transportation. Otherwise, parents may learn quickly that they cannot adapt to their child’s busy schedule.
Additionally, if the parent will be taking care of a grandchild, and will be receiving payments for this task, it is important for the families to follow any applicable labor and tax laws.
If at all feasible, families may wish to try to build a separate living space for their live-in parent. This ensures that there are no conflicts with television programming, microwaving, showering and other minor items that may cause major stress over time. If building an add-on is impractical, then a parent should at least have some private space, as the parent likely had his or her own private space for years and may feel stifled without privacy.
While there may be some challenges associated with bringing a parent into their adult child’s home, it may be well worth it in the end. Adult children offer a great safety net for aging parents, and such an arrangement allows the adult children to return the favor of years of childcare, support, and unconditional love.