Should Mom or Dad Move In With You? 5 Things to Consider

How to prepare when bringing older relatives in-house

Daughter taking care of her elderly mother at home

Do you have a parent living alone, becoming forgetful and not managing so well? Or are your aging parents struggling to care for each other in their home? If you are weighing the idea of moving a parent (or two) in with you, there are important considerations, says geriatric medicine specialist Ronan Factora, MD.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

He says living with family makes it easier for older adults to keep up with daily activities, but to make it work, it’s important to talk to your parents honestly about current and future expectations. You also want to be realistic about the kinds of changes that can result.

“It’s often an easy move initially, but challenges can arise as medical problems increase. It’s a huge adjustment for everyone,” he says. Adults who provide care often feel sandwiched between the needs of their children and parents.

Here are five factors to consider.

1. You may need to adjust your meals

You may worry that your parents are not eating properly on their own. Maybe it’s getting harder for your mom to cook. Or nothing tastes good and she just doesn’t feel like bothering.

It’s easy enough to stretch family meals, but many older adults have special dietary needs. It’s often more complicated than just adding an extra plate or two at the table.

2. You might have to drive more

Do you worry about your mom or dad still driving, or have they given up their car?

If they move in, you can do the driving and that resolves the safety issue. But how will their travel needs mesh with your schedule?

Whether you spend your days ferrying younger children around or you work all day, you’ll need to sort out transportation for your parent. But that effort is very worthwhile, Dr. Factora says.

Living alone can make it harder to stay active in social and volunteer activities or the church. Older adults living with family can often maintain these connections longer, he says. And that helps keep them healthy.

3. You can keep parents safer and manage medications

Having older family members in-house means you can watch for falls, memory lapses or other failings.

Maybe your mom can’t manage the stairs in her home anymore. But if you have stairs too, you might need to adjust sleeping accommodations or remodel so she can get around more easily, Dr. Factora says.

If your dad is forgetful about taking his medications, you can easily help with that if he moves in. (Make sure to keep medications out of reach of young children, though.)

4. You can free parents of bills and household management

Older adults usually forego bill payment and household management responsibilities when they move in, Dr. Factora says. Doing so frees them from having to keep track of due dates and bank accounts, which gets more difficult as we age. However, you can keep your mom or dad involved if there are tasks they can manage.

5. You’ll need to watch for caregiver fatigue

Caregivers frequently put their own needs on the back burner, but you can’t manage that way indefinitely.

Advertisement

Often they are the “forgotten patient,” and that’s why caregivers need to take breaks and hand off responsibilities to others in the household sometimes, Dr. Factora says. Or if you’re caring for an older adult by yourself, get someone to come in for a few hours each week to give you a break.

Setting schedules and sharing regular chores with the family also helps caregivers avoid overwork. If family members are stretched for time, there may be community agencies and resources available that can be used to support the family and the loved one.

Balance is important for success

You might find it hard to balance your own life with your older family member’s needs. It’s easy to lose track of your own interests or community involvement in favor of providing care. Create a calendar to help work everything into the schedule.

Move-in situations work best, Dr. Factora says, when everyone participates in decision-making. Talking things out from the start minimizes confusion and arguments down the road.

“I think it would be an ideal situation for older adults to move in with family members, though there are barriers to address for it to work,” he says.

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person having a serious discussion about a health diagnosis with family.
January 25, 2023/Cancer Care & Prevention
How To Explain Your Lymphoma Diagnosis to Friends and Family

Lead with what you’ve learned and create space for expectations

Male clutching abdomen in pain
What You Can Expect Long-Term After Having Hernia Surgery

Depending on the type of hernia, complications like pain and infection may arise in the months and years following treatment

elder woman lifts weights at gym
Why Senior Mobility Is so Important Right Now

Learn how simple movements can preserve your health — and lessen your risk for falls

woman working on her leg in rehab
10 Tips to Help You Choose a Rehab Facility

Common questions you should ask to find a rehabilitation solution that’s right for you

Bullseye-like rash on leg from lyme disease infection
May 23, 2024/Infectious Disease
What It’s Like Living With Lyme Disease

Symptoms can feel like long COVID or the flu, with body aches or even nerve damage

Sad person holding smaller version of themselves in their hands
May 22, 2024/Mental Health
How To Be More Confident and Improve Your Self-Esteem

Ignore the negative self-talk, practice positive affirmations and remember, you’re not perfect — and that’s OK!

Person at podium in front of crowd, nervous, sweating
May 20, 2024/Mental Health
Anxiety Has Its Benefits — But Only in Healthy Doses

A healthy amount of anxiety can keep you safe from harm and motivate you to take action

Assorted healthy foods spread out over a table and cutting boards
May 20, 2024/Digestive
What To Eat When You Have Diverticular Disease

Reducing inflammation is key when you’re in a flare-up, but so is having a preventive nutritional plan in place when you’re not

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad