View Full Version : Having a parent move in with you

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08-31-2010, 09:29 PM
My mother-in-law lives with us-she's great; I love her! One tip to remember: whenever your mum does something that ABSOLUTELY DRIVES YOU BONKERS...remind yourself that there are things you do that drive her absolutely bonkers. Best wishes and good luck!

08-31-2010, 11:52 PM
My suggestion would be to get it in writing. I'm serious! Next time you talk to her, you can mention that you're looking forward to having a great living experience with her. And that in order to do it, the more you are both on the same page, the greater chance you will both acheive success.

Ask her to e-mail you what she thinks the house rules should be. And you do the same. Exchange your lists and then start negotiating. (You'll probably have to go through multiple drafts of your documents until they're the same.)

You might even want to separate your wants/needs into categories. Such as: "Things that I MUST have (no IF's, AND's or BUT's!!!...", "Things I want (but which I will be flexible about)...", "Things that would be great to have....but I'm not holding my breath!" (humour can be a good tool in these situations!).

Having it in writing means you have something you can refer to and this can be reviewed three or six months after living together to see if another update is needed.

Wow, Boston you are brave! It sounds as if your mom has created her own financial situation. Honestly, I'd be researching backup plans in case this doesn't work out.

This is a good point. How about suggesting your living together as a trial run? After x months, you will sit down and see if this living situation is working for both of you. If it's not, then you'll move on to the backup plan that skatemommy suggests. Maybe your back-up plan could have two or three options (that you both came up with before she moved in). So in case things don't work out, you both know what will happen and the transitions to the new plan won't be as difficult to manage.

09-01-2010, 12:58 AM
I admire you for choosing to take on this responsibility, and I wish you the best. I think it would be good to plan with your siblings what you will do if your mother develops health problems or other age related disabilities as she gets older. I hope they will share in the caregiving at such a time, and not assume that you will do it all, because she is with you. At 80 my mother was functioning wonderfully, at 84 she is still in great physical health, but her short term memory is gone, so I know things can change.

This is a great idea. FWIW, when our Mom was fully functional (relatively) we all sat down and discussed our parts in her future. My mother was a difficult person and we all had our "issues" with her. We made a plan with keeping each of our strengths in mind: One of us is a Psych expert, one was a Nurse, one was a Lawyer, two others were the people mom listened to the most, and had high patience levels. For the most part, it worked...except for at the end, when selfishness, greed, and old baggage set in.
My point is: Everyone should have a plan or two to address your mom's future needs.

09-01-2010, 02:30 AM
I would expect you mother to have her own issues with the transition, not matter how advantageous the move seems. There are going to be things she doesn't like in the long run, no matter how much you try to accommodate her in your home and in the ground rules you come up with. In addition to PeterG's great suggestion about having a back-up plan, you could set aside times to have sanity checks -- a month later, three months later --to discuss what's working and what isn't and adjust accordingly. No matter what you set up at first, it's impossible to predict how the best laid plans will play out.

I don't know what your mother's personality is, but in that vacuum, I would suggest that if she gets weepy or starts to sound like a victim -- ex: talks about how she feels like you have the power and she's feels like just a guest, etc. -- to let it sit a while before reacting and changing the rules. (Or you could end up with the psychic equivalent of the guest room in your own house.)

09-01-2010, 12:30 PM
When you say she has "ZERO" capacity to live alone, why is that?

Is she old enough to collect soc. security along with her pension from your dad? If so, I'd look into retirement housing for her if you can. A small little one bedroom apartment in a community with other folks like her. Check out what State services are available to her.

You say you two are as different as can be. I don't see you being happy in a situation like that. As much as we love our parents, living with them as adults can be difficult. Try to remember why you moved out on your own in the first place.

09-01-2010, 01:18 PM
Perhaps "zero capacity" was a bit extreme of a description. For most of her marriage to my dad (they were together 34 years), her mother lived with us when my grandfather died. It was great for us kids to have grandma in the house (my father was less pleased, but that's another story). My mom is the very product of the adage, "It takes a village to raise a family".

My mom made raising her children her whole life. Empty nest syndrome doesn't even begin to cover the problems that occurred when we all grew up and went our separate ways. It's not enough that most of her children live within an hour's drive of her (and my little sister is 5 miles away). She wants to live with family. She's a very gregarious woman with people, but is uncomfortable with the thought of living with someone that isn't a relative. Living alone with family nearby is hard for her because she's still alone. She just likes having someone else around.

I'm certainly willing to fill that role. Our differences are ones that I think we can work around. She's a devout Catholic, and I'm not. But she knows that I won't be attending church with her and I know she won't pressure me in that regard. We've worked through that particular issue. We both love theater, and I'm actively involved in a local community, non-profit one where I'm on the Board of Directors. So I fully intend to get her involved in some capacity. But I need to get her to find her own activities as well. One thing that I can say with certainty is that we have open communication. It's going to take a lot of work to get her our of her rut activity-wise, but I'm determined to do it.