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Many aging parents would prefer to stay in their own homes. And they absolutely do not want to move into assisted living. That’s why the best solution is often to move in with their adult children.

Multigenerational living can be lovely for all involved. Especially if your parent has been living too far away for weekly visits. But there are also a few things you’ll need to do to prepare both your parent and your family for the change.

Here are some tips for living with an elderly parent:

Be realistic

You may immediately offer your home to your elderly parent, but it’s important to consider your entire family first. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Consider how much space you currently have in your home. Your parent will need their own space, which is why shared living is usually best in large homes or those with separate bathroom and bedrooms. Consider whether a family member will need to move out of their room for your parent. This can be a big deal if you have teenagers who also need their own space.

If you have a limited space, you may want to consider renovating an attic or basement to make it work, or even add a small addition to your home.

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Getting around

Other than space, you’re likely to have other limitations to work with in your home. Maybe your steps won’t work with dad’s wheelchair so you’ll need to install a ramp. Or perhaps the only available bedroom is upstairs, so you may choose to install a stairlift. Consider other important mobility issues. Can your parent open the doors by themselves? Some handles can be difficult for elderly people with wrist or hand problems. Do you have too much furniture in the way for navigating with a walker? Now may be the time to have a big clean out.

Necessary care

Can your parent feed, bathe, and dress themselves? If so you’ll find it much easier when they move in than if they can’t do these tasks by themselves. Think about how much energy and time you have to do these things, especially if you’re working and raising a family. This may be a good time to look at your options for assistance in the home, so someone can come in and help your parent do basic tasks when you’re not at home.

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