Should my parent move into my house? I get this question a lot. Though I am an architect, here are 3 things I encourage people to consider before we even begin discussing their design or renovation.
What’s the reason for your parent moving in?
Perhaps your other parent has died and the widowed parent is lonely; maintaining a house can be an issue, as can health conditions that require you to visit often.
Your parent may even live far away and you feel the need to check on them more frequently than before.
Answering this question in an explicit way – rather than letting the ramifications of such a move predominate your thoughts – will help you evaluate your home and determine whether it’s sufficiently equipped or requires modification.
Are the spaces physically configured in the best way to accommodate the situation?
Even if everyone gets along, it’s an adjustment and there will be emotional needs for space. You may have three bedrooms and your kids are out of the house, but it may still be a little too “cozy” in the current configuration.
Keep in mind that every generation has a different routine.
How is the health of your parent?
Will you need an additional caregiver, perhaps overnight or potentially, in the future, to also move in?
Even if the house has plenty of space and everyone is reasonably healthy, consider that arthritis and vision changes are the most common conditions that affect people as they age, so there will be other needs. Lever handles instead of turn knobs may be necessary.
And even with good health, you’ll want additional lighting. Although stairs may not be a problem, is there sufficient lighting for easy navigation — whether natural or artificial, during the day and at night?
How comfortable and easy is it for your parent to go into the kitchen and make lunch? If mobility is an issue, consideration may also be given to getting in and out of the house.
Your parent may still drive, but needs extra adjustments in safely getting to and from the car.
If this is difficult and prevents him or her from getting out and maintaining a familiar routine, it may lead to depression and feeling housebound, affecting everyone in the home.
It manifests in different ways for different people and often results in frustration on your part.