Moving elderly parents into your home? 7 things to consider

As our parents get older, a time may arise when they are not as able to do things as they once were, and so may need a bit of looking after. There are a few alternative routes you can take when this happens such as using external care services or moving them into a home for the elderly. While this is the right decision for many, others prefer the idea of their parents living with them, so they know that they are being given the best personal care.

If you fall into the latter category and are thinking of moving an elderly parent into your home, then there are several things you need to consider first.

How will it impact the family?

Regardless of how close you are with your parents, living with them is a different ball game from seeing them a few times a week. It can change the whole family dynamic, so before agreeing to anything, you should ponder it in detail and discuss it with everyone, including your kids.

You may have little choice regardless, but it’s better to have an open and honest discussion.

Where will they sleep?

If you are thinking of having them stay with you, then the chances are you have a spare room in your home though it is still a good idea to discuss sleeping arrangements with them. Will they perhaps want you to decorate their room before they move in? Will they bring their own furniture, and if so, what will you do with your existing things?

You should also make sure they appreciate that your home may be a lot noisier than theirs (particularly if you have kids), so at least they know what to expect. They will no doubt be elated at the idea of moving into your home and being closer to their loved ones, but it’s still a good idea to discuss the logistics.

Are they able to be left alone for prolonged periods?

Having your parents come to stay with you will give you peace of mind about their welfare but what about periods when you are not there? You need to consider how feasible it will be for them to be left alone for extended times and if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you need to figure out the logistical issues.

Would medical aids or home alternations help make the transition smoother?

If your parent has ongoing health issues, there may be things you need to address before moving them in. For example, if they are hard of hearing, you may be concerned about an emergency arising and them being unable to hear what’s going on. Talking with an audiologist or researching the best hearing aids for seniors could drastically improve the situation and save you from worrying as much. Similarly, if they are partially sighted, you may want to consider adding some safety aids around the home to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.

If you have stairs that they may struggle to maneuver, you may even have to have a stairlift fitted before they move in (or consider moving them to a downstairs room instead.) Talk to them about aids that they feel would benefit them, and it will make things a lot easier when they are ready to make the move.

How will it affect your finances?

Running a home is not cheap, so your monthly outgoings will inevitably increase when another adult moves in. This, of course, isn’t a pleasant topic to discuss, but unless money is no object at all, it needs to be done.

Calculate how much extra your bills are likely to be, and then sit down and chat with them about it. You may find that they bring it up before you do, which will make it a lot easier, but if they don’t, explain that you are looking forward to them moving in but need a quick discussion about affordability and finances.

Do you have a dedicated living space for them?

Although they will have a bedroom to hang out in, it’s also a good idea to have a separate living area for a parent. There will be times when you want to watch different things on TV, or one of you may want some time alone or to socialize with friends. Doing so when there is only one room to hang out in can, over time, lead to long-term animosity or ill-feeling, so be mindful of this before agreeing to anything.

Creating a dedicated space will give them the freedom they are used to and also ensure that they don’t impact too much on your current living arrangements.

What do they want?

Your immediate reaction may be that you want your parent(s) to live with you, but have you discussed what they want? They may adore seeing you and your family regularly but prefer the idea of living in a care home surrounded by people of their own age. Maybe they are not yet ready to let go of their independence and would prefer to muddle along with some help now and again.

Talk to them and find out what they feel comfortable with, and you won’t go wrong. Getting older can be a very emotional thing to go through, so tread carefully and have an open and honest discussion about your concerns and thoughts on their well-being. It may be that they want the same thing as you or that you can find a compromise.


Moving a parent into your home can be a distressing and emotional time for everyone concerned, so, where possible, take your time over it. You may think it sound like the ideal thing to do, but as time goes on, it may affect your marriage, your kids, and may even harm the relationship you have with your parents.

On the other hand, it could be the best thing you have ever done and may bring you even closer together.

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