A shared living arrangement that is becoming more prevalent in society is when a retired senior moves in with their adult children. However, not all living situations are easy and making cohabitation workable can be challenging for some families. In this article, Matthew Bussard shares keys to the successful co-housing of seniors and their adult children.
Matthew Bussard, a Medicare financial service broker, understands the importance of generations finding peace while living together. Many adult children say that having their senior parents move back in leads to memorable and precious quality time, which is why Bussard suggests keeping a positive perspective while making a new living situation work for both parties.
Key #1. Prepare for the Change
A great way to help ensure a smooth transition when moving in with adult children is to prepare for the change. Seniors should educate themselves on what their adult children’s average daily and weekly routines are and plan to harmonize their own routine. Before making a move, seniors should spend a few days and nights with the adult children or child they are moving in with to get a feel of how daily life is spent. That way, adjustments are a little more familiar.
Key #2. Talk it Out
It is critical for seniors and their adult children to learn how to communicate openly and speak their truth. Practicing clear and honest communication will help avoid unnecessary passive-aggressive tension that could harm the overall success of the cohabitation. Seniors should start practicing open and consistent communication with their adult children before the move, and both parties should have a big sit-down talk before taking any first steps. During this sit-down, seniors and adult children can discuss boundaries, personal needs, and strategies to keep one another accountable for keeping grateful attitudes and flexible spirits during the learning curve.
Key #3. Clearly Establish Boundaries
Speaking of boundaries, seniors should seriously think about their definition of independence. Sometimes, when senior moves in with an adult child, the adult child might feel the need to take on a caretaker role, which then usually leads to a parental boomerang effect. The child becomes the parent, and the parent becomes the child. Unless seniors need necessary care for mental or physical reasons, they should clearly state where the line of care in their eyes stops and where the dangerous domino effect of control starts.
Key #4. Be Flexible with the Unexpected
As the saying goes, expect the unexpected because that mindset embraces flexibility. No transition from one home to another is ever easy, and bumps in the road are inevitable. Even if everything is planned, it is better to prepare for challenges optimistically to step up as a team player that contributes to a successful outcome rather than creating tension.
Key #5. Remain Open to Additional Help
When seniors move in with adult children, their living situation might start one way, but old age brings health risks that can quickly flip a living arrangement upside down. Seniors should consider the facts and discuss a plan with their adult children in case health issues arise. Adult children should be honest about the amount of caretaking they have the ability to add to their schedule. At the same time, seniors should be upfront about any preferences they might have if the time comes to hire additional help.
Although seniors who move in with their adult children may feel as they are losing a part of their independence, such cohabitation can bring joy and positive memories if both parties agree on being transparent and honest with each other. Allowing each other to have a point of view and respecting it will help gain a common understanding between the two generations.
About Matthew Bussa
Matthew Bussard graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in 2017 and is the go-to financial service broker for Medicare users across Rhode Island. He volunteers at Oak Street Health Clinics to help clients enroll in Medicare, alleviate any unnecessary medical expenses, and answer healthcare benefits questions. He is passionate about making a difference in his clients’ lives. Mr. Bussard understands the importance of proper healthcare, especially among the older population. He works hard to address his clients’ issues as quickly and efficiently as possible and is always available to guide them through the enrollment process.