According to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 research report published by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 40 percent of family caregivers report that their care recipients live with them. Another common option is for caregivers to move in with their aging parents. Regardless of who moves in with whom, the decision to live with aging parents is a serious one that affects all relationships within a family, careers, finances, and the physical and mental health of everyone involved. For some, the arrangement works out fine. Two or even three generations residing in the same home can be a good thing. Multigenerational living works best when there is plenty of space so that everyone can get the privacy they need. Additional factors include mutual respect for one another, clear communication, and a willingness to cooperate. Respite must also be built into this living arrangement from the beginning to avoid caregiver burnout and resentment among other family members. Adequate planning beforehand is crucial for helping ensure that living with your parents is successful. Unfortunately, reality bites. Many families are forced to make knee-jerk care decisions following health setbacks. Some aging parents simply show up on their adult children’s doorsteps ready to move in. Others may find themselves trapped in what was supposed to be a temporary situation while devising a long-term solution. While I do not have any statistics, I think it’s safe to say based on the correspondence I’ve received from family caregivers and the posts I’ve read in the Caregiver Forum over the years that living with senior parents may start off okay, but things steadily go downhill for many families. Adult children often end up feeling hemmed in by the promises they made, by the financial needs of the entire household, and by caregiver guilt.
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