The holiday season arrived and the traveling began. Adult children hosted their parents, or traveled with the grandchildren to the homes of their parents. We journey great distances to see mom and dad, bothers and sister, or kids and grandchildren.
Despite the joy the holiday season brings, travel is not fun. It’s uncomfortable, expensive, and can lead to traffic, delayed flights, exhaustion, and discomfort. So it might not be too surprising that some adult children, who hear the travel woes of their parents say, “Well, this all could be resolved if you lived closer.”
Hmmm. It’s a lovely sentiment, but let’s break it down a little and see where it leads. Even when talking to your family, you should always communicate your personal needs and expectations.
Adult Child’s Point of View
The house is too big for you now. Why pay for the upkeep and the property taxes when it could be less expensive to live in a smaller dwelling that’s also closer to us? What if something happens? How am I going to know if you need help? I can’t keep crossing the country to check up on you. If you’re closer to us, we would be there for you.
Why give up the home I’ve lived in my entire adult life? This is the place where I have my friends, my community, my church, my activities. I love it here and want to stay put. Yes, it’s expensive, and traveling to see those I love can be exhausting, but this is my home. I don’t want to leave it.
The Sharing Housing Perspective
Don’t give up the house and your community but do opt to have someone live with you. This is a feasible alternative living scenario that could put everyone at ease. For adult children it gives them a peace of mind that if something were to happen to a parent there would be someone in the home to help and notify them. For the parent, it can ease the burden of expenses if a room or two could be rented, but more importantly it allows them to remain in the home they raised their children and keep them in a familiar community among friends. We have put together a free course, 5 Key Benefits of Shared Housing to make the case about why shared housing is such a good idea.
For anyone who has considered–for themselves or their aging parents–the shared housing option, but is unsure how to go about finding a potential home-mate, consider taking our course Sharing Housing 101. If the technology puts you off and you rather learn from reading, you can also purchase Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates and the companion guidebook.
Moving–no matter your age–is always a stressful and expensive experience. Consider all your options of what you want and not what your children’s well-meaning intentions might be.
Here’s a good article on what to consider if you do plan to move in with adult children. Also: A Home-mate is Not a Caretaker (But Can Make a Difference)