These are tough times to live in. The costs of just about everything have gone through the roof and your income probably isn’t increasing at the same pace. At the same time, your parents are probably also having to tighten their belts. Desperate times call for new measures and one way to beat the budget blues is to have your parents move in with you (or move in with them).
Of course, both you and your parents would be giving up a measure of independence and old personality clashes could easily come back into play when you’re under the same roof. But the truth is that living with the older generation has many benefits – both financial and psychological – so if you are buckling under financial pressure consider sharing a home with your mum and dad permanently. Here’s why.
As we’ve mentioned, one of the main reasons that households merge is financial pressure. And when both (or three) generations are living under the same roof, many costs are immediately halved – for instance DSTV, staff and rent or bond repayments – and others, like the costs of meals, will benefit from economies of scale. While you will obviously have to work out exactly how the expenses will be split in your own unique situation, there is no denying that it costs far less to run one household than it does two.
If your parents are in good health when they move in with you, they might be able to help you with the household expenses and chores – like collecting the children from school, babysitting, shopping or maintaining a garden. Again, your circumstances will dictate exactly how this is handled, but the benefit of an extra pair of hands – and set of wheels – cannot be overstated.
Grandparents and their grandchildren generally get along extremely well. For younger children especially, it’s wonderful to have a less-busy, more-available adult able to pay them attention. For grandparents, there’s great joy in being able to spend unlimited time with the youngest members of the family. For both these age groups, the time spent under the same roof could be some of the happiest years of their lives.
Modern society suggests that couples should live together, alone except for the years that they have children. Any other situation is seen as intrusive. In reality, this insular set-up is a modern convention, and throughout history many generations of families have lived under the same roof.
You’ll discover that there are great benefits in learning from the wisdom of the previous generation while sharing the household concerns and finances and being able to provide what loving support you can as your parents live out the rest of their lives.
Remember also that by caring for your aging parents, you’ll be showing your children how to express the respect and compassion that you hope they’ll have for you one day.
Of course, despite the positives outlined in this blog post, there will certainly be stresses associated with living with your parents again – especially if you have a complicated relationship to start with. It is vitally important that you are honest with yourself about the drawbacks as well as the benefits, and that you have a plan in place for dealing with them as they come up. If you are a person who needs solitude, make sure you schedule some “me time”, if your mother always comments on the way that you raise your children, let her know that her input is not welcome, and if you tend to be impatient with others around you, perhaps seek professional help in addressing this.
Communicate at the outset to make sure that no one has any expectations that can’t be met, and you’ll go a long way to making the situation work for everyone involved.
Just like anything else in life, caring for your parents comes with both pros and cons. If the situation wasn’t your first choice, it can be easy to feel that you have been pressured into it or have no alternative. This may be true, but by trying to see and act on the positives, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy your relationship with your parents for the rest of their lives.