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Multi-Generational Living Arrangements?

Emily H
October 4, 2018


Small remote Guest House/Studio · More Info


For those of you who live or have lived with multiple generations (such as living with both your parents or in-laws, as well as your children and/or grandchildren), did you have an in-law suite or accessory dwelling unit? If so, what do you consider the benefits or drawbacks of that arrangement?


Share your experience!

Comments (46)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO the elder generation needs some private space.

  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    both (all) generations need some space. We don't get up as early as mom, and go to bed later, too..

    Mom needs a place to enjoy the activities she can still do. She loves having her own small kitchen, and a hobby space, and a piano. We have a nice private guest suite, but no extra kitchen, no piano, and shes intimidated with using hubbies workbenches and my kitchen.
    So, she only stayed a month, and got her own little condo.
    it's not far away, but sure would be nice to have her here.
  • Manon Floreat

    I grew up inter-generationally with my mother, two little brothers and grandmother. We lived in our family house, where my youngest brother still lives today.


    We had a walk-out daylight basement that Granny finished as a one bedroom apartment with den for herself. (I turned the den into my bedroom). I had just started college when she finished it. My brothers were in grade school still. What worked well was that there were three adults to look after the young ones and two adults to help Granny with errands - doctors appointments, grocery shopping and the like. My younger brothers, while little, chipped in where they could. They made up for any shortcomings with their highly entertaining antics! Sometimes, too entertaining.


    Which leads me to what didn't work out so well sometimes: the noise! Ever so often, Granny and I'd be sitting downstairs and hear a boom of sonic proportions right above our heads. Usually, it had to do with some sort of WWWA or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles re-enactment. Other times it was a boobie-trap gone wrong.


    This was years and years ago. Maybe soundproofing methods are better now. If anyone is considering upstairs/downstairs living with small children under the roof, get some good sound proofing and go into it knowing that those little cherubic faces can be noisy as all get out!


    We enjoyed being together as a family. So, all in all, it worked great for us.



  • Lindsey B
    It’s not exactly the same... but DH and I have been living in my grandparents side yard in an RV for 15 months while we saved for our first home.

    We showered and did dinners inside the house.

    My grandparents are great, but the “separation” the RV allotted is is the only way we could have lasted so long.

    Grandpa needed the TV blaring. I’ve seen grandma be hot....but a sweater on and turn on the AC. Grandpa is cold... takes off sweater then turns on heater and is in shorts.....I decide to make a complicated dinner so I start and 3 pm... and all of a sudden both need to be in the kitchen with me.

    Nothing to drive me bonkers (I realize it’s their house I’m mearly a guest).... but it’s little quarks like these that could add up over the long haul. Grandparents house is open concept and a perfect size for 2. Single story. 1500 square feet. Add 2 more and it gets cramped. But we helped around the house (mostly tech support ) and tried to be as useful and helpful as possible.

    Wouldn’t have changed the last year and a half for anything.

    We move into our new house in two weeks.

    His parents live in CA and we live in Texas. My parents live in TX.

    His parents are planning to spend 6 months a year with us. Our home is 5 bed/ 4 bath. 3200 square feet. All the main living is on first floor. Bonus room upstairs. They will have the jack and Jill bedrooms and the bonus room will be mostly theirs when they are hear. There is a 3rd bedroom and a second bathroom upstairs which will eventually be the nursery. When we have 2 kids grandparents will have to downsize to 1 room, and kids will move to jack and Jill.

    First floor 5th bedroom is small and is the office (DH and I both work from home), but there is a full bath right next to it if at some point our parents can’t use stairs.

    His parents will be staying with us during the summer and we also have a pool and decent sized yard.

    We’ve thought about this a lot on both sides... and we’ve agreed to do it until it no longer works.

    MIL and I have already talked about how there is no need to be making 2 separate meals every night (like what we did and grandmas house—I always offered to cook, grandma hates cooking and I love it, c’est la vie) so we have already figured out things like making freezer meals and recipes. We will go to the store and buy those ingredients then split the cost.

    They will have a few cabinets and shelves in the kitchen, and we will also have a secondary fridge/freezer in the garage.

    Doing this will allow them to not have to buy a second home here.

    We already set up ground rules and I’m all about setting expectations (they clean their spaces, use what you want but tell me when you take the last so I can replenish... or not go to reach for it and it not be there).

    It will take some adjustment. But it will be worth it.

    Family is so important and I’m glad ours will be around to see the grandchildren.

    We looked and looked for a place that had separate living quarters but we couldn’t find it in our budget. That would have been ideal, especially if it was full time. Just keep in mind accessibility ( no steep stair garage apartment). Preferably wide doorways to bathrooms.

    If my parents (they are older than his) were at the stage of needing care they would have kicked in extra money but since they are hopefully 15+ years from that.. it didn’t make much sense at this point.

    Not sure if that’s helpful but I would try for as much separation as possible with as easy access as possible just for long term peace ☮️ .
  • lindainv

    Hubby and I have a 3 story/3bdrm/3bath chalet in the NC mountains. Granny lives in the 1 bdrm, 800 sqft 1st floor. Hubby and I have the 1 bdrm, 800 sqft second floor. The 450 sqft 3rd floor guest suite with queen bed, bunks, and a small living area with kitchenette has been perfect for family and friends visits. Separate exterior entrances, kitchens, baths have provided privacy, while internal stairs connecting all 3 levels keeps us interacting. This arrangement has worked very well for our family for the past 4 years.

  • felizlady
    Manon Floreat mentioned soundproofing. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    If you build your home or remodel any part of it, sound reduction is extremely important: we often don't realize how important until after the work is done.
    Part of multi-generational living (or if you like to have guests) is privacy, including sound privacy. Bathroom walls should have sound insulation, and bathroom doors should be solid, not hollow-core doors. Bedroom walls and doors, too. Always for powder rooms near gathering areas.
    Granny or any long-term resident/guest should have a private sitting area, if possible...or a room large enough for a reading corner with a comfortable chair, small table and good lighting.
    My grandfather lived with us for thirty years, but he lived in a converted garage-cottage with his own bathroom, sitting room/bedroom, kitchenette, and a little covered porch. He ate dinner with the family every night in the house, but prepared his own breakfast and lunch.
    My two recommendations for multi-generational or guest living arrangements: soundproofing and private space.
  • ljk1

    We have a “parents suite” in our bachelor son’s home. He built the house with handicap features in our suite. It is a large ranch with an attached garage. The garage has two entrances to the interior. Our entrance from garage has a ramp. Each entrance goes into separate mud rooms. We have a bedroom, bathroom, small pocket office and hearth room.

    Our laundry is in the mud room. Our son’s suite is on the opposite end of the first floor with a second entrance. We have full use of the rest of the house including a fully finished lower level. This has worked great for us and our son and his two dogs! I think compatible personalities are the reason this works for us. It would be more of an adjustment living with our other two sons and their families. The main reasons would be because of lack of space for us in their homes, more hectic lifestyles with their children and living with an in-law even though I love my grandchildren and daughters-in-law dearly.

    We have been living here now almost five years. I am thankful for the ramp after two knee replacements. But most thankful for our son for sharing his home with us.








  • Helen

    I grew up in Brooklyn in what is called a two family house in NYC jargon.


    My grandparents lived in one of the units. It worked well for all generations as each family had privacy but were available to each other. The arrangement enabled my mother to work as my grandmother provided child care and my parents reciprocated by providing support as necessary to my grandparents especially as my grandmother became older and less able to navigate. My grandparents were very respectful of privacy as I don't remember them being in our unit in the evenings unless they were invited although I am sure that they were more casual visitors than if they had been living at a distance. Of course, the relationship I had with my live-in grandmother was much more special than my other grandmother who I saw relatively infrequently and then en masse with generally other aunts/uncles and cousins at the same gathering.

  • Lynn G

    I like the comments about respecting each others spaces.


    I have visions of "Everybody Loves Raymond" TV show dancing through my head... Remember that one opening sequence when Ray and his wife see his parents coming - he throws one little kid for his wife to catch while racing to the front door to lock it, then collapses next to it, and his mother reaches in the mail slot and touches his head. Classic!


    That was one of the last really funny TV shows out of Hollywood...

  • willozwisp

    Lived with grandmother pretty much from elementary school through the time I left for college. Different size houses and 5 kids...parents and grandmother. Seems we just accommodated and took it as the normal course of family life. Then when got married and looking for a place, stayed with my parents and grandmother. All seemed natural. The normal course of family life. We were all family. Our kiddos are now out of the house and ironically one rented a house right next to ours. Guess it is just connection, though it makes you wonder if genetic.

  • trinity8419

    The key to living with anyone is respect & courtesy — of personal autonomy, privacy, spaces, & sharing responsibilities when necessary. Also of utmost importance is trust & communication — immediately addressing in an honest & respectful way any potential conflict as soon as it arises, & not letting it grow. My two sons (27 & 43 respectively) & their significant others & I share a 2800sf 4-bdrm 2.5 bath house on over an acre of property in a semi-rural area. Thankfully my house is paid for, with ample closet space & large bedrooms with sitting areas. To merge 3 households & accommodate everybody (including a large dog & a cat!), I had to drastically purge 25 yrs of personal belongings, emptying down to the walls 2 bedrooms, the double garage & attached workroom, & part of the kitchen. My older son & DIL had to sell nearly everything they owned aside from personal items. It took a lot of trust & commitment to the process. We all get along quite well under the same roof, no separate suites or "accessory dwelling units". There has yet to be even a mild disagreement between any of us 5 adults in the 3 years since my older son & DIL accepted the invitation to move back home. We all genuinely enjoy each other's company. Our shared goal is to move to a better climate by pooling all our resources for a large joint property with 2 or possibly 3 separate small homes. Having such a strong family bond & support is something I'm grateful for beyond words! For us there have been no serious drawbacks. Not maintaining 3 separate households is a huge financial & time benefit to everyone, allowing us to save a tremendous amount of money & achieve much bigger future goals as a family unit.

  • surfor

    Lived with my Mother in her small 2 bedroom apartment as she aged. It was difficult for me, as I was used to not having to check in with anyone and I had to give my beloved dog to my boyfriend to care for. It was difficult for her because she had to give up her privacy and independence. Her apartment was a 2 1/2 story walk-up on the beach, and the community was wonderful. I am grateful for the time I had with her, but had we had more privacy and space it would have been easier.


  • Nancy Sloop

    I've written in other discussions about our intergenerational living quarters: my parents moved into our 1982 rancher with the finished walk-out basement in 2013. We lucked into the house purchase in 2012 (4500+ heated living space, 5 bed 3.5 bath for $183,000), renovated the upper level while living in the lower, then renovated the lower for my folks (kitchen, laundry area, ADA-compliant doorways, walk-in shower with handrails everywhere, etc.). The ONLY thing we forgot about (I kick myself about this all the time!) was soundproofing between our level and theirs (I still can't believe the contractor didn't even mention this!). I have 3 Westies, and even though their living quarters are situated under our bedroom and spare room area so there is less traffic during the day, my father will still occasionally complain about "herd of elephants up there." But all things considered, it is working well for the 4 of us, and I am more grateful than I can express we could afford to do this for them as my other 4 siblings could not.

  • Mamacita Nikita

    When my husband's job transferred us to a new state, we decided my grandma should come with us (other relatives were also out of state). The number one option was to find a house with a separate casita for her as the more space between us, the better-as we both agreed even though we got along very well. Unable to find that however so option #2 was a house with two bedrooms and a bath downstairs for her, shared kitchen, family room and laundry while upstairs was for my husband and me plus our five kids. It worked out quite well and grandma lived with us for four years until she passed. I'm grateful my kids got to know her since she was such an integral part of my life growing up.

  • PRO
    Dream Renovations

    I bought my second home to upgrade living spaces to include a guest house, even the main house has two separate wings which creates privacy for when guests stay, or family stays for extended times. The guest house was earmarked for my widowed mother in law, but she loved working with the homeless up until late 80"s. Now that she is 90 years old she needs a lot of help herself. I remodeled the guest house and focused on her ever increasing needs. Hand rails in shower and even for the toilet. widen hallways for wheel chairs, open concept kitchen with all reachable shelves, and I still was unprepared for the demands of the elderly. We needed indoor cameras to check on her from remote locations, life alert system, security system, and the bedroom space really became the "sanctuary" of their living space. You need two things simultaneously, everything they need in reach and not to be overcrowded so they can move about with a wheel chair. That takes planning. Even with all this planning, she decided she would rather be sharing the same space in the main house to socialize more. We still work, and finding time to meet all her needs has been challenging. She refuses services that could make our life easier; chef prepared meals that are delivered for the week, house keeper, or care provider for daily needs. I spend more time picking up prescriptions, running her errands, making specialized meals than I have to give. So I am up until 3am completing my household tasks. When she is sick, its defcon 4 in our house, trying to get her to doctors, her accupuncturist, and back in time for prayer service. I have learned that you can't prepare for someone who won't compromise, even if it in their best interest. No amount of pressure or common sense debate will change the dynamics. It all about patience. I love the time I have with her. We laugh a lot. It makes it all worth it. I know that this too shall pass. I will have no regrets. But it was not what I expected when I offered to take care of her. It is no different than taking care of a tantruming two year old with potty training in the mix and health problems.

  • debo59

    We renovated an 1872 Italianate and added a garage, workshop, and in-law apartment. It was wonderful to have my parents close, but separate. Works for all of us. When we did the renovation 18 years ago we made sure everything was handicap accessible so they could age in place as long as possible.


    After reading other comments I will add...... communication is key. We talked extensively beforehand regarding how living separate/together would work, how to be respectful of each others time, how finances would work, etc. Great experience, but not for every personality.


  • HU-853011288977

    When my parents married, my mother's family home was converted to a two-family with my grandparents living downstairs and my parents living upstairs. It was wonderful growing up and having my grandparents there. My grandfather and I were especially close.

    After college I left home for a job in another state. 15 years later my mother decided to move to be near me. She bought her own house just a few blocks away from me. Her friends asked, "You don't want to live with your daughter? Don't you two get along?" She replied, "We get along great! I just want to keep it that way."

  • heatheron40

    We invited my MIL to live with us over 2 years ago when she was 97. She has the parlor in our 1850 house. Her room is about 20x17 with a turret bump out. She has a bed/ dressing area, sofa, chair, tv and her kitchen table chair with sewing machine. She shares the kitchen and has her own handicapped accessible bathroom. We use the upstairs bath. We eat as a family every night.

    I love and appreciate the fact so many of you have made this work. Please don't forget communication ahead of time. My husband moved out of the house right after H.S. graduation. I really didn't think anything about it....college, work, we met, moved away, married.

    MIL needed help, no longer could live on her own, so I opened my home. It has not gone well. We have since found out she has Boarderline Personality Disorder. I am the one she blasts all the time, hubby is the angel and the kids don't exist.....

    I reccommend having a trial period. I'm in now and no easy way out. I know one day I'll draw the line and place her in a home, I just guess I'm just not there yet.


  • nhassell69

    When we bought the house we currently live in we thought the game room, 20 by 36 ft would be perfect for my parents. My 2 sons were out of the house with only my 15 yr, old daughter at home when they asked us if they could move in. We had guidelines discussed,mainly that they would spend 2 weeks every year with each of my 3 siblings. We put in a handicapped bath, living space on one side separated by wardrobes for the bedroom. It was a total disaster. My siblings never had them come and yet when they passed-40 days apart-and the will was read we received one dollar. They had written it before they moved in and since we had the pleasure of their company my siblings deserved the money. It destroyed the family they had raised and broke my husband and my heart. We will never live with our children!!!

  • PRO
    Diane Plesset, CMKBD, NCIDQ, C.A.P.S.




    I've been working with sisters who wanted to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for their parents on one of the sister's property in Dundee, Oregon. The father has been living with Parkinson's Disease for years. His wife can no longer take care of him by herself in their San Diego-area home. Dundee was in the initial stages of developing codes for Accessory Dwelling Units, which meant that I was in a good position to positively influence the Planning Commission and the City Council to increase the maximum size of ADUs from 800 to 900 square feet so my clients' parents could have a fully-accessible home with a large kitchen and eating area, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    ADUs are normally separate from the main house, but because one of the daughters and her husband will be caretarkers -- especially in an emergency -- it was important to create access between the two homes without being exposed to the elements. The Building Department has allowed us to create an open breezeway between the homes with a continuous floor height that will allow the father to visit his family in the main house, using a wheelchair.

    As an aging-in-place specialist, it has been an honor to represent my clients and their parents, and everyone in the City of Dundee who will build accessible Accessory Dwelling Units for family members in the future. Construction will begin soon. We're all excited about being the first ADU in the City of Dundee, providing a safe, functional, and joy-filled living environment for the parents.


    Above is a Virtual-Reality perspective of the existing home with the ADU on the rear right-hand side. Below are (1) a Virtual-Reality perspectives of the accessible master bathroom with a large curbless shower, (2) a Virtual-Reality perspective of the living room, entry, kitchen, and eating area.




  • johnson_v

    When we built our home, we built with the intention of having my parents here for extended visits. They have a bedroom with a dressing room, their own bathroom, living room and a large shared kitchen. Everything is handicap accessible and ready for future living. We look forward to sharing our home with them.

  • Hanna LaClair

    We did this a long time ago when we were in the middle. We had 5 acres of land and were designing from the ground-up. We initially built a rambler, with the bedroom wing over an unfinished basement. That end had a hip roof and included a 45 degree angle at the other end of the living room. The kitchen end had a gable roof. A year later we built an apartment for my mother over storage space and an over-sized garage. The two living spaces were joined by a mud/play room with a half bath and steps to the storage/garage. Her apartment included a bedroom with a study area, a second bedroom/den, one full bath, a large living room with an exit door, fireplace and a dining area, a full kitchen with a breakfast area and another exit door. The only thing we shared was the laundry.

    It was wonderful. She ate dinner with the family and was able to come and go for as long as possible. For 13 years my children grew up with an on-sight grandmother. She was there to help, but I was careful not to take advantage of her, yet offering her inclusion with our family activities. No, it was not wonderful. It was perfect!

    The house had two 45 degree angles and measured 149’ around the back.

  • morfas

    We live in the main house and my elderly widowed mother lives in an apartment/converted 2car garage space complete with bedroom, bathroom, living area and full kitchen. We used the garage panels for the facade added large windows and front door. She loves it and watches nature from her reclining chair. She even bought a new t.v. mounted on the wall above her new electric fireplace. 260 Square feet never looked so cozy! It works out great and we both have our privacy.

  • loridorman

    My husband's mother came to live with us 13 years ago at the age of 73..we looked at separate house, retirement community, but she was and still is active - but as a family we decided that should she ever need assistance, my husband & I would be the care givers as long as we were able. We decided to give her the MAIN level of a 2,000 sq. foot house (new build ranch) and my husband and I (with one child in college yet living with us) finished the basement into a totally separate apartment for us. (Most folks put the MIL in the basement but we wanted NO STAIRS for her). We have our own HVAC and water heater/kitchen/laundry and 2 bedrooms. We did all the finishing ourselves. I can not stress enough - INSULATE - INSULATE so that you do not hear TV - shoes on hardwood, etc. She cannot hear us as much as we can hear her! We put EXTRA foam board on the 'joist" boards before we hung our ceiling drywall as well as regular insulation in our bedroom...all for sound barrier....but we did not do this for the entire space...unfortunately if we are sitting quietly (no TV on or music) we can HEAR guest in the hall bathroom above us (esp. the flushing). But she does not have guests that often and our TV is usually on so it really isn't a big issue...but one that is not easily fixed (tearing down the drywall ceiling) so really think thru these issues. Overall great set up!

  • tfamily123

    My wife and I retired five years ago. We had a wondrous estate sale (thought I'd never live to see it) and moved to New York City, where two of our three adult children lived. We pooled our money and love in very expensive NYC and purchased a three-family townhouse in Brooklyn. We live in the first floor unit; no stairs to navigate, wide doorways, etc -- planning for possible future needs. Our unmarried daughter resides in a wonderful suite we created downstairs (no kitchen - she eats with us always); our son and DIL live on the second floor with enviably excellent (for readers familiar with NY) rent control in place; we rent out the third floor duplex (variously referred to as the "penthouse" or "cash cow") to help with the extraordinary mortgage. Together we created mutually acceptable ground rules and for four years have lived quite harmoniously. We look forward to growing grandchildren within this cozy but separated housing system, creating memories for them and enjoying their development. As we age (hopefully!) and perhaps require additional help, it is comforting to know our children are on hand.

  • chiflipper

    For several years we were a household of 7 spanning four generations (plus 3 dogs). The house was 1500 sq ft with a partially finished basement. ONE BATHROOM. It's really ALL about the willingness to "divide & conquer" the work. Great-grandpa was in a wheelchair (dusting), Great-grandma (folded the wash and vac'd), Grandma & Grandpa (cooking & shopping), I performed all exterior duties plus (dishes, house cleaning, laundry) DH worked, the kid was...well, a kid. DH, I, & kid slept in the basement family room. To this day I have no idea how we did it but, we did. And strangely, those years were some of the best in my life.

  • PRO
    Student - AEC & Design

    We don't live with our parents but our adult children still live with us because the housing market in the Denver metro area is way too expensive for a couple of young guys (our kids) starting out in life. The "starter" market is non-existent. Anyway, the hardest part of living with your adult kids is that we can't continue to treat them like kids. They are adults & they don't want our opinions on their life choices unless they ask for them. So, we treat them more like house mates & save our nagging for things like parking issues & shared cleaning chores. That has led to them actually asking us for our opinions on important life issues that they experience, instead of them treating us like nosy overbearing parents. It doesn't sound that hard, but it really really is hard to let go of that mom & dad mentality. To view them as men & not as our babies. To let go of the past & remember it as fond memories & not hold on to their teenage mistakes. Its especially hard to bite our tongues & to not have that parental running commentary on everything they do & say like we did when they were kids. Its extremely hard to live with them, our kids, & let them have their own lives with their own crap & not be involved unless they invite us to be involved. But I have to admit, when they don't come home at night & don't text, I can't help but text them just to make sure they aren't in a ditch somewhere. At least that doesn't offend them too much. They just roll their eyes & say, well you are still Mom.

  • lauren1331

    When I was in high school, my maternal grandmother came to live with us. Because my sister and I were in school all day and my father in work, most of the life interruptions fell on my mother. We lived in a large, older home with only one bathroom on the second floor. My bedroom was across the hall from the bathroom and for some reason, it had a small sink in it. So I had to give up my room to accommodate my grandmother. It wasn't too painful because my parents refurbished the large room over the garage for me, with all new flooring, bedding, curtains, etc.

    Although there were many stairs from one level to the other, she was able to come downstairs by herself, after we left for school, for breakfast and lunch. She usually ate dinner by herself, in her room.

    Most of what I remember about the five or so years she lived with us, had to do with the penny-ante bets she used to make with my father on football and baseball games on the weekends. They'd root for their respective teams, yelling back and forth over the balcony stair well.

  • Veronica

    thanks everyone for the ideas and commentary. I have a five acre property with a 2200 sq foot home but I am using Houzz to design a guest house that hopefully I can convince my hubby to move into and downsize our life and give the big house to one of our five kids. So haven't embarked yet on the co-living but enjoyed the feedback.

  • Terry Courtney

    This is an interesting topic that has been a form of contention in our family for years. I have four adult children, three of which own their own homes and have children of their own. My youngest daughter, now going to be 36 now has a family of her own. This is my situation. I own a 4plex, and three years ago I sold my home and acreage and moved into one of the units in the 4plex in town, close to everybody. My youngest daughter lives in the apartment downstairs. I absolutely love living the apartment lifestyle because I am at the age where I want to travel and "go" at the drop of a hat. I no longer have pets or any responsibilities that tie me down. The bonus to living near my daughter, is that I have a close relationship with my grandchildren and feel comfortable knowing my daughter is close-by...I guess it's like communal living but we each have our privacy. I do not get into her business and she doesn't get into mine; we respect each other's privacy, and just knowing she is there is of great comfort to me, and vice-versa.


    The point of contention comes from the other siblings; they have all expressed their feelings that their sister needs to "get off of mom's tit" and live on her own. I don't know if this is sibling jealousy of our relationship or what. Here's my feeling... she and fiance pay their rent on time; they do not borrow money from me, they live independently from me although they do include me in their daily lives and children's lives; just knowing they are there is mental support for me. My other three children live close (all within 5 miles) but sometimes weeks go by and I don't see them or even get a phone call. I am not the type of mom or mother-in-law that's pushy; I wait to be invited before I will come over to visit. I do initiate family get-together's for birthdays and holidays though. The thing is, I really don't get their attitude toward my youngest daughter and my relationship. They all want me to live in a house, by myself, far away from my daughter... why? I just don't get it!!

  • motionease

    sounds like you have a good relationship with your youngest daughter... perhaps the others are afraid she will end up with all the property in the end.

  • Gigi Keyes
    Having experienced my mother live with us (me, hubby, 2 teenagers at the time) while she was battling cancer the last 2 years of her life...dealing with the stress and grief of taking care of her, then her dying in our home... Even though she had her private space with bath, just know in that situation there is no privacy nor rest for the weary... and EVERYONE got weary, even after hospice came in. I was thankful for the time with her but during those 2 years my youngest sister died, then my father-in-law, my grandmother and finally my mother, so technically nothing was easy.

    HOWEVER...our whole family agreed that after buying a home w/an in-law suite for my husband's fairly independent and physically fit 84 yr old mother to live with us for 5 years was one of the biggest "what were we thinking?!" mistakes of our lives and much worse than dealing with my terminally ill mother. The first 6 months or so with her was okay but after a while the personality "quirks" were bonafied disorders of a covert narcissist that you'd never have known if you didn't have to live with her. My husband was the youngest of four (two of which were already dead) and since they were all quite a bit older than him, he'd really never experienced what they had growing up, nor had any of them been close enough to discuss it in depth. That being said, when he found out his mother had suffered mental breakdowns with subsequent hospitalization stays several times before he was ever born, it aaaaall made sense! Especially, the fact no one in his family ever wanted to deal with her other than a visit now and then. She was a perpetual "victim" and wanted attention constantly. When you didn't give it to her, or feel sorry for her she would get mad a run you down to every one she talked to. We dealt with adult protection services because she had told them we were stealing her money and abusing her (none of which they believed, but still!) on top of a constant barrage of insults, quarrels, and horrible behavior on her part. She constantly tried to manipulate people with lies and emotional blackmail. Our kids were both grown and still living with us at the time, but we would've lost our dang minds trying to get anyone else who knew her casually to believe us had it not been for the kids seeing it all and backing us up. None of us wanted to live there anymore and it was OUR home! It even got to the point my family didn't even want to visit because of the tension. If they did, we'd all hide upstairs in our part of the house and shut the doors so we could have privacy. We finally got smart and started videoing & recording conversations which made her furious, but it was necessary. She was the type who'd walk across a wet floor after being told not to just so she could fall and break a hip to FORCE someone to care for her -- A nut-job, plain and simple, and that's the nicest way to put it. We finally put an end to that situation when we said, "No more!" and basically forced his older sister to finally deal with her.

    So, I say with all seriousness, before you EVER commit to having an older relative live with you, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Although our son & his family have a home on our property and our daughter lives within 5 miles of us with her family, if my husband and I were ever put in the situation of having to live with our children when we're older, I will suggest they put us in a separate shack out back before living in their home, only because I love them so much I wouldn't put that on them! That's just a whole lot of undue stress if separate living quarters are doable.
  • nb123r

    My Mom (who is not handicap or elderly) lives with my husband and I. She pays rent and overall the arangement works for us. We used to share a large house (3200 sqft) and while it was much to nice to even complain about there were issues. For example the second master / inlaw suite was built above the first floor master. Big mistake!! Nothing like hearing running water and foot stepping all while you’re trying to rest. The house was open concept and my mom loves to cook. This became a problem because there was noise in the kitchen 24/7. We are now building and my mom will have her own separate apartment above the garage with a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. There is a separate staircase right off the garage that will be hers. We learned a lot from our first house and building this one Im sure we will learn too.!

  • Theresa Pabelico

    My parents moved from the Philippines and are staying with me. There were several issues that made it difficult (examples they are leave the door open frequently (which is a big problem since my dogs escape and I end UP chasing after them), they Go over my stuff (ex stuff I use at work) and take them with out letting me know (I end UP wasting MU time looking for them), they need the TV loud (when i am sleeping during the day after working nights) and they wake you up “any” time. Now that they are staying in the in-law quarters the chaos is much less. But my Mom still walks to my side, Wales me UP with her walker, does stuff which I already told her not to do (ex dishes) many many times, take stuff with out letting me know, etc.. I already knew that it would be an issue when I opened the hallway and placed a door to connect their side to my place.

  • silviakunst
    It's wonderful to have a family unit together . Just remember if they all live under one roof , EVERYBODY needs their own private area , even private entrance if possible . If you are lucky and you can convert a little house for them on the property make sure they have adequate heating ..a separate terrace ..maybe their own little garden area ..where they Can Grow vegetables or roses... Make them feel welcome and set rules for everyone in the house to respect each other and look out for each other . It worked well with my mother and old grandmother . When they were happy and felt wanted ...Everyone was happy ! We can learn so much from our elders ! Good luck and enjoy them . They are just as scared moving in with you as you are .. , !
  • marsia

    We bought a big fixer upper that was divided into 3 apartments, and made it into 2 attached houses. It's been 8 years, and most of it has been remodeled now, but it was a huge inconvenience living in a partially done remodel that was slowly being worked on for most of those years (lots of itchy construction dust all the time!) But it was worth it because my mom had a knee replacement, and I could just go over to her house on the same property and help her. Now she is starting to lose her memory, and it is a relief that we are right here if she needs us. She fell once and yelled for us, and we heard her and came and helped. So it works out well.


    I would never, ever share the same space though - we have very different personalities and living styles. I need privacy and to be able to keep my things the way I want them and not be tripping over anyone's stuff. But being able to bring her nutritious food for the week or take her shopping has been a really great thing. She was starting to slip mentally before we moved her here, and I think having a family close by has helped her to improve and she is just starting to slip back to where she was 8 years ago. So I feel like we added 8 years to her life!

  • Manuel

    There's some comment here that "the elder generation needs some private space". That's true but utterly incomplete. Every generation needs its private space! IMO the mid and young generations even more so than the elder ones.

  • Darlene Lutton

    My grandparents built a house that had a walk out basement with a kitchen back in the 50's. When a new interstate came through and took my great grandmother's house she moved into that basement and lived there until she had to go into assisted living. When I went through a divorce, my children and I moved in and we lived there and helped out until both my grandparents passed away. My Aunt inherited the house but she sold it to me for a small amount. I rented the unit for several years. Then as my children became grown they took turns living there with their families. Of course they paid rent to help Mom out. It has been wonderful keeping the house in the family and keeping the family close. There have been cons. But nothing beats having a grandson coming upstairs and unexpectedly giving you a handmade card saying how much he loves you.

  • Leann Henshaw

    We bought a home with an in=law unit on the main floor. This meant that we had use of half of the main floor, all of the second floor and basement. We had two kids at the time, and my mom and dad were having health problems.


    We all enjoyed our arrangement, but not for long enough. Mom died the year after we moved in together, and dad the year after. Hindsight we should have thought of combining our households long before we did!


    We have left the country for my hubby's work, but we all felt comfortable living in the closer situation.

  • pat titus

    We had a tiny guest house for my father. No thermostat wars

    and lots of fun together!

  • hollandpark

    If its your MIL: separate spaces, excessive amounts of privacy

  • Lindsey B
    Just adding an update... my parents live in FL.. not Tx.

    Turns out they want to be closer to us for the grandkids (still working on that!)

    Anyway, they came to visit us over thanksgiving and surprise surprise! They bought a house around the corner!

    Even better, it’s a multi-gen and grandma and grandpa (whose driveway we lived in for 16 months) will be moving in to! So instead of 70 miles away they will be 1/10th of a mile away!

    The house is under one roof with separate kitchen and living space for grandparents and separate exterior entry. It’s small, but about the size of an assisted living 1 bedroom set up. My parents know all my grandparents friends, so if they ever had more than 2 people over, they could use the main house living space.

    I’m so excited everyone will be so close!
  • Lulu

    I moved back in with my (elderly) parents after I experienced life-altering health issues a few years ago, and could no longer work. This past year they decided it was time to downsize, but kept me in mind when it came to the new house. Before moving in, they renovated half of the unfinished basement into a complete one-bedroom apartment for me. It's about 730 square ft, and I have a separate entry, small kitchen (no oven, but a two-burner cooktop), full bath, good-sized living room, bedroom, and craft area/workshop. I don't do a lot of cooking, but if I want to use the oven, I just go upstairs. I have a washer and dryer in the unfinished side, so I don't have to share my parents'. On a pretty regular basis I go up and talk or watch tv with them, and sometimes I join them for a meal. It's a great situation because I have the support I need, with the privacy I need as well!

  • Anne

    As a child in aLARGE family, my granddad and then my uncle lived with us. 4bed 2 bath but wit a lot of kids they had to sleep on a daybed in our dining room ( years apart) . My grandad was the family cook and best lap to sit on. My uncle was ill when he moved in so he was chief checker partner. Other family came by every day and helped out. I think being a kid made it easy and I wouldn’t trade it. My parents are deceased but I would do what I needed to for my in laws. We have one adult child with us and it is love/dislike. Good help but he can’t wash a dish to save his life. Does cook a couple days a week and does a lot of the gardening, etc. He has a nice area to himself but hangs out with us a little each evening. Sometimes we would like that to be less for some “alone” time but overall it works. One agreement is that we know when he is getting home if our past daily norm. I am a worrier ...don’t need to know what u r doing but if you will be late or not coming home you owe me the courtesy of letting me know. My DHs cousin lived with us for a while. He was elderly and that was the only thing that bugged me is he would not always let us know if he wasn’t coming home. Other than that he was the best roommate I ever had...my home has never been that spotless or entertaining!

  • Cecilia Roberts

    As we were aging and the cost of home buying was out of reach of our millennial adults, we sold our two story, four BR and bought a four BR, 4 BA which has two BR, two BA, a small kitchen and walk out on the lower level. Both levels have views. We put some of our house selling proceeds as the down payment, enough to get the monthly payments affordable to all parties, under 1K per month with utilities. Our son and wife pay for half and we pay for half. We are on the main floor with a ramp in the garage for hubbie‘s wheelchair. It’s like I only have a two BR apartment to keep up. If they come up to use the larger kitchen, they are great about cleaning up. The garage is 2.5 car so has room for the tools, snow blower, mower, large trash and recycle barrels, camping stuff and bikes. I enjoy yard work and they help with the heavier, ‘needs more muscle‘ chores. They can afford to travel and leave the dogs at home and same for us.

    We kept out some of the house selling proceeds and are helping our youngest millennial get married and buy a small two BR in an area they love. It feels like we all are winning. We have the security we’ ll need as we age, and the adults who really were shafted by the economic collapse and slow recovery after ‘08, finally can afford home ownership closer to where they want to be, and pay far less than the rents they had been paying. This arrangement was aided by the ongoing low interest rates and really required running the (1) down payment and (2) funds to savings numbers, multiple times between our house sale and the next house purchase. Most importantly, we love having family closer.

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