When it comes to family dynamics, each culture has its own traditions and norms. For some, the standard is the nuclear family—mother, father, children, and perhaps a pet. For others, family includes cousins, uncles, and aunts. In our Italian families, no one garners more respect and admiration than our kids’ nonna and nonno.
But for all the love we have for our parents, it isn’t always easy having them move back in with you as adults, especially when their health is in decline. But with love, patience, and these transition tips for moving your parents in with you, you’ll help your whole house settle into a new normal.
Discuss Roles and Boundaries
We all adore our parents. But the respect we have for them—and the respect they’re used to receiving—can make the roles in the household a little blurry. Before they move in, discuss everyone’s roles and boundaries, for example:
- What spaces are private and public
- How discipline works for children
- Scenarios when communication is necessary, such as being out late
- How to address conflicts within the family
- Whether there are established family times, such as meals
After they move in, it may be helpful to have a weekly or biweekly family meeting, at least at first. This will help everyone assess what is working and what isn’t. Plus, it’ll give people a space to express their concerns in a productive manner.
Figure Out Medical Needs
Often, parents move into their child’s house because medical reasons are keeping them from living at home. If this is the case, everyone in the house should know what your parents need, such as a specific diet, medications, or regular doctor’s visits. Different family members can offer to change the dinner menu or provide a ride to appointments.
Make Safety Adjustments to the Home
Once you identify medical issues, you may find that things in the home get in the way of your parents’ safety. This is especially true if they have a condition that makes them more prone to falling. A few things you can do to make the home more fall-proof include:
- Creating an open floor plan
- Adding safety railings on the stairs and in the bathroom
- Installing a walk-in tub
- Setting up a bedroom on the ground floor
- Putting things they regularly use in easy-to-reach spots
You don’t need an entire home renovation to make your home safer. Even adjusting your home to make the floor less slippery can make it an easier place to navigate for your parents.
Give Everyone Grace
Even if you follow every transition tip for moving your parents in with you, you maystill encounter hiccups along the way. But one of the most important things you can do is to give everyone grace to get used to the new living situation. This means having patience with the little things and addressing concerns in a loving way. Before long, nonna and nonno will feel right at home.