Estate Planning

Moving An Elderly Parent Into Your Home: What To Know

Ty McDuffey


You will not be alone if you decide to transfer an elderly parent or other aging relative into your home. 

According to Caregiving in the United States 2020, a survey conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, one in five people in the United States care for someone aged 50 or older.

This arrangement has numerous advantages, but it is not suitable for everyone. 

It may be less expensive than placing the individual in a nursing home (which costs approximately $9,000 per month on average) or an assisted living facility (which costs approximately $4,500 per year on average), but you may pay a high price in terms of stress and strained relationships.

Adding another person to the home affects the dynamics of the whole family, no matter how tight and loving your relationship is. The transition will go more smoothly if you and your loved one go in with an open mind and evaluate the financial and emotional expenses ahead of time.

This post will advise you on the considerations to make when deciding whether to have an aging parent live with you.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Caregiving for an elderly parent has hidden expenditures and requires careful planning and preparation. Consider your parent's mental and physical health and your own abilities and boundaries before deciding to care for them at home.

  2. Intergenerational connection and legacy can have advantages, but it's important to ensure everyone is on board and ready to make sacrifices and take on obligations. 

  3. Preparing your house for a parent's arrival may require installations, such as a stairlift or a walk-in shower. There may also be financial implications, such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

Can You Afford to Have a Parent Move In?

At first glance, you might think relocating a parent would save your family money by cutting out the cost of a nursing home. 

However, you need to know that providing care in your home may also rapidly become expensive.

Examining your existing budget and forecasting how it could change if your parent moves in is critical. 

Caregiving has hidden expenditures, such as time spent driving your parent to medical visits and elder care programs.

You will continue to pay your own household bills, such as mortgage and insurance, but you will most likely need to raise your income for food and any home modifications or adjustments necessary to make your new living arrangement comfortable for your elderly parent.

Spending the effort now to forecast your additional expenses may help you stay on track with your budget.

What Type of Care Would Your Elderly Parent Need at Home?

Consider your aging parent's mental and physical health before deciding to care for them at home. 

Are they reasonably healthy and self-sufficient, needing little care? 

If this is the case, relocating your parent may allow them to connect with other family members. Your children can get to know them while they’re still healthy. 

On the other hand, does your parent have a chronic illness? What will their condition be like in six months? Two years? What will your parents’ caregiving needs be in the future? 

One of the primary responsibilities of a caregiver is to evaluate medical needs. Keeping track of medical appointments, managing medications, or estimating pain levels are all examples of what this entails.

Consider reading about typical dementia behaviors to ensure you and your family are prepared if your parent suffers memory loss or cognitive decline.

Ultimately, you should consult a doctor and other health specialists before caring for your elderly parents at home and consider whether you can deal with their chronic diseases or physical restrictions. 

How Much Personal Help and Monitoring Can You Offer?

Before moving an elderly parent into your home, consider your abilities and boundaries. 

Are you comfortable conducting personal responsibilities, such as washing and dressing, if your parent needs assistance with activities of daily living? 

Are you willing and able to assist your parent in using the restroom throughout the night?

Consider these questions and more:

  1. Do you have somebody at home who can assist you? You may not always be there to assist your parent when needed, such as shifting from a wheelchair to a bed.

  2. Do you have any kids? Consider how relocating your elderly parents will impact your children. Are your children old enough to help with everyday tasks or provide care for your parents if necessary?

  3. Do you have a job? If so, do you have the ability to set aside spare time? Flexibility during the day or evening might be beneficial if an emergency occurs or you need to help with errands, medication, or transportation.

    Related: Is It Wrong To Move Away From Elderly Parents? My Advice

How Are You Going to Prepare Your House for Your Elderly Parents?

Consider these and more questions:

  1. Do you have an available room or need to make space via house remodeling?

  2. Will someone have to give up their room at home?

  3. Is there an accessible restroom nearby for your senior loved one?

  4. Is your parent confined to a wheelchair? Can your home suit their mobility requirements?

  5. Is the expense of home remodeling worth it for both short-term and long-term health care needs?

  6. Will your parent and other family members be able to preserve a reasonable amount of privacy at home?

Answer these questions in your head before moving on. 

What Are Your Family Members' Feelings Towards the Prospective Move-in?

When moving your parent in, communicate with family members and follow your instincts. 

Facilitate family discussions or ask relatives one-on-one, but make an effort to gather answers to the following questions:

  1. Is your spouse encouraging of the idea? Do they get along well with your parents?

  2. How does your elderly parent feel about this change?

There are several advantages to intergenerational connection and legacy. 

For example, it allows families to assist one another and form stronger bonds. 

However, make sure everyone is on board with the plan and is ready to accept possible sacrifices and obligations. 

Consider meals, household noise levels, and everyone's interests and weekly lifestyles before making your decision.

How Will Your Parents' Social Life Be Affected By the Move?

When your parent moves in with you, they may leave their own social circle and friends behind. 

It may also be difficult for elderly individuals to adapt to a new setting, particularly if they are stubborn or struggling with a disease like Alzheimer’s

If you and your spouse work outside the house and your children are in school, your elderly parent will have a lot of alone time. 

Senior depression and loneliness as a result of isolation might become a problem.

Will Your Parent Be Able to Follow Your Home Rules?

When your parent moves in with you, your relationship changes. You, not your elderly parent, are now the main caregiver and decision-maker.

It's a chance for the whole family to rethink rules, determine which ones work, and create new ones as needed. 

You may set home rules that work for the whole family and allow your elderly parent to adjust gracefully to their new dependent status if everyone is prepared to adapt and compromise.

Here are a few considerations:

  1. Will your parent be able to cope with the loss of part of their freedom, as well as the space and solitude they have become used to?

  2. Will they respect your values regarding your childrearing and your way of life?

  3. Is it likely that your parent will smoke or drink in your home?

  4. Will your parent respect the standards of cleanliness and order you like in your home?

  5. Is your parent the owner of a pet you're taking in? If so, will the pet follow your rules on behavior and cleanliness?

Some elderly people adapt well to their dependent status. Some resist it. Others are saddened or enraged by it. 

Will a parent accept your aid? Will you be relegated to the position of son or daughter, with your parent continually directing you on what to do? 

Will your parent make you feel you never do it right and can never do enough to meet their needs? 

Consider your answers to these questions as you use this as a chance to establish new boundaries and build new relationships.

How to Prepare Mentally for Caregiving

Remember that moving your elderly parent into your home is not a decision you can make one day and be ready for the next, particularly if they need special care. 

When You Are Stressed, Go Back Over Your Decision

Remember why you decided to move your elderly parent into your home when things get tough and stressful. 

Take a few deep breaths if anything happens during the move-in that causes your heart to race and your anger to flare. 

When emotions take over, reminding yourself why you selected this decision for you and your parents may help put things in perspective. 

Here are some reasons that may appeal to you:

  1. Using your own home could help the family save money compared to a long-term care facility.

  2. It's an excellent chance to spend extra time with a loved one.

  3. Your parents could assist you with childcare.

  4. Caring for your parents gives you pride and peace of mind since you know they are in the best hands with you.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Aging Parents

This checklist will assist you in preparing your house for the arrival of a parent.

Make Your House Safe for the Elderly

It's normal practice to baby-proof a home before the arrival of a child; you should similarly "elder-proof" your home when relocating an elderly parent. This will assist your parent in feeling safe and comfortable while they adapt to living in a new house.

To prepare your house, use the following checklist:

  • Ground floor: Try to have your parent reside on the same level as the kitchen so they don't have to use the stairs. Consider installing a stairlift if your house has steps.

  • Bathroom: Install grab bars and think about adding a walk-in shower.

  • Safety equipment: Place anti-slip mats under carpets, place bumpers on sharp furniture corners, and remove wobbly chairs.

  • Clear the flooring: If you have children, consider buying toy containers to keep the floor free of tripping hazards.

  • Use proper lighting: Make sure that rooms, corridors, and pathways are well-lit.

  • Ensure wheelchair access: If your parent needs a wheelchair, ensure doorways and hallways are wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through (between 32 and 36 inches) and provide ramps where necessary.

Put Everyone's Privacy First

If you bring a parent into your house, you'll have to share common spaces (unless you have an in-law suite). 

Regardless of the size of the house, it is important that you and your parents have your own space.

Even if your parent needs intensive care, the most effective method to have them live with you is to give them as much liberty as possible. 

Here are some ideas for fostering parental independence in a confined space:

  • Kitchen: Give your parents their own kitchen cabinet for storage. Give them their own refrigerator shelf, if possible.

  • Laundry: Get laundry baskets and towels in a separate color for your parents so they don't get mixed up with yours. Encourage your parents, if they are able, to do their own washing.

  • TVs: Consider getting your parents their own television so they can watch anything they want during the day or at night.

  • Pets: You could allow parents to have their own pet as a friend and added duty. If your parents cannot care for the pet, ensure that someone else in the family is capable before introducing a pet into your household.

  • Communication: Using baby monitors or walkie-talkies may boost communication while preserving privacy. A baby monitor enables you to hear your parent call for assistance, while a walkie-talkie allows you to have two-way conversations without leaving the room.

  • Intimacy: Consider setting boundaries on intimate relationships. Is it okay for Mom and her lover to cuddle in the living room? Can your Dad's girlfriend spend the night, or do they need to find another place to stay?

The Tax Implications of Having a Parent Live with You

Let's start with the basic tax ramifications of having a parent live with you. 

Tax advantages are available to assist you in recuperating part of your expenditures if you care for an elderly parent in your home.

The first possible advantage is the opportunity to list your parent as a dependant on your tax return. 

You may do so even if your parent does not live with you; nevertheless, the following are the conditions for claiming dependence on a parent who lives with you:

  1. Your parent must be a US citizen or resident.

  2. Foster parents are not eligible, but parents, grandparents, and stepparents are.

  3. Their total annual income must be less than $5,000.

  4. Throughout the year, you pay for more than half of their support (if your siblings are helping to care for your parents, you may need to sort out the percentages with them).

If you and a sibling pay less than half of your parents' expenditures while providing at least 10%, one of you may claim them as a dependant on IRS form 2120. You may even alternate who claims the deduction each year.

Credit for Child and Dependent Care

What happens if you live with an older parent and hire someone to care for them while you work or hunt for a job? You might qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

If you employ someone to care for a parent who lives with you, you may deduct up to $3,000 in care-related costs under the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you are caring for two parents, you may claim up to $6,000 in benefits.

The sole exception is that if you get a dependent care benefit that is excluded or deducted from your income via your employer, you must remove that benefit amount from the credit before claiming it.

Deduction for Medical Expenses

When caring for an elderly parent, the expenses of prescription medications, doctor and hospital fees, and medical equipment may quickly add up. 

If your medical expenditures surpass the IRS threshold, you may be eligible to claim the medical expense deduction as part of your expenses when you submit your taxes.

As of 2023, the rule is that if your medical expenditures exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income from 2022, you may be allowed to deduct a portion of those expenses by claiming them as itemized deductions

To deduct any portion of your parent's medical expenditures from your taxes, you must first be eligible to claim them as a dependant. 

Keep in mind that state regulations may be less stringent than those enforced by the IRS, so you may be able to save money on state taxes as well.

Final Considerations Before Moving Your Elderly Parents into Your House

Remember that having a growth mindset and a good attitude are important aspects of how we conduct our lives. Your mentality will determine the success of this transition.

If you are concerned about the changes that are taking place, please seek guidance from your local Agency on Aging. They have excellent case managers who can advise you on coping with the various changes you and your loved ones are experiencing.

Maintaining open lines of communication among all members of your family is also critical. Some changes may be required over time, but other families have done this successfully; you can, too. 

How Can Trustworthy Help?

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With Trustworthy, you can upload all of your parents’ important financial and legal documents to one secure server. That way, when they move into your home, you won’t lose any of your parents’ critical papers, such as their powers of attorney and wills

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