Should Elderly Family Members Move in with You?

While nobody likes to think about their parents getting older, once you reach that age where you have your own kids, it’s common to start worrying about your older family members. People live for longer now, which means they have more complex needs as they get older, and while in British culture it’s not common to have multigenerational households, in other countries family members of different generations live together. So, if you have an elderly parent or family member who needs extra help, should you consider letting them move in with you?

Time and care
It’s important to consider how much care your family member will need and whether you’ll be able to provide it. Nobody likes the thought of putting their parent in a home, but if they need 24/7 care and support, then it’s honestly better for them to be somewhere with professional help. Around 400,000 people live in care homes in the UK, with the number expected to rise as the population ages, and the standards have generally improved over the years.

Most people who provide care for an elderly person still work, and if you also have kids to look after, then it can be difficult to provide the right levels of support. Think about your loved one’s day to day routine and how it’ll fit in with yours, and how big the adjustments will need to be in both your lives.

Home adaptions
While your relative may have decent mobility at this point in time, it’s worth thinking about what you’d do if it deteriorates. Would your home be suitable to be adapted? There are lots of gadgets and fittings that can make life easier for an older person, for example, curved stairlift models that can fit even unusual shaped staircases, so this could be a better solution than moving them to a ground floor room.

It might be worth considering whether you could create an annexe or similar separate area of the house for your relative. Converting a garage or building an extension with its own entrance and living space would give you both privacy and might be easier than trying to adapt your existing home.

Personal relationships
While you may get along well with your loved one, living under the same roof as them is very different from visiting or taking a holiday together. Think about how you handle disagreements and the kind of relationship you had when you were younger and lived together. If you don’t get along and are constantly gritting your teeth around them, then living together isn’t going to work.

Think about your children and spouse too. They’re potentially going to have to live with someone new. Is your relative OK with noisy children around? Will your spouse be OK with an in-law in your home 24/7?

Money is one of those things that British people just don’t like to talk about, but with an extra adult in the house, your expenses are going to be higher. You may also be reducing your work hours to care for your loved one, which could put a strain on your finances. Will they be contributing to the household budget? If so, how much? Could your siblings also help out? Look at whether your family member moving in will affect any benefits, and check whether you’re entitled to carer’s allowance or other forms of help from the government.

While moving an elderly relative into your home is a kind gesture, and you may have visions of a cosy family life, it’s important to think about the practicalities and sort these things out before the move, so you can avoid conflict down the line.


  1. I think it depends on how well you get on with them, you still have a life after all.

  2. Theory is good - reality is less so

  3. This is one of the most difficult decisions a family ever has to make. Could be wonderful for both: could be awful for both. We can but hope for the best possible outcome for all involved if and when this decision has to be made.

  4. Horrid decision to have to make.