Room for One More? Getting Ready to Care for a Parent #GenworthUSA

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How to Make Room for an Elderly Parent

When we bought our house several years ago, it was with the intention of it being a “starter house”, one that we would live in for a few years until we could afford to build our dream home. Circumstances changed and we quickly realized this small house built for a small family was going to be our forever home. At the time we were a simple family of three, soon to be four. Our family was almost complete. Then the unthinkable happened, life surprised us with baby number 3.  Now our three bedroom ranch is a bit crowded with our daughters sharing a room and our son with his own. It’s tight, but it works … for now.

I say for now because there will come a day when we may have to make room for one more. Not another child of course, but a parent, specifically, my mom. For the time being, I don’t have to worry. She’s a tough lady in decent health and still works, but I’m not naive. I know there will come a day that she’ll need daily assistance and I’ll have to convince my mom to move closer or even into my own home.

Caregiving for children is drastically different than caregiving for an older adult that once use to change your diapers! That’s why I’m taking the time to learn about the responsibilities I might face and how to handle the changes. Genworth offers a great resource that explains 7 things you need to know about caring for loved ones.

The topic that stands out for me the most is “No Place Like Home”. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would open my home to my mother but will she be receptive? Will we need to make our entrance wheel chair accessible? Will there be a room for her to call her own? So many questions and so few answers. When we bought this house, it never crossed my mind that it could one day be home to a parent. But now I have to seriously consider how to make room for one more.

Ways We’re Considering Expanding Space

  • convert the garage to a living space
  • build an addition to the house
  • buy a larger home
  • move children to one bedroom

I’d love to know … do you care for a loved one in your home? Is your home ready for the possibility of another family member joining the shared space? How do you plan on making room for one more?


This post is supported by Genworth through the Brandfluential blogger network.

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  1. says

    My mother is fairly ill & my father (who will most likely outlive her) is very self sufficient, so I don’t see him needing any care for a very long time, but it’s definitely something that I will need to keep in the back of my mind as they both get older.

    • says

      I’d like to think we won’t be in this position for a very long time but life tends to throw us curve balls.

  2. says

    My mother cared for her mother in my parents’ home for the last 5 years of her life. It was difficult but Mom has no regrets. I hope the day your mom needs full-time care is far, far away. She’s blessed to have a daughter like you who is planning to care for her!

    • says

      Thanks Jenn :) I really hope it doesn’t come for a long time but I want to make sure she knows she’s welcome.

  3. says

    Both of my parents are already gone, but I see possibly taking care of one of the inlaws in the future. If that’s the case for us, two of the kids will have to move to the extra room in the basement so whoever moves in won’t have to go up and down the stairs.

  4. says

    I very much doubt my Dad would let me take care of him, not that he needs it and hopefully doesn’t for quite some time. He’s very stubborn and self-sufficient, but still pretty young. My Mom is still young and doesn’t need care, but I can see me taking care of her in the future. I’m her oldest and I would want her to move in if she ever couldn’t care for herself. My husband would object, though!

    • says

      Dads are pretty stubborn aren’t they? I know my dad would have put himself in a tent out in the woods before letting someone take care of him.

  5. says

    As there are no parents on either side, that doesn’t negate that a sibling or other relative might need assistance and care in the coming years. We downsized intentionally a couple of years ago to save money to be able to rebuild our finances after huge financial blow in 2009 – a rebuild which includes buying a larger home that would accommodate an elderly relative should the need arise.

    • says

      We still have our blue prints for the house we were going to build. I’m hoping someday we can make it a reality which would give us lots of extra space.

  6. says

    Oh boy– we are dealing with this RIGHT NOW! Except, it’ll most likely be BOTH my inlaws- my very handicapped FIL and my no longer able to handle him MIL.
    So, I am in the midst of clearing out the garage and basement to add a storage room, make the quest room into my bedroom, so that we can give them the our master bedroom (with it’s own bath) on the 1st floor. We have an option concept house- (I JUST finished taking out all the walls to get it just as I like) and now I’ll be adding a few walls to give then their own sitting room and a place to keep all the medical stuff (oxygen tank, hoist, wheelchairs, etc).
    Add to the mix my MIL doesn’t really want to leave her house.
    It’s exhausting,. Overwhelming. And I’m really stressing over it. Not them living here- we’ll be fine-= we get alone fine- but the SETTING UP of the new house.
    My head is spinning.

  7. says

    I haven’t – but my parents cared for my grandma in their home. Should would have been happier in her own home, but that wasn’t an option (she lived 4 hours from us).

  8. says

    Its funny you say this because we have been searching for new homes to the area we want to move to and my husband said very matter of fact that we need to make sure we have an extra room/bathroom for my grandmother.

  9. says

    My parents are still a ways away from this but it certainly is something to consider. We aren’t moving any time soon and when we do I plan on building our own house exactly the way we want it. I am absolutely going to make sure we have an extra bedroom and bathroom just in case. Maybe in an outbuilding LOL.

  10. says

    My mother is going through a hard time right now. She doesn’t need to be taken care of but it is possible she may need a home. My home is always open for my family. It wouldn’t be easy but if you can’t depend on your family who can you depend on.

    We cared for my Grandmother when I was in high school and as I child I enjoyed having her there.

  11. says

    I never thought of that this way. My parents are very well and can take of everything on their own. I will see if anything happens in the future, I will be right there to help them. Thanks for the great post!

  12. says

    Caring for a parent in the home hasn’t been something my family has had to deal with. My grandmother’s mom lived in her house, by herself, until she passed away. My grandparents are only in the mid 70’s and going strong. Right now their main home is next door to my mom (and the house that I grew up in), but I know at some point they’d like to move to Florida permanently.

  13. says

    Honestly, until I read this post…the thought of a parent living with us had never crossed my mind. But who knows whatthe future will bring. Right now, it would be really, really tough (maybe even impossible). But we do hope to have a larger area for guests in our next home, and this will be something to keep in mind as we do plan on staying put once we move to our next place. Something to think about, for sure.

  14. says

    I think I’ve been a little traumatized by watching my grandma take care of my great-grandma, and then my great-aunt too. I’ve never considered the possibility of taking care of either of my parents, as horrible as that sounds! We do have a spare bedroom (currently being used as my office) so we technically have the room…but I think I’d need a full time nurse to help me if I ever had to take care of them!

  15. says

    I moved back in with my mother for over a year (as an adult). She and I didn’t harm each other lol but it wasn’t rainbows and cupcakes. We laugh about it now. But, she still knows she has a place with us if she needs it. It would be harder for her, I think. She is extremely independent.

  16. says

    We’re already struggling to make room for one more & that one more is our second child! We definitely wouldn’t have room in this home, but then again, this house is our starter house too & will definitely be upgraded soon.

  17. says

    My home has the room but my mom doesn’t want any of us kids to take on that responsibility. Fortunately, she has the means for long term care outside of the home so that’s the plan. After my dad died, we got things all figured out for her.

  18. says

    This was something I seriously considered just over a year ago when my grandmother was put into hospice. At the time, I was recently separated, so I had the space, but not the time to provide the full-time care she needed. I wish circumstances had been different and we would have had long-term care insurance in place so that her dying in the comfort of her own home (or mine) could have been a reality.