5 Things To Do Before Your Parents Move In

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Adding your parents to your household is a lot to navigate emotionally and financially. It could be a massive ball of stress, but a plan – even one you toss and replace – could help. That’s why we’ve put together a few things you may want to cover before your parents settle in. 

1. Make sure your house is ready for your parents

You may need to make some changes to your home, like widening doors to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, adding a walk-in tub and installing no-slip flooring throughout the house. You may also need to secure area rugs or move furniture so it’s easier for your parents to move around. (Your parents may need to make similar modifications to their home if they plan to keep living where they are.) Friends whose parents have already moved in could walk you through changes that made their homes safer and accessible for their parents.

Tip: The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology has a site called “The Lifetime Home,” which can give a sense of the scope of changes you may want to make. You may also find also contractors who are Certified Aging in Place Specialists that you could consult. 

2. Discuss who will pay for what

Your parents may want to contribute to expenses when they move in either because they can or because they may not want to feel like guests in your (and now their) home. This can be important for you too because of the math: When more people live under one roof, expenses go up. Knowing what your parents expect to contribute could help you understand how your own finances may change.

These are some of the items you may want to discuss:

  • Will your parents contribute to costs like food and utilities? Do they also get a say in what you buy?
  • Will your adult children (if they are living with you) need to contribute to household expenses when your parents move in? Which ones? How much?
  • Who will pay for your parent’s medical expenses, and with money from which accounts (i.e., will they use their retirement accounts or social security benefits?)
  • Will your siblings contribute money? For which expenses, and how much? 

Get a read on your parents’ expenses and financial cushion

This can be touchy, but, since we’re already talking about money, we may as well go deeper. There are several things you’re going to want to know about your parents’ financial situation so you’ll be able to address the expenses they have now and ones they may have in the future. 

Another list (sorry), but these are a few things you’ll want to know:

  • Where does your parents’ money come from? Pensions? Social Security? Investments?
  • What are their current medical costs? Are costs for any current health conditions expected to increase, such as with a need for care or therapy?
  • What are their recurring costs, such as food, clothing, entertainment and insurance?

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3. Understand how this could affect your retirement

The answer here depends on several factors, beginning with your parents’ expenses and financial cushion, and if you’ll continue to work after they move in.

Plan to contribute to your retirement accounts as long as you can. It’s important and is not at all selfish. Your money needs the time to grow and you will need the funds in the future.

4. Ask siblings how they will contribute (doesn’t have to be financial)

Chances are, when you see something that needs fixing, you tend to fix it. When your parents move in you are going to see a lot and want to handle it. 

Let others help. And ask for their help.

Discuss with family members how they can chip in financially with things like transportation, errands, or just taking your parents somewhere so you can get a little bit of a break. 

If siblings live too far away for some of these tasks, find other ways they can contribute. Maybe they can be in charge of making sure taxes or other bills are paid on time. They could also set up a regular schedule to chat with you – and your parents – to talk about how things are going and solve any potential problems. 

5. Make a plan for how you’ll take care of yourself

This part of the list has nothing to do with money but it has a lot to do with what your new home life could look like. It’s OK and very important to set aside time for you. So make plans to exercise, veg out on a regular basis, and to do activities with friends and other family members, like the ones who still call you Mom or Dad.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.