When an Adult Child Moves Back Home

Seniors may find themselves in a situation where one of their adult children is moving back home to live with them either temporarily or for the long-term.  This move may happen because of the adult child’s life circumstances and have nothing to do with the senior’s health.  Situations like divorce, the loss of a job, or health problems can cause them to be unable to live on their own.  This change in living situation can be difficult on both the adult child and the senior.

Dealing with Personal Issues

When adult children are dealing with divorce or the loss of a job, they have many emotional issues to work through.  This can be compounded by having a new living arrangement to adjust to.  They are no longer head of their house and are back under their parents’ roof like they were as children.  This change in circumstance can result in a change in roles for both the parent and the adult child.

The senior may see his or her role as the parent once again taking care of the child.  Adult children may resent being treated that way or they may let the parent take care of them and lose the initiative to do things for themselves.  This role confusion can escalate to ongoing arguments and misunderstandings.

When Health Issues are involved

If adult children move back in with their parents because of a serious health issue, the complications can increase.  They have to accept a health diagnosis and adjust to having their parents care for them.  Their resentment of the situation can be reflected in their attitude towards their parents even though they are not angry with them.

Parents may feel responsible for providing care for their child even though they don’t physically feel like it.  This puts an added burden on them even though they may not see it as such.

How to Deal with a Complex Situation

It is important to establish and maintain open communication between the parent and the adult child.  The two should feel free to discuss their feelings about the living situation in a non-confrontational way so they know where each other stands.  They may find that they need guidelines for their living arrangement.  For instance, parents may expect their child to pay a portion of the living expenses while residing there even if it is only a small portion of what they would pay elsewhere.

Other issues that the two will have to deal with include inviting friends over.  The parents are used to being independent and doing what they want to without the need to consider anyone else.  The adult child may not feel free to invite friends over since it is not their house.  Both of them need to set ground rules and expectations so the other one knows what to expect. Parents should let their child know how they want things to be while providing a roof for them.  The children should also feel free to not have to report in to their parents like they did when they were teenagers.

Financial Stress

Having an adult child move back home can be stressful on the parent due to financial concerns.  Sometimes, the parents are living on a fixed income and they may have to provide financial assistance for more people if the adult child does not have the resources to help.  If their adult children have young children of their own, this only adds to the financial burden.

One way to handle this situation is to set a time limit for the living arrangement.  The adult child should be working to get a job or make other arrangements so as not to impose on the parent any longer than necessary.  If it must be extended, then both can agree to another time limit.  This way the intention that this is a temporary arrangement is clear to both parties.

Children are not the only ones who come back home to live with a senior; grandchildren may find they need a temporary place to live.  A senior should not feel pressured to take in their family members if they are not up to it, but if they do, it should be a suitable arrangement for everyone.

When you need additional assistance for your household chores, contact Carefect Homecare Services.  Our caregivers can help you with laundry, running errands, and other tasks when you do not feel up to it.  We accompany you to outings or assist you with exercises to help you deal with the stress of a new living arrangement.