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Your Place or Mine?

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December 13, 2010

Are you contemplating moving several generations under one roof? If you're already living the intergenerational life, perhaps your family has encountered a few challenges. Regardless of the situation, you or your senior loved ones probably have many questions, such as:

  • Is it best financially to maintain separate residences or to move in together?
  • Do you have the resources to take care of your elderly loved one in your home?
  • Are there young children at home? If so, what do they think about it?
  • Should you move Mom or Dad to your home, or should you move into theirs?
  • Is the home safe for a senior and, if not, what changes need to be made?
  • How do you handle separate bank and savings accounts, and joint expenses?
  • What role will adult siblings play?
  • Will you need caregiving help for your senior?
  • How do you balance family time and private time?
  • If you're an older adult, will you lose your independence?

Communication is the key to making your combined family work, says Matthew Kaplan Ph.D., Penn State Intergenerational Programs extension specialist. "Families must address the issues at hand -- from multiple perspectives -- when they arise...Ask yourself, 'What can we do to come together and figure things out?'"

Even with the best intentions, changes in family dynamics can lead to conflicts. Planning ahead with sibling and family agreements can help.

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