Moving in with Family

At some point most people and/or their loved ones consider whether or not it would be feasible and/or desirable to move in with other family members. While you may be interested in moving in with a family member (or having a parent or loved one move in with you), be aware that it's an option that has far-reaching implications.

Before approaching a family member to discuss potentially moving in ask yourself:

  • Where exactly do you envision living in their home? Is there an extra private bedroom? Would you be willing to share a room with another family member? What about access to a bathroom? Would you want your own private living area complete with a bathroom and efficiency? What is possible and reasonable given their lifestyle and resources?
  • How long do you expect to or think you might want to live there? Would this be a temporary situation or are you envisioning it being a permanent home?
  • What expectations do you have for being integrated (or not) into the family's lifestyle - for example, would you want to share in all family meals, events, vacations, etc.? Would you be willing to help with meals, shopping, laundry, and housecleaning?
  • How would you contribute to the family? Would you be able to provide financial support? Could you help maintain the home, babysit for children, etc.? Would you be expected to contribute financially or otherwise on a regularly specified basis? What happens if circumstances change?
  • How would living with your family potentially affect your relationship with them? Do you have a strong enough relationship and a healthy enough dynamic to be able to talk openly?
  • What adjustments would you have to make to your lifestyle in order to integrate well into this new living situation?
  • In addition to your personal expectations or concerns there are some very real practical implications that moving in with a family member might pose. You should check with your health insurance provider to see if the move might affect your eligibility or benefits.

Once you have answered those questions for yourself it's time to raise the subject with your family members. When approaching them about the idea of moving in be sure you clearly lay out:

  • your expectations
  • any concerns you have (or anticipate they might have)
  • issues that you would need to jointly work out before being able to move in
  • financial responsibilities
  • potential accommodations and housing adaptations/renovations that you might require
  • how you will together resolve conflict when it arises

It's a very good idea to put things down in writing so that everyone is clear about how the arrangement will work and everyone can revisit it together to change it or refer to it when things are not working well.