Sharing a Home

teaka123November 2, 2005

My husband, two teens, dog, cat and I are moving into my mom's home. She is 81 and is in good health and active, but her home is too much for her to maintain. She is thrilled that she can remain in her home and loves having the life (activity & noise) that we will bring back into the home. My kids do not have to change school, etc.

What advice can you offer about understandings and any arrangements we should make.

I've asked my brother to come to the home and photograph/video her items, etc. so that there will be no question on what belongs to her and what items are ours. I'd hate to have anyone think I helped myself to great-grandfater's pocketwatch or anything. And we've asked her to get a home apprasial so that we can have an idea on improvements we make to the home and possible home value.

I welcome any and all advice.

Cheers, Carol

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Is it just you and your brother? I think that first and foremost, there should be a very clear understanding as to what is going to happen to the house when she dies or if she goes to a nursing home. It should be spelled out in her will. Do it now so that there will be no disagreement as she ages. Sometimes in-laws can cause real problems. Who will pay for the home insurance? Taxes? Perhaps it would be wise to see if you could get your name put on the deed NOW.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Another thing to think about is what will happen if she gets sick? Will you be expected to automatically be the full-time caregiver because you are living in the home? We never want to think about these things, but in this situation I agree with Logfrog: you need to spell everything out.

I'm glad your mother is in good health and will enjoy the activity you'll bring. But what happens if it turns to be too much for her? Sometimes as elders age, they can't tolerate noise and commotion, as in a house with teenagers. This may never happen, but it's something you need to consider. Do you have a backup plan? Are you selling your own home to move in with her?

How about you and your family? Do you think you will have any issues around privacy and so on? You're moving into HER house, not the other way around.

These questions may sound harsh, but I think you need to go into this situation with eyes wide open.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 4:14PM
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Hi Carol, seems i have a story for almost every topic, and i hope no one thinks i am a know it all. my mil (i think you all know her by now!-lol) she owned her own home and lived in it for about 20 years after dear fil passed away. then her 2 daughters figured the older one of the 2 would have her move in with her and her hubby and daughter. they had this massive yard sale - of which if al and i wanted anything or the kids - gifts they were given but were not to go home, they for when they visited gramma, we had to purchase, nothing was free, good thing we didn't want anything - lol. so they hire a van to move her stuff 1200 miles away to her fav. daughters home, well, they had to remodel their home--for gramma, and guess who paid gramma, then they moved into a mansion (ok this huge,huge house)she couldn't figure out why the sil wouldnt put of drapery rods in her room, i said to al, their going to kick her out after getting a ton of money from her, sure enough the daughter said she had to move, this after her living with them for 5 years (mil never lifted a finger to help out, never paid room and board, i guess that's where the re-modelling money came from, she never looked after her other granddaughter). she gave her daughter her dining room suite, which was nice but not great, and when she moved she took everything back, it was pretty bad, now mil lives very close to us but if you read my other posts you will see that she doesn't visit at all. all i can think of that is some people are very easy going and are a joy to live with, others, like my mil no amount of anything would make me let her live with us! (the few times she has visited she has complained of the kids being loud -- i only mention this because we have one teen and one old son). i do think and this is my own opinion is that mil should have rented out her home before she moved into her daughters home, sometimes people like to live with blinders on!. However, you have lived with your mom and know what she likes and doesn't like, and how she gets along with your hubby and her grandchildren. i too would also contact legal active because things do happen. debbie

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 10:01AM
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Hello Carol,

I thought I would respond to sharing the home as well. My mother has lived with my family for the last 12 years. My father died in 1993, and she moved in with us that very day. At that time we had a small ranch house and my mother shared a bedroom with my daughter who was nine years old at the time. Within the year we built a new house which we still live in today. Our house has four bedrooms upstairs, one of which is a master bedroom with a master bath. Additionally downstairs, we have another master bedroom with a master bath and walk in closet. That Master bedroom on the first floor is my mother's. My mother helped a lot with the kids when they were younger. She also did some housework and cooked dinner while I worked. I believe she felt needed and wanted and she certainly was. Now however, the tide has changed, she's in early Alzheimer's. And we are caring for her.

What did it take to make the situation work for us. I think two things were very important. First the right amount of privacy for everybody, which we accomplished by building a new house. And the right personalities. I have a wonderful husband was very patient and loving with my mother and I have a wonderful mother, who is very patient and loving with all of us.

I only have one sibling. An older brother who is out of state. My mother has a substantial estate. My brother and I discussed the disposition of that money and we are at this point in complete agreement. There are no problems between us.

My only regret is that I may not be able to care for her much longer. shortly before she developed Alzheimer's disease, I developed Parkinson's disease and as her disease progresses, so does mine. And the stress is overwhelming.

I wish you luck in your situation.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 11:02AM
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Thank you all for responding to my post and sharing your experiences and advice. They were most welcome. My mom has had the home appraised so we will have an idea of how much our painting, flooring, etc. increases the value. My brother came into town and at my request photographed the home and contents. In January we will consult with a real estate attorney on how best to proceed with our buying the home. We will spell things out on her being able to remain in the home as long as she wishes and/or as long care can be provided for her on an in home basis. Thank you again for your caring stories and suggestions.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 2:01AM
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