Moving a Parent in After Their Spouse’s Death
The death of a spouse isn’t just devastating for your elderly parent; it could prompt a sharp decline in their health. Not only does the emotional stress of losing a spouse put your surviving parent at risk of cardiovascular decline, the resulting grief and isolation can spur myriad health issues, from poor nutrition to cognitive decline. If you haven’t already, this is the time to start thinking seriously about moving your aging parent into your home. While some families are blessed with a mother-in-law suite or spare bedroom, for many, moving a parent in means upsizing their home.
Multi-generational living offers its benefits. It’s an opportunity for children to develop a closer relationship with their grandparent, and if your parent is still able, it could mean an extra pair of hands to help with housekeeping and childcare. For your parent, it’s an opportunity to reduce financial worries, increase social connection, and find renewed purpose in daily life.
That said, moving an elderly parent in isn’t without challenges. You’ll need to restructure family responsibilities to ensure everyone is cared for and find ways to create privacy with an extra person in the house. And depending on your parent’s finances, it could create financial stress.
If your parent isn’t able to contribute to the household finances, you may be wondering how you’ll afford to upsize your home. Here are a few tips for getting the space you need without busting your budget:
1. Buy only what you need
It’s possible to get the space you need without dramatically increasing your overall square footage. As you house hunt, seek homes that skip unnecessary spaces like formal dining rooms, great rooms, or home theaters. Instead, use that square footage for extra bedrooms and bathrooms.
2. Change your neighborhood
In general, homes grow more affordable the further you travel from the city center. For more space without a bigger price tag, set your eyes toward the suburbs.
3. Share space
If you have young children, they may be able to share bedrooms for a few years while your parent is living with you. As Babble points out, shared bedrooms offer benefits beyond conserving space. No kids? Consider having the dining room pull double-duty as a home office or converting another space for multiple uses.
4. Look at older homes
Outdated styles in older homes can lead to much lower price tags for the same amount of space. And as long as the issues are aesthetic, not structural — think floral wallpaper, pastel bathrooms, and wood paneling — you can remodel with minimal expense.
5. Search for foreclosures
You may be able to use proceeds from your home sale to purchase a foreclosed property outright. However, it’s important to understand the nuances of buying foreclosures before going this route. You’ll need to attend auctions, research properties thoroughly, and have cash to pay for the property in full.
6. Shop new builds
A new construction home may not be your first thought when trying to save money, but it can be the best way to get exactly the house you need and no more. Rather than spending money on remodeling projects, you can commission a home with two master bedrooms, a backyard cottage, or an above-the-garage in-law suite. You can still save money on new construction by following advice from Money Crashers.
The death of a parent sends shockwaves through your family’s life. Not only are all of you grieving the loss of a spouse, parent, and grandparent, but you’re faced with the task of meeting everyone’s needs without hurting your family’s financial security. If you’re struggling to find an upsized home that suits your needs and your budget, turn to a trusted real estate agent for help.
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