One side effect of the recent recession has been young adults moving back in with their parents, or not being able to move out at all after college because they can’t find a job.
Those who have successfully flown the coop can face a different problem—parents who want to move in with them. There can be numerous reasons for this. Maybe the folks have financial difficulties and lose their house, or one party dies, leaving the other unable to take care of the family home alone.
Some older people suffer from empty nest syndrome after all the kids grow up and move out, or become lonely and depressed from being alone.
For whatever reason, one or both of your parents may decide they want to move in with you. If this is the last thing you want, you’ll need to think ahead and have ways to counteract their plan with one of your own. Before I get into the list I should note that my parents mean a lot to me. These are just some creative ways that may come in handy if you find yourself having this discussion with your parents.
10. Move as far away from them as possible.
Ideally, you’ll do this right after college graduation so you don’t risk putting down any roots too close to home. This may be the only way to escape helicopter parents who insist on continuing to run your life even after you’re grown up.
A friend of mine had parents so controlling that she had to move several times to get them out of her hair. First, she went away to college instead of attending the local school her parents preferred. Alas, this was not far enough away to discourage the folks from dropping in to see what she was up to.
Next, she moved to the biggest city in the region, three hours from her folks. Again, the distance wasn’t enough to keep the ’rents away. Finally, she moved 2,000 miles away to the opposite side of the country. Fortunately, her folks finally gave up and just let her visit when she had time, because both were afraid to fly. If this last move hadn’t worked, she was considering Hawaii next. Or the moon.
9. Pick their retirement spot.
Lots of seniors retire to places like Florida and Arizona. These are great places for your folks to live, provided that you live at least two states away.
One way to keep the folks from moving in with you is to buy them a retirement home, preferably one far away from where you live. If you (or you and your spouse) have saved up a nice nest egg, why not put down a payment on a nice retirement home? Isn’t preserving your domestic bliss (and sanity) worth it?
The surest way to keep the folks from hanging around too much or moving in is to hook up with that guy or girl they didn’t want you to date in the first place.
Bring that outlaw biker/stripper sweetie home to meet mom and dad, and watch their horrified reaction. If you don’t have an undesirable honey in real life, hire one.
7. Announce your plans to totally renovate your house—over the next year or so.
If you’ve ever seen the film “The Money Pit,” you know what a nightmare home renovations can be. Go into great detail to the ‘rents about the extensive plans you have for the house and how long it’s going to take.
6. Move someplace they’ll be unhappy.
One sure way to deter parents from moving in with you is to take a job in a city or state where they’re guaranteed to be miserable. Folks love the warm weather down south? They won’t be happy with the winters in Minneapolis.
Is dad a right-wing Republican from the Deep South? He’s not going to fit in if he has to live in a lefty liberal city like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles. Conversely, those old hippie parents won’t enjoy living in some small town where the other citizens consider them to be Commies.
5. Get a pet they’re allergic to or afraid of.
Are your parents afraid of big dogs or allergic to cats? Run down to the pound and bring home a pit bull or a couple of kitties. Send lots of photos to mom and dad telling them how much you love your babies, even after the cats peed all over the living room carpet and the dog attacked a neighbor’s Yorkie. Tell the folks how you can’t wait for them to meet your “kids” and take care of them for you.
If your folks love all cats and dogs, consider a snake.
4. Tell them you plan to adopt a few real kids, preferably the type that may need some extra attention.
If mom and dad aren’t discouraged by the destruction wrought by Fido or Fluffy, why not follow in the footsteps of Angeline Jolie and adopt a few human kids? This ploy will be especially effective if your parents are enjoying the peace and quiet of their empty nest.
Tell them how happy you are that they’ll be around to help you raise your litter of young’uns, since the poor dears all have behavior problems and need a strong parental presence. You, of course, will be working full time to pay the bills, so mom and dad will know the joys of being parents all over again, years after they thought they were through.
Best of all, you won’t have to actually do the adopting, because the suggestion will be enough to do the trick.
You may get along OK with the parents now, provided you don’t have to see them too often, but back when you were a teenager, they were your worst enemies. How dare they tell you not to get drunk and stay out all night?
If mom and/or dad have been hinting about moving in with you, pay them a visit and give them a taste of what your cohabiting could be like. Stay out all night and sleep all day. Make a mess of their house and expect mom to clean it up. Tell her that you can’t wait for her to move in with you so she can do your laundry and all the housecleaning.
After a week of teenage you, the ‘rents will be happy to have their home back—just the two of them.
2. Buy a small condo.
If you’re newly single and suspect one or both parents are going to use this as an excuse to move in with you, discourage extra occupants by buying a 600 sq.ft. one-bedroom condo, preferably in the heart of a big city.
Be sure to send the ‘rents lots of photos of the mini-crib, raving about how easy it is to keep clean and how nice it is to not have friends try to crash there. Be sure to mention that the couch does not turn into a bed. And that you have only one parking space in the building garage.
1. Make sure they’re happy and financially secure.
All joking aside, the best way to keep your parents happily tucked away in the family home is to keep their financial affairs in order. Some seniors have fallen for refinancing scams that cost them the homes where they had lived for decades. Keep an eye on how your parents are getting along money-wise, even if you feel like you’re prying into their personal affairs.
This is even more important if one parent is widowed. A senior who was married for many years is certain to be lonely when forced to live alone, but also may have lost the partner who handled the couple’s financial decisions.
Taking control of a widowed parent’s finances may prove to be the best way to keep him/her from being forced to move in with you.
Also, look for signs of depression or debilitating illness. Catching these problems early and helping the parent through them can allow both of you to be happy in your separate domiciles.
|Written on 6/13/2013 by Linda F. Cauthen.|
Photo Credit: Don Nunn