10 Tips on Moving Your Aging In-Laws in with You

In-law relationships can be touchy at times. You’ve inherited a second set of parents who may or may not understand or appreciate your way of doing things. Spending a great deal of time together can be a bit stressful and even exhausting, depending on your relationship. Of course, everyone usually means well, and it’s likely just a clash of opinions.

On the one hand, you feel thankful that your in-laws raised your spouse to be the fantastic man or woman they are. On the other hand, it can be hard to accept criticism and demands from someone — anyone — other than your own immediate family. Add in the dynamics of school-aged children, particularly teenagers, and you might need to call for backup every so often.

The truth is, life isn’t always comfortable. So, if it comes time to combine households and allow your in-laws to move in with you, it may help to set a few expectations going into it. Here are some tips to help you as you move your aging in-laws into your home.

  1. Discuss some basic ground rules. Setting the stage for expectations you have in your home can make all the difference in how things will go once your in-laws move into your house.
  2. Choose your words wisely. Always do your best to avoid hurting any feelings by thinking things through or even writing down what you plan to say.
  3. When possible, have your partner handle the difficult conversations. To avoid blemishing your relationship with your in-laws, leave it to your spouse to handle the sticky situations with his or her aging parents.
  4. Strategize on blending possessions. You likely don’t need two microwaves, two coffeepots, and so forth. Take inventory of your in-laws’ current home and consider what should come with them during the move. Flag other possessions for possible donation, storage, trash, or to be sold, as appropriate.
  5. Introduce pets, if applicable. If your in-laws have pets, make sure they are compatible with your pets (or children) if possible. In most cases, the blended family should work out just fine. If you have concerns, you may wish to reach out to a pet trainer and exhaust every effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both pets.
  6. Organize your schedule. Take note of any standing appointments, activities, or errands to which your mother-in-law or father-in-law might need a ride. Mark down any important dates in your planner or calendar.
  7. Create private spaces. Everyone needs a little space every now and again. Make sure your family members, as well as your in-laws, have a quiet place they can go when they just want to be alone.
  8. Consider whether renovations are needed. The popular in-law suite didn’t get its name for no reason. Decide whether you wish to add a small apartment to your home for your aging in-laws or just blend them into your home the way it is right now.
  9. Get all the responsibilities out in the open. Find out if or when you might have to drive your mother- or father-in-law somewhere. Ask them politely if they might be willing to help fold a load of wash or teach you how to make that particular dinner you love. If your in-laws are willing and able to lend a hand, the entire living arrangement can go more smoothly as remove some of the burdens from your shoulders.
  10. Let the tension roll off your back. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s even less so when you’ve brought additional people to live under your roof. Try not to sweat the small stuff and let go of the negativity. Above all, breathe.

In even the healthiest of relationships, some ripples are bound to occur from time to time. If the plan is to move your in-laws into your home, you may find a bumpier-than-usual road ahead. Even though you try your best to keep an even keel, some tension may rise here and there. Some disagreements may occur. Some feelings may be hurt. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With enough patience, love, and flexibility, you will all make it through the rough patches, finding a beautiful bonding e

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