Photo: Getty Images
As parents age, or as life circumstances allow, you may one day hear this question gut-check from your spouse: Can my mom and dad move in with us? But before you say yes or no, experts say, you have a lot to consider.
While there are positives to having your in-laws one room, rather than one town, away — think: additional adults to supervise your children, assistance with household maintenance, and the ability to bolster your bond — there are negatives, too, says Ruth Nemzoff, Ed. D. and author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. You could face "conflict over priorities, discipline, routine, diet, privacy, and cleanliness," she says, while their presence could actually create more work for you.
So before you answer, "consider the new daily responsibilities that you will have while taking care of your in-laws, and decide who will be responsible for each task," Nemzoff suggests. You should also discuss "best case and worst case scenarios, and be clear on what each individual needs to make this work."
If you do decide to let your in-laws to move in, "a detailed plan should be drawn up," says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. In the agreement, be clear about how long this arrangement will last, "as well as what factors might require a re-negotiation," she says. Will they need their own space, one that will require a renovation? Spell it out. And make sure you agree on each and every point. "Couples really need to be in complete agreement about this," Doares says. "It cannot be a manipulated decision because it will impact your relationship. It may seem like the easiest answer, but it has to be the best answer. If there are any unresolved boundary issues with the in-laws, the decision becomes much more problematic."