Ground rules for Grandma moving in

My father passed away recently and I'm contemplating having my mom move in with my family.  We've checked out some independent living facilities but ultimately she'd rather live with us.  Now she live 15 minutes away and we see her 2-3 days a week, including staying overnight once or twice a week.  But she is on her own for the first time in her life so she is uncomfortable living alone.  My mom, wife and kids all get along well. 

I'm hoping to hear from those who have had an elderly relative move in.  What rules or expectations did you establish or wish you establish? 
 

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My parents moved in with us about a year ago and we didn't think through ground rules very well. Here's what I wish we had talked about more:

1. Responsibilities for household chores - how will you divide up things like cooking, cleaning, child care? This will obviously depend a lot on how much she's capable of. If she needs a lot of care, this might be more about how you and your wife will balance household responsibilities with an additional person to care for in the house.

2. Rules for your kids - my mom has been spoiling my kid and it makes me crazy. Make sure she can follow the rules you have for your kids, whatever those are. (This may be linked to #1 - my mom is better about enforcing our rules if we don't ask her to take on more child care than she can handle, when she gets tired she resorts to bribing my kid with sweets and videos...)

3. Finances - will she contribute? how much?

Good luck!

I am also following this thread because it's very pertinent to us. My husband's mother lived with us for a trial 5-month period (she is also widowed), and by the last month, we were all desperate to for her to go home. Here were our issues. Also, I'm basing this on my mother-in-law's capabilities and stamina, so you'd of course have to be cognizant what your mother is able to do.

1. Household chores - We left it up to her goodwill to take it upon herself to help with the upkeep of the house. This ended up too random - there were days she said she would fold the laundry, but since she wasn't on any particular timetable, it often took days to get done, so my family and I kept going into the dryer to get our stuff. What I ideally wish next time: We give her specific tasks AND the expectation that they are to be done every time. Granted, this feels transactional, but I prefer this over being beholden to whether someone feels like doing something at a particular time and it doesn't get done in the timeframe that we want/need.

2. Screen time - My mother in law is addicted to social media and her devices, to the point where she wouldn't even interact with her own grandkids in the house. What I will establish next time: Any device usage is to be done in the bedroom and not common living areas. If my mother-in-law cannot model good behavior with device usage, she can do it out of sight from the kids. You don't mention the ages of your kids, so just think about the fact that since another adult is coming into the home, they are also modeling for the kids.

3. Health - Can Grandma take care of herself? Does she need help remembering meds or diet management? My mother-in-law was very haphazard with her accounting of all the meds she had to take. This was in part because her team of doctors is not even in this country and our only source of information as to what she needed to take and when was her. Since your mother lives nearby already, I assume her health affairs will be more easily managed. However, I'd still make it a point to be up to date with her health conditions and medications, now that she is joining your household.

4. Family get-togethers - This one is hard. There were a lot of times we wanted to just go somewhere, just the nuclear family (parents and kids). However, we didn't want Grandma to feel excluded. So sometimes we invited. But sometimes, we also had to be explicit and say, 'We, husband and I, plus the kids, plan on going to ... today. Can you take care of lunch yourself?' She was always agreeable to that, but culturally speaking, she is more used to being communal and everybody hanging out, plus she doesn't have her own friends here or even a license to drive around. I think this may have resulted in some hurt feelings, but she never showed them. I think she understood that she couldn't always be with us all the time, but anyway, you may or may not have this issue if your mother is fairly independent. 

Good luck!

Well. I would say, be careful. We all need our space and independence, including your Mom. She may not understand that now, but there is nothing like having a space that is sacred to each one...

I should not be giving advice since I just want my Mom to go away....my problem is cultural and different personalities... she wants to be surrounded by people, the more the merrier. She likes the tv on at all times along with the phone, computer, whats app....She wants to have a social life but since she is not from here, she really has a couple of friends that used to be my friends. Meaning that everytime I go out I feel guilty if I don't envite her.

When I was not able to resist having her at our home, and the kids became young adults, we decided to build an in-law. It did solve the problem of not having to see her all the time or having to hear all the devices on, but it is more a suite than an apartment and in retrospect, we did not help her adjust to her life as a widow, creating her own life and not an extension of ours.

It may be a cultural situation, but we live in the US and are more independent thinkers (too much for my taste). Nothing we can do now. By not giving her independence she became even more emotional dependent than before.

If you feel you need your space, make her have a life outside of your house and your life. Eventually she will be grateful for that. Establish rules from the beginning and if you have young kids, having Grandma around can be sweet and they will learn to respect and share with the society in general.

Good luck!