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Communication Key in Adding Relative Quarters


Many families will consider opening their home to a relative when the need arises. Poor health, advancing age or other factors may make it necessary for a family member to need to move in with others that can take care of them, or at least keep them from living entirely alone. For this type of arrangement to be successful, many people find that some explicit, honest conversations will usually be necessary during the planning stages. Agreeing on crucial decisions early on in the project can be essential in reducing stress later after the family member has relocated to the new living space. For everyone involved to benefit from the new “in-law apartment,” learning to communicate on a whole new level may be the first step.


Usually, the first understanding that the family should come to is if the new quarters will be a repurposed existing space or an addition to the family home. To arrive at this decision, the family members should probably consider issues such as the need for privacy, level of independence and personality types. The hosting family members can usually allay any reservations by expressing how much they are looking forward to having the new resident living closer to them. Displaying some compassion and empathy can also go a long way in encouraging compromise and some level of sacrifice that is usually required when undergoing any significant life change. Whatever form the new in-law apartment takes, it usually works best if everyone feels they have had some level of validated input during the planning process.


Some people are uncomfortable discussing the money aspect of a plan like this. It is usually best to try to overcome the discomfort and hash out exactly who will pay for each part of the project. By working together to get the budget to a state of transparency, all parties involved can feel empowered and part of the process. This level of involvement can help the new situation be successful and less stressful overall. A significant life change like an in-law apartment can cause anxiety. Many families use the opportunity of closer living arrangements to help them grow more emotionally intimate.