The death of a spouse isn’t just devastating for your elderly parent; it could prompt a sharp
decline in their health. Not only does the emotional stress of losing a spouse put your surviving
parent at risk of cardiovascular decline, the resulting grief and isolation can spur myriad health
issues, from poor nutrition to cognitive decline. If you haven’t already, this is the time to start
thinking seriously about moving your aging parent into your home. While some families are
blessed with a mother-in-law suite or spare bedroom, for many, moving a parent in means
upsizing their home.
Multi-generational living offers its benefits. It’s an opportunity for children to develop a closer
relationship with their grandparent, and if your parent is still able, it could mean an extra pair of
hands to help with housekeeping and childcare. For your parent, it’s an opportunity to reduce
financial worries, increase social connection, and find renewed purpose in daily life.
That said, moving an elderly parent in isn’t without challenges. You’ll need to restructure family
responsibilities to ensure everyone is cared for and find ways to create privacy with an extra
person in the house. And depending on your parent’s finances, it could create financial stress.
If your parent isn’t able to contribute to the household finances, you may be wondering how
you’ll afford to upsize your home. Here are a few tips for getting the space you need without
busting your budget:
1. Buy only what you need
It’s possible to get the space you need without dramatically increasing your overall square
footage. As you house hunt, seek homes that skip unnecessary spaces like formal dining
rooms, great rooms, or home theaters. Instead, use that square footage for extra bedrooms and
2. Change your neighborhood
In general, homes grow more affordable the further you travel from the city center. For more
space without a bigger price tag, set your eyes toward the suburbs.
3. Share space
If you have young children, they may be able to share bedrooms for a few years while your
parent is living with you. As Babble points out, shared bedrooms offer benefits beyond
conserving space. No kids? Consider having the dining room pull double-duty as a home office
or converting another space for multiple uses.
4. Look at older homes
Outdated styles in older homes can lead to much lower price tags for the same amount of
space. And as long as the issues are aesthetic, not structural — think floral wallpaper, pastel
bathrooms, and wood paneling — you can remodel with minimal expense.
5. Search for foreclosures
You may be able to use proceeds from your home sale to purchase a foreclosed property
outright. However, it’s important to understand the nuances of buying foreclosures before going
this route. You’ll need to attend auctions, research properties thoroughly, and have cash to pay
for the property in full.
6. Shop new builds
A new construction home may not be your first thought when trying to save money, but it can be
the best way to get exactly the house you need and no more. Rather than spending money on
remodeling projects, you can commission a home with two master bedrooms, a backyard
cottage, or an above-the-garage in-law suite. You can still save money on new construction by
following advice from Money Crashers.
The death of a parent sends shockwaves through your family’s life. Not only are all of you
grieving the loss of a spouse, parent, and grandparent, but you’re faced with the task of meeting
everyone’s needs without hurting your family’s financial security. If you’re struggling to find an
upsized home that suits your needs and your budget, turn to a trusted real estate agent for help.
Image via Flickr
By: Lucille Rosetti