Currently more than 1 in 4 Americans live in a multigenerational household, and that only increased during the pandemic.
A month ago, my home became part of that statistic. My grandmother moved in with my husband and I. Back in November, we drove up to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and moved her down to Virginia.
We made the decision to move her down here for a few reasons. My husband is in the Navy and leaves often. I don’t have any family in Virginia and being alone can negatively impact my mental health. Having my grandmother here also helps me maintain my sobriety. Lastly, my grandma was living by herself as well, so we thought it would be the perfect time to move her in. 54
The last month has been good in so many ways. We’ve spent quality time together, made good meals and grown closer. But, moving in together is not always an easy thing. My grandma had lived in Ohio for over 60 years, so moving her whole life down here came with its own challenges.
As with any kind of big change we’ve all had to adjust. There are a few things we’ve done that have helped us along the way and I’ve listed them below.
1. Prepare early. When we made the final decision to have my grandma move in with us, we got to work. I immediately started organizing and cleaning our guest bedroom for her. My grandma started going through her things and getting rid of the items wouldn’t need. This made the whole moving process go smoother.
2. Hire Professional Movers. In years past, my husband and I made the mistake of moving all our furniture and belongings ourselves. This is SO stressful, and not to mention it can be dangerous. This time we hired movers and it was such a great decision. It saved so much stress.
If you live in the Roanoke, VA area, you need to check out the movers from ★Star City Services★. They are a family owned and operated moving company. They have an experienced, professional staff that provides outstanding customer-focused service. All the work they do is fast, efficient, and affordable. The Roanoke commercial movers offer a wide variety of services from packing, residential moving to commercial.
3. Learn How to Communicate. If I’m being honest, the first few weeks my grandma was here were hard for all of us. Everything had changed. My grandma had been living alone for almost a decade and I’d been living with just my husband. We did things differently, and sometimes this caused tension. We quickly learned how important it was to create a safe and open space for all of us to share how we were feeling. Through practice we’ve learned about each other’s different styles of communication. We also take the time to regularly check in on each other by asking meaningful open-ended questions.
4. Set boundaries. This is a huge one. When you have a new person move into your home it can be easy for boundaries to be crossed. Crossing boundaries can be very harmful. Once my grandma moved in, we had multiple conversations about different boundaries we all needed. A few of the boundaries we have in place are physical boundaries, as well as emotional and mental ones. These boundaries help us create healthy, meaningful relationships.
5. Have Fun. This sounds so simple, but it’s important. Life can be so stressful and chaotic sometimes that we forget to slow down and enjoy our loved ones. My grandma and I recently went to see a Christmas concert and we had a blast. We got out of the house and got to be around each other in a stress-free setting.
6. Don’t try to change them. This is something my grandma and I are both working on. We are both grown adults who have lived separately for years which means we have different ways of doing things. It’s so much easier to accept the person you’re living with. My grandma and I may not always agree on things, but we love each other just the way we are.
Having my grandma move in has been a great decision for both of us. Every day we are committed to creating a loving and safe home environment. This is possible, but it takes work every day.