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Multi-generational living

(28 Posts)
PogoBaby Thu 28-Jul-11 16:06:20

DM (late 50s) is a widow and lives about an hour away. She has a busy social life but about 18 months ago mentioned moving closer to us, suggesting we buy a house together and co-habit, DH and I were open to the idea at the time as we all get on well.

DM raised this idea again recently and I?ve looked into it in more detail which has just raised some fairly major concerns for me.

To get a big enough house we would either have to move out to the sticks (not keen) or increase our mortgage considerable (I'm the sole bread winner and don't want to stress of a huge mortgage).

I am also concerned about the house being seen as an asset when paying for any future care she may need, what would the inheritance tax implications be and would we be left with a big house that we couldn't afford to run after my mum has passed (horrible to think about but no-one lives forever).

DMs response was that we could sell the house in the future and downsize. I moved house loads as a kid and DH lived in the same house from birth to 28 so neither of us keen on unnecessary moves! She also feels that taking a risk on a mortgage is worth it as there are fairly regular promotion opportunities in my work if I need more money.

Bottom line is I don't want to. However I feel responsible to my mum, she was widowed fairly young and is now living alone for the rest of her life. I feel I should put her needs above my own concerns and just suck it up - I do tend to worry about money and financial commitments as we didn't have much growing up and DM and DF had some pretty big arguments about it!

Argh, any wise words, I guess this is what they mean by the 'sandwich generation'

Sorry it's long!!!

AMumInScotland Thu 28-Jul-11 16:19:23

I think the fundamental is "I don't want to" - I'm sure your mum wouldn't want to hold you to something just because you all discussed it - you've now thought about it and don't feel it would suit after all. How about suggesting she moves closer to you, but in her own house/flat so you can spend time together, and be handy as she gets older, but you can all still have your own space. Since she's only in her 50s I assume she doesn't have any care needs. Plus, honestly, if you don't fancy the idea and she lives into her 70s or 80s it's a long time to all be stuck together, if you're not sure that you'd love it.

PogoBaby Thu 28-Jul-11 17:05:39

Thanks AMum, you talk a lot of sense. I guess I just feel guilty, it's not enough feeling guilty about everything to do with DD I'm also beating myself up wit guilt about DM!!

vegetariandumpling Thu 28-Jul-11 17:11:00

It seems like you really don't want to do it, but feel you should do it anyway just for your DM, is that about right? Doing something for someone when you don't want to do can often lead to resentment, and it would be a shame to damage the relationship when you say you get on well atm.

Could you move closer, but not move in together? That way you could visit/help out DM more, but wouldn't have to have such a big house so wouldn't need a bigger mortgage. Alternatively, if promotions are so frequent at your work you could wait until you've been promoted and are earning enough to afford a house big enough that's not in the sticks.

In regards to the house being seen as an asset when looking at care homes, afaik they cannot take the house into consideration if family members (usually a spouse so not sure about children) are living there, and it would be half yours anyway. But it sounds like there are other issues apart from this anyway.

If you're only an hour away, you can still be there for your DM by visiting/phoning regually anyway.

PogoBaby Thu 28-Jul-11 17:55:21

Thanks veg you've hit the nail on the head there.

Will just work how to address it with mum now smile

confidence Thu 28-Jul-11 23:27:30

Does your mum have any pet hates? Can you take your DH round to stay with her, and exploit them until she's begging you not to make her live with you? Leave the kitchen a bomb site; hair all over the bath; accidentally break all her best china that sort of thing...

PogoBaby Fri 29-Jul-11 00:00:35

Thanks for posting*confidence*, mum has loads of pet hates and both DH and I regularly do most of them (not on purpose !!) but she is adamant that we will all just be able to muddle along and suddenly not be annoyed by things that she spent my entire childhood stressing about!

I think that is why I am feeling guilty, she seems so keen on moving in together that she is ignoring what could be real issues, makes me think she must really want to do this confused

squeakytoy Fri 29-Jul-11 00:09:37

Does your mum own her own house outright? If so, then the sale of that house would enable her to buy a property closer to you.

PogoBaby Fri 29-Jul-11 01:08:07

Mum does own her own place so would have the money to get something suitable, think it's just a case of her having a slightly romantic notion of the big family house and the more I think about it the more I know it wouldn't work.

Saying no feels somehow cruel but this is a time where it's being cruel to be kind to be honest as she would grow to resent our noisey family life quite quickly......

CelticStarlight Fri 29-Jul-11 04:13:40

Don't do it. You aren't responsible for your mother's happiness. She is still relatively young, encourage her to make a life for herself. Don't become her sole source of comfort & entertainment, it is too much pressure for one person and will damage your relationship in the long run with your mother and possibly with your husband as well.

If she wants to move nearer to you then fair enough but make sure it is in her own house. You can still be sympathetic, kind and supportive without becoming her be all and end all and having her live with you.

GnomeDePlume Fri 29-Jul-11 09:04:25

I am another who would say 'dont do it' especially if your heart isnt really in it. I would even doubt the wisdom of moving closer. My DM was also widowed in her 50s. She is now in her 70s and has made a life for herself in her own right.

I second CelticStarlight's wise words.

JanMorrow Fri 29-Jul-11 10:28:45

Look for a place for her really near you, so within walking distance, or a short car ride at the most.. I adore my parents but I don't think I'd want to live with them.. but when they get elderly I'll certainly want them nearby. I think that's the perfect solution, especially if it's a flat or bungalow or something (ie no stairs).

diddl Fri 29-Jul-11 10:37:27

I wouldn´t.

Heavens, if she only in her 50s-what if you need to move for work for example?

Better if she moves nearer if she wants to.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Fri 29-Jul-11 12:18:32


It's so complicated and there are so many things that could go wrong.

Your mum is wrong to say that "well you can just get a promotion" to cover the massive mortgage. That's too much pressure for you to be responsible for everyone else keeping a roof over their heads for the rest of your mums life. Did she even suggest that SHE could get a job? Sounds like she just wants taking care of.

There are so many reasons not to do it.

What if you wanted to move? What about privacy? What if your marriage broke down? What if one of you wanted out or wanted to move? What if your mum met a new man, would he just move in?!

Sounds like you would argue constantly anyway and that would put on massive strain on your marriage.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Fri 29-Jul-11 12:23:28

Imagine you want a quiet romantic evening with your DH and your mum is insisting you sit and watch coronation street with her.

You'd also possibly get complaints about noise (does she go to bed early?) so no telly after 10pm.

No shared baths/showers with your DH! "ooh what are you doing in there!"

Some GPs (not all obviously) may start to feel they have a say over the way you parent your children or run your home for eg.

SOOOOO many possible problems!

ImperialBlether Fri 29-Jul-11 12:51:49

Don't do it! Different generations (unless it's under 18s with parents) are not meant to live together!

I'm 53 and the thought of my daughter taking pity on me and suggesting living with me, or the thought of me suggesting that to her, fills me with absolute horror.

Your mum could easily meet someone new - what happens to the house then? Will there be four of you living together? What if you don't like her new husband?

So many potential problems. Stay in separate houses and continue to get on well, is my advice.

ImperialBlether Fri 29-Jul-11 12:52:24

People in their 50s don't necessarily go to bed at 10pm ffs!

argghh Fri 29-Jul-11 12:56:36

I wouldnt do it, just be honest with her and say you have realised that you need your privacy but would love for her to move nearer.

HeatherSmall Fri 29-Jul-11 12:59:11

I've thought about this with my MIL who is in her 70's and a weekend visit from her usually puts paid to any charitable thoughts.
Old people are like another child in my experience and I mean old people not 50 year olds but looking to the future.
Basically MIL cannot put anyones needs before her own including my children, she takes food off their plates if she fancies it, takes warm bedding from them if she needs it nevermind that they might. And it doesn't seem unusual having moaned to friends about this apparently they are all the same, not even ill just old.

Pootles2010 Fri 29-Jul-11 13:07:47

Seperate houses but close together seem to be a good idea OP - perhaps have a gander on Rightmove, find a nice looking house as close to your house as you dare, then send her the link and see what she thinks?

oldwomaninashoe Fri 29-Jul-11 13:15:10

She is going to centre her life around you and yours and that is not good for any of you , her most especially.

Do your homework try and find her a home near to you where there is an established community she can become part of, whilst being close to you.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Fri 29-Jul-11 13:41:06

ImperialBlether Of course not! That's not what I was saying. I was suggesting one of a million things that could cause problems. If I were to live with my dad for eg, I would be woken up at 3am every morning when he gets up to eat cereal!

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Fri 29-Jul-11 13:55:34

Oh and I wouldn't be able to leave one single piece of washing up in the sink/ironing in the basket (he's weirdly obsessed). I would have to do ALL the cleaning otherwise it would be like my dads house is now . . . a health hazard! sad I would get comments about slippers (my dad's obsessed that everyone should wear them) and if I weren't dressed before 7am there would be comments "you getting dressed today?!" He would also look me up in down in a disapproving way if I weren't wearing a skirt or dress and he would comment everytime I put on 2lb and call me "fat arse". I would have to put up with the tv changing volume/brightness CONSTANTLY, and my dad losing something every 30 seconds.

He's lovely really. Could never live with him though!

ImperialBlether Fri 29-Jul-11 13:57:34

Sorry, WhoseGotMyEyebrows, just feeling rattled by the fact that someone just a bit older than me would act like an old person and want to live with her daughter!

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Fri 29-Jul-11 14:01:37

Yeah that would freak me out too! I did wonder if that was how it sounded though after I posted it.

My parents (mum not alive anymore because of the evil that is cancer) have always acted older then their years. Freaks me out as I can remember my mum acting old when she was in her 30s and now I'm in my 30s!

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