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hapwise on HAP
LiveWell: Advice
4
Reflling Your Empty Nest
Just when you thought the kids were gone, they just might
be coming back home. And that could be a good thing.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center discovered that
the percentage of people in multigenerational households
has grown by a third since 1980. The trend – called
“Boomerang Kids” – fnds more adults living with their
parents due to divorce, job loss or family illness.
“Some consider it failing, but think about what’s really
going on here,” says Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., Wayne State
University professor of Psychology. “The family is
reassembling into one household to meet everyone’s needs.
They’re coming together as a family.”
But don’t take the situation lightly, he warns. “Talk up front
about expectations. How long will your adult child live
there? Will they pay rent? Can they bring pets? How will
they help maintain the household? Discussing these things
frst makes the experience more rewarding for everyone.”
Dr. Lichtenberg ofers these tips:
Set expectations and boundaries up front.
Share the chores.
Develop a plan and time line to help the adult child
regain independence.
Use the time together to rebuild or enhance
relationships.
Keep communicating.
After a month, talk about adjustments you may need to
make. And always look for ways to support each other. “If
you do,” he says, “you’ll fnd there can be a real reward in
living together again at this stage of life.”
Family Always Comes First
As controller of a Detroit-area marketing agency,
Jan Ramsey never intended to be living at home
again. But after her mother died and her father fell
ill, that’s exactly where the HAP member ended up.
“Right now, my life is centered around caring for my
dad,” she says. “I’m trying to make life easy for him
so he can recover, so that means living with him. I
work, come home and make sure he has what he
needs.”
For Jan, it’s meant a complete change in lifestyle.
“I used to drive 15 miles to work; now I drive 40 each
way. But as an adult child, sometimes it’s what you
need to do for a parent.”
Even so, she’s learned how to make it easy on both
of them. “You have to set boundaries and keep
evaluating the situation to decide what’s best for
all parties. Otherwise, you can end up with bad
feelings. Keep the lines of communication open.
And remember that everything you’re doing is out
of love.”