My spouse just died. Should I accept my daughter’s offer to move in with her?

My spouse just died. Should I accept my daughter’s offer to move in with her?


Maybe. The death of a spouse is a traumatic life event. Perhaps you’ve never lived alone before and the idea frightens you. Or maybe your spouse’s salary paid the mortgage and you’re concerned about your financial outlook. Moving in with your daughter may seem like the perfect solution right now, but you want to be sure you’ll feel that way a year from now. Keep in mind that this may be a temporary situation while you adjust to your new circumstances. Consider the possibilities.

Sit down with your daughter (and her spouse if she’s married) and have a frank discussion about what living together means. Chances are you’ve not lived together in many years and are each accustomed to doing things in your own way. You’ll need to consider what your presence will do to the family dynamic. Will you have your own space or will you be right in the mix? Can you refrain from giving unsolicited parental advice? If the answer is no, moving in may not be a good idea. Your presence could strain your relationship with your daughter and create tension in the household.

If financial difficulty lies ahead, you may want to consider your daughter’s offer. With daily living expenses on the rise, knowing that Mom will be taken care of may bring peace of mind to you and your daughter. However, you’ll want to be sure that moving in won’t seriously strain your daughter’s finances. What will you do with your home? Perhaps you can use it to contribute to the family finances.

Another consideration is whether your daughter lives close enough so that you can keep your current friends and activities. If the move is long-distance and you would have to start over, you’ll need to think about that, also.

Are you physically independent? If not, living alone may require you to get day or live-in assistance. This may be costly and is often impersonal. Living with your daughter and allowing her to oversee your care can reduce the costs associated with long-term care. And as you age, you may find it comforting to be surrounded by family.