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Old November 5th, 2017, 11:56 AM
Rphillips52 Rphillips52 is offline
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First post and living situation advice

Greetings all this is my first post on this site. Ive asked this on other forums with little reply and hope it would be different this time round haha. Firstly abit about myself, I am a 63 year old retiree and have been happily married the past 40 years. Most of my adult life had been spent living only with my wife minus the 19 years when the kids were growing up. I wouldn't say I'm a reclusive fellow but a solitary life in the countryside had been the norm. However, certain circumstances have led to me owning a house in the city and moving there while at the same time selling my previous home. The property previously belonged to a distant of cousin mine who had recently passed away and had entrusted the property to me as he was neither married nor had children or siblings thus making me one of his few closer relations. The large property to me at first seemed way too big for just the wife and I until several more circumstances had risen. Initially, we agreed to move in both my parents as well as my wife's parents who are all in their 80s along with my 107 year old grandmother in as the house contained several lower floor bed rooms and facilities designed to accommodate the elderly. However, a few weeks later we received a call from my daughter asking if she and her family could move in as her husband was moving his family business to the same city in which we were living. Thus we once again agreed as the property did have space for another family unit consisting of my daughter,her 2 kids, my son in law and his parents. Just when we thought we could settle in the hurricane struck and displaced several more relatives. And our biggest additions yet including my sister,her husband, their son and daughter in law, my brother,my wife's brother and sister in law, my wife's uncle and aunt as well as the 109 year old father of my earlier mentioned recently deceased cousin (who is my grandmother's elder brother) along with a professional care giver who in my cousin's will stated that I'd be given a sum of money to ensure that this caregiver remains paid so that he may assist the old man.

So there you have it five generations 24 of us in this one property. At the rate things are going I do see this as a long term arrangement. While there is space in terms of bedrooms, the house is designed in such a way that everyone's going to run into each other at some point of the day. Not to mention the fact that everyone has meals together. What I'd like to know is what we can do to ensure that this arrangement carries on smoothly as it does not seem to be changing any time soon. I'd love to hear from all of you and I can answer any queries you may have as well as update on our progress any chance I get.

Thanks
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Old November 5th, 2017, 12:07 PM
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LucyVanPelt LucyVanPelt is offline
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Re: First post and living situation advice

I think you need to do two things:

1) Have a sit-down and agree to ground rules to ensure both privacy and respect for other people in the house. This is where you decide who is cleaning what and when. How are bills divided? Are there areas off limits to children? Is there a designated quiet time-- like 10 PM to 6 AM?

2) Have a process in place to deal with conflict. You know it will happen, so decide ahead of time on how it is to be managed. Do you want to have regular family meetings? What are the rules for a "fair fight?" Would your family do well with a business model of problem solving?

I hope that helps!
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Old November 5th, 2017, 03:54 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: First post and living situation advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rphillips52 View Post
At the rate things are going I do see this as a long term arrangement. While there is space in terms of bedrooms, the house is designed in such a way that everyone's going to run into each other at some point of the day. Not to mention the fact that everyone has meals together. What I'd like to know is what we can do to ensure that this arrangement carries on smoothly as it does not seem to be changing any time soon. I'd love to hear from all of you and I can answer any queries you may have as well as update on our progress any chance I get.

Thanks
You live in a 14 bedroom house? Wow.

LucyVanPelt has given you good advice on how to live well together. I'm going to give you advice from a different perspective.

Here is my suggestion. Really, really learn the difference between helping and enabling. Helping is a wonderful thing. Enabling, or letting people take advantage of you, hurts both you and the person who is doing it. Figure out where that line gets crossed for every person living under your roof, and decide ahead of time -- when the expectations can be discussed -- what happens when the line gets crossed.

I think you are helping everyone at this point. I know your intention is to help everyone. I even believe that at this point no one intends to be taking advantage of you.

2 elderly grandparents plus caregiver - at what point will those elderly grandparents be better off in a full care facility? It might be fine now especially with the caregiver, but it might not stay that way. Decide that jumping off point now and figure out ahead of time what the arrangements will be. The same goes for your parents and your wife's parents, although that jumping off point will likely be further away. Make long-term care plans that everyone agrees with NOW, before the need arises.

Those displaced by the hurricane (your wife's brother and family, your wife's uncle and aunt, your brother, and your sister and family) - at what point will they resume the lives they had before the hurricane? Are they looking for jobs, trying to rebuild, planning on moving back to where they are from? Helping them means sheltering them while they rebuild. Enabling them means making it so that they don't have to rebuild. That group of people should not be part of a "long term" plan. It may take them a long while and so patience is necessary, but there should be progress towards reclaiming their lives from all of them. Decide now the rate of progress they should be making and what the arrangements will be if they decide it's easier to not rebuild.

Your daughter and her family - at what point will they have established themselves enough in the city to move in to their own house? Did his parents live with your daughter, son-in-law and kids when they lived in their former location? Do they all contribute to the bills? Decide how long they will be "allowed" to be dependent on you for housing (and it might be in terms of the business return rather than in terms of months) and explain to them that while they are welcome, it's healthiest for them as a family to live independently in a home of their own.

In my opinion, your problem isn't that 24 people live under your roof. In my opinion, your problem is that you accept that this might be long term. Remember, helping is a kindness but enabling is not.

Figure out who can pay rent and how much. They'd be paying to live anywhere else! You will need that money to keep the house up. You probably won't want to charge the elderly people rent, but anyone who was making a house payment or paying rent before moving in with you ought to not get out of the habit of doing so. If you want to be generous, set the amount they pay aside and return some of it when they move out.

For the record, it might be wise to talk to a lawyer and an accountant to protect yourself and your family members. You are skirting close to gift tax laws, and may find yourself having to pay the IRS because you have given these people rent-free living.
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Old November 6th, 2017, 09:36 AM
Rphillips52 Rphillips52 is offline
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Re: First post and living situation advice

I'm really amazed by such a quick reply thanks haha. Right now in terms of paying bills and basic house utilities in general, I was left a fairly significant amount by my late cousin for that purpose which I have already set aside to keep the house up and running.


As for my grandmother and her brother considering their ages it is expected that they will most likely spend the rest of their lives in the house. The caregiver had already been previously paid in full by my cousin before he died for 3 more years worth of help. From what I have learned thanks to the idea of a house meeting was that the caregiver was also a personal friend of my late cousin and has volunteered to also assist my grandmother who at the moment is still fairly able should her health begin to fail within the next few years.

My parents and my wife's parents who are as of now the only other definite permanent residents of the home have agreed to pay for various services such as gardeners, cleaners or repair people to maintain the upkeep of the house. We decided that by paying an outside party to help maintain the house it would save us the trouble of designating chores to a fairly busy bunch. There are several parts of the home that are still unoccupied and parts that require abit of refurbishing.

For my daughter and her family, to answer KayKay's question yes her parents did live with them in their previous home. I also may have failed to mention that my wife and I share a very close relationship with our son in law's parents as we are childhood friends and have stayed together briefly while we were in college. Thus us having little reservations about their presences in the house hahaha. They can fully afford to move out but are still in the midst of finalizing the sale of their previous home and are still searching for one around the area. They have managed to enroll the two kids into school and we've agreed that the kids may spend time here after school under my care while the family works on running their business. Personally I wouldn't mind if they stayed here as long as they would like as the house is conveniently located near the school and the family has agreed to contribute to paying for household items such as additional furniture and groceries.

For the rather unfortunate relatives who are displaced by the hurricane, all of them other than my nephew and his wife are already retired. My nephew and his wife hold jobs that allow them to work from home so they are in no way financially constrained and are in the midst of making sure they have enough to rebuild their home. The others however are going to have a slightly more complicated time as rebuilding may cost their savings. They do agree to contribute a share of what they would normally pay per month into an emergency pool of sorts should we need it and as of now it seems more beneficial to all of us if they remained here for the time being.

The home's structure itself is a fairly unique one they were previously two town houses with a small 4 storey apartment building in between them which my cousin purchased and joined to make it appear like a single property. It still does maintain several elements of multi residential housing with each family's room being fairly self contained giving the ability for each family unit to sleep,watch TV and entertain guests privately. However one of the biggest changes that were made was the removal of individual kitchens in the rooms as well as the inclusion of various common areas such as the back area and a living room/hall of sorts along with a space for parties which at the moment needs a good cleaning up. My cousins main use for the home back then was to entertain guests, conduct business and house any out of town company. So the home while being able to accommodate many still functions as if it were catered to only one permanent resident so there's a lot of that aspect that needs to be worked out
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Old November 6th, 2017, 12:48 PM
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Re: First post and living situation advice

Then it sounds to me like you have everything worked out well. The house sounds unique and it is such a lucky coincidence that you inherited it when there would be such need. It is also fortunate for your family that your cousin left it to you rather than his father or your parents or one of your siblings who may not have such a generous heart.

Would it be possible to put kitchenettes (or even just a refrigerator) back in any of the previously configured multi residential units? That would be nice - to have the option to eat alone or cook your own food if the family meal time didn't work with your schedule.
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Old Today, 09:37 AM
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Re: First post and living situation advice

you have an ideal setup, which is perfect for accommodating so many....adding, it's very generous of you to do such a nice thing for everyone....

I agree with the girls comments above me, you must set up rules of the house...after all, it is your home...and your rules will be different from everyone else's....
so....

also, maybe you could all get together for a monthly dinner...to discuss whatever...or maybe not, just a suggestion....there must also be rules for the children to follow and housework, so....

This reminds me of Big Bang Theory and Sheldon's Agreements....lol

wishing you my best....
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