When Grandma Moves In: Making Your House Grandma’s Home

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Grandma’s always been there for you. She watched the kids while you went on a much needed vacation, and helped out after the youngest one was born. Grandma has always supported you. Now, she needs some support of her own.

Grandma has lived in her house for 50 years. But the stairs are steep and the big house is difficult to maintain. You don’t want her to move into an assisted living home, but you don’t want her to stay where she is.

So you’ve decided to invite Grandma to live with you. Whether the situation is one of invitation or necessity, with planning and communication the transition will be as smooth as butter.

Before Grandma Moves In

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Prepare the house

Before Grandma moves in, take a tour around your house with a critical eye. Make a list of things that will need to be changed or modified before she arrives. Ask yourself:

  • Do grab bars need to be installed in the bathroom?
  • Does furniture need to be re-arranged to make more space for walking?
  • Do all of the lights work?
  • Do you have nightlights in bathrooms and along hallways?
  • Does your yard have hazards like uneven pavement or overgrown vines?

Organize space

Give Grandma her own bedroom and, if possible, her own living room or living area to arrange as she pleases.

It can be stressful to merge belongings together without a plan. Create a clear map and write down where everything will go. Make sure Grandma knows beforehand how much space she will have for her belongings.

Adding her things into your living room? Re-organize your items to give Grandma her own section of the room. Be clear that it is her own space to arrange however she likes.


Grandma is downsizing to move in with you. Why not do the same? Use this time to go through and donate things you don’t use or need.

This will help free up space for Grandma’s belongings. She’ll feel better knowing she’s not alone in having to let go of things.

After Grandma Moves In


Assign household chores

Having someone move in causes a disruption in everyday activity.  If Grandma is active and mobile, add her into the household chore list. She can help out with preparing meals, doing dishes, gardening, and walking the dog. Don’t expect her to do any heavy lifting -  you’ll still need to take out the trash.

Stay social

Is Grandma moving in from her house across town? Encourage her to stay social with her daily or weekly activities. Expect that she will have friends over to visit, and various activities to attend.

Is Grandma moving in from out of state? Research senior activities in your area. Help Grandma feel more comfortable with her new social circle by offering to take her to senior events. Be supportive while she makes new friends. It’s overwhelming and scary to move no matter what age you are.

Set routines

To make the transition easier, set daily routines. On Tuesdays, go to the grocery store. On Thursdays, take Grandma on any errands she needs done. On Friday nights, go out for dinner or see a movie.

Every weekend, spend some time planning out the next week. Make sure to ask Grandma if she needs you to drive her anywhere.

Grandma will love knowing what’s going on for the week. You’ll have better communication around happens in both of your lives if there is a set schedule to work by. 

Moving Forward

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While it may seem overwhelming at first, both you and Grandma will come to love living under the same roof again.

Grandma will be there to help with things around the house so you don’t have to worry when you get home from work. She can help get the kids ready for school in the morning and for bed at night. Your pets will enjoy having someone around more often, and Fido can get Grandma outdoors and exercising.

Even if you don’t need the extra babysitting, Grandma can still watch the house while you get away for the weekend. She’ll be there to listen and give advice when you’re feeling lost. Instead of having to hang up the phone, you can end the conversation with a hug.

Living with Grandma, you’ll be able to support and care for each other while Grandma enjoys her golden years. After all, what else is family for?