How can I ease tensions between my grandmother, myself and my roommates?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 24, 2016
East oh asked...

My grandmother was left on my door step one evening by her only remaining son. I live in a two bedroom house with a roommate and his girlfriend. Naturally i gave up my bedroom for my grandmother. It's been two years now that she's lived here and that I've been on my couch. When it comes time to pay the rent or bills, she says that she dosen't have anything to give, which causes a lot of heat between the roomies. What can I do to help fix this stressful situation????

Expert Answers

Your situation sounds difficult, and I'd be willing to bet that tension among the roommates is the least of your problems. For instance, how do you feel about giving up your room and sleeping on the couch indefinitely? If your grandmother can't contribute to the household expenses, does that mean you have to pay her share? How does her presence in your household affect your work and your other friendships?

It's commendable that you feel a responsibility to take care of your grandmother, but this doesn't mean that you should give up your own life. If you continue to so, your roommates aren't the only ones who will grow to resent your grandmother.

I would recommend that you consider alternative living arrangements for your grandmother. If you want to continue living with her, perhaps you can find a place together -- somewhere you can both have your own private space, as well as a common living area. Or you may decide that it would be more practical for her to live in some kind of senior housing facility.

Remember that you don't have to do this all on your own. Check in with the area Agency on Aging in your community and find out about senior housing and other resources for the elderly in your area. It sounds as if there aren't other adult children in your family, but are there other family members or friends who could pitch in and help you with your grandmother's care? If there are relatives who can't help because they live far away, they may be willing to help pay for a more comfortable living situation for you and your grandmother.

We have lots of resources on this site that can help you with practical housing information and other types of support as well.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.