How do I ask my Grandfather if I can move in?

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I went to visit my 90+ year old grandfather who is living alone and was worried about some things I saw and some commnets he made. I am not sure he really can live alone any more but know it would truly kill him to move out of the home he built for him and his family. My boyfriend and I are in a stage in our lives where we can move in (We have no children/pets and live just about 20 minutes away) but I don't want him to feel like we think him incapable.

I am really worried about him but don't want him to get defensive.

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I wouldn't talk about your moving in, first. Talk about what your concerns are about him living alone. Then brainstorm ideas for how those concerns might be met. If you are worried about him using the stove, and he agrees (even a little) then what can be done to help with that problem? Microwavable meals? Meals on wheels? Having dinner at your house once a week? Lot of possibilities. Each concern could be discussed one by one -- and maybe not all in one session.

Is having a grandchild move in the only solution? The best solution? Best for whom?

You don't want him to think that you feel he is incapable. But isn't that exactly how you do feel? You don't want him to get defensive. Well, no, he shouldn't feel that he needs to defend himself from attack. But shouldn't he have a chance to explain and defend his own views?

You don't want to offend him. But I'm sure you also don't want to manipulate him in order to avoid sensitive subjects.

In general, I think grandkids doing the caregiving is not the ideal situation. When my 90+ mother can no longer remain living alone in her home (with lots of support) I could see that it might work out for her to move in with one of her sons or daughters -- maybe -- but with one of her 12 grandchildren? I can't imagine that would be successful.

My 86 yo husband gets along with all of our grandchildren and they all love him. If something were to happen to me, would I think it would work out for one of them to move into his house, perhaps with a boyfriend or girlfriend? Absolutely not. Even if it worked out for him, I would not want any of our grandchildren to devote their lives at this point to take on that kind of responsibility.

I'm not saying that it couldn't possibly work out, but not having and pets or children and living nearby is just not enough reason to jump to this solution without exploring other possibilities, in my opinion.
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You're not giving details as to what you've seen or heard that makes you concerned that he may not be able to live home alone anymore. Maybe he's not bathing regularly? Maybe his diet isn't healthy? Maybe his house is a mess? - Perhaps a visiting care provider can help him remain in his home, safely and as healthy as possible?! - My concern with you and your boyfriend moving in is the generation gap, which can make the living together of people that previously lived separately difficult. (It CAN BE a little easier for two adjoining generations to live together than for those that are further apart.)
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First, you can't "make" him not get defensive. If you look at the outcome you want-- for him to get care -- rather than the outcome you are trying to avoid (and couldn't anyway), you're more likely to head for the good outcome.
Second, try telling him exactly what you wrote here: "I want to talk about something, but I don't know how to do it without making you defensive or mad, and that means you won't be able to hear what I reall mean. I know you love this house so much...etc. I know you live here alone. I THINK you might have some concerns about livin alone, now, because I've seen X Y Z. I want to be sure you are safe, because I'm worried now. I don't think you'd want to leave this hi e you built. You might want someo e who could live here, too. And maybe you'd want a family member, which could be me and Boyfriend. Or maybe you'd want someone else. But I am so worried, I decided I had to bring it up. What do you think would be useful in terms of helping yountake care of you at this stage in life?"
Sometimes, outlining the dilemma you have in broaching a topic is the exact way to broach it. It triangulates the issue from the hard issue, to TALKING about the tough issue. And talking about how to talk about not only smooths the way. Not only makes the stakes something different because the parties look for the solution together...often, it delivers the action tha comes next.
Hope this helps.
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