Image of modern living room with two armchairs and crutch for senior person
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
November 2, 2023 ·  5 min read

Redditor Forces Parents to Choose Between Living in a Garage or a Retirement Home

While people have complex relationships with their parents and opt out, the majority of people step up to help their parents when they become elderly. There are many options like an in-home caregiver, a retirement home or community, or moving them in with you and your family. Something one woman did before turning to Reddit for perspective when it became clear that she and her parents disagreed on the arrangement with which she’d come up.

The idea of putting our parents in a retirement home is a hard pill to swallow. In some cases, it can be the best and really only option. For example, there are retirement homes and communities centered around support for those with memory loss. In situations like these, parents need more care than most families can provide. However, there are lucky parents whose circumstances don’t prevent them from being able to move in with their families. Parents like those of Reddit user u/Old_Programmer_5669.

Retirement Home or Garage

u/Old_Programmer_5669 took to Reddit posting on the popular subReddit, AITA (Am I The A**hole?) wondering whether or not they were making the right call to stand firm on their decision. Essentially they gave their parents an ultimatum to live in the garage or go to a retirement home. However, the situation is seemingly more complicated than that, and there are elements involved that complicate the matter.

u/Old_Programmer_5669 has been a single widow living alone in a multi-bedroom home, since her children have moved out. The empty-nester utilized the extra bedrooms to create her own space. For example, an office so she can meet with clients from the comfort of her own home. Realizing that she now had limited guest space when her children would visit with their families, she remodeled the garage. As a result, the garage is now a fully up-to-code, functional living space with its own private entrance.

Suggesting a Retirement Home

Sometime later, as her parents realized they were getting older, they weighed their options to go to a retirement home. Or move in with their family. They opted for the latter and presented her with the idea. She agreed and talked to her kids, who agreed as well.

They were set to move in, and the big day arrived. On what should have been a family day, opening a new chapter, the family found themselves in an unexpected predicament. As things were being shuffled around, the woman’s parents realized they would be living in the garage turned living quarters. Something they were “confused” about.

Read: My Mom Has Never Offered to Babysit My Son, So I Won’t Let Her See Him Anymore

How it Unfolded

Redditor, u/Old_Programmer_5669 explained that her parents told her, “They wanted to live in the house not out in the garage like Fonzie.” In contrast, she feels that because they’re living rent-free, they should take the living space, noting that it has everything someone needs to live comfortably, such as a kitchen and bathroom. “I explained that I actually have two bedrooms since one room is my office where I see clients, one is my private office, and one is my hobby room. The spare bedroom is mostly for my mutts,” she also explained. Then she said something that seemingly had her questioning herself after. She told them they could live in a retirement home instead, if they preferred.

Feeling like she might have been a little harsh on them, she turned to Reddit’s AITA to ask the opinion’s of others.

Taking Sides

Unsurprisingly, the people of Reddit had plenty of advice and perspective for the woman. Many took her side, acknowledging that her parents sound “spoiled”. Some warned against unbearable living conditions should her parents have moved into the main home. Some explained that she shouldn’t feel bad for the retirement home remark; she’s likely saving them a decent amount of money on the cost of living in a retirement home or other form of elderly living arrangements. Moreover, other users shared that a converted living space is just as nice, if not nicer than a main home.

If it’s a converted guest house that’s completely up to code I don’t see a reason that they would want to go into the house as everything you have in the house you have in the guest house too.” One user said. “My friend recently turned her shed into a beautiful guest house, kitchen appliances, private bathroom the works, her parents are currently living there and they don’t have a problem with it. They like the privacy and they like being close to their child.”

While others suggested that her parents just wanted someone to cook and clean for them. A point that is controversial in itself. As people age, they need help with everyday things like getting dressed, making meals, and cleaning, so it’s not unreasonable for her parents to assume she would help them in that way. Alternatively, some people take advantage of the kindness of others and it’s not clear in this situation, how capable her parents are of doing everyday tasks for themselves.

Voice of Reason

On the other hand, some people believed that better communication would have helped clear up all the confusion. Clarification about where they would be living on the property, rather than leaving them to possibly feel as though they’re just as isolated as they would be in a retirement home. Some suggested that simply setting boundaries would have made the situation more tolerable. For example, inviting them to the main house for most meals or during certain hours of the day, but requesting privacy during “business hours” might have been a happy medium.

“ESH for not having a convo about living arrangements until the day they moved in. Situations like this come up all the time in AITA. Don’t make big life decisions with other people without talking about it – marriage, kids, roommates, etc.” Another user explained, being a voice of reason.

NTA. This is not the garage. This is a converted living space. A FREE converted living space. And Fonzie didn’t live in the garage. He lived in an apartment above the garage.” Said another sarcastically.

So, what do you think? Who was in the right? Let us know in the comments!

Keep Reading: Retired Couple Spent Almost 500 Days On Cruise Ships As It’s Cheaper Than Retirement Home


  1. “AITA because I told my parents to choose between living in my garage or a nursing home.” Reddit. Oct 14, 2023
  2. This Person Gave Their Parents The Option Of Living In Either Their Garage Or A Nursing Home, And Now They Wanna Know If They Were Wrong.Yahoo. October 27, 2023.
  3. Redditor Forces Elderly Parents To Pick Between Moving Into Furnished Garage Or Nursing Home.Percolately John Curtis

    Attention: These stories are based on posts found on Reddit. Reddit is a user-generated social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website where registered members submit content to the site and can up- or down-vote the content. The accuracy and authenticity of each story cannot be confirmed by our staff.