What the heck is a Multigenerational home?
A multigenerational house is when two or more generations of a family are living under one roof (many researchers include grandparents living as one of the generations included).
Multigenerational living has always been around and for some cultures and has influenced how people purchase their homes. This style of living is becoming more common in North America, and in the United States, nearly 1 in 5 Americans are living in a multigenerational home as found by Pew Research Center. Due to this growing trend, there is an increasing number of remodelers, builders and designers working to retrofit or create homes to be inclusive for all ages.
So why the increasing popularity of multigenerational housing? Well, for many reasons actually. One common reason is due to millennials staying at home longer while boomers are feeling financially secure. Another cause is for caregiving purposes. Regardless of the reasoning behind the increase in multigenerational homes, like everything, it has pros and cons that families have to review before making this decision. Below are a few items to consider.
By having 3 generations under the same roof, it allows families to spend more quality time together. It provides grandparents with a better opportunity to connect with their grandchildren and can ultimately create a loving environment.
In fact, many studies support that grandparents can have a very positive influence on their grandchildren. As well, many elderly individuals begin to encounter social issues such as loneliness which can negatively impact their mental health. Providing seniors and children with daily social interactions has been shown to decrease these health issues and improve quality of life.
The Money Tree
Although the financial situation and workings of a multigenerational home is up to your discretion, sharing expenses may be in your best interest. We suggest devising a plan to evenly allocate expenses to ensure everyone feels there is a fair contribution. If finances are not discussed, it may cause issues down the road. The cost to have a loved one living in a continuing care home can be as expensive as $4000.00 a month. Considering all expenses is critical before making this choice.
Considering there are 3 or more generations living in one household, each generation has different requirements to live comfortably, especially the eldest. Therefore, the living space must be able to accommodate for low mobility and be outfitted to prevent falls.
Ensuring the grandparents are on the same floor as the kitchen, bathroom etc. is a must since aging individuals experience muscle deterioration, a decrease in balance, vision and other issues that can obstruct their mobility. Considering this, making sure that shared spaces and spaces that are specifically for older generations are accessible but still beautiful can help all family members adapt to these changes. Below is an image of how a bathroom can be accessible for all members of the family.
55 Plus Interiors in Scottsdale, AZ (2016 National Kitchen and Bath Award Winner)
Need for Privacy
With more people living in the same space, it can lead to less privacy for all family members.
For the grandchildren growing up, especially in their teen years, privacy is important. Boundaries must be set for the entire family and ensure that everyone respects each other’s privacy. Finding activities that all family members can take part in is a great start to continue family emotional growth.
We all know, family disputes happen and with more people living in the same house, the chances of them happening is likely to increase. Whether they are smaller issues or bigger issues, they need to be resolved. We would suggest holding family meetings once a month to make sure each family member is happy with the living environment. However, if an issue occurs that is causing turmoil in the house, tackle that problem as soon as you can.
Is Multigenerational Right For Your Family?
There are a lot of positive reasons to consider living in a multigenerational home. However, in order to have a successful multigenerational home, everyone must cooperate and work together to make it a home for everyone.
If you are considering making your home a multigenerational space, check out our blog for the 5 Best Products in Making your Bathroom Accessible and Beautiful. (PS: We promise no grab bars!)