Multi-generational households with at least three generations of family members have increased 30% in the last decade, according to a recent AARP study. In fact, it is interesting that the idea of the nuclear family (mom, dad & kids) is only about 50 years old. Of the 6.7 billion people on the planet, about 6 billion live in extended family arrangements.
Real estate agents are seeing increased interest in buying homes that can accommodate more than one generation of family, and many expect this trend to continue to grow. I know I have encountered many such buyers this past year. The reasons are part financial, part social and part pragmatic.
With the economic conditions of the last few years it isn't surprising that the top reason for moving in with other family members is financial, but health care issues aren't far behind and some are coming together because of a strong family bond.
Extended families living together are discovering other benefits as well, including an enriched family life and more flexible schedules with more family members available to juggle childcare and eldercare. Living together under the same roof can result in more quality time together and time savings both in travel and as a result of sharing household duties.
If you are considering such a move, be sure to clearly define your living needs… bedroom and bathroom requirements, extra kitchen needs, office space, closet/storage needs, 'getaway' spaces, handicap accessibility, proximity to health care, schools, senior activities, separate entrances, garage space, etc. You should also consider written contracts outlining everything from finances to household chores and childcare/eldercare responsibilities.
Each family situation is different. Assess your unique circumstances to come up with a plan that works for you… and enhances rather than strains your family ties.