Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans currently lives in a multi-generational household? In recent years there has been a steady rise in the number of multi-generational homes in America for a variety of reasons. I know I have clients thinking about multi-family living for both help with childcare and help for older family members. If you are thinking about downsizing, you might consider if this could fit your lifestyle.
Here are some benefits and some things to consider if you are thinking about multi-generational living… I like to think of it as a ‘generation’ sandwich’ household.
Duh… of course it can be more expensive to maintain two households than one. The challenge is, would you need to buy a new home to accommodate living together? Is remodeling an option? Childcare can be a huge expense. If shared responsibilities include child care, that can be a significant reason to consider living together… both for cost and convenience of daily shuttling as well as managing child care for illness, days when regularly scheduled childcare isn’t available, etc.
It can be a real treat to come home from a busy day at work to the smells of a hot meal already prepared… what about laundry and house cleaning? mowing the lawn? clearing the snow? Be careful to not assume one generation becomes a live-in maid/nanny, but sharing responsibilities with more people can mean less work for all… just be careful to jointly decide on distribution of tasks, don’t just assume.
Strengthened family bond
There is a big difference in coming together only for special occasions and having the luxury of seeing family members on a daily basis. It gives the opportunity to create a closeness not usually achieved when you don’t live together. It can also cause conflict, so be careful to clearly define responsibilities and expectations… and also set aside time for private time for all generations.
With multiple generations living together, a house is less likely to be left unoccupied for long which can lead to more safety for not only the house but also its occupants. It is also more likely someone will be present to help should there be an accident involving someone in any generation.
Don’t forget to take into account the need for privacy when considering multiple generations living together. Everyone needs some private time and private getaway space. Think about how your present or future living conditions would accommodate this, and discuss it with everyone involved.