Multigenerational Living: Is it right for YOUR family?
A friend of my mine wanted to help out her young senior mother who was living on her own. A single mom with 3 children she asked her mom to move in with her family. She thought it would be a win-win since she was helping her mom out with the expenses by providing a home for her, and in turn, her mom could help out with meals and the kids.
But two years later, her mom left disgruntled and my friend was upset and confused.
What Is Multigenerational Living?
Multigenerational Living is when two or more generations are living under the same roof. It could be one generation living in a separate basement apartment while the other generation lives upstairs, it could be two generations living side by side in a duplex or it could be all generations sharing the same living space.
According to the most recent Statistic Canada research, multigenerational living is on the rise. The stats showed that 4.8% of children aged 14 and under were living in a home with at least one grandparent. 8.0% aged 80 and older lived with relatives. 42.3% of Canadian young adults between 20 to 29 lived in their parents’ home.
There is an increase of multigenerationals family homes for a number of reasons.
Benefits of Multigenerational Family Homes
So why the increase in the number of multigenerations living under one roof?
Mom and dad moving into the adult children’s home can have many benefits for all of the generations. The grandparents can act as live-in caregivers. They can help out with meals, taking care of the kids while mom or dad are still at work, and help with the homework. Its a win-win because the kids get to bond with the grandparents, and the grandparents can spend more time with the grandchildren. The grandparents may find it too much to live on their own but can certainly help out in the
If one senior parent has passed, the adult children may ask mom and dad to move in to offer support and live with family as opposed to living on their own.
What makes a good Multigenerational Home?
Size of Home
The size of the home can be a determining factor in order for 2 -3 generations live in harmony under one roof. Can the size of your home support another generation living there? Is your kitchen big enough? Is there at least two 3 piece bathrooms to accommodate everyone? If not, can a powder room be renovated into a 3 piece bathroom? Is there enough living spaces for everyone to just chill if they want to? Are there enough bedrooms so that junior doesn’t have to share a bedroom with grandma?
Are there under utilized or dead spaces that can be transformed into a more functional space? Can an existing room operate as a dual function?
What about the family dynamics of your family? Are you concerned that mom might take over? Will past issue comes into play? Could mom/dad have their own separate living space in your home? Is a walkout basement apartment doable?
Privacy for Adult Children
Having mom/dad move in can have mixed feelings for adult children. Yes its nice to be able to help mom/dad out, after all, they sacrificed alot to raise you. But you do need your own privacy & space also. You need your own bedroom/ensuite/sitting area so at the end of the day you can just relax & unwind. Boundaries need to be set up at the beginning in order to start off on the right foot.
Children need their own space as well. They need their own bedrooms, not share with grandma, and they need their own living space.
Accommodations & Support for Mom & Dad
Are mom & dad healthy young seniors and do not require any accommodations. Or do accommodations need to be made to the home to support mom/dad’s health needs? How much support do they physically need? Can a caregiver be brought in to help out? How much support & accommodations mom/dad require need to be factored in the decision making process to ensure that you can support them as needed and they won’t become a burden on you.
Having mom/dad move in can help out everyone financially. Mom/dad will save on their living expenses and may be able to help out the adult children with some of the costs as well. Having mom/dad live with you as opposed to a retirement home will definitely help everyone financially.
What happened to my friend was unfortunate. However the living arrangement was not conducive for 3 generations. There was not a separate living space and family members would hang out in their bedrooms and not be social as much. Being a rental unit, she was not allowed to renovate. My friend felt the burden of taking care of one more person in addition to her three children.
You need to way all the factors to see if this is the right decision for you, your family AND your parents. There have been many families that I have come across that this living situation is ideal and works well for all three generations. They become closer knit, and benefit from having the grandparents in the home.
I’m Debi Collinson. A Designer Helping Seniors with their Living Options. Aging-In-Place Specialist, Multigenerational Living Designer & Downsize Seniors. Since 2006, as a Stager, I have been helping clients make their homes look like they came out of a magazine. I have helped clients earn money for their home beyond their expectations. Due to changing demographics & demand, my services have expanded to include Downsizing Seniors, helping seniors age in their home safely by recommending accommodations they need, and I help families make changes & accommodations in their home to create a Multigenerational Home where everyone can live in harmony under one roof.