Multigenerational housing or cohabitation with older adults isn’t necessarily a new concept. In many cultures outside of the United States, multigenerational living is a staple norm, especially in Hispanic and Asian family units. Finding success in multigenerational housing requires open communication, flexibility, and physical housing changes.
The U.S Census Bureau defines a multigenerational home as a household consisting of two or more adult generations living under the same roof, or grandparents living with their grandchildren younger than 25, also called “grandfamilies”. Generations United, an American advocacy group, estimates 66.7 million adults over 18 lived in a multigenerational household in 2021—that’s more than 1 in 4 Americans.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are described as secondary, smaller dwellings on the same lot attached or incorporated into a single-family property. The requirements of ADUs change per local housing and zoning regulations, but they often contain their own kitchen, living area, and separate entrance. Even if an ADU is built as a stand-alone unit, it will generally use the water and energy connections of the primary house. These can be ideal if the elder family members are still relatively independent and can support themselves.
If your property cannot sustain an ADU, there are various renovations you can complete to make your home more harmonious for multigenerational living. Ensuring privacy and accessibility for all family members is key. Open-space kitchens, furnished basements, and sliding partition doors to separate sections of the home are all recommended changes. Every family home has different needs and the easiest way to accommodate can begin with open communication and discussions.
While family members can face strains of income, time, and resources, these tensions are eased when faced together.
Elder people often struggle with expenses once they retire. While they only have a fixed income, the price of general goods and housing continues a steady rise—not to mention health or emergency costs. Having additional monthly income from adult children can offer economic peace of mind for elder adults.
In the same vein, a young family may be struggling to balance debt, housing costs, child costs, and general home maintenance and care. Elder members of the family can not only help with cleaning and home care but may also give additional advice and insight to their younger family members.
If the parental unit have full time careers, it can be difficult to find adequate childcare. Having elder adults in the same family unit provides a child with trusted care and parental adults have another source for advice regarding challenging behaviors or phases of childhood.
Over the past fifty years, there have been numerous studies linking social and emotional health for both children and elder adults when they have regular social interaction. Intergenerational interactions enhance children’s social and personal development and are less likely to exhibit ageism as they move into adolescence and adulthood. For the elder adults, these fostered relationships decrease loneliness and social interaction, delay mental decline, lower blood pressure, and reduce risk of disease and mortality.
If you or your family are interested in making your home more accessible for multigenerational living, check out our renovation programs or contact us today. You’ll be put in contact with a knowledgeable Loan Originator who will expertly help you find solutions as unique as your needs.
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