Everyone under one roof. The notion is becoming more and more common nowadays, especially during the pandemic. You have college students who no longer need to live on campus due to remote learning, adult children who are trying to save money, and aging parents who may need assistance but are not comfortable in a nursing home environment right now.
There are many benefits of living in a multigenerational home, not the least of which is the quality time you have with family members that you would otherwise miss out on. This has become particularly relevant during the pandemic, as social distancing and restrictions often prevent loved ones from not only gathering on a regular basis but also on family-focused holidays. This scenario is even more heartbreaking for elderly relatives, especially those in nursing homes whose compromised immune systems mean visitors are often not allowed.
Multigenerational homes can take a variety of shapes. Some are just a regular home with private rooms for each family unit, while others have separate living areas for each family unit, with communal areas for the kitchen and a gathering spot like a living room for watching movies or TV as a group.
When you consider this alternative, the benefits of living in a multigenerational home become clear, but they don’t stop the . . .
Maintaining a home can be expensive. What’s even more expensive is maintaining three houses if each generation of family members is living on their own. By reducing the number of households, you reduce the total number of expenses—even if that means seeking out a larger house that can accommodate more people.
How you work out those expenses is up to you, but the obvious cost savings you’ll gain on your mortgage, food, utilities, insurance, and maintenance is one of the major benefits of living in a multigenerational home.
Along those same lines, more people means more hands on deck in terms of help. Naturally, you may not ask your 77-year-old mother to clean the gutters, but your college-age child could certainly take on that task. In the meantime, your mother may be happy to share recipes, tend to the garden, or watch the grandkids.
Once again, the divide-and-conquer approach can look any way you want it to, but it’s sure nice to know the options are there. Take stock of what each family member is good at, what they would enjoy doing, what their physical capabilities are and what their schedule looks like. Then get a plan in place and adjust as needed. Having your family under your roof can be better than having a cook, maid, babysitter, gardener, and pool man at your service . . . as long as you lay out boundaries and expected responsibilities and keep an open line of communication. With those in place, how could you argue with the benefits of living in a multigenerational home?!
Peace of Mind
This one’s a biggie. It can be difficult for adult children (and parents) to focus on their own lives and needs when they’re worried about their elderly mother who lives alone or their daredevil college student away from home for the first time. Now, we all need to spread our wings and have a little autonomy, but knowing where everyone is sleeping—that your whole family is safe at night—can be priceless. You may even suddenly find that you’re sleeping much better!
Plus, if something should go amiss—say your dad feels lightheaded or your son hasn’t returned on time from a day hike—you’ll be the first to know and the first to respond. Problems are mitigated when your household contains multiple family members looking out for each other, and that’s a beautiful thing to have.
As with the shared responsibilities, established boundaries and open communication can ensure all family members are happy with this living arrangement. There are tons of benefits of living in a multigenerational home, but it’s understandable that individuals may worry about their privacy. This is especially true if you’re an in-law living in the home.
Approach this topic with an open mind, and these concerns can be put to rest. It also helps to designate specific spaces for family members, especially if multiple people are home during the day. You have your sleeping quarters, naturally, but with so many people working from home it may be useful to dedicate “office spaces” to family members where they can work uninterrupted for specific periods of time. Share this approach with the whole family so everyone knows that even though the dining room is a public space after 5 p.m., your oldest daughter needs to use it for school until then.
Many people who look back on their multigenerational living situation do so with love and fondness. That’s because they realize they would’ve never had that time with their families otherwise—and they’re so glad they did. This can be hard to appreciate 100% of the time when you’re under one roof, but when you remember to take a breath, and a step back, it’s easier to see how lucky you are and focus on soaking up those memories, because one day that will be all they are.
Living together also gives families a chance to get to know each other better. Stories can get passed down to multiple generations. So can recipes, workouts, cannonball techniques, you name it. The value you can garner from other family members—and that they can glean from you—is far beyond anything that can develop over a series of holidays or even weekend visits. Enjoy this time. It goes so fast.
If you think the benefits of living in a multigenerational home are perfect for you and your family, our team is here to help.