Multigenerational households consist of multiple generations of one family living under the same roof. There are many different ways in which such households can form. However, in most cases, it’s three generations: children, their parents, and grandparents. There’s an ongoing discussion on whether this living arrangement is good or not. Some people have doubts about a large number of individuals in a single home. While that is justified in some cases, the benefits of multigenerational households are still numerous. You should consider them before deciding what’s best for your family.
Most people nowadays lead a hectic life. Because of this, it’s often challenging to spend quality time with their loved ones. That’s why living with extended family members is highly beneficial for strengthening family bonds. As an adult, moving your senior family members in with you is probably your best option for seeing them often. It is also a great way to connect with the family you’re not blood-related to, for example, your inlaws.
Spending time together can do wonders for discovering mutual interests. If you have children, they’ll also benefit from a multigenerational household. They’ll manage to establish a meaningful connection with their grandparents. This means they’ll have multiple trustworthy adults in the household, which is very nice and convenient.
Most families today have two working adults. This often makes finding reliable and affordable childcare a challenge. Daycares and babysitters are expensive, and having one parent stay home with kids is often not viable. Living in a multigenerational household usually solves this issue. Having grandparents who retired living in the same home can be a lifesaver.
Additionally, it allows the children to form a strong bond with their grandparents. This is often challenging if the families live far away. However, you can solve this issue if you merge households into one. One thing you need to keep in mind is that moving in with your older family members may require some extra space. You may need to upsize and move homes. If you decide to do that, get everyone on board and start looking for houses in your desired area. The sooner you do that, the better. Upsizing is a good idea as it allows everyone to have enough personal space. This can prevent many problems that come out as a result of being cramped up.
Living in a multigenerational household positively affects both physical and mental health. Many older people have chronic health issues that need to be kept under control. This means taking medications at a specific time of the day and paying regular visits to the doctor. Keeping track of everything can be overwhelming for senior citizens. Having family members around to help with it can vastly benefit their health.
When it comes to mental health, all family members can benefit from multigenerational households. Isolation and loneliness over a prolonged time period can cause multiple mental health issues. Living with extended family solves this issue, as there’s always someone to talk to. Also, children will largely benefit from living in a community. It has been proven to help them become more socially aware and outgoing. These are skills that are very helpful later in life.
One of the main benefits of multigenerational households is sharing living expenses. While downsizing is an option for easing the financial burden, it’s easier to just move in with family. This is especially relevant now when working from home is becoming more prevalent. People are no longer required to live in the same place where they work. This opens many options for relocation, including living with your family. Financing this type of lifestyle won’t look the same for everyone. Some people pay rent to their families, while others live rent-free. However, whatever the arrangement, the expenses will generally be lower than living alone.
Another financial benefit of living with family members is sharing household expenses. Instead of financing everything on your own, you’ll be able to share the expenses with multiple working adults. This will allow you to buy some things in bulk, which comes out cheaper. Also, utility bills and expenses such as HOA are shared, relieving the individual’s financial burden.
Growing old often causes a decline in some physical and cognitive functions. Many older people start struggling with mobility. It can be a potential health hazard that needs to be addressed. Therefore, making changes to their living space is often necessary. Still, a better way to ensure the safety of your older loved ones is to move them in with you. Being nearby in case something happens is crucial for reacting quickly. Another growing problem in the aging population is dementia. People struggling with it are at risk of doing things that can potentially harm them. Having family around to prevent dangerous behavior can significantly help manage this condition.
If you have trouble handling all of your daily tasks yourself, you’re not the only one. Having a full-time job while being on top of all the household responsibilities can be rough. Transitioning to a multigenerational household can help with that. Every family member has different things on their to-do list. This means that everyone can help with different things around the house. While children and elders can’t do physically challenging tasks, they can still help. Whether preparing meals, cleaning up, or maintaining the exteriors, you can split duties evenly. This is also great for establishing a sense of community. No one feels overworked or left out when everyone has something to do. It’s crucial for a healthy family atmosphere.
Different families prefer different living arrangements. While some may enjoy solitude, others find solace in the feeling of a community. Sharing your home with your elderly family members may be a new idea for you. However, we strongly encourage you to think about it. Considering all the benefits of living in multigenerational households is important when making this decision for your family. If you feel like it’s appropriate for you, the quality of your family life is guaranteed to improve.
Nancy Patterson is a behavior specialist. Her fields of interest include studying family relationships and how they affect family members. During her working life, she’s helped many families discover the best living arrangements for them.