Multigenerational families are realizing that they can (and should) live together
The AARP reports that almost 90% of seniors would rather stay at home than move to an elder care facility. This shouldn’t be surprising to any of us. As humans, we value independence, familiar surroundings, and the comfort of being near loved ones.
And we’re living longer, stronger lives than ever before. Grandparents and great-grandparents are more active than ever. They’re working, caring for babies and school-age kids, maintaining households, and participating in their communities.
As the youngest of the Baby Boomers enter their late fifties and early sixties, families everywhere are making plans. They want to enjoy life together and help one another—in the ways they always have and in new ways too.
We are rediscovering what our great grandparents knew.
One of the best options for multigenerational families is to live together. It’s great for everyone in the family.
In the US, we seem to have lost sight of that wisdom. But we’re regaining it now. According to the Pew Research Center, 21% of the US population lived in multigenerational households in 1950. That number declined steadily until 1980, when it began to climb. In 2016, it was back up to 20%.
Maybe it’s because wages have stagnated or because housing is painfully expensive and hard to get in many cities. Whatever the cause, Americans are rediscovering ways to share resources and space with their loved ones.
There are plenty of options that allow multiple generations to live together and help each other. Often, families will add living space to their existing property. Here are some scenarios:
A couple in their sixties adds a backyard cottage to their current home. Then, their adult son moves into the cottage with his young daughter to be nearby and save money.
A young mother and her husband convert a garage into a detached accessory dwelling for her mom to live in. The result is a gorgeous backyard cottage just steps away from the main home, like this one.
A 70-year-old man remodels his basement into an apartment and moves into it. His adult daughter and her young family move into the main home. (See some fantastic plans for this type of remodel here.)
A 40-year-old woman and her spouse purchase the home behind theirs and combine the properties. They remodel the newly purchased home, bringing it up to date and making it perfect for her parents to live in.
There are other possibilities, of course, but however you do it, putting older and younger generations near each other comes with a lot of benefits.
- It provides grandparents and great-grandparents both independence and a chance to contribute to the family.
- It lets children and their grandparents see each other every day.
- It gives everyone peace of mind to know that their loved ones, no matter their age, are safe and cared for.
- It allows the generations to help each other in day-to-day life.
- It means the family can combine their resources, saving money and benefiting everyone.
Preparing a property for multigenerational housing is such a pleasure for us. These kinds of projects align perfectly with our mission to change lives and our vision of making housing better.