Benefits from a multigenerational home
The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our lives in many ways. One outcome is that an increasing number of families share their homes with multiple generations. While this living arrangement might not work for everyone, it does have its own set of unique benefits.
A multigenerational home consists of at least two generations of family living together. Whether it’s an older adult child and their parents or a married couple and their young children and parents, the term essentially means that more than one generation lives together under the same roof.
Living together with other family members certainly has its challenges, but some people see benefits. There are many factors to consider before determining whether living in a multigenerational home is right for you.
People in different age groups will have different lifestyles and different needs. Living under the same roof can cause conflict about schedules, sharing bathrooms and mealtimes.
Whether it’s a lack of privacy, space, or free time, having many people together under one roof can feel constricting for some people.
If you’re living with an elderly family member, delineating caregiver responsibilities can cause issues. The same applies if there are infants or young children in the house.
While living in a multigenerational home certainly has some challenges, there are also many benefits. First, sharing a home with other family members means that you’ll share costs like utilities, mortgage and other monthly expenses.
Of course, the social benefits can be more valuable than savings. When a multigenerational family lives under the same roof, children can spend quality time with their grandparents in their golden years.
Here are some other positive effects of cross-generation cohabitation:
Homeowner responsibilities: With more people living in the home, you can assign different duties to each family member, such as mowing the lawn, washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms.
Safety: If you have elderly family members living with you, they’ll be safer than if they were on their own. The younger people can also be a great help to the elders by running errands and simply monitoring them in case of an emergency.
Family activities: Whether it’s growing a family garden, arranging a family game night, or just watching your favorite TV shows together, family activity time is easier to schedule when multiple generations are living in one house.
Teaching younger generations: Living in a multigenerational home is an excellent way for younger family members to learn skills from the older generations.
From learning how to cook from scratch to how to use power tools, this is an excellent opportunity to help your children thrive and grow through learning from their older relatives.
How to make it work
Here are some tips for fostering a successful multigenerational setup:
—Assign each family member a specific chore so that everyone plays a role in maintaining the household.
—Make sure you have ample room, including bathrooms and bedrooms, before you make the change.
—Talk to your real estate agent about the possibility of upgrading to a multigenerational home so they can help you find the right size and type of dwelling.
—Discuss the idea with your children beforehand so that they understand the new change and aren’t taken by surprise.
—Talk to other family members in advance about expectations, including sharing expenses and household duties, so everyone understands their role.
—Create private spaces — including the back yard, garage, basement, or a separate room — so that everyone has enough space to stretch out and enjoy some privacy.
Key things to consider
You can choose to undergo a complete house remodel, or you might decide to purchase a larger home to accommodate your growing family. Here are some key things to consider when you’re looking for a multigenerational home:
Insurance changes: Make sure you contact your homeowner’s insurance provider to update them about the change. You may need to extend coverage to protect the belongings of your other family members. Or if you’re building an addition or adding outdoor structures, you will need to raise your coverage limits.
Shared spaces and family rooms. Will your living room be large enough to accommodate the entire family? Look for a home with a roomy shared space where everyone can spend time together comfortably.
Finished basements. A basement can double as an extra bedroom, workout space or laundry room. Consider homes with a finished basement to give you more usable square footage.
Kitchen. The kitchen will need to be large enough for everyone to use without feeling cramped. You can also find homes that include two full kitchens, such as a duplex where each generation will have their own separate cooking space.
Bathrooms for adults: Having enough bathrooms can be challenging, so make sure your new home either has a full bath for each adult or, at minimum, a half-bath where they can have privacy and share the full bath for showers and bathing.
Bathrooms for kids. Make sure your home has enough bathrooms for everyone to use without conflict. A separate bathroom for the kids is ideal, especially if they need to get ready for school in the morning.
Bedrooms for kids. It’s essential that the home has ample bedrooms for all family members. If you have two kids, consider having them share a bedroom with a bunk bed unless you have enough bedrooms for everyone to have their own.
TV rooms. The living room or family room can work well as a TV room, but you can also place another TV in the basement so that some family members can watch what they want without being disturbed.
Private spaces: Even if you love spending time together, having a private space is important. You may want to adapt an existing room to make it a private space.
Consider adding a wall to break up a large room into separate rooms. Whether it’s a room over the garage or a reading nook, a private space helps keep the peace.
Home office: If a family member works from home, they should have their own private office space to work undisturbed.
Bedrooms for adults: A two-story or split-level home is ideal for multigenerational homes with adults. You can give the parents the master bedroom, while young adults can have the remaining bedroom(s) on a separate floor.
Accessibility: Consider the unique needs of older family members and determine if you’ll need to build a wheelchair ramp or add other universal design features to ensure safety and improve accessibility for all.
Relaxing spaces: If you have the extra room, designate a quiet part of the home for reading, meditating and generally relaxing.
Outdoor spaces:Make sure your yard is large enough so the kids have an outdoor place to play. If you have pets, this is also an important thing to consider.
A pool isn’t necessary, but it can be an excellent distraction for the kids during the summer when school is out.
Garages: If you have several cars, consider a home with a garage that can accommodate all of them. Garages also make great workshops and provide extra storage for tools and other large items.
Decks: A deck is an attractive option for multigenerational homes. You can use it to barbecue, sunbathe, or just to give family members a nice place to relax outdoors.
Greenhouses: If you have a green thumb, consider adding a greenhouse to your backyard where you can grow your favorite veggies and other plants.
Whether it’s the COVID pandemic itself or the economic impact, there are many reasons why this living arrangement might be right for you. Caring for your parents or sharing the responsibilities of caring for younger kids can be easier when you’re all under the same roof.
Remember that while living in a multigenerational household has its challenges, it’s also a fantastic way to strengthen family relationships that will last a lifetime.
Originally posted on Porch.com.