Multigenerational Households

In recent years, more and more people are finding themselves combining households with their parents or adult children. According to a U.S. Census Bureau Report, nearly 4 million American families have three or more generations living together under one roof. This number represents an approximately 60% increase since 2000. There are many reasons for this trend. A poll conducted in January by Coldwell Banker® found that of families combining households, 39% cited financial concerns as the main reason behind the move, while 29% said health care issues played the largest role in their decision, and 6% said tight family bonds were the driving force. While many of these reasons are based upon need, there are often great benefits to be derived from this kind of living arrangement. Families grow closer together while the wisdom of the older generation is passed on the younger family members. Whatever the reasons leading to the decision, it’s clear that the incidence of several generations living together under one roof is on the rise. In a way, it’s a return to a bygone era when this arrangement was the norm and nobody thought anything of it. But for many people today, the idea can take some getting used to. To help address some of the issues that should be considered in deciding if this is the best way for your family, Home Instead Senior Care® has put together a program called “Too Close for Comfort?” that helps you walk through the decision making process. You can find out more about this resource by calling your local Home Instead Senior Care® at 540-966-3399 or logging on to www.makewayformom.com.

If you have a multigenerational household now, or you are considering combining households in the near future, you might want to look at your home with new eyes. Whether you are converting an unfinished basement to a mother in law apartment or simply using a bedroom that has been empty for many years, it’s important to take into account some Universal Design principles. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a safe and accessible route to get in and out of the home?
  • Is the entry covered and lighted with a place to put down packages?
  • Are the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen easily accessible?
  • Are the hallways wide enough?
  • Is the bathroom accessible and safe?
  • Is the lighting bright and glare free?
  • Are the controls, faucets, doorknobs, etc. easy to use?
  • Are there any tripping hazards (throw rugs, extension cords, etc.)?
  • Is the kitchen accessible and easy to use?

If any of these issues seem like they would be a concern to you and you would like to get some help in assessing your home to make it as safe and comfortable as possible, please give me a call. I can bring my 20+ years of construction experience and my specialized training to your home to perform a Customized Home Assessment. In this assessment I consider the present and future needs of everyone in the household and recommend a prioritized action plan to modify the home if needed and make the home safe, convenient, and comfortable for the whole family. You might be surprised at what can be accomplished in making your home a home for all ages! You can reach me by phone at 540-384-2064 or by email at cmoore@solidrockenterprises.com. You can also log onto my website at www.solidrockenterprises.com. Please get in touch with me soon. I’ll be happy to help you.

Solid Rock has written many articles for Housing Matters, including subject matter for Retirement, Enjoying the Outdoors and Aging In Place.  Please visit our Housing Matters Index of articles here.