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Periodic Contributor

The Return to Multi-Generational Housing for Aging Parents

Pre-1950, it was commonplace to have multiple generations living in a household. This was part of a system whereby the members of each generation benefit through this cohabitation. Children gained valuable knowledge from elders beyond their parents, grandparents saved money through having personalized, affordable (and free!) care through family members. Breadwinners saved time, money, and effort by having such close contact with the generations surrounding them. 

 

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, this largest aged segment ever in our history will require significant changes to the culture of "stack them in a facility" mentality that has given birth to entire industries run by large corporations. The cold nature of care by a stranger at a facility for your loved ones, via nursing homes and assisted living facilities, also costs as much as $6,000 per month. As these facilities become less and less financially feasible for the bulk of families in America, it's time to look at other cultures' means of eldercare: the old fashioned way. If you were in South America or Europe today, you wouldn't see someone in a nursing home or assisted living facility unless a parent required intricate medical attention only a trained specialist could provide.

 

When faced with choices for my own parents, the choice was clear. I didn't have $4-6,000 a month for assisted living for my parents. However; they owned their own home and that blessing made it possible for me to move back in, forward "rent" to the home's elder-friendly upgrades, and cohabitation and sitter networking made my eldercare provider journey for my parents much easier. Mix in today's tech and eldercare is easily than ever before. The Amazon Echo Show device, bedside with an elder (deaf or not!) can provide large-font closed-caption news updates, internet searches, and interactive entertainment when family members aren't available. 

 

The return to multi-generational housing to accommodate aging Baby Boomers via Gen X and Millennial cohorts is an inevitability. Being prepared and armed with the right tools was never easier and the peace of mind of providers made better. 

 

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS
Honored Social Butterfly


@BertW590794 wrote:

Thanks your thoughts here Gail. How do? Tell us more...


Solitude is my sanity.  I enjoy being alone after years & years of being around multitudes of people to make a good living.  And I have planned my life around that desire.  Don't get me wrong - I love my family and they love me but they have their lives and I have mine.  They like what they like to do and I like what I like to do and they are very different.

 

Knowledge has already been passed along as much as I can give and they help me when I need help with something - especially technology.  We visit, we share but just as I did, time to make their own way and make life's decisions for themselves - right or wrong, just like I had to do.

 

I would help them financially if the condition arose - but it hasn't - I am sure they would do the same for me too if the condition arose - but it hasn't and hopefully won't.

 

If one day, I can no longer care for myself - then for all good intentions, my life is over and I have tried my best (as legally as I can) to plan for that time too.

 

BUT NO multigenerational living for me.  That's just me and I am old enough to say, that's OK.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna

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Newbie

Bert, as a child growing up in a multigenerational home was the best. My grandparents made the lives of my working parents so much easier with prepared meals to come home to, laundry being done etc.My grandfather taught me to read and write before school and he helped me feel validated by answering questions and telling me his wisdom.

My parents even though they worked hard , were less stressed for all the help received.My grandparents felt self worth that comes from contributing to other peoples lives.

Everyone was better off.

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Contributor

There were a variety of reasons that we moved in with my mother-in-law.  She is still able to take care of herself, though the property was getting to be too much for her.  We are all managing and adapting.  I didn't like the idea of moving in with a parent and leaving our home.  Even at 52, it makes me feel like a child or teenager.  I like my independence and I don't feel that way at all living there.  My husband loves that he is on his father's property and is able to take care of it now.  She welcomed us with open arms, she enjoys the company, but I know there are things that are an inconvenience to her also.  Now, with the pandemic and with the uncertainty for supply of goods, I think it was a good choice to combine the households, take some financial burden off from both us and her and to give her company as she is staying home and staying safe.  There is the added benefit of learning from her wisdom, both in the kitchen and in life.  I dread the day that she is not able to take care of herself and can only hope that I can keep her more comfortable when that time comes.

Thank you for posting this topic, I have enjoyed reading other's perspectives.

Periodic Contributor

You touch upon something core to the reason behind why I constructed this post. The need to commune with others in similar situations and FEELINGS about their choice to play an active role in eldercare, be it at the very beginning of an elder's twilight years, mid-way, or near the end / incapacitated years. When you move back to a place that you existed in throughout your development years, does your ego take that to an "achievement place" or a belittlement place? When discussing this life choice with others, people often go "aw," as if the 'caring for someone in their twilight years' is a downer. It makes them face their own mortality which is neither a party punch line or the "Aw!" one hears on the opposite end of the journey: small children and newborn raising, for a lot of folks. This is what I believe needs to change in culture: celebrating, participating, and aiding a person in their twilight years can be just a cute, endearing, and fulfilling as the beginning and equally attended. Believing and acting in this way might make caregiving for both life phases easier, let's try it society and start a 'thing.' Thanks for this inspiration ❤️

Gold Conversationalist

When I was a kid, gramps stayed with us.  He snored so loud I hardly slept for years!  

Contributor

I've seen both sides of this and it is rarely easy. 50 years ago, my maternal grandmother was found to be living a less than ideal life in her home and was moved immediately into a nursing home. Money wasn't an issue, but we had 4 kids in a 1200 sq. foot home with one bathroom so there were no other options. Within a week she was beyond thrilled as there was beauty parlor on site, and plenty of bingo games where she was a shrewd competitor. I remember taking her out to lunch a week after she moved in expecting some complaints. But instead Grandma looked at me and said, in her typical, no nonsense way: "What's not to like, I get a new blue rinse on my hair every week, I'm on a winning streak in Bingo, and I'm the Queen of the Prom because I can walk and don't need a wheelchair!" We all agreed she lived past 95 because she had a good life there. My parents had always said the same, even as a small child, they would always remind the 4 of us kids, "When our time comes, we will not move in with you, we will move into a nice nursing facility." 50 years later, my father had passed away suddenly, and my mother developed Alzheimer's disease at 86. I ended up being the only one available to take on the caregiving as, somewhat conveniently, my retail career had simultaneously fizzled out with the decline of shopping malls. So that same 1200 sq. ft. house, that same single bathroom, and that same twin bed I slept on 50+ years ago became mine again. It wasn't easy for either my mother or I, but she eventually had the ending she wanted. Despite the covid scare all around us, mom passed away peacefully in her pajamas, in a hospital bed in the living room of her beloved home, while we were watching tv together. And at that moment, I knew we had made the right choice for her.

Periodic Contributor

You get me. Yes, the elder's desires for continued independence come first. Many aging folks get out of their houses and into assisting living or nursing facilities by their own volition and thrive, become healthier, get their groove back! From a 30,000 foot view, this topic is more "How can I help add the most possible richness to my elder's daily life?" In our case, we've had someone who prefers aging in place and could support it while bringing those beauty parlors and social activities to them. The pandemic forced digital adoption to keep that going, and you haven't lived until you've heard a 92 year old Great Depression baby go down a rabbit hole with Alexa to suddenly learn mid-to-late '80s pop and hip hop lyrics and history. lol "Um, why is Grandma asking about GrandMaster Flash?" I hope during the twilight times, she too stays as comfortable as possible and we make the right choice. Thanks for sharing brother!  

Newbie

Bert, as a child growing up in a multigenerational home was the best. My grandparents made the lives of my working parents so much easier with prepared meals to come home to, laundry being done etc.My grandfather taught me to read and write before school and he helped me feel validated by answering questions and telling me his wisdom.

My parents even though they worked hard , were less stressed for all the help received.My grandparents felt self worth that comes from contributing to other peoples lives.

Everyone was better off.

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Regular Contributor

Presently, we have four generations living ion the same home.  My and I use to live in our own home but when she came down with spinal cancer that paralyzed her the whole situation changed.  We have always been very close to our two child.  Now we live with our daughter and son-in-law who are very excepting of our new situation because my wife needs care 24/7.  Also, our son lives 10 minutes away and helps all the time.  Our grand children, who are in their early 20's also live in the same home and are virtual college students and part time workers.  Our grand-daughter also has a three year old who we all help raise.  Yes, there are some challenges with our grand-daughter but we all work through them as best we can.  You cannot control what others do, you can only control how you react to to them. 

Periodic Contributor

Proof in the pudding, woot! 🙂

AARP Expert

@BertW590794 All good points! In fact I just finished writing a report on this topic for Generations United, who did a national poll to find out if multigenerational living had increased due to the pandemic. It has - A LOT! In fact over the past decade it has quadrupled! Now more than 1 in 4 Americans are living in a multigenerational household (26%). Nearly 6 in 10 say it was because of the pandemic. 66% say the economic climate was a factor. 

 

When asked about the causes - the top causes were eldercare (34%) and childcare/child education (34%). 30% said job changes were a cause.

 

So I agree with you - there is definitely a resurgence of multigenerational living! You'll see in the report I wrote a background section with some of the history going back to the the early 1900's. 

 

Here's a link to the full report as well as links to some family stories and other information: Family Matters: Multigenerational Living Is on the Rise and Here to Stay.

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer

Periodic Contributor

Thanks so much Amy G for your reply here. I'm checking out and forwarding your report to my network, good read! One thing I failed to mention: The efficiency of this movement / topic as it addresses two birds with one stone. Not only does multigenerational aging in place work economically and from a humanitarian perspective, but addresses sustainability during an ecologically threatened time. (1 household instead of 2 or 3 = less footprint.) There is a "LEAN Six Sigma" aspect to this approach to living that I'm on to...not sure yet where to take it from a content perspective but getting there. 😉

Thanks for all you do on this front!

Periodic Contributor

*How so, not ‘how do’ 😉

Honored Social Butterfly

@BertW590794 

No, no , no . . . . not for me on either side of the equation - as the giver or the receiver.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

Thanks your thoughts here Gail. How do? Tell us more...

Honored Social Butterfly


@BertW590794 wrote:

Thanks your thoughts here Gail. How do? Tell us more...


Solitude is my sanity.  I enjoy being alone after years & years of being around multitudes of people to make a good living.  And I have planned my life around that desire.  Don't get me wrong - I love my family and they love me but they have their lives and I have mine.  They like what they like to do and I like what I like to do and they are very different.

 

Knowledge has already been passed along as much as I can give and they help me when I need help with something - especially technology.  We visit, we share but just as I did, time to make their own way and make life's decisions for themselves - right or wrong, just like I had to do.

 

I would help them financially if the condition arose - but it hasn't - I am sure they would do the same for me too if the condition arose - but it hasn't and hopefully won't.

 

If one day, I can no longer care for myself - then for all good intentions, my life is over and I have tried my best (as legally as I can) to plan for that time too.

 

BUT NO multigenerational living for me.  That's just me and I am old enough to say, that's OK.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna

View solution in original post

Newbie

Until age of 12 my maternal grandmother lived with us and I learned so much  about our family origins from her. She was a retired teacher who often tutored at home and gave me my early appreciation for learning.  Now as a senior at what would have been her age and a widow, I have my adult daughter living with me.  No like; I enjoy solitude!  Plus, there can only be one queen of the kitchen!

Super Contributor

>>Solitude is my sanity. 

 

That's going on my wall of quotes.

 

Right there with you!