The traditional American home, consisting of a Mom, Dad, two kids and a dog is no longer considered typical. Today, there are many families with more than one generation residing together, under one roof. This can be the result of an aging parent or parents needing to move in with adult children for care, or a young adult moving back home for support. As you might expect, there are advantages and disadvantages to this living arrangement. Read on to learn more:
- Can Make Life Easier: If childcare or elder care is an issue, having grandparents reside in the same home as their adult children and grandchildren can be advantageous. This makes the issue of daycare and/or after school care obsolete and saves significant money when compared to assisted living facilities. When an elderly parent needs extra care, moving them into an adult child’s home can also save the family a great deal of time. No longer is the middle generation pulled between their parent’s need for care and being present with their children. It is also beneficial for the elderly parent to no longer be living alone, which is often lonely.
- It’s Actually Going Back to The Country’s Roots: Although we might consider it a new trend, families of several generations living together was actually pretty common before World War II. There is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from older generations. Their beliefs and advice is valuable beyond measure for younger generations just starting out in life.
- Can be Difficult to Set Boundaries: Although having grandpa and grandma right there can be great in some respects, there must be clear boundaries set at the beginning to avoid conflict. Who do the kids listen to? All the adults, their parents, their grandparents? Can grandparents overrule the parents, what about parents overruling the grandparents, who has the final say? All this needs to be sorted out, before the families move in together. As it relates to an adult child moving back in with mom in dad, the same is true. Boundaries need to be set first. Does an adult child have a curfew? Are they required to help around the house?
- Finances Can Get Sticky: Another potentially problematic issue that can come up with multi-generational living are finances. How are they shared? Who pays for what? Does the mortgage payment responsibility fall only on the middle generation? What about any benefits grandpa and grandpa might be getting? Should they be contributing to the household fund? How is food divided, who pays for groceries? All the details involving money need to be decided ahead of time, written out and signed by all responsible parties. It might seem silly, but it’s a good idea to get all this stuff out in the open beforehand. Otherwise, you might end up with a nightmare situation on your hands and no easy way to get out of it.
Multi-generational living has its advantages and disadvantages. It isn’t the right decision for every family, but can be a great choice for others. If you are considering it, keep in mind, plan out the details, before the move in for the best chance of success.