A Pew Research Center study shows that, by 2014, 60.6 million Americans lived in homes that consisted of more than one generation, a trend known as multigenerational living. According to Pew, multigeneration households include two or more adult generations. Arrangements may include adult children and parents as well as grandparents or grandchildren. The trend accelerated during the recent recession but is showing no signs of slowing despite an improved economy.
More Families Now Live Under One Roof
There are several reasons why Americans are changing their living arrangements. College graduates dealing with student debt move back home because they can’t afford rent. Single mothers may rely on parents to help with their children. A growing Hispanic and Asian population has also swelled the number of multigenerational families since it is more common in their cultures. Baby Boomers are living longer, but often feel unsafe being on their own. It is not necessarily a burden for them to live with grown children since modern seniors are more active than ever. Even if they have health issues, there are ways to cope. For example, many people take advantage of respite care that gives relatives time for themselves. It is easy to find respite care providers on the Internet, and those who need further information can see more at brandycare.com.
Families Living Together Need a Plan
When several relatives decide to live together, conflict is inevitable. That is especially true when the elderly and young people have very different ideas and temperaments. However, these challenges do not have to prevent peaceful cohabitation. According to a New York Times piece, adults need to discuss the situation and be clear on critical issues like financial responsibility. They also need to make sure everyone has privacy. Experts suggest creating personal and communal spaces and then keeping the boundaries clear.
Living Together Can Reduce Economic Burdens
Financial problems drive many people to share their households with other family members. While many people consider young people failures if they do not live alone after college, not everyone agrees. Parents and grandparents often see no reason that young adults should suffer while they are building lives. As long as they are working and financially responsible, adult children living at home can contribute a great deal. A 2018 article in the Washington Post pointed out that multigenerational living arrangements can reduce stress and improve members’ financial resources.
Multigenerational Living Has Health Benefits
Family members are often happier and healthier when they live with other generations. That is particularly true of seniors who can become isolated and lonely. When they contribute to active families, the elderly regain a sense of purpose that is good for their overall well-being. Grandchildren and young adults can often benefit from older relatives’ advice. Not only are the elderly safer, but adult children gain additional caregivers for their kids, which creates a sense of security and reduces stress.
Bonds Often Strengthen Through Shared Living Arrangements
For several decades it was considered “normal” for adults to move away from relatives and strike out on their own. However, the trend fractured many families and isolated individual members. Some families are avoiding the problem by altering their homes to accommodate other members and creating living plans that benefit everyone at every age.
A growing number of American homes include several generations of the same family. The trend has become popular because it reduces loneliness, stress, and financial problems. As long as members plan carefully and respect each other’s needs, these living arrangements can bring families closer.