Is a Multigenerational Home Right for Your Family?

4-minute read
Here are some things to consider when making your home work for extended family

Terri Wolff Kaufman

Sometimes a multigenerational home is the best solution for supporting all of our loved ones. There are so many benefits to having grandparents, parents, and children all under one roof! If you’re exploring the advantages of a multigenerational home, here are some things to consider and ways to make it work for everyone in the family.


Why People Want Multigenerational Homes


About 20 percent of Americans are now living in multigenerational homes, up from a national low of 12 percent in 1980. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2020 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that increasingly, people are purchasing multigenerational homes for these top two reasons:


1. Moving aging parents into the home

The high death toll in elder-care living facilities in the COVID pandemic– as well as the loneliness of isolation for older people during this time – is now compelling many families to keep aging parents at home for as long as possible. The NAR says that, while the pandemic has been the driving force, some data supports the fact “that this living situation is a permanent change” to more home-based caregiving.


2. Family economics

Reduced income in recent years in the U.S. economy and dropping marriage rates have led to family members of all ages pooling finances for multigenerational homes. Low-paying jobs and loss of jobs before and during the pandemic have added to this decision, as well as younger adults saddled with student debt who can’t afford their own homes.

Additionally, many people have been priced out of the housing market in their areas. Current low interest rates (favorable for buying) plus low home inventory have created a situation in many suburban areas of multiple buyers for every house that hits the market. This is pushing home prices sky-high. Families buying a home together has become a solution for affordability.


A Multigenerational Home Means More Support


Bringing family members and resources together in one home helps address living expenses, childcare, and elderly care. The multigenerational home can create a safety net for everyone involved.

In the United States, we don’t have nationalized childcare or elderly care systems. That has put a time and money burden on the “sandwich generation”– adults caught in the middle of caring for both their parents and their children, often while still earning a living.

A multigenerational home helps you create your own caregiving system. Retired grandparents can provide a consistent watchful presence for children while the parents work, and children of all ages can help with grandparents’ physical care and emotional support. Older relatives are valuable sources of family stories and broader historical and educational information for children; children are “extremely therapeutic assets” as families deal with the care of an older relative.  


How to Modify Your Home for Multigenerational Living in Place


You don’t always need to buy a new home to create a multigenerational home. If you think you have enough living space for everyone but are concerned about all ages getting around safely (accessibility) you can ask an Occupational Therapist (O.T.) to perform a home assessment of your current home.

A home assessment looks at how individuals use the home. Then the O.T. makes recommendations for home modifications that will increase safety and accessibility, particularly for older or disabled family members. If you have older family members in your home, Medicare or Medicaid will often pay for a home safety assessment to evaluate their physical requirements.  

Home modification is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are different needs for living in place at every stage of life, and design strategies to meet those needs within a multigenerational home.


Is a Multigenerational Home Right for Your Family?


Financial advice company Motley Fool suggests you carefully weigh the pros and cons of living in a multigenerational home. Make sure everyone has the same expectations about how they will share the home, and that they are all on the same page about budget, privacy, and a shared lifestyle.

Living together as an extended family can be very rewarding. Just make sure the decision is the right one for everyone involved.

Schedule your free 15-minute consultation with one of our specialists today.

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If you live in the greater DC area, NJ or eastern Pennsylvania we can also implement safety modifications for you.