Upsize Your Home to Reap the Benefits
of Multigenerational Living
By - Lucille Rosetti @ The Bereaved (http://thebereaved.org/)
The Benefits of Multigenerational Living
In Japan, families often have many generations living under one roof -- an arrangement called multigenerational living. Grandparents who are unable to live on their own anymore move in with their children. In turn, the oldest generation pitches in to help care for the grandchildren in the house. The culture holds a deep reverence for seniors and their love and wisdom is considered indispensable when it comes to raising the next generation. The strong community, family bonds and sense of purpose contribute to the highest life expectancy of any major country.
The rest of the world seems to be catching on to Japan’s lead. According to research published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, grandparents who help out with child care have a higher life expectancy than those who do not. Furthermore, multigenerational living arrangements can, in theory, increase psychological, social and financial capital. An increase in these factors is associated with improvements in health and longevity for all members of the family. For these reasons and more, the number of multigenerational homes in the United States and other developed countries is on the rise. Today 60.6 million Americans, 19 percent of the population, live in multigenerational homes. 26.9 million of these homes hold three generations under one roof.
Of course, multigenerational living poses its challenges -- in particular timing and space. For instance, should you move your senior parent immediately after the loss of a spouse? Generally, it is best to wait some time after a major death before making a big decision. Don’t instigate the move immediately. Instead, wait four to six months and revisit the option. Once you’ve decided that moving in together is the best choice for your family, you may look around and realize there isn’t quite enough space to hold you all comfortably. In this case, it can be seriously worth it to upsize your home.
Tips for Upsizing Your Home for Multigenerational Living
- Look for a home that is senior-friendly. A one-story house is your best bet, but if there is a bedroom and bathroom for the grandparent on the ground floor, you can make a two-story home work. Limit the amount of stairs the senior will have to navigate. You may end up needing to place safety ramps over steps they traverse regularly as their motor skills deteriorate.
- Consider moving to a neighborhood or location that is a convenient distance away from doctor’s offices, hospitals and other medical care your senior parent may need. The closer you are, the quicker you can get to these places in the case of an emergency. Even if it isn’t an emergency, being in proximity to these places make it easier for grandparents to get there if they have to take a car or public transportation in a pinch.
- Upsizing gives your family the opportunity to add space for your children’s enjoyment. Consider looking for a home with a “playroom” where your kids can be loud and roughhouse away from their grandparents.
- Look at neighborhoods that have community centers both the grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy. Community centers often offer amenities and classes that encourage socialization and physical exercise.
- Décor and interior color choices can help create a comforting, calm environment for multigenerational families. For instance, green is calming yet refreshing. Brown is grounding while shades of blue soothe and instill confidence. Bright colors can engage the senses. For instance, a bit of red or yellow in the dining room can help stimulate the appetite. Once you’ve planned out your color scheme, hire professional painters to get the job done before your move-in date.
Multigenerational living is becoming more common in the United States as people realize its many benefits. Moving in with a senior parent may pose some issues concerning space, but upsizing can provide the room the entire family needs. When looking for homes, be sure to take your senior parent’s needs in mind as well as your children’s.