Updated on December 3rd, 2019
So many things have changed in our day and age with the way people work, live, and love. But some things are shifting back to a pattern of living that was more common in earlier generations.
In the 1940’s and earlier, living in a multi-generational household was commonplace. But over the years, with the rise of subdivisions and an increasingly independent generation, this trend dropped significantly. But now, multi-generational families are making a comeback.
Multi-generational living means a single household that includes family members of several generations – children, parents, and grandparents – all under one roof. It’s something my in-laws are passionate about and has helped us to see the benefits of sharing living quarters with the retiring generation.
This post is sponsored by Philips. All opinions are my own.
Living with Philips Cares
There’s a whole new way to communicate and be there for each other with the new Philips Cares app. It integrates seamlessly with your Philips Lifeline products to help you as you communicate and care for your family members.
Philips Lifeline is a personal alert system where seniors can connect with a trained care specialist with the press of a button to get assistance 24/7. Now, with Philips Cares, the service is expanding with more meaningful features for the care of senior family members.
In the Philips Cares app, you can add family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers to your account to create care circles that keep everyone in the loop. Those included will be able to track the status of the Philips Lifeline service for your aging loved ones.
Each member can add notes, photos, updates, and customize their notification preferences. Plus, set up your available times (and easily switch to busy) for your availability as the preferred emergency contact number.
Taking notes can help you watch trends and make better informed decisions for your loved ones under the areas of: Mobility, Mood, Comfort, Memory, Nutrition, Social, and General notes.
Watch this short video for an overview of the new Philips Cares service!
5 Tips for Multi-Generational Living
1. Plan Space for Privacy
One of the biggest concerns with sharing your space with your parents as you start to establish your own family is not having enough of your own space. Even in small homes, you can often make some adjustments to provide a private space for each family member to have a space to call their own.
You could convert a loft, transition a bedroom with connected bath, or turn a basement into a private space. Even a converted garage can be a spacious retreat if you need additional space for your loved ones.
They key to reduced conflict is to have a space to sneak away — for all family members — when they just want to spend some time alone or doing their own hobbies and interests.
In our home, we were able to convert a space in our basement to accommodate my in-laws that spend a couple months out of each year living with us. As they transition to full retirement over the next couple years, they’ll spend more and more time in our home and in the homes of their other children.
2. Communication is Everything
The very best thing you can do to have a smooth transition to having your parents living with you is to openly communicate. Bring up concerns, issues, or frustrations so they don’t become a conflict point. Make sure everyone is on the same page with responsibilities and costs, as well.
The Philips Cares app is a perfect tool to use to help make communicating needs, availability, and caregiving a streamlined experience that all the support providers can access. The notes and updates will make it easier for everyone to stay on the same page, without having to communicate to each person involved in the care of your loved one.
3. Share the Load and Responsibilities
If your aging parents need a lot of physical, medical, or emotional support, you don’t need to carry that burden alone. Find and utilize resources around you to help share the responsibility so no one gets burnt out. For example, Philips Lifeline personal alert service can be there when you’re not, and connect your senior to help if needed.
You can turn to your community to hire help, use each member of the family to help with age-appropriate jobs and responsibilities, and speak with your loved one about what different tasks they are able to help with for their own care and household responsibilities.
Here are just a few ideas for ways your children can help and assist carry the load in carrying for their grandparents:
- Talk to grandparents.
- Hugs, cuddling, or being held by grandparents.
- Entertaining elderly parents by sharing their interests, talents, and hobbies.
- Keeping their minds bright by having aging parents teach, tutor, instruct, or simply share past memories that can be relevant to their school lessons to enrich learning.
- Children can run simple errands like clearing the dishes, helping grandparents put on their shoes or find their jacket.
- Preparing meals and/or snacks.
- Playing games or sharing hobbies together.
4. Split Expenses, Where Possible
One of the biggest benefits for multi-generational families can also be one of the biggest burdens, if not discussed and planned for. Adding additional family members to the household affects overall expenses.
However, when possible, aging family members can help lift some of the financial burden. Even on a limited income, they can help cover some of the household expenses as it is less expensive to share a home than have two separate sets of bills.
Even living on a fixed income, saving the cost of rent or an assistant living home can make a huge financial different for the older generation. That will free up their budget to help contribute towards a mortgage, groceries, electric bills, or other shared expenses.
5. Find Shared Hobbies and Interests
The best way to really connect and bring your multi-generational family together is to spend time together in ways that everyone can enjoy.
That might look like attending the youngest generation’s sports games, going on walks around the neighborhood together, playing card games on a Friday night, crafting, or some many different things!
Don’t be afraid to try new hobbies and find mutual interest. By doing fun things together the whole family can enjoy, you’ll really help to build those relationships and bonds that will be meaningful to everyone involved.
Our Experience with
My Father-in-Law was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when we were newly married, about 10 years ago. He was struggling with the disease pretty significantly for a few years.
Thankfully, with the help of a good set of medications that are working wonders for him, he is pretty stable at the moment. But we are all very aware that my Father-in-Law will need a lot of care and assistance as the disease continues to progress.
Even though he’s getting to his 60’s, we already know that caregiving will be a part of our future. We’ve talked openly as a family and have embraced the Multi-Generational living lifestyle to help accommodate “Papa” so that he’s a part of our life and creating those meaningful memories while he’s here with us.
While it’s not always perfect, we’ve gained so much by welcoming our children’s grandparents into our home. They have helped us with parenting challenges, emotional support during difficult trials, we’ve created so many fun and meaningful memories while together, and really appreciate getting to enjoy a more casual day-to-day relationship that has been able to form.
We also have been discussing welcoming my grandmother into our home for a few months of the year to share the responsibility, and the benefits, with my parents who have been caring for her. She is still mostly independent, but needs someone to make sure she eats and bathes and has social interactions to keep her positive and well as she continues to age.
If you’ve ever considered or thought about multi-generational living, I highly recommend starting the conversation in your own families. It is such an enriching experience to bring the older generations into our homes to let them teach us from the past and breed in us patience and compassion.
What has your experience been with multi-generational living?
Do you have any hesitations towards this lifestyle?