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Multi-generational living was very common 100 years ago. It fell out of fashion for a while after 1950, largely because of economic reasons. Today, one in five Americans live in a multi-generational household giving a new meaning to the phrase, “one big happy family.”

You are not alone if you are thinking about combining households. More than 64 million others are doing the same thing, according to Pew Research Center. That is roughly 20 percent of the population.

Economic Trends Associated With Multi-generational Living

  • College graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs. Many are moving back home to save money, or until their future is a bit more secure.
  • Seniors living on a fixed income are moving in with their children, as a way to stretch their dollars.
  • Grandparents living in the home offer childcare solutions for working families, especially single parents.
  • Bringing a grandparent into the household can be a safety solution for seniors who may need light supervision.

Looking at reasons families are moving in together, you can see it solves a lot of challenges. Multi-generational living creates real solutions for:

  • Built-in child care
  • Onsite elder care
  • Healthier meals that require significant preparation
  • Avoiding isolation for young and old
  • Pooling finances and saving money
  • Passing down traditions and preserving culture

Creating a Multi-generational Household

If you are thinking about putting everybody under one roof, there are some things to consider. As with any roomate, family or not, different expectations about roles and responsibilities can create conflict. If you can, a discussion about rules and boundaries could help. Here are some additional things to consider:

Sharing Finances

As you might have guessed, one of the biggest areas for potential conflict is money. Start out with a clear discussion about who will pay for what.

Is Your House Ready For Multi-generational Living?

Are your roommates able to climb the stairs? Do they need a walk-in shower? Could someone with a walker move freely through the doorways and halls without getting stuck, or tripping over a rug? Is a move in your future? If so, Deca Realty has a wide variety of properties large enough to accommodate this lifestyle. Check our available properties here.

As for younger family members, is there a way to create some privacy? Do you have space in your bedroom or attic that could be recreated into additional living quarters? Do you have enough bandwidth, refrigerator space, laundry facilities, for your additional roommates?

Live and Let Live!

Some, or possibly all, members of your household may be highly active. They may have calendars full of sports practices or social events. Older members may want and need a way to see friends and continue their usual activities. Your roommates will be happiest if they can all continue to enjoy their own lives.

At the same time, it’s also important to do things together. You could create a playdate for grandparents and grandchildren. A mother-daughter-grandmother lunch date can be fun. If you have 20-somethings in your household, make sure you are getting some alone time with them as well. They are still figuring out life and might need to talk through challenges and choices they are facing.

Consistency is Key

With so many people coming and going, keeping mealtimes consistent can be a huge help. You might also consider a regular family conference to discuss small inconveniences before they become big problems. A family calendar or chore sheet could also help things run more smoothly.

Keeping it Real

No matter what you do or how you prepare, there will be some unforeseen challenges. Flexibility and a sense of humor can go a long way toward finding resolutions. As head of household, you set the tone for the way the rest of the family interacts. Keeping things light in the face of adversity will encourage others to do the same. It allows space and opportunities for candid discussions. Most importantly, it creates an atmosphere of kindness and ease that will create memories all the generations can treasure for the rest of their lives.

At Deca Realty, we have a large selection of apartments, homes, duplexes of all sizes around the St. Louis area. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you find a property that will suit your needs.