Multigenerational living, though it’s on the rise in many places, is already common in many countries and cultures. There are many different reasons for multigenerational living – caregiving, financial reasons, convenience, staying close to family.
What may start out as a practical reason can end up having emotional and mental benefits on the family members.
But what is multigenerational living? And how can it affect your familial relationships and life? Hopefully you’ll get the information you’re seeking here.
What’s A Multigenerational Home?
In most households, there consists of two generations already – parent and child. But multigenerational living is when three or more generations are sharing that household together. So this might be parent and child plus grandparents and great-grandparents. Maybe even great-great-grandparents. Depends on how lucky you get.
Some multigenerational homes also have aunts and uncles living with them, or each set of in-laws. All under one roof… Imagine the chaos.
How Does A Multigenerational Living Set Up Work?
That many generations under one roof might seem cramped or uncomfortable but the size really varies quite a lot. Also, families will more than likely have separate living areas within the house.
These are the Ocasios. At the time that this video was published, Monica lived downstairs with her children whilst her parents lived upstairs. They had two kitchens with separate entrances so they could both have easier access.
Those in multigenerational households, as the Ocasios do, may also split the bills and housework and caregiving duties. Because there are times when the older generations that are living in the house need some extra help and support.
Monica Ocasio paid for gas, electric, and cable bills whilst the house was in Ramon’s, Monica’s father, name. Monica’s parents helped her with childcare, collecting the children from school and taking them to doctor’s appointments when Monica can’t. And in return, Monica cooked for her whole family, her eldest children drove their grandparents to where they needed to go.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Multigenerational Living
There are pros and cons to every living arrangement and multi-gen living is no different. And these things should definitely be considered by families before they choose to have a multigenerational household.
There are a lot of adults who are in the stage where they’re mid-career but also have parenting responsibilities. In multigenerational living situations, many parents can trust their own parents or their eldest children, if they have any, to take on some childcare duties. Usually just simple responsibilities like collecting them from school or taking them to health appointments.
Young parents benefit greatly from this set-up as it means they can continue on with their career or go back to school without worrying about finding a reliable babysitter.
- Saving Financially
Possibly one of the most major benefits for many in multigenerational households is the affordability. Because bills are split among family members, it’s likely that each family in the home pays less than what they would in a house of their own.
Whether there are two people in the house or eight, the mortgage won’t increase. Electricity or gas bills might seem more because more people with electrical devices but when these bills are being split, it’s balanced out.
Any extra funds that are saved by living together can go towards savings, any debt repayments, hobbies or interests, maybe even a small holiday.
- Improved Mental Health
People who grow up in multigenerational households often have a larger circle when it comes to any kind of support. This social support often leads to better mental health. Those in multi-gen homes often find that they always have someone to talk to or to ask for help.
And one of the best parts about it is that the opinions and views are often all differing, too, because of the difference in generation. Being exposed to someone else’s worldview can sometimes have an impact on our own views.
- Lack of Privacy
As you know, there’s plenty more family members in a multigenerational household. Sure, each family might have a separate space but there’s still shared spaces. And that’s not bad at all, but it can become frustrating when there are things you can’t do in complete privacy.
Like talk on the phone to a friend or listen to music without any background noise or being heard yourself.
- Potential Conflicts
Hearing everyone’s experiences and stories from their life can be great! Dealing with all the differing opinions… Not so much.
Everyone has an opinion on everything, even on little things like the best place to go to for a holiday. Not every person in the house will refrain from telling you their opinion, either, even if yu really don’t want to hear it. Even if ends up causing conflict.
So many people living in one house, splitting all the chores and bills is amazing. But if there’s a sick family member that is cared for majorly by one primary person, caregiver burnout will happen very quick.
Some aging parents may even try to take on too many caregiving responsibilities. Or at least more responsibilities than they can handle, usually because they just want to help. This can be overloading and overwhelming for professional care givers, let alone family care providers.
The best way to avoid this is to plan out who is care giving and how long they’ll do it for before switching family members. Even though some care cases may be more complex and a routine is important, they’re still surrounded by family members. That’s something you and the member receiving care can take comfort in.
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