Multigenerational living is a lifestyle choice that has been gaining popularity in recent years, driven by financial considerations and the need for caregiving support. Multigenerational families live together as one household and can share living spaces, bills, and caregiving responsibilities. While it may start out as a practical solution to address housing costs and caregiving needs, many find that there are mental and emotional benefits to multigenerational living as well.
In a multigenerational home, you can find two or more related adult generations living with children. How the family unit is made up and how they live together can vary widely, creating a unique environment that fosters closeness and support. For instance, a multigenerational home might include grandparents, parents, and grandchildren that live in one house or garden annexe.
One of the significant advantages of multigenerational living is improved finances and greater financial security. Each family in a multigenerational home often pays less in bills than they would if they lived on their own. Mortgage costs, utilities, and even food shopping bills can be split, resulting in considerable savings.
In addition, multigenerational living can provide affordable and trustworthy adult or childcare for working-age adults, especially those in the "sandwich generation" balancing career and caregiving responsibilities. In multigenerational households, older family members often provide care for young children, saving families thousands of pounds in childcare costs annually. This arrangement allows parents to focus on their careers or education while ensuring their loved ones receive the care and attention they need. With the boot on the other foot, if parents are needing additional support themselves, having children close by can reduce that burden of care. With a typical care home costing upwards of £1000 per week, being able to have elderly parents close by can make considerable savings for both parties.
It’s not just about saving money (although it can be a considerable benefit), sharing spaces can lead to enhanced mental and cognitive health for all family members. The sense of social support and the exposure to different world views within a multigenerational family fosters better mental health and higher levels of cognition. For aging adults, being surrounded by family and participating in household activities can help preserve adaptability and stave off cognitive decline and loneliness, improving overall mental and physical well-being.
Despite the numerous benefits, this way of living does come with its challenges. One drawback is the potential lack of privacy, as if you are sharing a main house communal spaces are shared, and conversations can be overheard. Family conflicts may also arise due to differing opinions and dynamics within the household. Additionally, caregiver burnout can become an issue when one person takes on most caregiving responsibilities for older family members.
If you are considering a multigenerational living arrangement, here are some practical tips to help make it work harmoniously:
Remember, multigenerational living offers numerous benefits, but successful cohabitation requires open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt to each other's needs and preferences. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, your multigenerational household can thrive and create lasting memories together.
When it comes to multigenerational living, there are various accommodation solutions to consider, depending on the family's needs and preferences. Here are a few examples:
Traditional multigenerational home: This involves all generations of the family living under one roof in a single-family home, sharing common spaces and expenses while also having private living areas.
Annexes: These are small, self-contained living units that are typically built on the same property as the main home. Annexes can be used for grandparents or adult children, providing them with privacy and independence while remaining close to the main household.
Converted spaces: Some families choose to convert existing areas within the home, such as a loft or garage, into separate living spaces for other family members. This can be a cost-effective way to create additional living areas.
Embracing multigenerational living requires careful planning, open communication, and a willingness to adapt. However, the benefits of financial security, enhanced relationships, and improved well-being can make the journey truly rewarding.
We hope this article provides valuable insights into the world of multigenerational living and inspires you to explore the possibilities it holds for your family's future. Remember, a strong and supportive family unit can overcome any challenge and create a thriving and loving environment.
And of course, Pod Space can help you plan the perfect annexe, with our Eco Living Pod. Please drop us a line for further information or give us a call.