Most Americans imagine modern “success” in a straight line: we’re kids, we go to school, grow up, and move out. Some of us go on to college. We get that first job and first car. We make our own families, whether that’s a family of one, one plus pets, a couple – with kids or without – and we make our own homes. Traditionally, we don’t move back in with Mom and Dad – or whatever family we grew up with – unless things didn’t work out for us.
Before World War 2, multigenerational homes were far more common in the USA than they are now. About a quarter of American families lived in homes with 3 generations under one roof. Although those households are still only a small percentage of families in the United States, the numbers are on the rise. According to a Pew study done in July of 2014, 18.1% of people lived in multigenerational homes, up from 1980’s 12.1%. Here’s some factors for this shift.
Today, there are more families from other countries than before. From that same study, in 1980, 7% of households were headed by immigrants. Now that figure is slightly more than double. 16% of immigrant-headed households are multiple generations under one roof, as opposed to only 10% of households headed by US-born people. Multigenerational living is considered the normal way of things in many other places around the world. Now it’s becoming more ordinary here, too.
Baby boomers who want more time with their grandchildren have found it easier to accomplish that by moving their children in with them. Even the White House is currently a multigenerational home: Michelle Obama’s mom lives there, helps with the kids and has been to the Kennedy Center more often than the First Lady has. Mrs. Obama has sung the praises of having her mom around more than once. There’s 90-some people whose job it is to provide day to day services in the White House, but there’s no replacement for a grandmother’s love and care.
Of course, having multiple generations in one house makes sound economic sense as well. One mortgage, as versus two; another adult or adults around to help with child and pet care; less spent on utilities and travel to see family. If one gets along well with their folks and wants more time with them it’s a situation with a lot of benefits. Money saved on childcare now can also become money saved on elder care later. Young families who lives with their parents and get help have more emotionally invested in being the ones to give that same help when it’s needed.
Moving one’s family under one roof can raise challenges. Who is the “head of household”? Legally, it’s the family member who owns the home. Younger household members who are also contributing have needs, and might have different ideas about raising children than their parents. Grandparents need care and consideration, and may be set in their routines. Everyone should balance their needs with those of others living with them when making decisions that could impact their lives and schedules. Healthy communication, consideration for each other, and lots of patience, is what’s needed most when making the decision to share a roof. There should be regular family conferences where everyone voices their wants and hopes for cohabitation, before moving day.
Psychologists have stressed that mutual respect is vital. Extended families living together need to discuss routines, budgets, chores and how best to give each other privacy. There’s challenges in restructuring one’s life to accommodate everyone’s schedule.
Just as important as making space for your family mentally and emotionally is making physical space for them, obviously. If older relatives are moving in to a younger family’s home, modifications like a walk-in shower, a bedroom on a first floor, walker/wheelchair accessibility and hand rails may be necessary. If children are moving in with aging grandparents, there might need to be wider doorways for strollers or a playroom. Making sure everyone has their own space is vital for continued inter-family harmony. Ensuring that everyone has enough room to have some privacy – as well as their belongings – can feel like a huge task, but with the right professional redesign and remodel, spaces can be expanded and redefined. Room can be made for everyone. Once the physical limitations of the house are sorted out, multigenerational home dwellers start reaping the emotional benefits of closeness; having someone to share meals, chores, playtime and bills with. That’s what families are all about; being close and caring for one another. Moving more of your family in with you makes that easier to achieve.
Kingston has the staff of trained professionals you’d need to expand your home to include more of your family, friends, pets, etc. Call us today to assess your needs, and see your dream of having more room become a reality.
Don’t forget about our Summer Build Special, currently going on from now until until July 15th. SAVE up to $1,000.00 on your next project with Kingston. The photos this week focus on additions Kingston’s done. Adding more space all over the place..!
If you can dream it, we can build it. Call Moira at Kingston Design Remodeling *today* for your FREE Consultation!