Multigenerational Households: The Ins and Outs of In-law Suites
When I was a teenager, my parents had a new home specifically built with separate quarters so my grandmother could live with us and still maintain her privacy. For us, it was simply a decision that would allow Grandma to move in—nothing newsworthy at the time.
Nowadays, with our tendency to label trends, sociologists would call my family’s arrangement “multigenerational living,” and Grandma’s special living area would be considered a “mother-in-law suite” or “mother-in-law apartment.” Research conducted by Generations United found that 26 percent of Americans lived in a household with three or more generations in 2021.
A growing number of families are embracing this trend, especially as an alternative to independent or assisted living facilities for their aging relatives. In this era of supersizing, some intergenerational living arrangements even involve smaller detached homes on the same property as the family abode.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of multigenerational households for seniors and adult children alike, so this is not an arrangement that should be entered into lightly. It’s crucial to do some research and have honest discussions with all family members involved before making a move to a larger home or building an addition for Mom or Dad.
Setting Expectations for a Multigenerational Household: Kathryn Watson, founder of Find Houston Senior Care and author of “Help! My Parents Are Aging,” says that living with aging parents should only be agreed to after thinking it through. Many families are drawn to the premise of helping their parents or in-laws age in place but don’t actually know how to live in a multigenerational home. She encourages families who are considering intergenerational living to ask themselves the following questions…
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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