By Steve McCann
Whether it’s by choice, because of COVID-19, cultural upbringing, or simply because it makes sense, more families are packing different generations under one roof.
The global pandemic has tightened the belt for many families. Parents and children are pooling their resources, opting to live in the same house. While COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated the trend of multi-generational households, this phenomenon has been on the rise long before the pandemic.
In the grand scheme of things, single-generation households are relatively new. It peaked sometime in the 1980s, and whether you’ve noticed or not, it’s been on the decline ever since. In 2014, just in the U.S., nearly 20% of the population lived in a multi-generational home. That’s 60 million Americans either moving in with the kids or finding space for mom and dad to come live with them.
The concept has been the crux of countless sitcoms. King of Queens, Frasier, heck, even The Addams Family invited Grandmama to move in, but in real life, there is no laugh track.
Several generations under one roof can put a strain on things, especially when it was by circumstance rather than choice. Mental health experts say it’s important to hold a family meeting about personal space, the importance of respecting a closed door, and recognizing the strains that come with giving up extra room in your house. As with any scenario involving your mental well-being, there’s no shame in therapy. In fact, it’s applauded.
It’s not all slammed doors and stepping on toes, though. There are many benefits to having a helping hand around the house. Maybe that means mom makes her famous roast while you’re working away in the home office. Or when dad takes the kids to the park so you and your partner get some alone time. Perhaps it’s rediscovering your love of an evening walk with your kids and grandkids.
Let’s face it, housing prices aren’t getting any cheaper, money’s always important, and a close-knit family are all good reasons to take this big step. Weigh your options, let everyone have a say, and take it from there. If you do choose to turn your house into a multi-generational home, you’re certainly not the first, and won’t be the last.