We are seeing a recent trend with our clients towards adapting their homes to accommodate three generations under one roof. Sometimes the baby boomers are adding space for their children and grandchildren to their home. We’ve also seen gen X’ers and millennial’s creating or adding space to allow one or both parents to live with them. Often these decisions are driven by a health or financial necessity. All these scenarios can provide a wonderful opportunity to strengthen bonds between parents, children and grandchildren. However, having additional family members living under the same roof can, if not properly planned, result in hurt feelings and additional stresses to the best family dynamics. Below is a list of items to think about as you plan to merge multiple generations into one home. Hopefully, they will help you avoid pitfalls that can jeopardize relationships
- A DESIGN FOR LIVING: Engage with a professional design/build firm that specializes in aging-in-place design to ensure thoughtful design that will adapt to an aging parents current and future mobility/health needs. Stacking closets for future elevator, creating sound barriers between living spaces, wider door openings to accommodate a wheelchair, proper lighting, nonslip surfaces, curb less shower entries, lever handles on doors and faucets, etc.
- FINANCIALLY SPEAKING: Discuss the financial aspects of this project early. Who will be paying for the renovations? Make sure to speak with a financial adviser and your mortgage company when choosing the best course of action. Perhaps some family members share more of the day-to-day domestic responsibilities while others take on more of the financial
- A PLACE TO CALL YOUR OWN: Ensure everyone has their own living space within the new home. This will allow everyone to call this new house their home and not feel like they’re a guest. Having this separate space allows family members the flexibility to entertain, work or relax without disturbing others who may have different sleep or work schedules. Also having common areas where all can gather and enjoy meals and family time is important.
- COMMUNICATION IS PARAMOUNT – Having monthly or weekly family (meetings) gatherings allows a forum for everyone to discuss concerns in a constructive way before situations get out of control and feelings get hurt. Unwelcomed parenting advice or common areas left untidy can create unnecessary stress and anxiety in the home.