How To Prepare For Mutigenerational Living
With today’s high cost of housing, many families are considering multigenerational living. Multigenerational households are defined as including two or more adult generations (with adults ages twenty-five or older)
or a “skipped generation,” which consists of grandparents and their grandchildren younger than twenty-five.
Multigenerational living comes with many benefits for families, but also can create some challenges. If you are considering moving in with a family member, read on for three ways you can prepare for an easier transition:
1. Start on the same page
Before you share space, have an open talk about your expectations. Moving in with family members that you have not lived with for years is a big adjustment. Being open about privacy concerns, household
chores, financial responsibilities, and family rules can get family members on the same page. Whether you are a senior moving in with adult children or an adult moving mom or dad in with you, here are some questions to discuss with your family before you move in together:
• Which spaces are shared? Which are private?
• Will the family member moving in pay rent, buy groceries, or contribute financially to the household?
• Will new move-ins need access to a vehicle?
• How will household chores be divided, including laundry, shopping, and food preparation?
• Do we need house rules, including quiet hours or curfews?
• What is each family member hoping to gain from the new situation?
2. Check-in regularly
Checking in regularly with your adult child or senior parent gives each person in the household a chance to voice their thoughts. Make plans to meet to discuss what is and is not working. Likely, you will need to check in more frequently at the beginning of the transition, and then less often as initial kinks get smoothed out. For example, you might want to meet after a couple of days, then a week, then after two weeks until you are ready to only check in once a month.
TIP FOR CHECKING IN: Although being open about what is not working is important, these conversations can be difficult. Avoid unnecessary conflict by deciding upon a meeting schedule in advance. This gives participants a chance to mentally prepare for the conversation.
3. Come up with an end game
If living together is not a permanent solution, work together to make an “exit plan” that everyone in the home understands. Plans change and you may decide to live together for more or less time, but having a blueprint gives everybody an idea of what to expect. In situations where aging parents move in with their adult children, it is helpful to decide what will happen if the arrangement does not work. Having a backup plan can preserve relationships when difficult circumstances arise.
Whether you are taking care of an older parent, moving into your child’s home, or sheltering your adult children, these strategies can help you navigate your multi-generational living with added success.