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3 Benefits of Multigenerational Relationships

Multi-generational homes all but disappeared from the American landscape in the 20th century. Pew Research Center recently reported that 57% of Americans over 65 lived in homes with their children in 1900. But by 1990, that number dropped to 17%. The makeup of the family structure was impacted by the GI Bill, more access to higher education, mobility and increased availability to loans for buying homes and starting businesses.

1970’s immigration to the United States included cultures that are still caring for their parents at home. Ethnic groups that traditionally live with multiple generations like Asians, African Americans and Hispanics, average 23% multigenerational homes versus the current 13% of whites. Americans are now learning the positive benefits of multiple generations under one roof. Some of those include:

1. Independence for seniors with proximity to adult children

Seniors want to be able to remain independent but may need to have additional care and supervision for safety reasons.

2. Shared family history and wisdom

Having seniors reside with their children and grandchildren allows for more family stories, history and wisdom to be shared throughout the generations.

3. Decreased feelings of depression and isolation

When seniors are living alone, depression and feelings of isolation can be an issue. Living with other family members will assist in getting seniors more involved in and out of the house.

4. Shared economic responsibilities

Merging incomes will allow for more disposable income and less stress on all family members.

5. Child care assistance

Having multiple generations in one house will allow for flexibility in child care. Seniors who may not be in a good financial position may feel better knowing they are contributing by taking care of their grandchildren.

As the demographics of American households continue to evolve, the impact of the

economic climate will affect how families will work together to support all generations.

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