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Honored Advisor

Multigenerational homes?

Catching a break in housework for a few minutes, seeing this topic on CBS Sunday Morning. Clearly, the families featured have figured out that the way to keep an eye on aging and infirm parents is to build a home for themselves, with an attached apartment for the older generation.

Very nice, neat floor plans. Each generation has its independence and privacy, but there is enough closeness to allow even some with Alzheimer's' to function outside of an institution.

I grew up with my mother's parents sharing our house in their decline. It wasn't nearly big enough, and privacy was impossible.

Living with either of our mothers would be a total last resort. Our daughter has said we will always have a home with her, and I know she would care for us well, although I hope we never have to burden her with that task. If so, I would hope it could be in a granny flat out by the stables, not up in their personal space.

How about you guys: Would you be able to live with either your parents or your children?
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Senior Contributor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

My DM refused to move here and I regret that because I think it would have worked. My MIL NO way. I don't think I could live with children either. But maybe in a separate building or wing. Hope that does not happen but you never know.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

I wonder if living in a three or four generational home isn't the way it always used to be.  A nuclear family is a fairly recent historical phenomenon, I think.  Maybe since WWII.  

In Europe, kids often cannot afford a home so they live with the parents and move their girl/'boy friend in.  They don't marry, either.  They still have kids, though, at least a few, so there are three generations plus maybe grandma.  They don't like it, either, but money and housing is tight so that's the way it goes.

The economic imperative to take care of elders is great but not so great as it was before there was any governmnet assisteance.  The moral imperative is less as the economic need is less.  That's just my opinion.

Pity the woman who has to move in with her husbands people.  She'll seldom be good enough - the best hope is to have some cute kids. The man who moves in with the in-laws will likewise never measure up.  

Maybe when everyone knew they had to get along it was better, but I see no examples of the multi-generationall family except the Amish and Mennonites.

 

 

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

After making 6 trips into my mom's in one week to fix pills, fix TV, etc it would be handy. Probably too handy. Mom continualy looks for things to perfect. I could never stand having her that near. My in laws were much more easy going & I felt more in tune with her. She had such a quiet easy way she could help in anyone's kitchen without a fuss. A farm friend of ours put a mobile home in the back yard for the mother to live in.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

There used to be quite a bit of that setting of a mobile home for a widowed mother or aunt. I have seen some stories on TV where places with tighter zoning regulations were trying to loosen them up for what they called " granny pods" or something similar...evidently a very upscale version of a house trailer.

Zoning for single-family dwellings might be a stumbling block for homes that have clearly been built as a combination of two residences. Building codes here are equal for single and dual units, but beyond that, you step to apartment house codes.

I have one book on " granny flats", Very neat design concept, and much easier to manage than any driving distance to an elder's place. You know how that can eat up a day.

Of course, the adult children living at home thing is a growing trend, too. Kids not able to get jobs that support them and their college debt can end up back home for protracted periods, too. That was another story on a different news program last night, and I feel it is the next thing akin to the mortgage bubble, waiting to burst.

Jim's point about other countries, and even past generations in this one, is on point, I think. It has really been only since our parents' generation (say, the 80- and 90- somethings now) that an expectation of a private home for only a nuclear family has largely evolved in America. It is a luxury in a way, but has its shortcomings, too.

When you think of every senior struggling to get by in an independent living setup, and every younger family scraping by, often using credit cards and equity loans to stay afloat in what passes for he middle class, it is simple to see how combining a pension and a paycheck in one house instead of two might make good sense.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

Then you hear the stories of the abuse. Here recently a couple were arrested for child neglect and abuse and the mother sent somewhere for treatment. The mother's home was totally destroyed by manure and trash and dogs. Sheriff said it was the worst one he had seen in 28 yrs.

 

This added to the county's dog problem at the Humane shelter. They are always asking for dog food and supplies.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

You know, Jim, when I heard yesterday that there has been an uptick in housing starts nationally, it didn't sink in as related to this topic, but it is, really. The whole consumer-based economy we have developed, mostly since WWII, depends largely upon new houses being built, so families will spend money furnishing, equipping and decorating them.

I think my drive home from Va yestersay made this sink in, too. I took a local route, instead of the interstate. Stopped by a Walmart, since Mike had asked me to purchase a pkastic pitcher to replace one he had tossed. On the street into that strip mall, I passed a closed Lowe's and a shuttered chain furniture store, facing each other.

This particular town has whole strip centers withnot a store open in them...really economically depressed for Virginia. The first things you see shrinking in are the " wants" stores, that sell craftsy and decorative items, things we do not need to live. Secondhand and thrift stores may come in for a while, then they crap out, too.

Chain stores and restaurants have abandoned much of this stretch off I-95, at least from just south of Petersburg, VA, to Rocky Mount, NC, about a hundred-mile expanse. Three Super Walmarts dot the two ends and middle, but not much more, except fast food joints.

The credit crunch since 2008, coupled with gasoline prices, has meant way more houses have gone empty than have been built around here. No wonder nothing else much is prospering.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

Sounds like some tenants we know, right?
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Senior Contributor

Re: Multigenerational homes?

My parents had a 5th wheel trailer that they traveled to the south in each winter for  8 years.  Dad said it was going to be his nursing home.  There are 7 of us kids and he said he wanted us to each take a week at a time...we would pull it to our place and take care of him!  Well, he passed away before that happened.  My mom is in transistion between home and assisted living.  My brother did offer for her to go live with him in Texas.  His home would have to be transformed to handicapped access.  My MIL has a small house on her property..the original house, one room down and one room up.  A lady approached me and wanted to buy it to put her MIL in!   I don't think we will have any "dawdi" house on our property!

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